By PATRICK McCRAY
Taped on this date in 1966: Episode 56
Burke arrives at Collinwood and refuses to leave until he’s had it out with Roger. Liz tolerates his visit, despite his bragging about a fortune that exceeds hers by many times. Eventually, she turns the tables on him, citing his youth. Meanwhile, Roger corners Sam at the Blue Whale and demands to know what he said to Bill Malloy. Sam’s words were innocuous, but tension between the men surges. Roger offers and withdraws bribes, and Sam seems all too happy to see Roger’s paranoia mount. Roger finally returns home to find Burke all too ready for a final confrontation.
Mitch Ryan. It’s been too long. If you’re looking for a tight and intense character study, these early episodes deliver with tense and bitter eloquence.
Okay, that’s my way of saying that it’s pretty boring compared to GERARD’S ZOMBIES PULLING COLLINWOOD APART - AIIIEEEEEEE!!!!, but at least there’s wry, competitive dialogue, acted with intensity and wit. As always, Ryan has a ball, coasting between smug brio and a roiling insecurity. It’s the same recipe that fuels Roger, but with the brio and insecurity in reverse proportions. As he goes for the throat, Joan Bennett amps up the cattiness to stay one step ahead. The show becomes leaden by comparison whenever we go back to the Blue Whale and watch Louis Edmonds and David Ford try to beat each other in a sweating contest. Finally, let’s throw in a golf clap for Vicki working in the words, “dark shadows” into the opening narration!
September 16, 1966 was a bit quiet in the world of news, but we can thank it for being the birthday of Allen Funt, BB King, Peter Falk, and the most fabulous woman alive, Molly Shannon.