[probe_control] Short Circuit review
- Since I made references to this episode in my notes on In Search Of Midas,
I thought I would get this written and out.
This was Grover's introductory episode, written by series creator Leslie
Stevens. Grover is supposed to be the "youthful" fun loving reluctant
agent who comes through in the end. They establish this by first showing
Grover riding a horse, surfboarding, and having a beach barbecue with a hot
cutie. All this is fine ( I guess...although it's not something they kept
up during the show's run...thank goodness.) Unfortunatly, they also choose
to write some very 70's "groovy" bubble gum jazz music to play when ever
Grover was in motion. The problem is this music does not fit in with the
rest of the music style of the series...which was one of it's strong points
(although the show had some standard music cues that were somewhat
ordinary.) There were also a few times when we could have had a couple of
shots to show transition, but instead we have Grover running all over the
place, which means we have to have the "groovy" music, and at one point he
stops the action but the action music keeps going...it was very
clumsy. They did not continue it in the series, and instead they continued
with Grover's reluctance, his unorthodox methods, and his ability to
respond and win...which were more interesting qualities to watch.
On the plus side, all of the interactions and scenes with Probe Control
were top notch, and the strong points of the episode as well as the series.
My random thoughts:
There are different conflicting sources as to where World Securities is
located. But in this episode, with the palm trees outside the building,
and the California towns "up the coast", it is clear that it is in Los
Angeles (we have also heard it's in New York or Washington....but I don't
think these locales were mentioned in the episodes.)
Triva note: When they are watching the briefing tapes at the beginning
showing the Mega-Trans package at work, we are seeing three different shots
from the show Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea (they had explosions and
sparks aboard the Seaview every epsiode.) Of course, I don't know how a
show produced at Warner Brothers can use stock footage from a show produced
in the 60's at 20th Century Fox.
Nit pick point: When Agent Hiller is spying on Moen and Landis, he is
photographing it (of course) with his scanner. The briefing tape has cuts
from different angles, even though there is only one camera (the scanner)
recording it, so there should only be one angle of eveything that goes on
in the scene.
Grover turns his fishing pole reel next to the scanner so as to fake
interference (so he can get the info he missed). But they show the reel on
the Probe Screen, and yet Cameron is acting like there is real
interference. I suspect that someone in post production decided to add the
reel/screen shot, without realizing it didn't make sense (the screen shot
is not called for in the script.)
Grover can't see what control is seeing in the records, so I think it is
strange when he comments about Moen's daughter (before he sees her) "with a
daughter like that." And if he is refering to her career, then that means
Grover thinks Moen would not want to see a daughter that was out of work?
Grover's whole talk with Lelia under the tree is awful. He is trying to
smile through most of it and it is out of place. The attempt is to be calm
and reassuring and charming...but it doesn't play right. We know he can do
it (see how he does it with Cameron's niece in Moment Of Madness), but I
cannot understand why he is playing it that way here. I wouldn't trust
such a stranger.
There are too many scenes of Grover running around to his groovy music, as
if they had to fill time...even though there is evidence from the script
that they filmed and cut scenes. They just wanted Grover to be cool and in
A couple of times Grover leaves his scanner hanging, and yet it tips down
and up when it zooms in (the camera operator trying to frame the shot
without appearing to.) This is funny becasue reading the script, Stevens
makes it clear in these shots that the camera work should be stagnant, as
it would be with a real camera frozen in position. (At one point the
correction is necessary, when Grover gets out of the pool and walks to the
scanner, becasue if they didn't tip up slightly, his walking forward to the
scanner would have put his crotch right in closeup.)
Lelia leaves a handkerchief behind with "Swan Hotel" written on it as a
clue for Grover. She says she wrote that instead of "Belmont Hotel"
because she didn't want her father to realize what she was doing and go
somewhere else. Yet he wouldn't have wondered why she was leaving a
message behind anyway? It seems to me there would have been a problem if
he saw it in any case, so she should have just written the correct
name...hoping he wouldn't see it.
Grover comments he is only the back-up agent. Cameron says the
following: "Oh, no. When Arnold Hiller died-in-action. Probe Control is
your back-up! Think of it, Grover. Command Pilot. Millions of dollars
worth of electronic miracles...(and on and on.)" Reading this dialog all
these years I didn't think it made much sense. Hearing Burgess Meredith
deliver it, it still doesn't make much sense.
Grover is shouting over the noise in the underground areas of World
Securities. But he is overdoing it and looks silly.
Dr Barnett orders everything shut off. Grover comments that the blueprints
indicate it would take a half hour to shut down all operations because of
the back-up systems. Grover has not seen any of the blueprints...how does
he know this?
Grover has the Mega-Trans Package. Why is he driving off with it? Why
doesn't he just smash the hell of it? Also, World Securities is in the
city. Yet a quarter of a mile away is the country side? Also, when the
package activates, both cars should go up, like the police car did earlier
in the episode...yet they don't (in fact Grover is still holding the
package and driving when the package activates.)
At the end Grover is with the girl and getting down to the real business,
and instead of the groovy music we hear the Search theme...and it looks and
sounds so much better, and fits the scene and ends the episode
nicely. Except for the scenes mentioned in "Midas", we don't (I believe)
hear the awful "groovy" music again in the series.
My permanent address is actingman@...