Due to two weeks of intense involvement in a small theatre show and resulting illness (cough, splutter!), I'm woefully behind with these ... indeed my review for Revenge 1, although not finished, is more complete than my review for Strikes Again 4 (no surprise there!). With any luck, both should be up over the next week and I'll be back on track ...
Apologies for posting the next episode so late, but I'll keep to the tradition of posting on Fridays. Finally this fortnight, the randomiser has picked out not an Episode 1 or 4, but an Episode 3 ... from a series we're all very familiar with! Oh well, one day we'll get some variety. This fortnight's episode is ...
TAKE OFF WITH T.BAG, EPISODE 3: 'BAGSY MALONE'
Low resolution captures of this episode in 4-parts will be available on my photobucket account for the next four weeks. You can find them at the links below:
(Captures now removed from photobucket -- if anyone would like me to repost them, PM me here)
If you want to join in on the discussion on the previous reviewed episode, T.Bag and the Revenge of the T.Set, Episode 1, you can find the thread here:
The time since my last review has gone so quickly, mainly due to devoting my small amount of spare time to updates to both the High-T Website and the C.A.B. HQ Website. I hope to be able to watch and write a review for the other two episodes sometime soon but in the meantime here is my review for this episode.
Take Off With T. Bag: Episode Three ‘Bagsy Malone’ – My Review
The episode begins with the flying saucer landing in a New York street. T-Bag, T-Shirt and Tow-Ling leave the saucer as Lieutenant Kowalski looks on. T-Bag mutters that the expedition is a waste of time as Kowalski walks towards them and tells them they can not leave it there so they will have to move it. Suddenly there is a loud noise and Kowalski races off. Seeing the episode start in the New York Street gives the viewer a view of the size of the set, much bigger than in previous years and this gives the actors more space to act and run madly (more on the running later).
There he runs into Bagsy Malone who has just robbed the jewellery store, Bagsy tries to get away by making Kowalski turn away from him, threatening him with his ‘violin case’. Bagsy then notices T-Bag, T-Shirt and Tow-Ling hiding near the flying saucer. Bagsy takes them hostage in the saucer and they fly off.
As Kowalski watches the flying saucer take off and fly into the distance mention must go to the special effects of this scene, the effects on the saucer, although not realistic by today’s standards but as a child viewer in the earlier 1990’s this was something not seen in the preceding years of T-Bag so this must be accredited to the crew involved. In a time without sophisticated CGI the tricks employed in creating the ‘magic’ in T-Bag gives the episodes a charming nostalgic feel.
Onboard Bagsy is relieved that they showed up to help him escape. T-Shirt deduces that he must have robbed a jewellery store and is now on the run with a bag full of stolen diamonds. Bagsy tells Tow-Ling to land back on Earth asking where would be the last place the cops would look for him. Tow-Ling quickly suggests on top of the Police station and Bagsy agrees. Tow-Ling then lands the flying saucer and Bagsy leaves. T-Bag demands that they find her Birthday surprise. Earlier in this series T-Bag constantly reminds us of quest to find her birthday surprise, maybe this was intentionally put into the script to give the audience constant reminders about the change of the ‘quest’ dynamic to T-Bag searching for something rather than a girl protagonist.
After leaving the saucer they run into Kowalski who tells them to freeze. He tells them that they will spend fifteen years in the slammer for aiding Bagsy escaping. T-Bag then decides to be subtle… and hits Kowalski over the head with a baseball bat knocking him out. But Kowalski starts to come around and they start to run but Tow-Ling gets caught by Kowalski as T-Bag and T-shirt run off. In the distance T-Bag and T-Shirt are hiding in separate trash dumpsters; T-Bag is in the one full of rubbish! T-Shirt tells T-Bag they will have to try and clear their names for them to find the birthday surprise. T-Shirt then pulls out the blue cockatoo club card.
T-Bag and T-shirt, in disguise, arrive at the Blue Cockatoo club in the hope of finding Bagsy Malone, T-Bag does not think they will but T-Shirt as a hunch, T-Bag then quips ‘that explains why your clothes don’t fit’. T-Shirt suggests they split up to try to find Bagsy. T-Bag wanders off and peers through a curtain into the next room, inside is Bagsy, on the phone, and T-Bag listens. T-Shirt catches up and also sees Bagsy. T-Bag rationalises that they need to take the jewels and hand them into the Police. T-Bag then has to come up with a plan but before she can Kowalski walks into the club. They start to panic but T-Bag sees a sign saying ‘Female Jazz musicians wanted’, T-Shirt tells her no, and as such the audience knows where the story line is going to go.
In the next scene Bagsy is on the phone and T-Bag and T-Shirt walk in disguised as female jazz musicians. Bagsy hires them and tells them to get to work, they start playing in his office but he tells them to get on the stage to play. T-Shirt puts on a record and they play their instruments along to the record. Kowalski enjoys the music and Bagsy heard him from his office. Bagsy goes out into the club and then notices it is Kowlaski although he does not recognise him. Kowalski gets Bagsy to sit down and enjoy the music and a drink. T-Shirt then tells T-Bag to find the jewels while he covers for her. T-Bag wanders off into the back room to find the jewels, then Kowalski goes to the bar to get a drink so Bagsy follows T-Bag. Bagsy catches her looking in the safe, he startles her and she bangs her head and falls to the floor unconscious. Bagsy recognises her as ‘dollface’. Kowalski comes back with some drinks as T-Shirt finishes the song; Kowalski calls for an encore and tells ‘her’ to take a bow. T-Shirt bows and his wig falls off! Instantly Kowalski recognises him and chased after him, T-Shirt runs into the back room to fetch T-Bag and bumps into Bagsy, in disguise wearing T-Bag’s wig, Bagsy gets away as no-one recognises him.
T-Shirt wakes T-Bag up, telling her they have to go, Kowalski catches up with them but T-Bag trips him up. T-Bag and T-Shirt then run off trying to catch up with Bagsy. Kowalski then chases T-Bag and T-Shirt. T-Bag chases after Basgy as Tow-Ling calls out to T-Shirt from his jail cell. The chase continues as T-Shirt finds a car, luckily with the keys in the ignition, he ties some rope to the jail cell bars and goes back to the car to attempt to break Tow-Ling out of jail.
The chase continues and Bagsy comedically bumps into the camera! He turns around and runs off, he finally gets near the police station as T-Shirt is in the car; the bars come out from the cell and hits Bagsy and knocks him to the ground. T-Bag and Kowalski catch up. Kowalski then handcuffs Bagsy and tells T-Bag that she gets the reward from the jewellery store, T-Bag mistakenly thinks it is all the stolen jewels and begins to gather them up. Kowalski takes them off her and hand her the real reward – another golden envelope, to which T-Bag replies ‘what?!?’
The amount of ‘running and chasing’ in this episode can either be viewed as a classic ‘cartoon’ chase or a very effective way of padding out an episode, I am going to plump for the former as I think the chasing is one of the funniest things in the episode and makes a welcome change of pace.
The two guest actors, both returning from separate episodes from Sunstones of Montezuma, give superb performances making you believe in their Police and criminal characters.
Watching this episode again has given me a few laughs but not at anything new, mainly at T-Bag not getting the empty trash can!
Because of the high production value, a script with laughs and the excellent comedy timing (and facial expressions) of John and Georgina I’ve given this episode eight out of ten. Not a truly classic episode but still a great episode to watch if you’ve not seen it in a long time.
Oh well, late again! I've been working (very slowly!) on this one for a while and I'm still far from happy with it (think it's my worst yet!), but here goes ... I'll post the next one shortly ...
TAKE OFF WITH T.BAG, EPISODE 3: ‘BAGSY MALONE’
The flying saucer takes T.Bag, T.Shirt and Tow-Ling to nineteen-thirties New York, where they are quickly mistaken by the bullish Lt Kowalski as accomplices of gangster Bagsy Malone in a jewellery store heist. Whilst Tow-Ling is quickly apprehended and hauled off to the ‘slammer’, T.Bag and T.Shirt pursue Malone to The Blue Cockatoo Club, where they are forced to resort to an unusual disguise to evade capture and clear their names …
While I always try and inject something original into my reviews, having only reviewed the episode which succeeds this quite recently, chances are that this essay will cover a lot of the same ground.
Like Episode 4, this instalment recycles a plot used in an earlier series, once more from Turn on to T.Bag, this time Episode 2; and again, Episode 3 of Take off with T.Bag takes elements of that story and adapts them to fit the tone and style of the Hale era. So we have another take on ‘thirties New York, another jewellery store robbery, another gangster, another incompetent police inspector, another case of mistaken identity and another chase to bag the spoils; but, as with Episode 4, the jump in quality compared to the 1988 effort makes for a more aesthetically pleasing production.
A bigger budget and studio, of course, help; but the merits of the new director and set designer are again on display. The sheer size of Alex Clarke’s New York street set is vast, incorporating the multi-levelled police station front, metal stairways and a car park (with real nineteen-thirties-esque cars). Whilst detail has been given to the police station, on the whole it is a minimalist set, made up of brick wall facades painted black. This gloomy lack of colour and detail coupled with some dim lighting is effective in evoking a dark and dingy locale. Much better lit and grander in detail, The Blue Cockatoo Club is split into the club room and Bagsy’s office, both luxuriantly designed and dressed, though also with an appropriate air of dinginess.
While the special effects are kept to a minimum (the most prominent example being the chromakey-ed flying saucer arriving and taking off), Neville Green is still on fine form, delivering a fast-paced twenty-minutes, with the usual interesting camera work which compliments Pressman and Cathro’s script perfectly. As with the 1988 episode, they deliver a spoof of the gangster movie genre; unlike the 1988 episode with a different director, the conventions and allusions are better realised; and with the slightly more risqué air of the Hale era, the humour is slightly more lurid (‘I’m going to be a private dick when I grow up,’ T.Shirt utters at one point) and the action more knockabout-slapstick. Green’s use of music again compliments this with tense horns ringing out throughout the episode to follow the action.
The script takes a spoof turn for the hilarious with T.Bag and T.Shirt’s turn as Florence Laurence and Nancy Clancy, a humorous nod to the 1959 comedy Some Like it Hot (itself a gangster movie spoof); before a final mad dash into silent-movie Keystone Cops territory with the comic chase through the street set (with apt piano music accompanying it). The script and direction are a joy to experience, and the scale of the whole undertaking is veering on the epic.
Georgina Hale puts in another five star performance here, getting some of the best lines of the episode (‘that mouth of yours is going to get you into serious trouble one day; so please don’t stop talking’). Her bad luck in the bins (‘trust you to get the empty one’) and Florence Laurence disguise are especially mirth-inducing. Poor old John Hasler, while as reliably good as ever, can’t help betray a hint of embarrassment, disguised in flapper dress and wig as Nancy Clancy. It only adds to the hilarity of the resulting footage for the viewer. Tow-Ling is again sidelined for most of the episode, locked away in a cell; I’m sorry to say that again, I find that beneficial to the episode.
The guest cast, as with Episode 4, is again very good in the form of Peter Banks and Kerry Shale, two first-time returnees from T.Bag and the Sunstones of Montezuma, proving their versatility by playing very different characters. Shale in particular is exemplary as the pint-sized wise-cracking mobster, Bagsy Malone.
My one gripe would again be the birthday surprise quest which although it gets more attention in this episode, still fails to be that enthralling. Oh well you can’t have everything; and this is another cracker of an episode, one of my favourites from the series in fact. It’s a pleasure to give this one eight out of ten.