Episode 6: Miss Me Once, Miss Me Twice, and Miss Me Once Again
The Cannes Film Festival is celebrating the wondrous marvel that is Gene Bradley, and of course the big man himself is there to bask in the adulation of his legions of fans and to present a television special about the event. He notices that an assassin is staying at the same hotel as him, and so, as you do, Gene breaks into the guy's room and discovers that the assassin is here to kill some guy or other who seems vaguely important for some reason that's really not made that clear. The ever-helpful Gene Bradley has this guy gassed into unconsciousness and takes his place, so that's alright then.
'Gene Barry with Catherine Schell and Barry Morse as Mr Parminter'. The Morse credit shows...wait for it!
Parminter watching Gene's helicopter taking off. For a change.
Ed Bishop (Wayne), Alex Scott (Gregory Varna), John Barrie (Vladimir Horvic), Bernard Kay (Micholos Zentner), Margaretta Scott (Lady Hargrom), Ray Chiarella (Hotel Clerk), Paul Greaves (Aide), Keith Ashley (Manservant), Elaine Montgomerie (Woman Delegate).
And starring Stuart Nichol as Man in Corridor!!!!!!! Nichol's career is a very interesting one, encompassing such classic roles as 'Bank Manager', 'Squire', 'Newscaster' and 'Commissionaire'. It was inevitable that this giant of the small screen would come to play such an important role as Man in Corridor in The Adventurer.
OK, lots of info here, so I suggest you write all this down.
After learning of the assassination plot, Gene calls up Parminter, and tells him about it over a shot of the target getting into his car. "Now listen to this. Vladimir Horvic is slated for assassination. It'd be nice to keep him alive. He maintains the balance of power in his home country." Right, and does this country have a name? Do any countries in the world of The Adventurer actually have a name?
Mr Parminter then fires off this snappy retort. "His Chief Deputy and Minister of Communications is Micholos Zentner. Apparently there's been some sort of rift between them. Now I'm sure he's not personally pulling the trigger-"
"No, but he is pulling the string." interrupts Gene. (Who the heck talks like this?) "He's using Varna, the international hitman, to do the work." For some reason, rather than a shot of Varna looking hitmanishly shifty, we get a weird shot taken from later in the episode, of Varna...um...well, it looks like he's putting the final touches to a house of cards. And that shot isn't actually in that scene. Whatever.
"Perhaps we should let Horvic know that Zentner intends to kill him?" suggests Parminter, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he himself just said that Zentner isn't going to be the one who will actually try to kill Horvic. "We couldn't prove anything." replies Gene, "Zentner's too clever to leave loose plots lying around." Ah. So he couldn't be a writer for The Adventurer then...
Anyway, you all set with the premise of the episode? Some sort of assassination thingy...
Gene is in Cannes to present a television special on the festival, and it appears that some of his films are also going to be shown there.
He wears a red rose to the party, in which is concealed a microphone. He gives it to Zentner, and this allows him to listen in on Zentner's private chats with Varna. He then takes it back, and uses it to chat to his colleagues. It's a much better type of listening device than the one he so clumsily used in the previous episode.
Gene Bradley again shows off his amazing powers of disguise when he masquerades as Horvic. And for once, I have to admit he does look...vaguely...passable. Mmm. Aside from the voice, which is anything but. It should sound vaguely European, but instead it sounds Indian...
It is only Gene's lightning reflexes that manage to save himself and Wayne when the telephone explodes. That and the fact that he somehow instinctively knew it was going to happen when there was no possible way that he could. How many times have you answered a telephone only to find that there's no-one on the other end of it. Once or twice, surely. Did you ever think "Hmm, nobody's there...oh my goodness! That must mean that the telephone is about to explode!!!" No. You didn't think that. And if you did, you're a weirdo.
We also get to hear about another one of Gene's classic motion pictures, the events of which sounds rather similar to the situation unfolding in Cannes. Gosh.
Parminter is apparently a very busy man this episode. I know that, because he says so. His conversation with Gene is his only appearance.
"I thought you'd forgotten all about me!"
Diane appears to have a radio/transmitter/microphone/generic spy communication device installed in her powder compact. I wish I did.
Her main role in this episode is to follow Varna around, and so we get to see her deliver such fascinating reports as "He's still there.", "He's just ordered another glass of wine." and "Hasn't moved." Thrilling stuff.
After Varna's attempt to kill 'Horvic', Diane follows him around the city, and, just as in the previous episode, her skill at this sort of thing hasn't improved much. Bright yellow is not a good colour to spy by.
She also seems to have the same deductive powers as Gene, as she is able to guess which bar Varna will stop at and arrive there before him, despite the fact that Varna's just had at least three glasses of wine about five minutes ago and probably shouldn't be in the mood for any more. Anyway, she sits down with him, they have a few drinks and get friendly, before Varna freaks and decides to leg it.
She follows him, on foot, for probably at least a mile, before stopping him and just being nice and cheerful and friendly. Suddenly, she takes two bullets in the back, and is able to utter the words "Zentner...double cross..." before 'dying' in Varna's arms.
After recovering, she phones up Zentner and tells him that Horvic has been killed, and that's the last we see of her in this episode.
No Gavin this episode. Instead, the late great Ed 'Captain Blue / Commander Straker' Bishop appears as Wayne, a one-off character who is clearly Vince with a different name. He drives a truck, as did Vince in the previous episode. He wears the same blue truck-driving overalls as Vince did in the previous episode. He indulges in a spot of signpost switching-around, as did Vince in the previous episode. He puts on a dodgy 'foreign' accent to cover his own unmistakable American accent, as did Vince in the previous episode. And he outacts Gene Barry in every scene he appears in, as did Vince and every other character / vehicle / location / animal in the previous episode.
Wayne diverts Horvic's car into a remote dead end, and then Gene arrives on the scene. Out of Wayne's truck comes a nice swish car, driven by Wayne himself, dressed as a chauffeur, and he drives Gene back to Cannes while Mr B disguises himself as Horvic.
Just for a brief moment, when Gene Barry is doing his Horvic impression, and shouting "Hello! Hello! Hello? Hello!" at a telephone, Bishop seems to be on the verge of cracking up. Clearly that faint but unmistakable odour of ham was just too much for him...
Wayne later follows Diane as she follows Varna, and he's the one who 'kills' her. For some reason, he's still dressed as a chauffeur. Odd.
Later, he seems to be a genuine member of the production team that records Gene's programme, and he is last seen back in his chauffeur's uniform (er, why, exactly?) driving Gene away from the hotel, his work completed for another week. G'bye Wayne, you nut.
OK, heads up, we've got a major fashion disaster right at the start of the episode. Dear God, what the heck is he wearing?!?!
How many sets of curtains died to make those trousers?
No fighting and no dancing this episode. For shame. But of course, there's always his 'Horvic' disguise. Mmm.
A Lady Samantha Hargrom appears to be hosting a party at the start of the episode, and she's none other than Mrs Pumphrey from All Creatures Great and Small. "If only I could turn the clock back." she sighs. "I'd get rid of everybody here in two seconds flat...except you, of course." "Ooh, Samantha, you've a wicked mind." says Gene, and she replies with "Thank heavens that at least is working."
If you'll excuse me, I'd like to have a shower now.
For a change, we have a dodgy foreigner from an unnamed country. How nice.
GENE (to Parminter): "I think you oughta grab the first plane to Cannes, and bring your filing system with you."
Uh huh...yep, bring your filing system and you can, um...do some filing. In Cannes. Which is well known as the filing capital of the world.
GENE: "Cheer up, Mr Zentner. Maybe the world won't be home the night we show the programme."
Gene...please, just once...shut up.
ZENTNER (reading a decoded message that I don't know how it fits into the plot): "'Have reason to suspect attempt on life of first secretary by unknown assailant. Take all precautions, despatching assistance immediately.' It's signed...Kroll...Chief, section G-6."
Kroll? Kroll's going to be in this? Alright! Cannes' gonna get attacked by Kroll, that'll liven things up...
DIANE (on Varna): "He's getting up...he's going into the cafe."
GENE: "He's going into the cafe."
But is he going into the cafe?
MAN IN CORRIDOR: "That sounded like a
GENE (whilst frantically trying to lock the door to Horvic's suite): "I wouldn't know about that, I just got here.
MAN IN CORRIDOR: "Say, aren't you-"
GENE: "Yeah, yeah."
MAN IN CORRIDOR: "-Gene-"
GENE: "Yeah, yeah, sometimes."
Come on, Gene, this is the great Stuart Nichol: Man in Corridor!...the guy's only got two lines, stop talking over them, ya ham.
HORVIC: "What about my suite?"
GENE: "It isn't there anymore. You're a very lucky man, Mr Secretary. Somebody was celebrating the 4th of July with real firecrackers...and you don't even observe Independence Day."
AIDE: "I think we should leave immediately, Mr Secretary."
"He's starting to scare me, Sir."
"You're going to get involved?" asks Parminter, grinning slightly, perhaps wondering what manner of wacky plan this is going to involve. "The way I figure it, I already am." replies a rather smug Gene.
Well, yes, that's sort of true. In that you broke into somebody's room and rummaged through their things. Illegally.
"That make sense." "Oh, it should...I gave it a lot of thought..."
Varna apparently left his hotel room door unlocked, which was rather handy from Gene's point of view. He also holds telephones by putting his entire hand over the speaking end, which seems a little odd.
It is never explained who planted the knockout gas canister in Horvic's car, and who triggered it off. I'm assuming Gene, but it could be anyone. Even Man in Corridor, for all I know. But if it was Gene, then it's a bit of a risk just leaving an assassination target unconscious in a car in the middle of nowhere. The berk.
Zentner, who you will remember is the Chief Deputy and Minister of Communications in the mysterious country that we're not allowed to know the name of, is on the board of judges for the Cannes film festival. Quite what is being judged and how he of all people managed to land that job remains a mystery.
In the second half of the episode, Varna runs around with a suitcase. Later, he opens it, and it is full of newspaper. Mmm. I assume he thought it was money, but I've no idea where he got it from and who switched it.
Whenever the episode title and credits comes up, the image behind it suddenly goes horrendously out of focus. Since this doesn't happen on any other episode, I'm willing to bet this is a technical goof.
During the party scene, we cut away to an exterior shot and then...cut back to the party, with everyone in the same position, except that they've now been joined by Zentner. I get what the editor tried to do here, but...couldn't they have just had a character say "Oi, Zentner, come over here." instead of cutting away and then back to the exact same scene?
It may just be his horrendous Horvic accent, but I'm sure Gene calls Diane 'Diana' when he first calls her up.
The exterior of the cafe that Varna visits seems to be completely different from the interior.
The exploding telephone that destroys Horvic's suite is a fairly dramatic moment, marred only by the fact that it clearly isn't the telephone that's exploding. Gene throws that up the back of the room, and suddenly there's a very minor explosion, just above the door, of all places. Various props come to life and throw themselves around the room, and (I'm sure this was not meant to happen, and if it was I'm sure it was meant to happen earlier than it does) a chunk of the ceiling falls in on the other side of the room to the explosion. It's a little unfair to analyse something like this now with the miracle of freeze-frame technology, but...I'm harsh like that.
After his room is destroyed, the real Horvic arrives at the hotel. Apparently, they couldn't be bothered to fly actor John Barrie out to Cannes to shoot the exterior shot for this scene, and instead use...Gene Barry, in his Horvic disguise. Um, yeah. It does, for one horrible moment, seem as though there are two Gene Bradleys wandering around. Again, they obviously thought that they could get away with this, safe in the knowledge that no-one would ever watch this tripe again. How wrong they were...
When Wayne starts his car to follow Diane following Varna, Gene can clearly be seen in the back seat even though he should be over at the hotel.
When Horvic and his aide listen in on Zentner and Varna arguing over the failure of their plan, Varna is clearly being dubbed by a completely different actor.
Gene sitting in the back seat of his limo, admiring his handsomeness in a mirror. God he fancied himself.
I have to mention the rather bizarre opening, in which the camera moves past a load of people who are loitering around outside Gene's hotel. Among them are three old ladies and a rather cheery looking fellow with a dodgy moustache. Where were they going with this?
An extra seen at the party after the opening credits was a regular ITC extra, and he pops up in a few later episodes. I think. Mmm. Unfortunately I can't remember his name. Maybe I will have by the next time he appears.
When Diane phones Zentner, she tells him she's from 'International Television Communications'. We later see a van, marked ITC Television (London). No idea whether or not that's a real ITC vehicle, although it does mean that, in the story, that's an International Television Communications Television van, which seems a little redundant.
And where'd Kroll get to? Kroll Kroll Kroll!
Well...it has a plot. Not a very interesting one, but one that more or less holds together. There's another goofy disguise for Gene to wear, and there's even an explosion, of sorts. This would ordinarily gain the episode a three-head rating...but the presence of 'Man in Corridor' earns it another head, bumping the total up to:
"Hi. I'm not in this."
I like this picture, for some reason. I can't explain it, just...enjoy it.
I like this picture too.
A monk, a vicar and an assassin walk into a bar...
"So, you're not gonna do a second series of UFO, huh? Gonna do Space:1999, huh? Oh, no, I don't think so..."