Mama's Family

Season 4 Episode 3

The Key to the Crime

Aired Unknown Oct 10, 1987 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
18 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Key to the Crime
The "Courteous Crook" is loose in Raytown and the police are stumped. So Mama has all the locks changed in the house and goes to quick keys to get her new key copied for everyone. While there she runs into a long line and wants to go right to the front of it. But the other customers refuse, until a nice gentlement offers her his place in line and his pin to fill out the Key Club registration card. A little later as Mama, Iola and the family come back home from an evening on the town, they discover they've been hit by the "Courteous Crook". Who did a real nice job cleaning the grout in the downstairs bathroom. Officer Sneed soon arrives to take a statement and make a list of what's missing. After Vint talks in detail about some of the locks, Sneed asked him to come downtown with him. Where they arrest him as being the "Courteous Crook". Mama and Iola become determined to find the real culprit. They begin to talk about the Mama's visit to Quik Keys earlier, where she realizes who the crook really is. So they head for Quik Keys for the evidence, problem they are met by the crook himself. Seems he was getting all the address's from the Key Club cards and all he had to do was find a lock smith dumb enough to make the keys for him (that's Vint). So Mama and Iola crack the case and free Vint.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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    Vicki Lawrence

    Vicki Lawrence

    Mrs. Thelma "Mama" Crowley-Harper

    Ken Berry

    Ken Berry

    Vinton Harper

    Dorothy Lyman

    Dorothy Lyman

    Naomi Oates Harper

    Karin Argoud

    Karin Argoud

    Sonja Harper (episodes 1-35)

    Beverly Archer

    Beverly Archer

    Iola Boylen (1986-1990)

    Allan Kayser

    Allan Kayser

    Bubba Higgins (episodes 36-130)

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (2)

      • There are some problems with Thelma's flashbacks and what actually happened in Kwik Keys. Granted, some of the differences are for the sake of Rashomon/Rashomam style, to drive home how Thelma's perception of events has changed. But, some of them have logic problems. At Kwik Keys, the tall man in line (He is apparently named Packard, as a character with that name is listed in the credits. Packard, thus, shall be used to name him here from now on.) gives Thelma her keys because he's tired of waiting on her in line. During Thelma's Packard Is The Courteous Crook flashback, Packard does, indeed, give her the keys, as it had happened at the store. But, during her Hobart Is The Courteous Crook flashback, Hobart gives her the keys. Since Hobart had to have gotten one of the three keys somehow, the Hobart flashback should have had a sequence where Packard grabs the keys from him to give to Thelma. Of course, the scene from Kwik Keys earlier in the episode should have had this, too. Although, one can infer from a brief moment of closeup when Hobart moves, he might have gotten the key then. But, it seems highly unlikely. However, he is a crook, so, he may be that good.

      • When Thelma and Iola arrive at Kwik Keys, there is a string of several logical errors that occur. First, Thelma is surprised that Kwik Keys is already closed. Why should she be? Her son works there and is described earlier in the episode as its head honcho. Surely, she should know the store's hours of business. And, even if she didn't why should she be expecting it to even be open when her son, the head honcho, is in jail, which prompted her to GO to Kwik Keys to begin with? Second, she openly states that they should try the back door and see if it's unlocked. WHAT kind of a person who runs a KEY store would leave the back door unlocked? Lastly, how was Thelma able to knock out Hobart with one blow from a thin, cardboard key sign?

    • QUOTES (17)

      • Iola: (falling in a Kwik Key's window) I'm beginning to see why Lacey always wore pants.

      • Naomi: Yeah Mrs. Harper, you should become a private eye.
        Mama: Naomi, I don't know. Working day and night. Keeping tabs on slimeballs. Watching their every move. Being face to face with the sleazy underbelly of life. Hell, I already got that at home.

      • *Mama is talking to arrested Vint over the phone*
        Mama: And Vinton, you do me a favor. You tell that Officer Sneed he ain't gonna live to see puberty.

      • *Iola creates a mix that takes the "Thanks A Heap" writing off the kitchen door*
        Naomi: What's in that stuff Iola?
        Iola: It's a mixture of lemon juice, salt, and Clorox.
        Mama: I got a recipe just like that for margarita mix.

      • Vint: Well, you don't hafta worry about that Courteous Crook anymore Mama. Vinton Harper is on the case.
        Mama: We're doomed.

      • Iola: Coffee's nearly ready.
        Mama: Well, you'd better make it Ovaltine. We don't want to stunt his growth.

      • Sneed: Now I'll need a run down of all the items missing.
        Mama: All of my silver. Big, heavy, good sterling silver. Handed down by generations.
        Sneed: Old silver. What else?
        Naomi: Well, my husband's toolbox was stolen.
        Vint: Yeah, and that thing was just choc full of valuable hard wear too. My ratchets, my cat's paw, my screw drivers. Phillips and Slots. My speed square. My plug gun.
        Sneed: Got it. Used tool box. Next.
        Bubba: My camera. A brand new Polaroid 500.
        Sneed: Cheap camera. That's it. Nothing of real value? Gee, I'm surprised he even thanked you.

      • Vint: We were prepared for swarmin'. Where's the rest of ya?
        Sneed: I work alone. I'm officer Sneed.
        Mama: Do your parents know you're out this late?

      • Mama: He's been in there! He's actually been in my bathroom!
        Vint: Did he take something else?!
        Mama: No! HE CLEANED UP! He scrubbed down the bowl and polished the faucets. He even put on a clean role of toliet paper. And the right direction too – from the bottom out!
        Iola: I always thought it was supposed to role over the top.
        Mama: What the hell difference does it make?! I ain't never gonna be able to sit in there again!

      • Mama: I want this sicko locked up! I WANT HIM TO FRY IN THE CHAIR!

      • Mama: I tell ya. Robs ya blind and then sweet talks ya. He oughtta go into politics.

      • Mama: I want this silver polished so you can see yourself in it.
        Naomi: What is the big deal Mrs. Harper? We never use this stuff.
        Mama: Well we most certainly do to. I had it out at your Aunt Fran's funeral. Or was that your wedding? I know it was some tragic occasion.

      • Thelma: Ok dead bolt, spread 'em.
        lola: He can't. He's out cold.
        Thelma: I know, but I always wanted to say that.

      • Iola: Well, Thelma, how clever of you!
        Thelma: I don't know what the hell he's talking about!

      • Thelma: (Incredulously reading the graffiti spray painted on her kitchen door.) THANKS A HEAP?!
        Vint: You're welcome, Mama!

      • Iola: It's the same M.O.
        Vint: His name is Mo?
        Iola: No. Motis Oppurandi. The way he commits a crime.
        Mama: Don't you watch Cagney and Lacey?

      • Bubba: Hold on! I want to get a photo of everyone standing around the new lock!
        Themla: Well, great, everybody say, "KEYS!"

    • NOTES (2)

      • Michael Cedar who played Hobart would go on to become a second unit/assistant director on many projects such as TV's Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

      • Officer Sneed would return later in The Mama Of Invention. Helping to crack this one case apparently means a lot to the Raytown Police Department, as they advanced him all the way to Detective by the time he returned.

    • ALLUSIONS (0)