It is both gratifying and frustrating that so many episodes of this once "lost" series have reemerged in the German dubbed format. Just to see these images again; to hear the varied arrangements of that oh-so-perfect, comic-superhero theme song, terrific is indeed an adjective which comes to mind. Not understanding German does complicate the viewing somewhat, but the straightforward action (that's A-C-T-I-O-N) helps, when I'm trying to follow the plot lines.
During the years I'd spent trying to track down this show, Stanley and the Mountaineers was not one of the episodes I was especially anxious to see again. I had no conscious recollection of it, and the story involving the hidden still and the shotgun wedding didn't really appeal to me as much as stand out segments like Fly, Ballerina, Fly or Stanley the Fighter.
Boy, was I wrong!
I really like this episode.
Somehow the dubbing seems most appropriate here. The hillbilly sets and staging have an "old world fable" feel to them. And, while I may be reading more into this than is really the case, the guy who supplied the voice of Stanley Beamish seemed to be making an extra effort to give his lines that unique, Stephen Strimpell quality. I can barely understand a word, but I'm buying every bit of it.
The only scene that really looks familiar to me is the one in which the depowered Stanley passes out after one, small sip of moonshine. But there are several other wonderful moments, starting with the preceding scene in which Stanley wins the right to court the beautiful hill girl Jenny May (Debbie Watson) by "whupping" her three brothers. (Not exactly the Cartwright boys.)
Hal, predictably, panics at the thought of marriage. (I don't get it. Stanley wins the fight, but Hal gets to marry the girl?) When a Marryin' Sam type preacher (Dub Taylor) asks Hal if he takes this woman, he obviously responds, "I do...," and before he can add, "...not!" he's knocked unconscious by one of the brothers. The ceremony, then, proceeds as if nothing has happened.
B.J. and Harley show up to give Stanley another power pill and wind up joining the hillbilly celebration. Their brief dance together is very reminiscent of the famous scene where Laurel and Hardy dance to "At the Ball, That's All" in Way Out West. Their escape in the motorless, still-bearing truck also has an L&H feel.
More fun images are Stanley pushing the truck at terrific speed and a rare, on-screen MT takeoff. (Also quite humorous: powered up Stanley reverts to gas station attendant and attempts to clean the truck's non-existent windshield, spraying water in Harley's face.)
Oh, if, and when, Mr. Terrific ever sees its DVD release, Stanley and the Mountaineers will surely be one of the first episodes I'll run.