Pole Position

Season 1 Episode 12

Shadow of a Trout

Aired Saturday 10:30 AM Dec 01, 1984 on CBS



  • Trivia

    • Why didn't McGuffin destroy the incriminating puzzle piece immediately, if he didn't want anyone to see it?

    • Uncle Zach pulls the lever up to disable the electrified walkways, but it is down again in the next shot.

    • For that matter, why did McGuffin leave such an odd clue for the kids to follow? How could he have known they would interpret it correctly and go to those particular restaurants?

    • How did Uncle Zach set all the clues up? Dropping the puzzle pieces was one thing, but how did he hide the Chinese puzzle box in the elevator phone without McGuffin noticing? And how did he know to put the rock in it as a clue he was being taken to Alcatraz?

    • Wheels retrieves O'Connors' file before Tess even gets his name out.

    • If Roadie can X-ray the puzzle box, shouldn't he have been able to tell the gang what was inside it?

    • When Kuma stops the elevator, the floor indicator flashes between 12 and 13. Most tall buildings (in the U.S. anyway) skip over the 13th floor because of the superstition associated with the number.

    • Why does the camera "short out" at the exact moment McGuffin grabs Uncle Zach by the shoulder in the video?

    • The bookshelves behind Zach's desk are not as tall as the ones we've seen behind him in previous episodes.

    • The elevator opens directly into Zach's office. Not the most secure setup for a secret organization.

    • The policeman should have recognized Daisy trying to get back into PPHQ, since she was also in the video with Tess and Dan.

    • Dan and Tess are somehow immune to the spinning fireworks Wheels uses to confound the FBI agents.

    • A couple of comments made by Dan and Tess ("It's getting late", "This just isn't our night") suggest that it should be getting dark, but most of the episode appears to take place in daylight.

    • For the truly obsessed: If any fans of this show can read Chinese, I'd love to get a translation of what (if anything) the signs in the Chinatown sequence say.

    • How did Dan and Tess evade the police and FBI for so long, especially in such easily identified vehicles as Roadie and Wheels?

    • Jack Angel also does the voice of FBI agent Edgar. There is no attempt to disguise it, he uses the exact same voice as Uncle Zach.

    • The fish Kuma snatches from the restaurant patron appears to be uncooked.

    • The phone Dan uses to call Alfred MGuffin has 15 buttons instead of the usual 12. Also Dan only presses 3 buttons when he makes the call.

    • The puzzles in Uncle Zach's office change colors throughout the scene.

    • Roadie is in hovercraft mode rather than hydrofoil when he drives over the water with the dinosaur in it.

  • Quotes

    • "You did that just to make me look bad!" --Dan to Kuma, after he cracks the Chinese puzzle box in about three seconds.

    • "I'll bet this is the first time anyone broke into this prison!" --Tess to Daisy, on Alcatraz.

    • (Uncle Zach never told the kids where PPHQ was:)
      ROADIE: Computers keep secrets better, guys.
      DAN: Somebody's gettin' too big for his diodes!

    • "Pay attention, Dan! I don't think our insurance covers collisions with dinosaurs!" --Roadie

  • Notes

    • "Shadow of a Trout" is the only Pole Position episode not released commercially by Karl-Lorimar / Kideo Video. That's a shame, because the scene where the kids meet Uncle Zach in person is one of the best moments of the entire series.

    • For the truly obsessed: Assuming the series takes place in the "present" (i.e. at the same time the show originally aired), this episode is set on either February 2nd or February 20th, depending on which year you go with as the current one. Those dates were the Chinese New Years for 1984 and 1985, respectively.

    • The team's dual-trailer truck does not appear in this episode.

    • The FBI agents' names are Jay and Edgar (as in Hoover).

    • This is the third time Kuma is referred to as a dog (this time by Daisy). The other times were by Dan in #6, "The Thirty-Nine Stripes" and the candy store owner in #10, "To Clutch a Thief".

    • The kids are surprised to find Uncle Zach in the wheelchair, yet he tells them, "It's been a long time, hasn't it?" This suggests the kids have seen him in person before, and that he didn't always have the chair.

    • This episode marks the first (and only) time the kids meet Uncle Zachary in person, and it's a fabulous reveal: He's wheelchair-bound! If you look back at his appearances in previous episodes, you'll notice we've never once seen him standing up! (According to writers Marc Scott Zicree and Michael Reaves, both big comic book fans, this is a nod to Marvel's X-Men.) Observant viewers may have noticed the chair in the video scene where McGuffin confronts Uncle Zach.

    • Uncle Zach mentions connections to the United Nations in this episode, giving us a glimpse of just how much influence the Pole Position organization has.

    • The name of "McGuffin" fits well into this puzzle-laden episode, as it refers to a mysterious item being sought by all the characters in a story. His first name, Alfred, is another reference to Hitchcock, who is widely believed to have coined the term.

    • This episode's title comes from the Alfred Hitchcock film "Shadow of a Doubt".

  • Allusions

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