Tenspeed and Brown Shoe

Season 1 Episode 8

It's Easier to Pass an Elephant Through the Eye of a Needle Than a Bad Check in Bel Air

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Aired Unknown Mar 30, 1980 on ABC

Episode Recap

E.L. is running a new scam with the help of his old friend, Candy, a taxi driver who is pretending to be his chauffeur. Candy is unsure about the scam, but E.L. assures him it will get him enough money to start his own cab company. They arrive at the Blackburn Hotel in Bel Air and E.L. disguises himself as the assistant to Sheik Zabi of Zafir. The hotel manager, Dillingham, greets E.L. and is easily convinced that E.L. is the sheik's assistant. E.L. insists on taking over the top floors of the hotel for his supposed employer.



At the agency, Lionel is busy reading a novel when there's a knock on the door. He pretends to be busy and calls for the guest to come in. It's a young boy, who introduces himself as Brandon Leroy Turner, E.L.'s nephew. He prefers to be called B.L. and claims that he was left behind on a Boy Scout trip to Los Angeles. Touched, Lionel immediately offers to help but doesn't know where E.L. can be found. However, two thugs, Murker and Taps, enter the office and demand that Lionel turn over a book. He has no idea what they're talking about. B.L. pretends to be a delivery boy and slips out. Lionel makes short work of the two thugs, and B.L. sets off the fire alarm to scare them away.



Lionel decides to help B.L. find his uncle, and they go outside to start searching. Candy arrives and drops off the borrowed limo in E.L.'s parking spots, and tells them that they can find E.L. at the Blackburn. As they drive, B.L. complains about how his Boy Scout career is ruined and Lionel tries to cheer him up by singing campfire songs. The two thugs follow them and then call their boss, Lester Rollins. He tells them that he needs the book, and if he doesn't he'll go down and they'll go with him.



Lionel arrives at the hotel and finds E.L., and realizes that he's up to something. E.L. is unhappy to see B.L. there and starts lecturing the boy. B.L. admits that he ran away from home, and suckered Lionel with the fake Boy Scout story. E.L. defends his friend but admits he's naïve, and then talks to Lionel. Lionel forces him to explain that he's running a real estate scam. He plans to act as a go-between for Zabi and Mr. Linden, a real estate broker who wants to sell the hotel to Zabi. E.L. plans to set the entire thing up and then collect a finder's fee from Linden for putting him in touch with Zabi.



Mucker and Taps break into the hotel room and attack Lionel and E.L. However, several Arabic men in traditional garb come in and drive off the thugs. They prepare to attack E.L. when they realize he's a fake, but settle for taking him prisoner. E.L. claims that he doesn't know about the book but Lionel is understandably skeptical. When E.L. mentions Zabi's name, the Arabic warriors genuflect, and E.L. discovers they like children's nursery rhymes. He then uses the clock radio and the rheostat switch on the lights to impress them with his "magic" and get them on his side.



Lester is playing bocce with some mobsters when Mucker calls to tell him what's happening. He tells Mucker that he needs the book or his rivals will take over his territory, and decides to drive to Los Angeles to oversee the books' recovery. When Mucker mentions B.L., Lester tells him not to hurt the boy under any circumstances.



Once E.L. has Zabi's men on his side, Lionel demands an explanation about the book. E.L. continues to insist that he's innocent. B.L. calls his father Clancy and has E.L. talk to him. Clancy is angry that B.L. has run away and blames E.L. E.L. insists he had nothing to do with it and promises to put his nephew on the next plane back.



E.L. disguises himself as Linden and convinces the hotel staff to loan him a car. He brings Zabi's men along to protect them from the thugs, and continues to impress them with his "magic," making stoplights turn red. When B.L. gets hungry, they stop at a drive thru and get some food. B.L. finally explains that he stole Lester's book with all of his earnings from the numbers racket that he controls. The boy made it look like E.L. stole the book, which is why Lester thinks that E.L. has it. When B.L. goes to the bathroom, Murker and Taps grab him and promise to pay him $100 if he'll come with them so they can use him as a hostage to force E.L. to turn over the book. B.L. agrees to go with them. As they leave, E.L. spots them and drives after the thugs, but his borrowed car runs out of gas.



The partners go back to the hotel and Lionel apologizes for doubting E.L. E.L. is sick with guilt and worries that he inspired B.L. to take up a life of crime. Lionel wants to call the police but E.L. say they can't, since B.L. will go to Juvenile Hall. E.L. figures that they need to try and make the trade, B.L. for the book, even though they don't have the book. Sheik Zabi arrives and wants the celebrity party that E.L. promised.



Lester and his thugs take B.L. to a cheap motel and call E.L. They want B.L. for the book and E.L. pretends that he has the book. They finally settle on a rendezvous at a stable the next morning. Once they finish negotiating, Lester hangs up and tells Murker to get some pizza. B.L. asks for the $100 he was promised, and cons more money out of Lester by claiming he has a sick mother and a paper route that doesn't make any money.



The next morning, E.L. and Lionel meet Lester and his thugs. E.L. turns over a wrapped package and gets E.L., and then runs. Lester realizes the package holds nothing but a Mark Savage novel. Zabi's men have borrowed some horses and chase Lester, while E.L. and Lionel take out Murker and taps. Lester tries to escape but E.L. mounts up, rides him down, and tackles him.



Later, E.L. and Lionel leave the hotel to take B.L. to the airport. E.L. tries to explain that he's a legitimate detective now, but B.L. figures he has some kind of scam going. Still, he agrees to go straight and even join the Boy Scouts, much to Lionel's satisfaction. Meanwhile, E.L. discovers that he can't get rid of Zabi's men, who refuse to let him go.
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