The Streets of San Francisco (1972)

Season 3 Episode 4

Mask of Death

Aired Saturday 9:00 PM Oct 03, 1974 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
11 votes

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Episode Summary

Mask of Death
A professional female impersonator whose intense identification with one of the women he mimics - a fictitious 1930's movie star - creates an uncontrollable split personality and eventually leads to murder.

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  • A little overacted

    Average episode. The story is quite catching to be honest, and original, considering we're talking about a 70's show.

    The whole idea of a schizoid actor who can't discern anymore his real self from the role he plays is quite good.

    What I didn't like was the way John Davidson (the one who plays the part of the female impersonator), well, impersonates the woman. Come on, it was completely unrealistic, not really well done; and I should believe that some characters really thought he was a woman? Duh.

    Well, he was kind of good in the first half of the episode, singing and dancing and all, but 1) he was unmistikably a man, and 2) he started overacting in the last part, ruining both a good performance and an interesting storyline.

    According to the story, Ken, the impersonator, was feeling more and more like he was a woman (an old time actress); but what we see in the show is that he starts acting like he was spoofing gay/trans people. He should have looked "believable" (as believable a man impersonating a woman could be, of course) and increasignly desperate as he felt his real, male self crumble away , but it just seemed like he was joking.

    Other than this the episode is good, as I said. Not great, but enjoyable.

  • John Davidson was fantastic

    I never knew how fine of an actor Davidson is. I knew of him as an host on a variety of programs. I've watched him on That's Incredible and when he hosted on Hollywood Squares. I watched this episode the other night on ME TV and I was truly impressed by his acting. I have read articles that was equally impressed as I was by that episode.
Karl Malden

Karl Malden

Detective Lieutenant Mike Stone

Michael Douglas (I)

Michael Douglas (I)

Inspector Steve Keller

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions