Well, we're back with two more episodes. One was on H&I, the other on GetTV. And they're both pretty funny.

"The Fair Freebooter" features Beverly Garland as pirate queen Coco LaSalle, in what will be the first of her two appearances. She appears later in "The Wayward Warrior", but I already saw it on GetTV, which is ahead of H&I. Or GetTV has looped back around. Or... something. Ms. Garland is one of those "Hey, it's that woman" actresses of the 50s. And 60s, and 70s, and 80s, and 90s. She played Lois' mother on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Ginger on 7th Heaven. Ms. Garland also appeared in a lot of cheesy movies, and had the dubious distinction of getting MST3K'd three times: Swamp Women, It Conquered the World (where she takes on a giant alien cucumber), and Gunslinger.

After her TV and movie career wound down, she ran the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn in North Hollywood. Sadly, she passed away in 2008, but by all accounts she was a charming woman and appeared at at least one MST3K convention where she was honored for her contributions.

"The Fair Freebooter" is the better of her two performances, although Ms. Garland is entertaining in both. This episode gives her a chance to play Coco LaSalle the tough hardened pirate queen but also the shy little girl who always dreamed of going to a Mardi Gras ball. When she steals a necklace belonging to Empress Carlotta from Yancy's riverboat, the Sultana, Yancy agrees to get it back. He insists on going to Coco's pirate lair, Frenchman's Island, along with Pahoo and a disguised John. He's posing (badly) as a pirate, "Black John."

Yancy soon lays the charm on Coco, who is well aware of what's going on with both the necklace and the disguised John. Coco holds John and Pahoo hostage and demands that Yancy take her to a ball in return for the necklace. He agrees, and one of the pirates is jealous of Yancy with Coco, while another is planning to grab the necklace for himself rather than let Coco get it away.

Meanwhile, Yancy has his buddy Jody (Richard Devon) switch out a fake necklace for the real one during the ball. As always, Richard Devon is pretty damned funny. Whether he's batting his eyes when he sees the (fake) necklace, or making a hasty exit when John shows up, or gives Yancy a side-eye when they're stuck in the calaboose at the end.

Kevin Hagen gets to exercise his comedic ability once again. He basically plays the "boss whose underlings are going too far" role you see in so many buddy-cop films. You expect John Colton to have a heart attack. But it's nice to see him usually getting the upper hand on Yancy, even if he has to use his position to do it. There's also lots of other moments: when Coco fires a shot and Hagen does this weird-ass arm-rolling fall into the river; and when John and Pahoo engineer an escape from the pirates later.

As for the rest of the plot, John objects to Yancy bringing Coco to the ball and Yancy has a passing Army lieutenant arrest John for trying to steal the necklace and claiming that he's the city administrator. Yancy then goes to the calaboose to get John and Jody released. John, no problem, but Jody stole the wallet of the arresting officer. John is none too thrilled with spending time in jail, and orders Yancy and Pahoo into the cell to spend some time. Yancy is already busy making himself at home, knowing what's coming, and Pahoo looks pretty used to it, too. At the end, Yancy takes out a deck of cards (no sign of "Friend Jailer", unfortunately), and tells Jody that he's giving up freedom for Lent. Jody is... not amused.

"The Quiet Firecracker" brings back one of Yancy's recurring cast, Mai-Ling Mandarin. She gets a shipment of firecrackers for Chinese New Year from her cousin in San Francisco. It turns out that they have opium in them and don't ignite (thus the title), and the Feds arrest her for conspiracy to smuggle opium. Yancy and Pahoo head to San Francisco and we get a tangled tale of opium smuggling and Barbary Coast intrigue.

Mai-Ling's cousin Woo Han is less than helpful, but he has a receptionist who warns Yancy off. Tong guys hunt down Yancy and Pahoo, who run into a thug named Blackjack Benson. Blackjack saves them from the Tong killers, and takes them to a saloon. It's run by Jessie Belle, who turns out to be the head of the opium smuggling ring. She and "Woo Han" are in cahoots, and Woo Han is actually named Fong. He's killed off the real Woo Han and taken his place.

Jessie is also working with Alex (Theo Marcuse), who I have no idea who he's supposed to be. He comes across as a rich well-dressed gentleman. Mr. Marcuse is another of those "Hey, it's that guy" actors and has a number of memorable appearances. He's probably best known as Smoosh Korob in the Star Trek episode "Catspaw", but Mr. Marcuse has been in about everything until his death. I'll always remember him as a quirky gangster in the Twilight Zone episode "The Trade-Ins". Or any of his three appearances on The Wild Wild West. He was typically cast as a villain or a minor character. Sadly, Mr. Marcuse passed away in 1967.

Anyhoo, Jessie tries to drug Yancy while he's playing poker. He manages to switch drinks without her knowledge and fakes being passed out. Jessie and Alex haul him into the warehouse next door and hold him prisoner. Then Jessie passes out, and Yancy and Pahoo start kicking butts and taking names. Blackjack and his "little brother" Wee Willie (who's about 6'8") join in. At the end, the Benson brothers reveal that they're undercover agents for Customs. Blackjack dismisses Yancy as an amateur but is glad to have his help.

Like several YDs, the plot doesn't make much sense. The meeting between Blackjack and Yancy appears coincidental. And why did Blackjack take Yancy to a tavern that he knows is the center of the opium smuggling operation... but then complain that Yancy got involved. But then uses Yancy as a stalking horse to force Jessie to make a move and expose her operation. And shouldn't Jessie know how long it will take for Yancy to pass out from the drink that she drugged?

There's also the fact that Blackjack keeps calling Yancy "little fellow". Which I don't get, because the two men (Blackjack is on the right in the photo above) seem to be about the same height.

However, if they wanted to do a YD spinoff with Yancy in San Francisco, it'd get my vote. Yancy and Pahoo get from New Orleans to San Francisco in less time than it takes the Winchesters to drive across the country on Supernatural. But the two men look right at home walking down the fog-covered streets of San Francisco. It's always nice to see the characters off of their home turf, whether they're in DC ("Fire on the Frontier") or Virginia City ("The Louisiana Dude") or here in San Francisco. Even if it's probably the same-ole New Orleans street set with some ship's boat sounds dubbed in. Still it's a weird but appealing image: the New Orleans dude and the Pawnee Indian walking through the San Francisco fog. Pity they never got overseas to London.

"Firecracker" doesn't use much of the recurring cast. Francine gets a mention but doesn't appear. The Sultana's captain, Captain Tom, is dropped for mainstay J. Pat O'Malley as newcomer Captain Billy. Yeah, with the action taking place half a continent away, there's not much call for the usual recurring faces like Jody. But I wouldn't have minded seeing Yancy take him with him. Although Blackjack (who claims that he's a highwayman) is a decent substitute.

So overall, two more great episodes of a long-gone series. I'd probably give slightly higher marks to "The Fair Freebooter" because of Garland, Devon, and Hagen.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
Comments (5)
Aug 07, 2017
I might have to watch "The Quiet Firecracker" on YouTube, since that apparently explains who Blackjack Benson was, of which I didn't have a clue when he and his brother showed up in "Two Tickets to the Promontory." I agree with you that Theo Moncuse's most memorable roles were the card player in "The Trade-Ins" and his villainous roles on The Wild Wild West. I'm surprised you didn't mention Beverly Garland's roles on Scarecrow and Mrs. King and My Three Sons, since she was a regular on those shows.
Aug 08, 2017
Ms. Garland was in a lot of shows: :) I tried to stick with the two that seemed most likely the most readers had seen.

Haven't seen Two Tickets to Promotory yet. That should be on in a week or so. Doesn't surprise me that Blackjack showed up again: they seemed to be grooming him as a recurring character.
Aug 09, 2017
But Scarecrow and Mrs. King and My Three Sons were both CBS shows (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Watching "Two Tickets to the Promontory" (as well as "Outlaws at Liberty") almost make me think that the show was being set up, if it had continued past a season, to allow Yancy and Pahoo to move about the country.

By the way, for another atypical comedic role for Kevin Hagen, check out the final episode of Maverick, "One of Our Trains Is Missing."

And way off topic, but if it were possible, I'd love to have seen a pairing of the version of Wyatt Earp from Bat Masterson with the Peter Breck Doc Holliday from the later episodes of Maverick.
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