Hotel of Fear - Brideshead Rockford Files revisited

Posted On: Tuesday - August 1st 2023 6:49AM MST
In Topics: 
  TV, aka Gov't Media  Humor

For previous Peak Stupidity Rockford Files commentary see:
Peak Rockford Files
Jim Rockford - In Pursuit of Carol Thorne
Inflation indexed to the Rockford/Davenport basket of goods
Rockford Files: Bug v Land Yacht
Jim Rockford in the days of decent denominations
Rockford Files - cars, smart-ass remarks, etc.
Rockford Files update and one minor POS
The Daily Stupid, edition #53643- Part B, and the near-daily Rockford file
Goerge Floyd indicted for IP theft for "I can't breath!"
Rockford Files: Pizza, wine, and coffee - and a BIG THANKS to our commenters

It's been a whole year. I had to change out DVD players.

After a year hiatus of watching this great half-century-old TV show, from Season 3 to now Season 4, I'd figured I'd passed Peak Rockford Files. One of the episodes of this season (still 1977, going into 1978 soon) was so confusing, I couldn't really follow the plot after 10 minutes in. In one of the episodes I just watched, even Jim Rockford himself said he didn't know what was going on. I completely agreed!

I came upon the episode titled Hotel of Fear * though. I enjoyed this one so much, mostly due to the efforts of the recently-passed Stuart Margolan, who played the shyster ex-con, active con-man Angel Martin, his show given name being Evelyn. Yeah, that's him in the cop uniform in a fancy hotel room above, from this episode.

It's kind of coincidental, but, in some (his?) apartment building, Angel happened to witness a shooting murder, and the perpetrator and he saw each other directly. Being in fear for his life, as is the usual thing with him, Angel told Jim but did not want to call the police about it. Angel had a good point, as, once he saw no way out of this but to get the law involved, it turned out this was indeed a very bad guy, a hitman of the mob named Del Kane. (This murder of that young lady was not a "hit" but an impulsive personal thing. The theme later on is that this guy has gone off the rails and even the mob bosses have had enough of him.)

Because Angel Martin's testimony would be their ace in order to bust hitman Del Kane (who's done 19 of them, AIR), the LA police make the effort to keep Angel safe from getting murdered himself. It's Lieutenant Chapman who's in charge of security for him. I could use readers' input here, as I haven't found this info, but when did the police Lieutenant switch from being Lieutenant Diel to Lieutenant Chapman? Lt. Chapman is a nicer guy, as Lt. Diel had it in for Rockford or any "civilian" and wanted no interaction with them. (I.e., Diel was a more realistic police Lieutenant.)

They put Angel up in nice hotel rooms. That's where he and the show get really funny. Angel was ordering up all kinds of room service meals. At the 2nd hotel, there due to a near-hit on Angel at the 1st one, one of the hotel staff knocked. "It's the eggs I ordered at the last place and never did get." That didn't make a whole lot of sense, but even the actor playing Lt. Chapman was caught smiling at that, by me anyway.

I am so glad that IMDB has the best quotes, as I don't have the ability to watch any of the show as I write, and I'd never have gotten all this right. The very best is when a scared Angel is told to pick out the suspected murderer out of the line-up.
Lt. Chapman: [the cops have brought Angel down to have him look at a line-up] Do you recognise anyone?
Angel: [Angel - always nervous - is more-so than usual] You sure they can't see me?
Lt. Chapman: It's a one-way glass. You've got nothing to worry about.
[Angel - his cheap pants hiked-up past his pot-belly, and slouched over, looks, as Chapman begins to get impatient]
Lt. Chapman: Do you recognise anyone?
Angel: [Angel furiously waves his arms in front of the glass] Well, uh...
Angel: ... he dropped about 15, 20 pounds, but that's Marco. Used to be over at the Hollenbeck station.
[Angel turns and starts walking away]
Lt. Chapman: [Chapman grabs Angel's arm] Come here, c'mere, c'mere... so, you know Sgt. Marco. Now, is there anybody else you recognize?
Angel: That's Stein. [pointing at the glass]
Angel: He used to be a narc. What's he - in robbery/homicide now?
[Angel smiles, Chapman chuckles]
Lt. Chapman: Why don't I just give you a subscription to the precinct paper, that way you can keep tabs on everybody.
Angel: Don't get sore, lieutenant. You asked me who I recognize. I said I recognized Stein and Marco. I don't know Harry's last name, but, uh... there's Whitbeck [camera moves from Whitbeck to the next man - Del Kane]
Angel: It's the man in blue.
Lt. Chapman: What about the guy in the blue blazer?
Angel: [Angel looks nervously around the room] He ain't a cop.
The title of this episode comes from the plot line in which Angel has taken to working on a crime novel of some sort (I think biographical), at the hotel, with a ghost writer there at one point. He's still stuck at the title, which is not a good sign for a writer. Hotel of Fear is the working title, but Angel feels that Witness for the Prosecution would be much better. He and the rest KNOW that there is already a book by that name. "So, people might see my book at the bookstore instead and get it by mistake, for some more sales." is something like what he said.

Also from IMDB for accuracy, I can't remember where the following fits into the show:
Angel: Y'know Jimmy, I've got some feelings too. "If you prick me, do I not bleed?"
Jim Rockford: That's Shakespeare!
Angel: [Condescendingly] No it's not. Vincent Price said it on the Hollywood Squares.
Near the beginning, when Angel went to Jim's trailer:
Angel: See, here's the idea, Jimmy; if they don't pick the guy up then, I'll spend a couple - maybe three weeks, down in El Segundo, place like that. What happens?
Jim [shrugs his shoulders] Mmmm, real-estate values plummet.
Haha, Angel Martin was the least of Los Angeles' worries, were one to look into a crystal ball and see upcoming election results.

Regular readers here would know that Peak Stupidity does not get into Hollywood worship. The Rockford Files is just a great show, with some nice blasts from the past (especially re: the cars). I don't care that much where's he's from and what else he did, but Stuart Margolin as Angel Martin really added the humor to the show and especially this Hotel of Fear episode.

* I hadn't realized it when writing some of those earlier posts, but the IMDB Internet Movie DataBase has done a nice job compiling details for this show and others. I should say, the users providing the "content" have done a nice job.

Tuesday - August 1st 2023 12:37PM MST
PS: Yep, IMDB says he was on that game show on the 26th of September of 1968, Mr. Blanc. I wonder if he helped anyone win.

Alarmist, yes, he's the bearded guy. I wonder if cops were allowed to have that much facial hair, even in the early '70s. Of course, this was just to confuse the hitman, who would have a scope probably, so ...
The Alarmist
Tuesday - August 1st 2023 11:02AM MST

Is Angel the White Huggy Bear?
Tuesday - August 1st 2023 9:25AM MST
PS Vincent Price was on Hollywood Squares? How disappointing.
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