Saturday, September 29, 2012

Adventures of Sir Galahad – Chapter 6: Passage of Peril


OUR STORY SO FAR:  Apprentice ka-niggit Galahad (George Reeves), seeking entrance as a member in good standing with the Knights of the Round Table, embarrassingly flunks his initiation into that fraternity by allowing a mysterious personage known as The Black Knight to make off with the invincible sword of King Arthur’s (Nelson Leigh) known as Excalibur.  The sword has fallen into the hands of sleazy Saxon king Ulric (John Merton), whose ambition to dethrone Arthur isn’t helped by the fact that his toadying assistant Bartog (Don C. Harvey) is deemed by many observers to be a drag on the ticket.

Galahad miraculously manages to retrieve Excalibur in mortal combat…but because this serial has ten more chapters to go, it’s not long before he’s sidetracked into helping Sir Lancelot (Hugh Prosser) and a couple of other captured knights escape from Ulric’s lair,  Back in Camelot, Galahad proudly shows Sir Kay (Jim Diehl) and Sir Modred (Leonard Penn) that he’s recovered the sword…and then Merlin (William Fawcett)—who’s secretly in cahoots with Ulric—takes a dump on Galahad’s good news by pronouncing the sword a fake.  Modred has decided to rid everyone of Galahad’s “treachery” once and for all by raising his sword in order to cut off Gallie’s head…


…but before any bloodshed occurs, a sentry calls out that the King approaches…and Modred’s potentially fatal blow is warded off by Sir Bors (Charles King), Galahad’s comic relief sidekick.  With the arrival of Arthur, you know what this means…somebody’s going to get a lecture (“What have I told you people about the cutting off of heads in the castle?”):

ARTHUR: Did my ears deceive me, or did I hear Galahad condemned to death?

“Um…we were just roughhousing, your Majesty…honest, it was all in fun!”

KAY: You heard correctly, m’Lord…
ARTHUR: By what authority was sentence passed?
KAY: This blackguard who calls himself Galahad has committed the supreme crime against the Crown!
ARTHUR: What is this crime?
KAY: Treason…your Majesty…

“Also…his steed was parked in a red zone.”

GALAHAD: Sire, it is untrue!  I am unjustly accused!


Maybe it’s just me, but I noticed that when Modred was getting ready to take a little off Galahad’s top, Lancelot kind of receded into the background.  Now that Galahad’s decided to mount a defense, he conveniently steps back into the picture.  He should change his name to Sir Weathervane.

ARTHUR: You shall have ample opportunity to speak in your defense, young Galahad… (To Kay) Continue…
KAY: He has consorted with the enemy with traitorous intent…and he has conspired to possess the invincible Excalibur for himself…hoping thus to gain supreme power… (Pointing to the sword, which is in Merlin’s possession) Here is the sword he delivered to Camelot this day…if you will examine it; you will see that it is a clever imitation

Well…it’s really not all that clever.

ARTHUR (looking intently at the sword): It’s truly a most convincing counterfeit…
KAY: It’s plain to see that Galahad kept the true sword…hoping to deceive you with this fraudulent weapon…
ARTHUR: What counsel do you have in this matter, wise Merlin?

“Hang the sumbitch.”

MERLIN: The facts are self-evident…whoever seizes Excalibur usurps your power…
ARTHUR: These are grave charges, Galahad…what do you offer in defense?

“I’ve been eating a lot of Twinkies lately, your Majesty…”


GALAHAD: Noble King…the accusation is false…as false as that sword you now hold in your hand…
ARTHUR: Then you willfully delivered this sword to Camelot…when you knew it to be a counterfeit…
GALAHAD: No, my King…I didn’t know it then…and I know now that Ulric never possessed the true Excalibur…
ARTHUR: You speak with certainty…what proof do you have?
GALAHAD: The proof, my liege, lies in the fact that we both still live…had Ulric possessed the true Excalibur, he would have cut you down in battle and slain me when I attempted to seize it…
ARTHUR: Your defense is well-taken…in all fairness, I can do nothing but accept what you say as truth…

Brother…Galahad has got the gift of b.s., has he not?  I have a feeling if Arthur opened the doors to his chambers and found Gal in bed with Guinevere it’d be: “Noble King…the accusation is false…I was merely looking for a contact lens.”

MODRED: We are moved by your eloquence, Galahad…but let us not forget—the kingdom is still in jeopardy so long as King Arthur…is without his sword…
GALAHAD: Your Majesty…I beg your leave to seek out one to take me to Excalibur…
ARTHUR: You have knowledge of such a person?
GALAHAD: Yes, Sire…I have…it was Bartog, Ulric’s chamberlain, who carried Excalibur from Camelot…it’s conceivable…that he gave Ulric a false sword and kept the true Excalibur for himself…
ARTHUR: But are you certain of this?
GALAHAD: Sir Bors will bear me out…
BORS: I witness…Bartog has the sword…

While it’s conceivable that Galahad could have learned that Bartog delivered Excalibur to his king by eavesdropping on Ulric’s tent…I don’t know how Bors was able to see all this, since he was monkeying around in drag and then later came close to having a red hot branding iron shoved up his backside.  Writers be lazy!

GALAHAD: Sire, I beg you…give me leave to hunt him down…
LANCELOT: There’s nothing lost…why not grant his wish?


“Thanks for the support, Lancie…I still haven’t forgotten, though, about you having other things to do when this dillweed was trying to cut off my head…”  Arthur once again demonstrates how Galahad continues to snow him at every turn by saying, “Go then…and good luck attend your mission.”  (You just know that once he’s ridden out of Camelot’s gate Galahad will yell back “Suckers!”)

No, I need to be serious.  Galahad and Bors ride off in the direction of Ulric’s cave.  They eventually arrive at a clearing, where they stop their horses momentarily.

BORS: I don’t like the looks of this place…
GALAHAD: Neither do I…go through we must!

Okay, it’s not quite as memorable as last week’s “I not only dare…I must!”—and why is he talking like Yoda all of a sudden?  So our heroes continue on, and pass by a checkpoint where two archers stand sentry…but because Ulric has hired the worst bowmen in the kingdom, Galahad and Bors need not worry about being fired upon.  Instead, the two men wait until they see three more archers riding up and one of them gives the other men the high sign, prompting a man in that group to observe “Enemies approach…dismount!”

So the three archers jump off their horses and take their positions, with the other two bowmen doing the same.  Galahad and Bors ride into view, and even though the five guards totally suck when it comes to archery, it gives Galahad pause as to whether he wants to chance dying in only the sixth chapter.

BORS: Why do we wait here?  Let’s finish them, and have it done with…
GALAHAD: No…one of them might get away and alarm Ulric’s camp…
BORS: We can’t stay where we are…
GALAHAD: You can…I’m going to scatter the Saxons’ horses…try not to make such a broad target

“Hey…was that a fat joke?”  So Galahad leaps off his horse and makes his way towards the horses belonging to the three bowmen while Bors serves as a decoy, assured in the knowledge that they probably won’t kill him.  (“I just can’t manage to hit the fat guy.”)  Galahad scatters the horses to the four winds, and Bors rides at breakneck speed with Galahad’s horse…


…I like the bit above: “Taxi!”—allowing the two of them to continue their assault on Ulric’s camp.  Notice…


…that the five bowmen stand around like doofuses, apparently unaware that the instruments in their hand are capable of launching sharp pointy sticks at great distances—and that even though the odds of them hitting either Galahad or Bors are remote, they could have at least made the effort.

An optical wipe brings Galahad and Bors closer to Ulric’s lair, whereupon Bors observes “Ulric’s cave is well-guarded.”

“Stay with the horses until I return,” Galahad tells him, as he stealthily makes his way toward the cave entrance.  Okay, I’m kidding about that part—he makes enough noise in the forest to attract the attention of two sentries, and then having successfully sneaked past them he approaches the last guard…


…who’s apparently sitting down for a smoke.  For some odd reason, Galahad attacks him from behind, dagger at the ready—but he doesn’t actually stab him.  (More on this in a bit.)

Galahad is now in the cave, and that goblet of wine that Ulric is downing in the background wasn’t a good idea, because actor Merton is now going to have a little trouble with his beard at the corners as he’s dressing down Bartog.

ULRIC: Cowardly fools…victory within my grasp…and my brave warriors flee like frightened rats!

If memory serves me correct, he compared men running for the hills to scared rodents last week, too.  I myself have never seen a frightened rat—all the ones I’ve ever observed had attitude to spare.

BARTOG: You cannot blame them…
ULRIC: You defend them?  You, the scurviest coward of them all?

“Hey, it’s not my fault there’s no fresh fruit or Vitamin C in this lair…”

BARTOG: They thought the battle lost…when the invincible sword Excalibur was taken from you…
ULRIC: Invincible indeed…are you certain the sword you delivered to me was Excalibur?
BARTOG: It’s the same sword given me at Camelot…
ULRIC: Was it the same?  Or perchance a deceiving likeness?
BARTOG: I fail to understand, my King…
ULRIC: In possession of the mighty weapon…a sly fox like you might want to keep it for himself—eh, Bartog?
BARTOG: You accuse me of…
ULRIC (threatening Bartog with a dagger to the neck): What have you done with Excalibur?!!


I’ll bet he won’t fail to understand that pointy knife at his gullet.

BARTOG: I swear I delivered it to you directly!  If you have been betrayed, it was by your ally at Arthur’s court—he who gave me the sword!
ULRIC (withdrawing the dagger): There might be something in what you say…
BARTOG: The same black-hearted knight that betrays Arthur…has betrayed you also…the transaction took place in haste…it was dark…the blade was covered by a sheath…I swear I delivered it to you exactly as I received it!

This is why you should always save the receipt, Bartog.  And delivery confirmation certainly wouldn’t hurt, either.

ULRIC: Treacherous dog…he planned to see me killed
BARTOG: There is yet a way to gain Excalibur…let me ride to Camelot…and search out the Black Knight…
ULRIC: And when you confront him?  Then what?
BARTOG: Either he delivers the real Excalibur…or I denounce him as a traitor in Arthur’s court…
ULRIC: Your plan has merit, my fellow Bartog…

Well…only if the Black Knight gives up the sword.  If he refuses to do so, and Bartog denounces him as a traitor…where does that leave you?  The Black Knight ends up beheaded, so neither you nor Bartog gets the sword.  Personally, I think that plan needs a little work.

ULRIC: You may do so…then we’ll see who is the master of double dealing, eh?


My money’s on Bartog.  I wouldn’t trust that guy any farther than I could throw him.  “Yes, my king,” Bartog replies obsequiously, and a dissolve later he’s disguised himself in something from the Sherwood Forest collection, bids his King a fare-thee-well, and exits out the cave (Galahad has the presence of mind to duck down another passageway to avoid detection).  For some odd reason, Gal then doubles back to his listening post and looks in on Ulric (who’s just seated there—maybe he’s working on his memoirs), then heads out of the cave himself.  He passes by the sentry he should have stabbed with the dagger, and then from on a hill he watches as Bartog saddles up and rides off toward Camelot.


Running back in the direction where Bors is waiting with the horses, Galahad stupidly bumps a log that rolls down a hill, and that attracts the attention of a couple of guards, which means Gal has to hide in the bushes.  Then, the sentry outside the cave comes to and starts yelling for help—which is why I’m puzzled as to why Galahad didn’t run him through with the dagger in the first place.  So as the two guards go over to help the sentry, Galahad is able to cut the cinches connected to the saddles on the guards’ horses.  Catching up with Bors, the two of them watch as the guards fall on their asses when trying to mount, and share a hearty laugh at their predicament.


What ever floats your boats, fellas.  Let’s ride!

Our heroes gallop at full speed in an effort to catch up with Bartog.  But Galahad stops suddenly as they are only a stone’s throw away from Camelot…

GALAHAD: Hold on…
BORS: Hold on?  We can’t overtake Bartog nesting on the hilltop…
GALAHAD: We shall not seize him…yet
BORS: Have you lost your senses?  It soon be night…
GALAHAD (grinning): If we stop him now we learn nothing…but if we follow…he may lead us to the traitor at Camelot…
BORS: Oh…you are certainly a prince among foxes…


“And you are a pearl before swine!”  A dissolve soon results in nightfall, and parking his horse, Bartog makes his way to the secret castle entrance.  He goes inside, and seconds later Galahad activates the entrance in order to follow.  But whereas Bartog had little difficulty striding down the passageway, Galahad encounters a little trouble:


This looks like a job for Superman!  Will Galahad end up speared like a cocktail olive?  Will…oh, hell—I can’t do this.  Take it away, Knox Manning!

MANNING: Who is this mysterious Black Knight?

I don’t know, but he sounds an awful lot like a famous television millionaire…John Beresford something…

MANNING: For whom are these men searching?


2 comments:

Scott said...

Damn, this series just keeps getting funnier with each chapter (and it started out pretty damn strong). I gotta say, Ivan, as a TDOY customer, I'm highly satisfied; as a colleague, I'm slightly jealous.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

News from the World O'Crap!

Damn, this series just keeps getting funnier with each chapter (and it started out pretty damn strong). I gotta say, Ivan, as a TDOY customer, I'm highly satisfied; as a colleague, I'm slightly jealous.

And when people ask me why I've been trapped in my office for the past three days it's because my head has swollen to the point where I cannot leave. "Heady" praise from the King of Bad Movie Snark!