Saturday, November 3, 2012

Adventures of Sir Galahad – Chapter 10: The Sorcerer’s Spell


OUR STORY SO FAR: Apprentice ka-niggit Galahad’s (George Reeves) adventures continue as our hero valiantly tries to recover the invincible sword known as Excalibur, wrested from the possession of Arthur, King of the Britons (Nelson Leigh) while Galahad went sleepy-bye during his ka-niggit initiation.  Someone slipped Galahad a mickey—and that someone is a mysterious personage known only as The Black Knight, who is in league with a Saxon chamberlain named Bartog (Don C. Harvey) to lead a band of outlaws in taking over Arthur’s throne.  (Bartog originally worked for a Saxon king named Ulric [John Merton]…but loyalty is simply not the man’s strong suit.)

Disguised as outlaws, Galahad and his comedy relief sidekick Sir Bors (Charles King) glean information from Bartog and Cawker (Pierce Lyden), leader of the resistance, that The Black Knight plans to make an appearance before the group and show them that he’s the boss since he has Excalibur.  Gal had hoped to get help in recapturing the sword from his only ally at King Arthur’s Round Table, Lancelot (Hugh Prosser)…but Lancelot had a dentist’s appointment, so the apprentice ka-niggit was forced to seek assistance from the treacherous Morgan le Fay (Pat Barton), who gave him a magic ring that would allow him to vanish at a moments when he was in great peril.  But Morgan must have obtained the ring in a Crackerback jox, because the bling refuses to work at that crucial moment…and Galahad is forced over a railing by The Black Knight …


…yet Galahad is nothing if not prepared.  A mere mortal who attempted a leap like that would probably crack his thick skull, yet Galahad escapes injury by landing on some of the outlaws below, creating history’s first mosh pit.  Sir Bors then rushes over to his pal, pushes a few of the ticked off rebels out of the way, and follows Galahad to the distant horizon.  The Black Knight, who is voiced by someone other than Paul Frees in this instance, barks “After them!” as Bartog, Cawker and the rest race after our fleeing heroes.

There is much riding of horses.  But worry not…Galahad and Bors find a clearing, and as Bors rests his weary bones on a convenient stump placed there by considerate set design people, Galahad watches as the outlaws ride off for points unknown since they have lost sight of our heroes.

GALAHAD: They’re gone…
BORS: Good!
GALAHAD: Well, come on…let’s be on our way…
BORS: Where?  To Camelot?  Where Sir Kay will string you up?  Or perchance to the inn where they’ll carve you into meat for the hounds…be reasonable…there isn’t a thing we can do
GALAHAD: My fat friend….there is

“Hey!  Watch that ‘fat friend’ stuff!  I’m Samoan…”

GALAHAD: …haven’t you forgotten Ulric?
BORS: Ulric?

“Is he still in this serial?”


GALAHAD: Yes…now close your jaw for a moment and think…when he learns…that Bartog and the Black Knight are plotting against him…he’ll turn on both of them…and when they meet in battle they’ll destroy each other…
BORS: Who’ll inform him of Bartog’s treachery?
GALAHAD: I will, my friend…
BORS: Set one foot in his camp and I’ll wager that he’ll run you through before you speak a word…
GALAHAD: Come with me then and hear me speak my piece!

Maybe I’m just now noticing this, but…Galahad is a pretty cocky essobee for someone whose clusterfudge set the wheels of this serial in motion in the first place.  Well, since Bors has nothing else to do and McVenison’s is closed on Sundays, our heroes do more riding until they’ve reached the sentry point near the caves where Ulric is hiding.


Inside, Ulric is putting the finishing touches on his weekly newsletter, which he hands to a lackey standing patiently nearby.  “Your best rider…this message,” he orders the lackey, who goes outside the cave to greet Best Rider.  Galahad then shoots an arrow near the two men, and looking at it briefly, Lackey takes the missile back inside to inform Ulric.


LACKEY: This narrowly missed me…it seems to bear a message…
ULRIC (examining the arrow): Find the culprit who shot it!

At this point in the serial, the writers evidently wanted to eat up a little time because they show Lackey exiting the cave and then they cut to Galahad and Bors making their getaway with very little effort.  The scene then fades to Lackey returning to Ulric’s lair—you’d think he would have said: “Oh, ta heck wid it…they’re probably gone by now…”

LACKEY: Sire…I made search, but…
ULRIC: …and you found no one…is that it?

“Got it in one, Your Grace.”

LACKEY: Yes, m’lord…
ULRIC: It doesn’t matter…here’s the message carried by the arrow: “If you would have Excalibur…come to Echo Canyon tomorrow at dawn…alone…signed, Galahad…”
LACKEY: It smells of trickery…

“Uh…actually, that might be me…there’s no shower or bath fixtures in this cave, you know…”

ULRIC: Quite right, my Lieutenant…

Oh…I didn’t realize this guy had rank.  Henceforth, he is to be referred to as “Lieutenant Lackey”…

LT. LACKEY: Of course you will not go…
ULRIC: I shall go…but not alone…

Half a tic…I’m sure that message specified “alone.”  Though in Ulric’s defense, it didn’t clarify whichEcho Canyon”—if it’s the state park in Nevada I don’t know how he’s going to get there before dawn tomorrow.


Dawn the next morning finds Galahad and Bors riding into Echo Canyon (not the Nevada one).  “From here we cannot be seen,” Galahad informs his chum…shortly before the two of them are blown up in a Python sketch.  Okay, I’m just kidding about that…they dismount and await Ulric’s arrival…and before you can say “Mr. E.R. Bradshaw” the Saxon King arrives at the rendezvous.

ULRIC (shouting): Hello Galahad!
GALAHAD (shouting back): Stand where you are!

Stand in the place where you live
Now face north
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven't before
Now stand in the place where you work
Now face west
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven't before

GALAHAD: Listen…Bartog betrays you!  He is your enemy!
ULRIC: You lie!


Dude…when Bartog told you he was going out for a pack of smokes?  He was deceiving you…  “He and the traitor at Camelot have Excalibur!” Galahad yells at Ulric…but even though they’re in Echo Canyon, his words fall on deaf ears—Ulric motions for his men, including Lieutenant Lackey, to ride up and give chase to Galahad and Bors…who suddenly have remembered that they have to be somewhere very far away very fast.


So we have more horse riding.  Clearly, the advantage must go to our heroes, who have a bit of a head start…so as they’re hauling ass through flora and fauna, we need something to even things out a bit.


“A la peanut butter sandwiches!”  A cloud of smoke welcomes the mighty magician known as Merlin (William Fawcett)…whose presence in this serial I haven’t quite been able to figure out.  He’s clearly working for the villain in this piece, but if he’s truly as all-powerful as the other characters have made him out to be why didn’t he just grab Excalibur at his first opportunity and start ruling the kingdom by now?  Well, no matter—Merl waves his arms in a magical fashion and this happens…


…yes, both Galahad and Bors slide off their horses in a slumber.  (I laughed out loud at this.)  Merlin then disappears in the same puff of smoke, thus enabling Ulric and his men to catch up, where there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

ULRIC: We meet again, Galahad…but for the last time!

“My option was not picked up by Katzman.”  “Lash them both to the tree!” orders Ulric to his men, and in a scene shift we find Galahad and Bors firmly tied to a sturdy oak and the other Saxons doing their best not to laugh at them.

ULRIC (to Bors): And what last words would you like to have preserved for posterity?  The pot of tallow is strangely silent… (Evil laugh)

Come on, man…he can’t help it.  He’s got a glandular condition.

ULRIC (to Galahad): Too bad you fought against me…you would have made an able ally…
GALAHAD: It’s not yet too late…what I said about Bartog was true…he’s joined forces with The Black Knight, who now has Excalibur…even now they’re plotting to seize Arthur’s throne…free us—and we’ll take you to him…
ULRIC: A smooth tongue, Galahad…but a false one…

Ulric then marches back over to three of his men, who are standing at the ready with bows and arrows.  “Take aim!” he orders them, though you would think he already knows no one in his outfit can hit the broadside of Camelot.  The execution is then interrupted by another cloud of smoke, as Merlin the Magician makes another dramatic entrance.


MERLIN: Stay your arrows!  You act in haste, my Saxon king…
ULRIC: In haste, perhaps…but wisely…I intend to put an end to Galahad’s treachery
MERLIN: You would do well to lend an ear to his words…
ULRIC: He would have me believe that Bartog has turned against me!

No one ever wants to admit when the relationship is over.

MERLIN: You refuse to believe…even though Galahad risked his life to warn you…
ULRIC: True…what do you advise?
MERLIN: That you let them lead you to Bartog…
ULRIC: If I am tricked again…
MERLIN: There is nothing lost…so long as they are within your grasp…you can still put an end to them…

And with that…yeah, you guessed it—the old cloud of smoke routine.  Well, whatever Merlin’s motive, our heroes have gotten a stay of execution—so Bartog barks to the bowmen: “Well, don’t stand there like an idiot…release them!”  (“How should we stand, my liege?”)

Galahad and Bors are released from their tree bonds, but Ulric takes a moment to remind them who’s running this show.  “Lead the way…but mind you, Galahad—one false move and your life is forfeited.”  Naturally, Galahad can’t pass up the opportunity for a witty rejoinder: “I shall take your warning to heart, Saxon king…”  Okay, maybe not the snappiest comeback in the Arthurian legends…but that “Saxon king” reference kind of reminds me of some dialogue in Woody Allen’s What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (“Saracen pig!”  “Spartan dog!”)

More horse riding.  Reaching a clearing, Galahad gives Ulric the skinny…

GALAHAD (pointing off in the distance): Yonder lies the inn where Bartog and the Black Knight’s men are…

I’m going to interrupt this to do my Tony Curtis impression: “Yondah lies the castle of my faddah…”

ULRIC: And the Black Knight?
GALAHAD: The room over the archway… (He starts to dismount)
ULRIC: Not so fast, my Galahad…

“I can’t get down from this horse any slower, Saxon king…”

GALAHAD: But I bargained only to lead you here!
ULRIC: So you did…but I have further use of your services…

“This will teach you to read the fine print, my lad!”

ULRIC: You two will lead the attack on the Black Knight’s men…while I engage the Black Knight himself…and relieve him of Excalibur


“…and change the name of this serial to Adventures of King Ulric!”  The men dismount, and begin to march toward the Inn of the Ram’s Head.  The innkeeper, One-Eye (Ray “Crash” Corrigan), has been sweeping the front porch when he spots Ulric and the others…and quickly darts back inside.  In the blink of One-Eye…er, an eye the outlaws come rushing out of the inn   Galahad, Bors and the rest of Ulric’s men engage in much swordlery with the rebels while King Ulric and Lieutenant Lackey do a Sirs-Kay-and-Modred retreat to one side.  Let it be written down that while George Reeves’ stuntman looks damn good in the swashbuckling scenes…


…ol’ George himself is in plenty of the close-ups.  Oh, and at one stage of the fight Galahad pokes Cawker with his sword, causing the rebel leader to fall backward into a conveniently placed washtub.  (Oh, the indignity of it all…)


The Black Knight suddenly appears at his familiar station over the archway, and Ulric gives Lieutenant Lackey the nod to fire an arrow in his direction…


…missed it by that much!  The Black Knight then unsheathes Excalibur, and Ulric leaps at the chance to exchange cold steel with the dark helmeted villain, even though the sword is giving off that high pitched noise again.  Mid-fight, Galahad winds up taking over for Ulric in the duel with the Black Knight (he finished vanquishing his foes early) and it looks like the invincibility of Excalibur will be Galahad’s downfall…


But soft—what’s this?  It’s Mighty Merlin!  And during the portion of the fight in which Galahad now battles the Knight for the control of Excalibur, Merlin makes a few magic passes…


…and viola!  Excalibur is pulled out of the Knight’s hands and lands…well, we know not where.  (But why is Merlin sticking his neck out to save Galahad?  Alas—we don’t know that either.)  So the Black Knight rushes to his horse, conveniently parked nearby, and decides to get the hell out of Dodge.  Meanwhile, Ulric is stupefied at the sudden vanishing of Excalibur…and finds only one man to blame.  “So this was a trick after all!” he bellows at Galahad, causing our hero to run like a frightened rabbit while Merlin smokily disappears as well.  “After him!”  Ulric calls out to his men.


Everybody runs away from the inn, leaving a confused Bors standing around, wondering where everybody went.  (Kind of hard not to laugh at that.)

Because Galahad forgot where his horse was parked, he runs into the forest on foot as Ulric and three of his minions give chase.  Galahad only gets as far as this bog…


…and decides, “What the hell…I’ll use a few pointers I learned when I worked with Weissmuller on Jungle Jim.”  He grabs a convenient vine and swings out over the bog…


…Ulric and his men arrive at the bog—and even though throughout this serial his bowmen have proved that they are the worst shots in the world, now that one of them has to sever the vine on which Galahad swings, suddenly they can shoot like freakin’ Lee Harvey Oswald…


…I believe it was Lady Martha of the Vandellas who observed:

You're like
Quicksand, quicksand
Pulling me closer, closer
In your arms
Can't resist your loving charms
You're like quicksand sinking me deeper
In love with you


Take it away, Knox Manning!

MANNING: Is Merlin’s magic to triumph again?  Has Sir Bors dared to enter the Enchanted Forest again?


Oh, man…is that tree molesting innocent bystanders again?

2 comments:

Bill Crider said...

I knew this was a good serial, but quicksand always raises anything to the next higher level!

Scott said...

GALAHAD: Listen…Bartog betrays you! He is your enemy!

ULRIC: You lie!


Okay, now I remember where I've seen Ulric before. He was that guy heckling Obama at the State of the Union.

ULRIC (to Galahad): Too bad you fought against me…you would have made an able ally…

Yeah...You haven't really been watching the rest of the serial, have you, Sire?