Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Maverick Report - "The Deadly Image"


Hi! Here's a publicity still from "The Deadly Image". Now, if the girl pictured with Jack Kelly looks familiar, it's because, yes, she's Dawn Wells, who later came to fame as "Mary Ann" in Gilligan's Island.

And, if JK looks like he's out of his usual Bart Maverick uniform, that's because he's actually dressed up as the bad guy.

"The Deadly Image" takes the old "outlaw who looks like the hero" plot and pits Bart against a dastardly doppelganger named "Rod Claxton". Of course, everyone thinks Bart is Claxton, including the Army and even Claxton's girlfriend Caprice (played by Ms. Wells). Caprice does wonder, though, when she busses Bart and notices that his kiss is gentler than what she's used to!

The only person who isn't fooled is Caprice's elderly grandfather. He is blind and isn't misled by appearances. He discerns Bart's true character without seeing him.

Bart also encounters a former member of Claxton's gang, a wounded desperado (
Gerald Mohr) with his own connection to Caprice.

The big "reveal" where Bart finally comes face-to-face with his lawless lookalike comes near the end of the episode, and it's a doozy.

Claxton looks at Bart and is astonished by their resemblance.

"My own father wouldn't know the difference!" he exclaims.

"Mine would," Bart answers coldly.

Thankfully, the writers didn't go overboard with "evil twin" cliches. Claxton is dressed in black. However, Jack Kelly plays him with smoldering menace rather than with over-the-top villainy.

A reviewer in the Cincinnati Post newspaper noted, “Director John Ainsworth was particularly pleased with the way Kelly handled the [dual] roles. If you concentrate on his eyes, you'll see how he mastered the character differences. Thanks to technical magic, there's an interesting scene in which Dawn Wells is 'thrown' back and forth between the two Kellys".

The rest of the cast is great, too, especially frequent Maverick guest-star Mohr and
Abraham Sofaer, the character actor who portrays Caprice's grandfather. I first saw Sofaer in an episode of Four Star Playhouse that showed up on our local PBS station some years ago. He played a Native American chief in a story called "The Collar" which starred David Niven as an imprisoned priest. It was literally one of the best things I've ever seen on television.

And, speaking of character actors, "The Deadly Image" was co-written by Leo Gordon, who guest-starred on five Maverick episodes as "Big Mike McComb".

1 comment:

  1. The "evil twin" plot in which a villain looks exactly like the hero and speaks in the very same voice appeared in practically every single television series of that era, presumably because it gave the lead actor a chance to do something different and stretch his wings a bit. I wish Kelly had played the other guy a little more differently than he did; it makes you respect even more that movie in which Michael Keaton plays many clones of himself in which you can somehow recognize the identity of each one immediately just by looking at his face.