“The episode ends with Hulk Hogan, B.A. and Refrigerator Perry arguing over hats. Move over, ‘The Usual Suspects’!”
Our airport marathon continues… and continues… and continues. I almost think they’re delaying my flight just to make me keep writing. Can’t the A-Team come rescue me or something?
The Trouble With Harry
Wild Guess Preview: This is more lighthearted than you might expect with the Hitchcock reference in the title: Murdock is set to play the board game Trouble with his friend Harry at the mental hospital, but a deranged relative of Milton Bradley makes off with the Pop-o-Matic. Now Murdock and Harry have to roll the dice on revenge…. until they see that there’s a copy of Hungry Hungry Hippos available and play that instead.
The Recap: Whoa, a retro black and white opening in 1950’s Chicago? How arty! A greaser dude named Harry stands up to a guy named Noodles in an alley. “I got nothin’ to say to you, Noodles.” I say that myself before many, many meals, but anyway. Noodles stands up for pasta everywhere by ordering his buddies to rush Harry, but it backfires and Harry kicks all their candy asses to the strains of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.”
Now it’s the 80’s – a new wave dude is screeching out the same song, and some guys in a baby blue car are following a kid called Jeffrey on a bike. Jeffrey hides a bag of something under a car hood and hurries home so as not to miss this week’s episode of “Webster.” But the car guys invite themselves in and look menacing. “We’re the Avon ladies,” one of them says. “Where’s Harry?” The kid has to escape his own house by throwing the TV at the two guys and then running up the stairs- he’s not so good at this, is he? Jeffrey finally jumps through a window to the ground and then rides away on his bike.
He ends up at B.A.’s youth center, sleeping on the boxing ring all bloody and confused. B.A. and Hannibal find him there; B.A. asks if Jeffrey’s father knows he’s there, but Jeffrey says he “hasn’t seen that bum for days,” and even if he had, his dad’s always drunk anyway. B.A. is upset because Jeffrey isn’t treating his father right, though sadly he doesn’t sing about it.
Then a big black limo pulls up, and Hulk Hogan is on the scene! Hannibal’s setting up some kind of movie deal for him (“No Holds Barred”? I hope?) and he’s going to speak to all the kids at B.A.’s center. Jeffrey rides off before the Hulk can speak – he says he has a paper route, but Hannibal says “he acts like he’s got big trouble… I think we should follow him.” Hulk wants to come along – so the other kids just have to wait for Jeffrey the drama queen? – and offers his limo as their ride, though B.A. makes the driver give up his seat. Hulk: “Hey, man, let Arnold drive!” B.A.: “I’M DRIVING!”
Jeffrey is not heading to his house, and that worries Hannibal enough to make him call Face on the limo’s phone. Faceman is in his Corvette, but he refuses to answer the phone – because he and Murdock are on a double date! With twins! (Murdock asks if his date is “the pretty one.” Ha.) Finally Murdock answers, and Hannibal asks them to find Jeffrey’s father, Harry Sullivan. Face starts to object, but Hannibal just says “thanks, Face!” and hangs up the phone. They drive away after Face promises the gals they’ll be right back. Murdock says “you never should’ve answered that telephone.” Only Murdock could get away with that one.
You just bought yourself another Saturday.
Jeffrey’s at some old busted-up old theater. It’s Harry’s hideout; he’s getting smashed in a pile of chairs – and he’s Paul Gleason, Principal Vernon from “The Breakfast Club”! He yells at Jeffrey for not making “the drop” and then for hiding the bag of money in the car. Then Hannibal, B.A. and Hulk walk in, and Harry freaks out; he pulls a gun out and demands to know why Crazy Richie is after him. “We don’t know any Crazy Richie,” Hannibal explains. “We’re friends of Jeffrey, we followed him here.” Now Harry’s mad that people followed Jeffrey. Hulk takes Harry’s bottle of booze and smashes it; then B.A. says they’re going to take Harry to the hospital so can clean up. Cool, an A-Team intervention.
Run for it, Face!
Face and Murdock are surveying the damage at Harry’s place, when two large guys walk in and demand to know where Harry is. They even rough our guys up a little; their boss, Fats, walks in, fires a shotgun at the ceiling and says “Now where’s my ten thousand dollars?” Face literally has no idea what he’s talking about, but the guy adds “We want Harry back… or you’re DEAD.” Homina homina homina…
I COULDA BEEN SOMEBODY! I COULDA BEEN KEVIN KLINE! BUT THEY SAID I WAS TOO LOUD!
The original two thugs, the ones who hassled Jeffrey at the start, report back to a Mr. Ifker, who appears to be Yankees manager Billy Martin disguised in a robe, dark glasses and wild grey hair. This overly intense fellow yells at the goons, kisses his wife/girlfriend/whoever, then picks back up with the yelling, telling the goons to check out the youth center where Jeffrey hangs out. “What about the shipment at the pier?” asks the goon. Never mind that, Ifker says, he just wants Harry. “I WANT TO KNOW WHERE THAT CREEP IS HOLED UP!” he says, calmly, at just 741 decibels. I’ll bet Ifker types in all caps, too.
Now Face and Murdock are hanging upside down in a warehouse, while Fats ignores their cover story of working for the refrigerator company, and again asks about Harry. Murdock relents and says they work for “Speedy Smith,” and that Harry was trying to double his money with the ten grand. “I will kill that bum!” the big guy says. They let Murdock and Face down and hand them a phone.
Hannibal answers the call while he and B.A. and Hulk drive Harry to the hospital. “Listen up, Speedy-Ball,” Fats says, “we get our ten dimes back or we plant your friends.” He gives them a half hour to show up at his nightclub with the money. They pull up to the hospital, where Hannibal tells B.A. and Jeffrey to bring Harry inside. “Hulk and I will get the money.” Jeffrey says he hid the money under the abandoned car at the start of the episode, so Hulk and Hannibal head out in the limo. This time Arnold gets to drive!
By the way, this is no ordinary hospital – it’s Wilshire Memorial Hospital, and there’s a special patient checking in: football star William “The Refrigerator” Perry! The nurse says she’s chosen a private room for him so he won’t be disturbed – and then he ends up getting disturbed by B.A., who’s bringing Harry in and yelling “OUT OF THE WAY!” One of the nurses asks if Harry has insurance â€“ B.A. takes one of his gold chains off, and says “here, will this pay for it?” B.A.’s Gold Cross Insurance: their slogan is “Treat the fool!”
The limo pulls up right where Jeffrey told them to go, but the car is gone; a tow truck has been moving all the old wrecks out of the neighborhood. Hannibal asks Fats for more time, but all he says is “you’re wasting my time, Speedball!” Hannibal asks to speak to Murdock, and says “if you and Face can find a way out of there, don’t wait for us.” Murdock says “everything’s great!” which it isn’t, and tells the big guys that Speedy Smith wants to meet them at the drop location, because everything’s so great.
Hannibal and Hulk spot the car at the police impound lot; Hannibal asks Hulk to “entertain” the officers while he gets the money, but Hulk protests: “I’m a wrestler, not an entertainer!” (Vince McMahon must’ve freaked out hearing that one.) “But how much can the average entertainer bench press?” Hannibal asks. (And that’s how they won Vince McMahon back!) So Hulk lifts a police car while the officers cheer him on.
Murdock and Face are at the drop spot – a donut shop on 6th and Alvarado. So are Fats and his crew, but so are… oh geez, a bunch of cops? They went for the obvious joke, yes, but this is a good plan because even though Face and Murdock really have no idea if the money’s coming, they know they’re surrounded by police and therefore not about to get killed in broad daylight. So they just walk out the door! The goons can’t find their hostages, but they do find Hulk, B.A. and Hannibal at their nightclub. “Where are our friends?” Hannibal asks. Fats says they’re gone. “Well, if they’re gone,” Hannibal asks, “it doesn’t matter who we hurt, does it?” And he smacks the guy with a chair! Hulk and B.A. take out the thugs, and gratuitous violence is awesome. Hulk calls the police while B.A. and Hannibal head to the hospital.
The sad consequences of answering that telephone
And that’s when Face and Murdock head to the youth center, so basically half of the team can’t ever find the other half. Face calls the ladies at the restaurant and says they’ll be there in 20 minutes. Right? Wrong, here come the two Ifker goons, and they take Murdock and Face over to the crazy man’s house. “This Harry Sullivan sure is a popular fellow,” Murdock says, through his mouth gag. Face asks why he’s looking for Harry anyway. “He killed my brother!” Ifker says, forgetting to add “the dirty rat.” Then he hangs Face and Murdock upside down. “You never should’ve answered that telephone,” Murdock says yet again.
Hulk and B.A. help a BUM! I said a BUM!
Harry wakes up in the hospital; he wants to walk out and get bombed, but B.A. stops him by dishing out some tough love: “You see this man here?” he says. “This is Hulk Hogan, the heavyweight wrestling champion of the world. He’s been running all over town trying to help you – an ungrateful broken-down BUM! Who got his kid on the street running numbers!” Hannibal walks in and asks how Harry’s doing. “Fine,” says B.A…. “for a BUM.” I love the way B.A. says BUM like it’s the worst word ever invented. Hannibal says Harry’s luck is improving now that Fats is in jail. But then Murdock calls: “They got us.” Hannibal’s confused; didn’t they escape from Fats? “It wasn’t those guys… these are different guys.” Ifker grabs the phone and says “I want Harry, or your friends are dead.” Hannibal arranges a meet-up at the hospital in an hour.
Finally Harry explains that he was once a boxer, Harry “the Hammer” Sullivan; B.A. even remembers hearing about his fights as a kid in Chicago. 25 years ago Harry did kill Ifker’s brother, though he says it was completely an accident. The real tragedy was that Harry was told to throw a fight and refused – “and I’ve been paying for it ever since,” he sighs, recounting his long decline into booze, unemployment, booze, running numbers, forgetting to shave, and booze.
Ifker’s at the hospital; he’s got a bouquet of flowers he’d like to deliver to Harry Sullivan, and somehow his voice is below 170 decibels. But Hannibal’s the only one in the room.
Hello, Richie!” he says, and then it’s gunfight time. Face and Murdock get chased by the Ifker goons, right through a room where Refrigerator Perry is having his ankle examined.
They’ll never catch ’em,” he says. Fridge is right – B.A. and Hulk catch one of the henchmen and toss him out a window instead. Murdock and Face grab Ifker and put him under a running sink, until Hannibal comes in and points Harry out. Hey, Harry shaved during the gunfight!
This is the guy you’ve been looking for for twenty years. Say goodbye, cause you won’t be seeing him for the next twenty years.” Cool!
There is one last loose end to tie up, though; Murdock says that “Mr. Slick here has something coming in on the San Pedro Wharf.” Hannibal says he, Hulk and B.A. will take Ifker and his thugs to the police. He wants Murdock and Face to – “where is Face?” He’s at a pay phone, promising the twins that he and Murdock will absolutely make it to the restaurant this time. The two of them walk out of the hospital, determined to make their date, and – uh oh. Fats is out of jail and he wants his money, even though he already has it.
Fats goes back upstairs and visits Harry. He wants his money, and also, “Where’s the wiseguy with the grey hair and the two wrestlers?” He’s going to toss Jeffrey out the window unless Harry talks, and so finally he talks: “they’re at a warehouse in San Pedro.” Fats says great, you get the kid back when we get our money back. Dude, look at the script – you already got your money back! Fats ties Harry up and tosses him, Face and Murdock in a closet before heading out. Luckily Refrigerator Perry is on hand to rescue them – see, this is why he got his own G.I. Joe figure. Face and Murdock are free to be you and me, but instead they steal an ambulance and drive away.
B.A., Hannibal and Hulk are at the wharf, spying on Ifker’s men as they load a big crate with a forklift. B.A. realizes this is not a drug deal, either – “Arms shipment – cases of uzis, rocket launchers and ammo.” Hulk asks Hannibal what the plan is, but B.A. interrupts: “I know you’re gonna say the front door, we always go through the front door!” Yep, that’s the plan. Hannibal yells out, “We’ve got you surrounded! Come out with your hands up!” The thugs start shooting, as do B.A. and Hannibal. Some of the guys try to drive away in a van, but Hannibal clips their tire and they spin out. The one problem with fighting guys who are smuggling weapons is that they can always just open another crate and shoot some more at you. Fats and his guys show up and they’re shooting too – it’s a little hard to tell what’s going on. Luckily, Hannibal has a grenade, which Hulk throws way the hell into the distance and blows up a car and scares some dudes into retreating. Finally, the Ambulance of Justice arrives, and Face and Murdock tackle Fats’s guards. Hannibal punches Fats out himself. “Not bad for a day at the youth center, huh?” Hannibal laughs.
An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole our car! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! As God as our witness it wasn’t our fault!
And those two ladies are still at the restaurant?!? Face and Murdock are using that ambulance and the gauze therein to make it look like they were in a terrible accident and that’s why they missed out on dinner. The ladies have a little surprise of their own: two other dudes, and ones that don’t show up a day and a half late for a meal. They really never should’ve answered that phone.
Hogan and T should’ve called their tag team “Men Without Hats.”
Harry’s recuperating at the hospital, and he’s thanking the team and Hulk for their help, explaining that life is like a boxing match and that “you can still win in the late rounds.” Then the Fridge shows up and he’s got something for Harry and Jeffrey: official Bears hats! Somehow this makes Hulk and B.A. mad. “Hey, Fridge, where’s our hats, man?” asks the Hulk. “Yeah, man, what about our hats?” B.A. adds. “Back off,” says the Fridge. And the episode ends with Hulk Hogan, B.A. and Refrigerator Perry arguing over hats. Move over, “The Usual Suspects”!
Perfect perfect perfect. So much was jam-packed into this episode that it could’ve been a mess, but it was tight from start to finish. Hulk was fun again, and the Fridge, though really only a cameo, was a nice touch. And the dueling gangs was a novel concept, too. Loved it. No wonder this was the only episode I remembered from watching the show as a kid!