Face catches up to the murderous golfers just as Frank the caddy scales a wall to safety. Did I actually just write that?

I made it to Illinois late last night. It took three connections in all, each one scooting me a little further down the eastern seaboard until I was able to get a night flight to Chicago. And my dad, who is feisty as hell even in his current state, mustered his strength to wait up for me and give me a big hug and catch up for a little while. Which made the whole day of airports and tarmacs and so forth worth all the trouble.

And, odd as it sounds, I’ve got this project to keep me grounded. It’s a good way to focus and stay productive instead of just moping, and there’s one more thing too: the A-Team lives in a universe where there’s always a way out of a bad situation. The teamers can be held at gunpoint, stranded in the middle of nowhere, put in jail, or worse, but as long as they use their wits and their creativity, they can find their way out of trouble and make a happy ending. Our world isn’t like that, but it sure is nice to spend a little time visiting!

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Wild Guess Preview: Impressed by the breakout success of “Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies,” Stephen J. Cannell pens a weird little episode imagining the A-Team as little kids who have to fend off Little Decker, the neighbor who keeps trying to invite himself into the Little A-Team’s treehouse, by using cap guns and big wheels instead of machine guns and awesome vans.

The Recap: Aw, how cute: Face is treating Hannibal to lunch at the Beverly Bay Country Club! At first I thought he was taking Hannibal to the Botany Bay Country Club and that they’d be captured by Ricardo “Khan” Montalban, but no. “Templeton Peck is moving up in society,” he explains, and he’s brought Hannibal along so he can hobnob and network with moviemakers instead of skulking around Paramount Studios begging casting directors for the time of day. “This is a very exclusive club,” Hannibal says. “What are you, their token fugitive?”

Murdock and Face at the country club
We have a five-star golf course, and an award-winning on-site lunatic

Actually, Face is using an alias, “Ashley Hemmings.” “Funny,” says a familiar voice from the next table over. “You’re a dead ringer for Templeton Peck.” How’d Murdock get in here? Dr. Richter brings him for tennis and lunch and therapy every Friday. Face is livid that he had to develop a fake persona for months to get into this exclusive club and Murdock gets to go because he’s so damn loopy. Murdock introduces Hannibal to a bigshot movie guy, while poor Face is stuck helping a pushy old lady find her daughter, Adrian. If you guessed she was with Rocky Balboa, I’m sorry to disappoint you: she’s in the woods, messing around with her caddy, Frank. While these two are, um, exploring, um, things, they find a big red golf bag. Full of money.

This is the cue for some guys to run toward Frank with their guns drawn, and he and the golf bag split. Then Face starts chasing them too. Murdock, who’s showing Hannibal the club’s many features, notices this: “Tennis courts are night lit, there’s an extra putting green there, that’s the front nine, and that’s Faceman chasing someone into the rough.” They grab a golf cart and join the action.

A-Team golf course gunfight
The original, better idea for “Caddyshack II”

Face catches up to the murderous golfers just as Frank the caddy scales a wall to safety. Did I actually just write that? Face reaches into his suit jacket for a gun, but there’s none there; all he can do is say “no shooting in the rough” while the golf thugs take aim at him. Hannibal and Murdock show up and the golfers make a getaway in another golf cart, so Face grabs onto the moving cart and we have an A-TEAM GOLF CART GUNFIGHT. Face is hilarious here; he’s on the back of the cart yelling “FORE!” and “PLAY THROUGH!” as they drive through lunch tables shooting guns. The pastel-sweater thugs finally shoot out a tire on the team’s cart, which knocks the cart sideways. On the plus side? They land on the green.

The top country club guy, Chuck McGraw, is chewing Face out for causing a very un-wealthy scene on the golf course. Face insists the other two guys started it, and besides, they’re not even members! They signed in as guests to a Bob McKeever. But Chuck checks in with this McKeever, who claims he didn’t have any guests today. Long story short, Face ends up on probation at the club.

And let’s not forget there’s a golf bag full of money that needs tracking down, too. Hannibal convinces Adrian to tell the team where her caddy friend Frank is at, before he gets into serious trouble with the gun-wielding golfers. Good thing, too, because old Bob McKeever is on the phone with the golfers he claimed he didn’t know, telling them to find the caddy and “terminate the deal.” Gulp. He also suggests the thugs might want to “meet” the club’s new member, Ashley Hemmings. Big Gulp with complimentary 72-oz SpyKids 3D collectors cup.

Frank shows up at his house just after the team does, but he runs into B.A., who he’s never seen before, and runs off again. B.A. has to shout “Hold it, kid!” and chase after him to bring him back, which eventually he does. Frank tells the team the golf bag full of hundred dollar bills was “probably why they were chasing me.” You think? The bag isn’t there – Frank stashed it in the woods at the golf course – so they all head back to the country club and find the bag. Which actually contains “funny money,” as Face puts it. Frank notes that McKeever is a bank president, and B.A. unleashes the fury: “I knew it, I knew it! All these rich folks are CROOKS!” They stash the golf bag in Face’s locker, though this probably means Ashley Hemmings will never get off probation.

Hannibal’s working on a little sting operation: see, McKeever likes to play gin for money and golf for money, so Hannibal dresses up in a track suit, sits down near McKeever and claims he can throw a walnut shell over the lake. He’s so adamant that McKeever ends up betting him $500 (and losing) over it; then he’s game to play a round of golf with Hannibal. For money. Eventually. He hands Hannibal “five Ben Franklins” and walks away. Hannibal walks over to B.A. and they laugh about how they put a ball bearing inside the walnut shell, and how they’re going to do the same to the golf balls when Hannibal plays McKeever.

Which probably won’t be today, because 1) he’s already got a partner, and 2) the partner is none other than General Fulbright. And 3) Fulbright just ran into Face in the locker room. Face runs for the Vette, eventually backing up into a Venus de Milo statue just outside the club. “That’s it!” Chuck fumes. “He’s history!” Fulbright drives off in pursuit of Face.

B.A. steers remote-controlled golf balls
B.A. has a little fun with Mr. Goldfinger – er, McKeever

On the plus side, this means McKeever needs a golf partner after all. So he waltzes up to Mr. Smith, “the walnut pitcher,” and asks if he’s up for a round, at $500 a hole. He is, of course, only he’s got something special in the works: radio controlled golf balls! B.A.’s hiding behind some trees, and when Hannibal’s ball starts to slice the wrong way, B.A. turns a knob and the ball makes a slide whistle noise and goes back the right way! Oh, also, Murdock is the caddy. Face has sneaked his way back to the club, and he’s grabbing something out of McKeever’s locker, something about him flying to Iowa. He tries calling the airline to find out more, but Fulbright walks in and he has to hang up.

Time for the ninth and final hole; Hannibal’s up six holes to two. McKeever suggests they go double or nothing on the last hole, but Hannibal has something bigger in mind: He says if McKeever wins the hole, he’ll give back “your two million dollars of funny money” and walk away, but if Hannibal wins they get half of the fake money. McKeever expresses a kind of squinting rage over this, but he agrees. Unfortunately this is the moment B.A. gets hit by a lawn sprinkler, which shorts out his radio controller. Hannibal’s on his own, but he manages to hit a dink shot out of a sand trap and right into the hole. Not bad! Afterwards Bob has his caddy/goon stick Hannibal up and ask for the fake money, but Murdock pulls out an even bigger gun and that more than events things up. “You stink up the whole country club,” Hannibal tells McKeever. Bob and the goon run for it; Hannibal and Murdock follow and start shooting, just as General Fulbright walks by. “Not in my club they don’t!” he shouts, and now he’s in on the action too. B.A. picks up his cohorts in a golf cart and they take off for another A-TEAM GOLF CART GUNFIGHT.

Face is forlorn; he’s officially out of the club. But at least he found out that flight schedule in McKeever’s locker was for the counterfeit money, not for him. Hannibal figures McKeever’s going to arrange an “accident” for the plane, meaning the fake money burns and the real money is his. He sends Face and Frank to find out where McKeever’s storing the money, while the rest of the team gets ready for a showdown.

Big picture of General Fulbright

The cover photo for General Fulbright’s memoir, “My Half a Season With the A-Team”

They head over to the shack, and wouldn’t you know, those two golfers from the beginning are putting all the phony money in big sacks. Chuck the club guy is there, too; he’s mostly yelling at Face for sneaking back into the club, but since he’s in on the scam he has to point a gun at them too. So Face punches him in the nose and runs off; there’s actually a chase scene where a snooty country club guy chases Face through the woods. Weird. Face ducks into a banquet room to get away from Chuck, but it happens to be a room where General Fulbright is about to be honored as “Officer of the Year.”

Face jumps past Shecky Greene

Move over, Harry Houdini – Face used Shecky Greene to make an escape

Wait, did I say honored? I meant roasted: it’s a General Fulbright roast, hosted by Shecky Greene! Face evades Chuck by dressing as a waiter, but this backfires when he has to go up to the head table and serve drinks. Fulbright recognizes him immediately, so Face spills wine on him and uses Shecky Greene to launch him over a table. I must’ve been drugged, because this cannot seriously be happening! Face drives off in the Corvette and warns the others that Fulbright is around and that McKeever’s guys are “armed to the teeth.” Hannibal turns to B.A. and Murdock and says “We’re gonna need something outrageous.” And they all start laughing.

McKeever isn’t impressed by the A-Team. “They’ve got another thought coming if they think they’re going to stop this load.” That’s because he doesn’t understand the power of the montage, which is what the team begins when they’re at… where the heck are they? Wherever it is, they then drive to the airport in a truck marked “Caution: Flammable.” B.A. drives up to McKeever’s plane and asks “Is this the flight to Cuckamonga?” McKeever says no, you’ve got the wrong plane. “I don’t think so, sucka!” Murdock and Hannibal jump out and start shooting; they shoot up McKeever’s ride and it blows up and McKeever surrenders. Then Face drives up in the Corvette, only he says Fulbright’s right behind them. And McKeever adds one more wrinkle: “There’s a bomb in that plane, it’s set to go off in three minutes!” For an evil guy, he’s actually pretty nice.

Murdock drops into a golf cart
It’s raining Murdock, hallelujah!

Murdock jumps in the plane and takes off, with the bomb’s timer ticking away; the rest of the team shoots up Fulbright’s cars before driving off. Murdock gets the plane up as high as he can, then parachutes out of the plane seconds before it explodes. He lands on the back of some guy’s golf cart, and asks “Mind if I play through?”

The team is back at the club somehow, even though Face has been kicked out and nobody else is a member. Murdock suggests Face start therapy with Dr. Richter, “then maybe he can bring you here!” Adrian says she and Frank are getting married; see, since the team let Frank take credit for getting McKeever arrested, he got the reward money and so now he’s accepted by Adrian’s smarmy mother. Which is a little weird: why would there be reward money for a crime nobody knew was being committed?

Shecky Greene and Hannibal
I pray every night that we’ll eventually see “Shecky Greene meets the Aquamaniac”

And why is the team at the club anyway? Ah, they’re re-doing the roast for General Fulbright. Shecky Greene is there again, and then Face walks up to him in his waiter outfit and hands him a note. Then Murdock and B.A. shoot up the room, while Shecky introduces the general’s old friend, Hannibal Smith. He gets up and says a few words about old “Bull” Fulbright. “Needless to say, we don’t call him Bull for nothing!” Fulbright can’t take it anymore and jumps up and starts choking Hannibal. Ha! The end.

This show was a sprawling mess in which the plot sort of exploded all around us. But it was a very entertaining sprawling mess: multiple golf cart chases, Bob Mckeever was good, Face’s attempts to enter high society were funny, and a Fulbright roast is too perfect.

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