One Step Ahead of the (F)law

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The stanzas, below, synopsize the core storyline of Roy Huggins’ brainchild; a.k.a. The Fugitive; the Sixties era crime / drama series; originally airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. over the ABC-TV network; these days, episodes playing out on Mondays at the ungodly hour of 2 a.m. over the MeTV network.

By the bye, by poem’s end, do “stay tuned” for my, in standard prose, analysis of how and why, as a bygone kid, I could so readily identify with a grown-up, fictional fugitive from justice.

The Fugitive

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The off beaten path, Anytown homicide!
Doctor is shocked to learn his wife has died
Further stunned to be Cops’ suspect, prime
For, he saw Man, minus arm, flee the crime

While Doc can account, for his own whereabouts
His alibi, backed by none, stirs Cops’ doubts
With his fingerprints / mugshots now taken
He’s railroaded and feeling quite shaken

Soon at the mercy of hangman D.A.
And twelve jurors too easy to sway
The “Guilty!”, verdict the foreman doth state
Seals the Not Guilty. convicted Doc’s fate

Sentencing Judge prescribes chair with High Volts
But, train wreck derails plans; for Doc’s Death Row Jolts
Now, at large, he dyes hair, runs and hides
Flags down the buses, hops boxcars, thumbs rides

The folks he bumps into, wherever he goes
Also have down-on-their-luck tales and woes
Some shelter him well; others call cops to tell
He’ll pull up stakes, STAT; and then Run Like Hell

So, dual manhunts; daily duel, around the clock
Doc hunts down One-Arm; while Cop hunts down Doc
When clashes, face-offs oft go head-to-head
Who’ll get caught first? Who’ll live? Wind up dead?

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  • As a tween / teen I could readily relate to The Fugitive because Dr. Richard Kimble (actor David Janssen) and I were both misjudged and harassed; both on the run from bullies; him fleeing police Lt. Phillip Gerard (actor Barry Morse); I fleeing Elementary and Middle School classmates (bad actors all).
  • We both got morphed, against our will, into outcasts; forced into desolate, hopeless, social isolation.
  • Years later, when these 150 episodes got rerun in syndication. I began to better identify with Kimble’s palpable despair re his need to trade off his professional career (pediatrics) for menial, dead end, low wage, thankless jobs. After all, circumstances beyond my control necessitated deferring my own professional aspirations (broadcasting); to do my time in Retail Hell; a metaphorical death sentence, eventually commuted to 30 years.
  • Lastly, generally speaking, are not most of us doing our level best to stay one step ahead of that entity, akin to the relentless, death sentence enforcer Lt. Gerard; a.k.a. the Grim Reaper?

Beyond my above comparisons, we mustn’t overlook the simultaneous undercurrent coursing thru Huggins’ core storyline; which surfaces to serve as a consciousness raising message to society…

  • The Death Penalty serves no other purpose other than indulging the mindless vengeance of latter-day cavemen; (mis)leaders, (f)lawmakers and their birds of a feather constituents! Capital Punishment has no place within any aspiring to civility society.

At present 24 of America’s 50 states still endorse capital punishment; namely, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

All of which reminds the mindful…

How many of the convicted souls are absolutely innocent of all wrongdoing and, worse yet, how many have been put to death?

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Footnote: MeTV needs to reschedule The Fugitive to a prime time slot. While I’d watch this quality drama every day of the year, once per week would suffice to serve as a reminder to society that there’s still so much more of our work to do; so many wrongs we’ve yet to right.

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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4 Acts + 1 Epilog = Must-See Drama

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From September 17, 1963 – August 29, 1967, TV viewers tuned in Tuesday evenings to watch an ABC network offering that, in this man’s opinion, was (still is) the best written and most captivating, crime drama ever aired.

For the first few seasons, its 10 to 11p.m. slot was way past my bedtime. But, eventually, as a teen, I got to join that vast audience; among them, my own mother, who never missed an episode. I could easily understand what inspired such loyalty. Who, among us, could not feel instant empathy for the protagonist; as introduced by the program’s narrator…

“The Fugitive, a QM Production … starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, an innocent victim of blind justice. Falsely convicted for the murder of his wife … reprieved by fate when a train wreck freed him en route to the death house … freed him to hide in lonely desperation … to change his identity … to toil at many jobs … freed him to search for a one-armed man he saw leave the scene of the crime … freed him to run before the relentless pursuit of the police lieutenant obsessed with his capture.”

William Conrad

Granted, series creator Roy Huggins’ premise would’ve been rapidly shot down had the program debuted, today. Indeed, the anonymity, so vital to Kimble being able to “fly” beneath Police Lieutenant Philip Gerard’s radar, would’ve been rendered virtually impossible by the speed of light Internet, 24/7 news reportage, social media and, last but not least, post 9-11’s, ubiquitous, intrusive security cams, facial recognition tech, etc.

Additionally, had rail travel been in decline, as it is today, the freight trains would not have been Kimble’s oft chosen mode of travel / means of flight. Indeed, the very train wreck that had granted him a new lease on life, would’ve never happened, in the first place. As for today’s commercial airlines? Forget it! He would’ve never even dared to cross paths with uncompromising TSA personnel.

Beyond that, I must credit The Fugitive’s, innocent-man-sentenced-to-death theme for playing a significant role in establishing my staunch, anti-capital punishment sentiments.

Scant hours ago, the MeTV network aired an episode featuring a classic Kimble / Gerard interaction; one that was so clever, my first reaction was to find it on YouTube and offer you the link.

Considering how most of us are still idled / social isolating, anyway, this clip will provide some welcome relief from the monotony. Once you get wrapped up in Richard Kimble’s world, the 52 minute playback time will fly by. However, there’s a much better reason to watch.

I believe you’ll find the subplots uplifting. They showcase Kimble’s worldliness, which makes it second nature for him to befriend his Apache coworkers. And, in the end, it’ll be these Native Americans’ bilingualism; the utilization of their native tongue that’ll provide an unexpected twist to the storyline.

Also, the good doctor’s compassionate nature, will prove invaluable as he performs some figurative surgery. In the end, he’ll heal a thick-skinned, mean-spirited, tightfisted U.S. Congresswoman; help her reclaim her own heart.

Without further ado, I’ll now bid you, “Adieu” and invite you to click over to YouTube to watch an intriguing installment of The Fugitive, the episode titled: The Iron Maiden.

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Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!
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