Charlie reports that their new client, a Mr. Montaigne, has found the maximum security building at his research facility blown, and two canisters of libidrium (a space age fuel) stolen. For national security reasons, the Angels need to find the canisters before they can be sold to evil foreigners, and get them back safely in the hands of the NASA officials at the Pentagon.
Upon inspection of the crime scene, Kris searches for "nice, easy clues", and Sabrina spies a set of muddy tire tracks seemingly created by a very old car, and Bosley handily recalls that an antique car rally happens to be taking place nearby.
Bosley gets a police mold of the tracks and consults an expert who explains that the tires could only have belonged to a vehicle dating from the 1920's. So, to infiltrate the Great American Antique Auto Rally, Charlie supplies the gang with an old-timey car and cute Keystone Kop outfits which are essential to the investigative process.
Before playing dress-up, Kelly establishes her cover as the owner of a new and exciting automotive magazine, and in order to get inside information on the rally, claims to be doing a full-cover story on it and thus needs to get in tight with the event director.
Sabrina persistently and abrasively questions Carl Nichols, an uptight entrant who gets even more cross when she tries to peek under the hood of his car. Kris wanders through the rally snapping polaroids and gathering information by getting hit on. Bosley carries on a typical Bosley-style romance with another entrant named Martha Milton, who, while she has no actual bearing on the case, provides a very engaging pastime for Bos.
Kelly's contact, the rally director, is shot by bandits as he prepares to show her the race's sign-in sheet. Kelly steps over his corpse and takes off after the shooters, but loses them in the crowd.
Kelly takes the rally sign-in sheet from the dead man's trailer and it reveals that some of the entrants' arrival times have been tampered with. They conclude that since the race route travels the California coast and down towards Mexico, the libidrium cores could very likely be hidden within one of the competing cars, which could easily be smuggled across the border and into the hands of the evil foreigners.
On race day, the team slips into their costumes and continues their investigation. Sabrina's ensemble, complete with nightstick, only serves to heighten her already irritating manner as she returns to harass Carl Nichols and his vehicle. Ex-con Carl finally confesses that he wouldn't let her look under the hood because he's using a rigged engine in order to win the upcoming pointless race. Kris continues to be cutely vexed by her ill-fitting hat until she's caught poking under the runners of a suspicious car - the bandits' car - where she spots the two libidrium canisters strapped beneath the carriage. The bandits, mistaking Kris for an actual police officer, bustle her into their '29 Cadillac and hold her hostage as they pull up to the starting line.
Kelly:"We're detectives, Mr. Nichols, REAL detectives."
When Kris doesn't show up at the refreshment stand to meet Kelly, the team becomes concerned and launches a search of the area - luckily, they spot a bound and captive Kris struggling in the back seat of the '29 Caddy. Bosley, Sabrina and Kelly "borrow" Carl's souped-up car to catch up to the speeding kidnappers, already on the run. Kris continues to experience hat frustration.
A fast-paced, but not-terribly-exciting (or serious) "Bonnie and Clyde" style car chase alongside the railroad tracks culminates in the Angels forcing the opposing vehicle off the road, then arresting the bad guys and saving Kris.
A wrap-up scene hastily explains that the crooks were using the race as a cover to get away with the libidrium (we already knew that), and, for once, Bosley's elder love interest does not turn out to be a criminal.
• Could that plain chain link fence at the beginning be any less electrified?
• Why does Sabrina specifically call Bosley over to look at the tire tracks - does she think Kelly and Kris are too young/dumb to know antique cars exist?
• What's with the way Bosley sorta falls in through the door when Sabrina opens it?
• When Kelly and Kris meet up and compare notes, they look closely at a list of arrival times, which has a bunch of snapshots stapled to it. In other shots, the piece of paper Kris is holding doesn't have any pictures on it.
• Kelly saved a $500 bribe by indirectly causing the bribee to get shot. Thrifty!
• You can see camera crew reflected on the cars in more than one scene.
• All the Keystone Kop uniforms have a badge with a seven-pointed star. When the bad guy points his gun at Kris, the close-up shows a traditionally-shaped police badge.
• During the car chase, the bad guys fire way too many shots without reloading.
• After the bad guys are halted, watch Joe (pink hat) get out of the car and dive behind something for cover - in the very next shot, he's jumping out of the car again.
• What's with the groovy Frenchman accent Sabrina adopts for one line of dialogue in the office?
BAD GUYS BEAT DOWN
SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS
SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS
DAYS TO SOLVE CASE
This is one of those episodes that gives you the feeling it was only written as an excuse to get the Angels into themed outfits. All three (and Bosley) spend most of this hour in Keystone Kop uniforms, which is kind of cute and fitting, but they could have done just as well in street clothes. The gag about Kris's hat not fitting is wrung dry after the first couple of references.
Wardrobe Repeat Kelly's coat from The Sandcastle Murders makes another appearance, and Kris wears this same suit again in Angels in Springtime.
The Sandcastle Murders
Angels in Springtime
Bosley romances antique car aficionado and rich widow, Martha Milton. You never truly suspect her of being the villain, but it's still a relief that she isn't. It seems that she wants him to help her spend some of her riches, but he says he doesn't want to be a kept man. However, he is interested in helping her spend "just a few" of her many bucks, and that seems to be the extent of their relationship.
SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS
This is one of the most evenly-balanced episodes ever, and one of only 6 where Bosley has more screen time than any Angel (only by a minute, though).
- HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 78%
The car chase/shootout at the end is too cutesy to make you worry that Kris is in any actual danger, even though the bad guys actually are murderers. It's surprising that they don't just shoot her, because she's really annoying them. The lone Angel bullet of the hour is Kelly firing a warning shot into the air, which is kinda disappointing after the bad guys fired so many at them.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Did you know that (very-recently-former) President Gerald Ford visited the set during the filming of Antique Angels? We learned this from actor Rick Casorla, who plays his first of 5 Charlie's Angels roles here as Joe Marshall, one of the bad guys who kidnaps Kris. Read the whole story!
RECYCLED PLOT ALERT
This episode is pretty much just Hellride, but with an antique theme slapped on to justify novelty wardrobe. The bad guys should think of a new way to smuggle stolen goods out of the country.
This week’s bimbo is actually recycled footage from Angels on Horseback (whose gimmick was playing Charlie’s accountant) which is why he never acknowledges her presence. If you have to recycle, why not just leave her out?
Joseph Hacker: Carl also plays Kris's psychic love interest, Eric, in Haunted Angels and the worrisome ex, Randy, in Angels at the Altar.
Rick Casorla also appeared as weird/bad guys in Haunted Angels, Pom Pom Angels, Angel's Child, and Angel on a Roll.
Ken Scott: Slade later appeared again in Toni's Boys.
Sandy Ward returns as Dan Abner in Pom Pom Angels.
Leon Carrere also directed Magic Fire.
Lee Travis, writer of this episode, appeared as Too-Tall Paula in Angel Flight, Joan Wells in Angels in Vegas, Eleanor Case in Love Boat Angels, and cranky Jessica in Chorus Line Angels.
Joshua's Rating: Can an episode an episode get five stars just for the sake of quirky adorability? Well, whether it can or not I’m giving it the full five.
Although not a true season finale and whether the whole episode is a rehashed Hellride or just a chance to put the cast in themed outfits it’s one of the episodes that just puts a smile on my face.
Production value wise—the cast and crew seem to put in so much effort into it from the “antique” Angel music to the actual use of antique cars. Other highlights: Bosley’s love interest is not one of the bad guys for a change. Kris has issues with her hat. Jackie’s voice is a little off perhaps it’s a cold but she still pulls off this episode. Oh, and watch how the bad guys get through the gate in the beginning of the show the old “how would you like to make $200 fast by appearing in my movie" routine. Shows today don’t set up for the criminal act any more. It’s straight to the getting shot or bopped from the back to get what the bad guys want. So criminals using a car rally to smuggle stolen goods it’s a generic plot that again I have to give a five for sheer adorability.
Anna's Rating: Another one I tend to lump together with the other lackluster late Season 2 adventures despite it having my favorite trio. It's okay, but definitely not the note they should've ended the year on - this belonged tucked away somewhere in the middle of the season as filler between two better episodes. I guess I'll just be thankful they didn't stretch it to two hours just for the sake of being a finale. Be sure to already be in a good mood if you want to tolerate Kris's too-adorable hat crisis.
To add one positive thing, I have to appreciate the chemistry seen in scenes like where Bosley and the Angels are all together in that hotel room. It's not that anybody does anything particularly great, in fact many of their lines are boring or kinda bad, but they're exchanged in a way that makes me believe they know each other. The David Doyle / Kate Jackson dynamic, for example, is something you might take for granted until you see how much it's lacking with Shelley Hack or Tanya Roberts. On the other hand, look at Kate Jackson forcing laughter at Cheryl Ladd's ill-fitting hat and tell me she's not wondering if it's already too late to get out of contract for Season 3.
Joann's Rating: Most fans find this a dull one, but Angels in Keystone Kop uniforms and all those beautiful depression era automobiles saves it a little for me. The plot runs similarly to that of Hellride in that someone is trying to use a car route (at an antique car rally) to smuggle what turns out to be two cores of libidrium (a space age fuel) intended for NASA. There is no such thing as libidrium. When I checked, Google asked me if I meant Librium, which is used to relieve anxiety, usually due to alcohol withdrawal. Heck, I’d smuggle that too. Of course the drama climaxes with a Dillinger-esque car chase.
You know there may be problems with an episode when so much time is spent on the beginning crime, and the incessant Keystone Kop music doesn’t help any as it may be second only to Marathon Angels in its level of mania inducing reactions. Also, sometimes I think we need to remember that this is the 70s and a lot of cinematic gimmicks new then are things we see regularly now. The cute fade from color to black-and-white (so we get a feel for the times) montage of car shots may have, back then, had people thinking, “Oh wow, how cool, look at that”, whereas today one’s reaction is more, “Ugh, ok, I get it.”
So, Bosley romances an aficionado. Kris and Kelly eat popcorn. The Angels dress up in Keystone Kop costumes (not sure why), and Kris’ hat is too large. The joke runs a little long, but it’s Kris, ergo cute. There are worse things to complain about. Kris gets caught. (She’s wearing the funny hat, whatta you expect?) By the way, the fuel core (the reason why we’re here) is under the car the smugglers are driving frantically and unsafely away with, with Kris in it. Let’s face it, they’d all be dead, except there is no such thing as libidrium.
Brolly's Rating: Sure, this episode isn't going to blow you away but the whole old-timey/Keystone-Cop-shtick is too dang cute.
Holly's Rating: Gotta love Sabrina maxing out her annoyance level as she grills suspects, and naturally the Keystone Kop outfits make for a fun finale. Plus, it is heartwarming anytime Bosley gets a chance at love. Thankfully this woman wasn't the usual double-crosser.
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