Mother Goose is Running For His Life


SUMMARY

An old man watches a toy train going in circles, and angrily refuses some kind of business deal on the phone. "You'll have to excuse me, I'm very busy," he hangs up, and resumes watching the train, which then sort of gently blows up.

It seems this is only the latest in a list of other such mild acts of sabotage at "Mother Goose's" (the old man's) toy company, and he hires the Angels to find out who's responsible. Somebody's pressuring him to sell, but he doesn't want to. The Angels suspect someone's working from the inside, but Mother Goose insists his employees are one big family. “Ladies… so lovely. Oh, to be 50 again,” their senior client sighs, wistfully ogling the team before leaving the office. Uh..

Sabrina infiltrates the toy company posing as Jennifer Collins, an aspiring toymaker from Hong Kong (why?). She's taken to Mother Goose's toy-filled workshop and introduced to Gordon Roclair, a brash and creepy designer. He proudly shows her some of his rejected designs for horror toys including a guillotine, gallows, and what sounds like a Grand Theft Auto prototype. Disturbed, Sabrina later describes him to the other Angels as a "wacko".

That night, Bosley and Sabrina are puzzled to find a wire-tapper shot to death inside the empty and locked toy room. (We saw him get shot by a toy cannon, but they didn't.)

Kelly and Kris meet the dead guy's needlessly hostile girlfriend at his funeral and pay her $500 to learn that he was working for a mobster named Phelan. Observing Phelan's well-guarded compound from the treetops, Kelly and Kris wonder how to infiltrate; Kris decides (naturally) to pose as a novice hang-glider and "accidentally" crash land on his property. Her drop in is well-received by the mobster, who invites her in for a drink.

Kelly finds the dead wire-tapper's replacement, Orwell, in a pub and talks a good enough show to become his assistant even though he doesn't need one. Together they break into the Mother Goose building to bug the toy room and the old man's office.

By morning, however, the Angels relocate the bugs. Orwell and Kelly, listening from a van full of audio equipment, hear Sabrina telling Roclair that there are designs for an amazing new line of toys hidden someplace in the building. If they can find and steal the designs, she promises to go into business with Roclair.

Back at the mob compound, Kris is being made to pose in a skimpy outfit with her hang glider to be sketched for a toy design. She sneaks into the house and eavesdrops on Roclair explaining how he rigged the toy cannon to kill that guy. Phelan threatens Roclair to find Mother Goose's toy designs and bring them to him.

A wrench gets thrown in the gears when that mean girlfriend tells Orwell that Kelly is a cop. Joining her in the wiretap van, he pulls a gun and orders her to get behind the wheel. Kelly intentionally runs a red light to attract the attention of a motorcycle cop; Orwell tosses the gun out the window. The unsympathetic cop doesn't seem to believe Kelly's plea for help that she's being kidnapped, until Bosley shows up to hand Orwell back his piece.

That night, or something, Roclair and Sabrina "find" those designs hidden in the toy room - where Kris is also hidden in plain sight, disguised as a giant doll (constantly risking getting caught in order to do cute things like wink and blow gum bubbles). Before Roclair can sneak the designs out to one of Phelan's henchmen, Kris switches them with bogus designs for kitchen appliances. He rigs the cannon again on his way out.

An armed Sabrina, Kelly and Bosley stop Roclair, telling him he's screwed because they switched his plans. In a shameful display, he manages to get the drop on three-quarters of the armed Townsend Agency merely by throwing a briefcase.

Phelan and henchmen show up and start shooting; Roclair runs in front of his own rigged cannon, gets scared, and faints. After the others apprehend the mobsters, Kris explains that Roclair wasn't shot because she plugged the barrel with her chewing gum (simply disarming it wouldn't have been adorable enough). Tee-hee!

Back at the office, Mother Goose gives the Angels their Hasbro dolls as a token of appreciation.

BACKGROUND CHECK

Mother Goose is Running for His Life Episode #42 Season 2, Episode 20 Airdate: Feb 15, 1978 Writer: Del ReismanRonald AustinJames D. Buchanan Director: George McCowan

WHAT'D YOU THINK?

Rate this episode:

CURIOSITIES

• Why does every older guy on the show say something about wishing he were 50 again when he sees the Angels? Why is it always 50? That's still too old for them. (Okay, maybe Sabrina.) Whatever this means, way to end a professional conversation on an icky note. He seemed like a nice benign old man up until that point.

• What vantage point are Kelly and Kris looking at Phelan's compound from? Did they climb trees or are they just on a hill?

• Where did Kris get a hang glider on such short notice?

• Does Charlie always provide them with wads of $100s to wander around with in case they need to bribe someone?

• Charlie "checks Orwell out" and comes up with a file photo that happens to be from the previous scene where Kris met him. Amazing. Why does Charlie need to show them a photo if Kris just saw the guy herself?

• Did Kelly not mention to the others that she saw the toy cannon move when she was breaking into the toy room? If not, what was the point of showing us that Kelly noticed it? Don't wanna risk letting the Angels actually figure something out, right?

• Does Mother Goose have that big framed portrait of himself on his desk in case he forgets who he is?

• Those designs for "a whole line of amazing toys" seem to amount to 2 or 3 sheets of paper.

• Since when would bubble gum stop a bullet?

• Kris' decision to add a little girl (not in a Beamish way) or cartoonish personality to the doll costume was odd considering the whole point was to pass as an inanimate object. Why does she keep it up even when she's alone?

• Kelly either forgets she's an orphan, or cons Mother Goose out of an extra free set of dolls for her "niece".

• Remember that Charlie bimbo with the toy train in Circus of Terror? If there's such a thing as "an appropriate episode" for that scene, this was it.

FIGHTS LOST

KIDNAPPINGS

SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS

SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS

DAYS TO SOLVE CASE (?)

LOCKS PICKED

TURTLENECKS

CHARACTER DEATHS

ACTION

The scene in which Roclair defeats Bosley, Kelly, and Sabrina (armed) by throwing a briefcase at them is disgraceful. Kelly's kidnapping was mildly exciting, and she got out of it in a smartish way by running a red light to attract the police. Although the cop that pulled her over was so dumb, it looked like she might have gone to jail if Bosley hadn't intervened.

FASHION

Sabrina dresses with an Asian flair to augment her lie about working in Hong Kong, including one dress with a startlingly high slit. Kelly puts her own spin on the black turtleneck burglar ensemble usually reserved for Sabrina. Kris gets her famous scene costumed as a giant Raggedy-Ann doll, and we're no experts on appropriate attire for the sport of hang-gliding, but we're pretty sure Kris' jumpsuit is closer to it than... I truly don't know how to describe either part of that outfit she's posing in. When allowed to dress herself, Kris spends the rest of the episode draped in layers of ugly fabric samples with knee-high boots.

RAGGEDY ANN

Even if she did a perfectly good job of standing still (instead of chewing gum, winking, and making cute faces), Kris posing the rag doll seemed like a flawed idea at best. Isn't there a pretty big risk that a guy who works in this room every day might notice the giant doll that isn't usually there? Worse, isn't Roclair the designer of many of the dolls in this room, which is all the more reason he should be good at noticing?

Worst - please tell us Kris isn't supposed to be specifically impersonating this not remotely realistic doll seen at the beginning... which is standing in the same spot.... with her arms positioned like this... ugh. Well, that at least explains why she chose such a hard position to hold her arms for a long period of time. (Although considering how radically different she looks, she might as well have pulled up a chair.) Worst of all, she didn't even hide the doll she's apparently impersonating - she's just standing next to it.

charlies-angels-mother-goose-kris-doll

Kris, you chose cuteness at the expense of effectiveness, and you're lucky you got away with this at all. (The big ugly clown thing really would've been the only appropriate choice to impersonate, in that it was at least human-shaped, and her face would've been easily disguised with clown makeup.)

SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS

Relatively low screen times for all three Angels, as they mostly take turns individually in scenes. Though the cast is spread thin, still only about a quarter of this episode is devoted to Angelless scenes, which is exactly average.

  • KELLY
  • KRIS
  • SABRINA
  • BOSLEY
  • HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 77%

THOSE LOOK LIKE US!

The Hasbro dolls shown in this episode are actually from the Charlie's Angels merchandise line released in conjunction with the series. They sold well, but the cast apparently had to sue before seeing a penny of royalties.

Within the Angelverse it seems to be just the opposite: Mother Goose promises Kelly, Sabrina and Kris that they'll receive royalties from the sales of their dolls, but how on earth is he expecting to sell a single one? The Angels aren't famous; why would anyone ever buy dolls of random private investigators? It's like buying your kid an action figure of your favorite bank teller. And why wasn't there a Bosley doll? And if those dolls were supposed to have been custom-made based on the Angels in this episode, why are they dressed in such oddly specific outfits they weren't wearing? (Why did those dolls have such random and non-canon outfits, anyway? Was it that hard?)

WAS THERE A RULE AGAINST SUSPENSE?

They made it sound like Mother Goose has many other designers, yet Roclair is the only one we're even introduced to, leaving no question that he's the bad guy. (Ok, we're thankful they didn't spend time on red herrings considering the actual bad guy wasn't interesting.) Plus, why'd they show us the toy cannon shooting the wire tapper guy? Sabrina and Bosley were left with an okay mystery (how did he get shot alone in room that's locked from the inside) that could've been a little something for us to wonder about, too. They pre-ruined what could've been the only remaining mystery of the whole episode, and instead left us to watch the Angels take an hour to figure out (eavesdrop the solution to) something kinda dull that we already knew.

HANG-GLIDING KRIS

Kris' decision to "accidentally" drop into the bad guys' compound from the sky must be one of the Angels' all-time most ridiculously random ruses. For infiltrating the bad guys' headquarters, Hang Gliding Kris was quite effective; as a doll design, however, we have a few questions.

Are there not already dolls of people? Can't it just be a generic blonde girl doll - why does it have to be so Kris-specific that it requires sketching to look like her? How'd they happen to supply that outfit? Isn't that outfit a little odd to go on a doll for children? Why does she have to pose like that with the hang-glider - are the doll's arms going to be fused in that position? Is this going to be a "girl posing with a hang glider" statuette and not a doll? Unless she's fully poseable and comes with a working little hang glider (which it really doesn't seem like they're planning) what fun would this be as a toy for any kid?

REPEAT OFFENDERS

Gilbert Green: Tony Phelan also played Renaldi from Rosemary, for Remembrance.

Don Knight: Orwell later played Ober in Island Angels.

Hollis Irving: The secretary plays pretty much exactly the same role in Counterfeit Angels.

George McCowan also directed Lady Killer, Consenting Adults, Angel Trap, The Vegas Connection, The Sandcastle Murders, The Jade Trap, Cruising Angels, and Three for the Money.

Ronald Austin also wrote The Sandcastle Murders, Diamond in the Rough, and Unidentified Flying Angels.

OUR TAKE

Holly's Rating: 4 stars Kris as the totally believable life sized rag doll thing ranks among my favorite Angel disguises and is classic Kris.

Anna's Rating: 4 stars I rarely want to watch or think about this episode, for the same reason I don't want to order "Moons Over My Hammy" at Denny's: it's too annoying to say that name out loud, or in my mind. The stupidity of this title is actually pretty good indicator of its content.