Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
rob + = email

2018 October 17 • Wednesday

Another item of note on the Television's Lost Classics Volume Two Featuring Four Rare Pilots DVD is this adaptation of Erle Stanley Gardner's Cool and Lam series.

I wasn't familiar with them but I enjoyed the pilot quite a bit. Bertha Cool and Donald Lam have a detective agency. To sum them up as briefly as possible, they're both super smart, she's obsessively frugal and he's short.

This is going directly against the grain of the private detective character of the time and thank goodness for that. These two are the proverbial breath of fresh air.

The pilot episode is introduced by the team's creator himself.

Lam does most of the leg work in this case and his diminutive stature make him an easy target for a couple of much larger mean guys. He gets beat up a lot and the image of this sweet but diminutive fellow with some big bruiser looming over him is alarming.

Lam made me laugh out loud in one such theme when his antagonist says something about Lam being little and smart and Lam replies that he had a chance to be tall and stupid but blew it.

On the plus side, Lam is an extremely quick thinker and gets quite a bit of positive attention from women, at least in this episode.

Bertha Cool is also a great character and her fretting about saving every dime is consistently amusing. Both characters are very well played. The real mystery to me is why this series wasn't picked up. Was it too good? Too off beat?

The other point of interest here is that the pilot was directed by Jacques Tourneur.

To be honest, if it didn't have Tourneur's name on it I don't think I would suspect that it had been directed by such a luminary. It's perhaps a bit more shadowy than such television programs usually are and while it's solidly put together, its visual components didn't seem out of the ordinary.