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04-06-2021 12:00 PM - edited 04-06-2021 10:30 PM
Hi @vsm , good question. I like your term, "false note", that's it exactly!
WARNING ALERT (to those who don't know anything about the ending of the Fugitive; and don't want to know yet.) Avoid reading answer below!
Yes, @vsm , "false note" is right. You probably are aware of how the show (incredibly) hadn't planned on a "resolution" episode, and at the last minute had to scramble to come up with one. I think that shows in the casting of Diane Baker, as @Pearley mentions.
Kimble had had a relationship of sorts with "Ellie Burnett" (Suzanne Pleshette) from Stafford, but "Jean" (Diane Baker) was a Stafford cypher who appeared out of the blue, and didn't seem a good fit with Kimble. Through no fault of D.B.'s, the character, while well-meaning, seemed a bit callow and contrived. I agree with you that Diane Baker is an excellent performer, but they clearly didn't put any thought into who would be the ideal woman for Kimble to walk into the sunset with....
We've played the parlor game before of, who would that woman be? I thought he had a tender chemistry with Susan Oliver from the sail-making episode. There was definitely something with Janice Rule, in one of her Fuge appearances. There were a lot of undeveloped or half-developed relationships where you could see potential chemistry-- Antoinette Bower, Janis Paige, Norma Crane, the list goes on! I know I'm forgetting some favorites. Is there anybody you'd have liked to see with him at the end?
WARNING/ALERT -- DON'T READ IF UNFAMILIAR W/FUGITIVE ENDING
I agree with you, @oznell , as I did with @Pearley . My knowledge/memory of the show's plots/characters pales next to yours and @Pearley 's, so I can't say I have a preference. (I missed many episodes because each one left me so frustrated, in ways that other cliffhanger dramas (those with some development of regular characters and storylines) did not. But that's my problem -- not the show's.) What I can say is that ANY of the women with whom the good doctor had shown some kind of emotional connection, however undeveloped, would have been a better choice than DB's character. It was a complete fail, and eminently unsatisfying.
04-06-2021 04:50 PM
I just watched and enjoyed it very much. It was nice to see DJ as himself, smiling and laughing (and those dimples), he was so handsome. Pete Rugolo's haunting soundtrack along with the pictures from various episodes was very nostalgic. How could you not feel sorry for Kimble? I didn't realize that Bill Raisch was actually one-armed in real life.
I did laugh at that line saying Janssen had more women than Carter had pills!!
@oznell - thanks for posting this tribute.
04-06-2021 05:16 PM
So true, @vsm , why didn't they go back to one of the previous women he had a demonstrable spark with? There were so many, both on and off screen, ha. They undoubtedly were in a rush, since they hadn't planned on a wrap-up episode, or episodes. So the casting suffered, to our dismay. Love hearing your views, and hope like some of the others who've commented here, you'll keep joining us, as the spirit moves you, on the weekly alerts! You don't even have to have watched the episode under question, as I told some others, it's just fun to hear from other Fuge-appreciators...
Very glad you watched and liked, @twinsister ! Ha, ha, the reference "Carter's Little Liver Pills" in the video is not lost on us Baby Boomers....
My favorite parts, aside from that incredible music, were the candid comments from those who knew David Janssen. As I said, Diane Baker surprised me with her very discerning assessment of DJ, (she sounds very sensitive herself, and observant), and I thought William Conrad's salty, affectionate comments were so authentic.
04-06-2021 05:45 PM
@oznell. I have known for years that they originally weren't going to do an ending but I have never heard nor read that it was rushed, the reason you are giving for the hurried casting of DB and possibly others. Do you have a source for that? I'm thinking that isn't the case because the 2 part ending was aired a couple of months after the regular Fuge season ended so why the rush?
LOL @twinsister yes at all DJ's women, esp if he was shy! Imagine how many more there would have been if he was bold and aggressive!
I'd not known the story of Brian Keith breaking DJ's ribs before but had heard DJ himself on one of the talk shows talk about that classified ad to Kimble about a sighting of the one-armed man. Too funny!
04-06-2021 06:35 PM
"Fifty Years Ago 'The Fugitive' Series Finale Made TV History" by Ron Simon, Curator of Television and Radio, The Paley Center for Media @ "Paleyfest"
"..... Hastily, he (Quinn Martin) asked one of his lead writers George Eckstein, to craft a two-part ending in early 1967. Eckstein later admitted that some of the plot details were sloppy..."
Simon mentions the need for haste, because he says Quinn Martin had dithered, while debating back and forth as to how exactly to end the series.
"The Archive of American Television" also has some fascinating interviews, I believe, with key production players at "The Fugitive" discussing the rushed nature of deciding at the last minute to throw something together to give closure to viewers.
04-06-2021 07:26 PM
@oznell Thanks! I have watched some of those TV Archive videos with the people behind the show (Quinn M, Huggins, etc. ) and they are really interesting. Didn't recall anything about haste and sloppiness with the ending though so thanks for the above info.
04-06-2021 07:29 PM
Was Quinn Martin planning to just end the series with Kimble still on the run?
I had not heard that the finale was rushed and done sort of like a last minute idea.
04-06-2021 07:36 PM
@twinsister The "suits" were going to end it with a regular episode meaning Kimble just keeps running. There is a YouTube interview wuth one of the people (I want to say Leonard Goldberg or maybe it was Huggins) convincing the Suits that people were invested in the Kimble character and there had to be resolution. That person had to round up the sponsors for the ending himself to convince the suits. Go find it on YouTube in TV Archives. It is really interesting.
04-06-2021 08:05 PM
Possible spoiler alert for "Fugitive" ending, below!
To answer your question, yes, @twinsister , according to Ron Simon article, excerpted above. From our comtemporary perspective, it seems almost inconceivable, I suppose, that after all the audience involvement with the series, they wouldn't have "built in" a suitably thoughtful, momentous ending right into the story arc. But they didn't, and when the proponents of "closure" finally had their way, it seems they had to pull things together with less forethought than otherwise. Thus the more hasty, 'improvisatory' feeling of the results.
Nevertheless, at least we did get an ending, which may have flaws, but in my view is still better than thinking Kimble was still somewhere out there, running in perpetuity!
04-06-2021 08:32 PM - edited 04-06-2021 08:43 PM
I guess the "suits" were surprised at all the fanfare leading up to the finale and it's record breaking viewership! I can still remember that night so vividly. Also remember I was at work when I heard about DJ's passing and I was so sad.
Edited to add: I saw that video with Leonard Goldberg. Interesting and suprising to hear what the suits thought of the viewers.
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