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Poster: Mr. Television
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Park Place aired in April 1981 on CBS.
Patterned after such successful urban "gang comedies" as Barney
Miller and Taxi, Park Place was the story of a motley group of lawyers
working at a New York City legal aid clinic. Into the Park Place
Division of the New york City Legal assistance Bureau came the poor,
the ignorant and the downright obnoxious-all seeking free legal help.
In charge, more or less, was senior attorney David Ross (Harold
Gould). five young attorneys made up his staff: Jeff O'Neill ( David
Clennon), the naive eager beaver; Howie Beech ( Don Calfa), the
status-seeking opportunist; Jo Keene ( Mary Elaine Monti), the
aggressive women's libber; Mac MacRae ( Lionel Smith), the
wheelchair-ridden black Vietnam veteran; and Brad Lincoln ( James
Widdoes), the inexperienced young Harvard graduate trying to obtain
some recognition from his peers. Frances ( Alice Drummond0, the
efficient but spaced-out secretary, and Ernie ( Cal Gibson), the hip
receptionist, rounded out the cast.
A Review at the New York Times
TV: 'PARK PLACE,' NEW CBS COMEDY
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
TV is apparently determined to stuff most of its new series into a New York City setting. On the drama front, ''Nurse'' does its Thursday night rounds at a fictional New York hospital. As for situation comedies, Monday's ''The Two of Us'' offers the host of a Manhattan television talk show coping with her new English butler, and tonight's two new entries -''Checking In'' at 8 P.M. (which wasn't available for previewing) and ''Park Place'' at 8:30 P.M. (which was) -have Big Apple addresses. William S. Paley might justifiably expect a thank-you note from Mayor Koch.
''Park Place'' takes place in a legal aid clinic the way ''Barney Miller'' takes place in a police station. That is, the business at hand is secondary to the collection of characters, both the weekly regulars and those who wander into a single episode. The boss in ''Park Place'' is David Ross (Harold Gould), a rather distinguishedlooking man who oversees his staff of looney underlings with a calm suggesting intense desperation. When all else fails, he looks out the window at a nearby building in which a young woman seems constantly to be undressing.
The other workers include Howie (Don Calfa), who is looking among the huddled masses for the Constitutional case that will be his ticket to a lucrative partnership; Frances (Alice Drummond), the secretary with a compulsion to announce that ''Jesus loves you''; Ernie (Cal Gibson), the receptionist who witheringly gives waiting clients a number ''much like in a bakery''; Aaron (Lionel Smith), a disabled Vietnam veteran who is skeptical about Frances's religious message; and Jeff (David Clennon), who is strange only in that he appears to be sensible.
With this core group deftly introduced and established, the premiere episode is constructed around a Mrs. Rothman, played deliciously by Florence Stanley. Arriving at the office, she announces sweetly that she has just murdered her husband. This isn't a police station, of course, but she explains that ''I wasn't sure what was proper.'' An avid televsion watcher, she is especially fond of Lawrence Welk and ''S.W.A.T.'' Why did she shoot her husband? It seems they had an argument over whether to have chicken or a roast for dinner. As she reasonably argued, the chicken was already thawed.
The devising and producing of ''Park Place'' is credited to Reinhold Weege, who also wrote the first episode. Peter Bonerz's direction unearths enough appealing daffiness to make the series at least promising.
Tonight at l0:30, WNET-TV, Channel l3, is carrying ''Broken Arrow,'' a half-hour documentary out of San Francisco station KQED-TV. Produced by Jonathan Dann and Stephen Talbot, the program recently won a George Polk Award for local reporting. The words Broken Arrow constitute the Pentagon code for a nuclear weapons accident. The subtitle of this report is: ''Can a Nuclear Weapons Accident Happen Here?'' Specifically, here is the San Francisco Bay area.
The producers quickly establish that the area is indeed a major storage and shipment site for nuclear weapons. They also get the Pentagon to acknowledge that the number of previously admitted accidents, pegged officially at l3, was too low. The new total is 26, plus others that ''cannot be discussed for political or security reasons.'' Retired Admiral Gene LaRoque, who used to command ships carrying nuclear weapons in the bay area, warns bluntly: ''We can expect to have a nuclear accident of a very severe nature certainly in the not-too-distant future.''
In the process of compiling the documentary, the producers and their cameraman, Fred Cook, were offically detained by the Navy for filming outside the Concord Naval Weapons Station. Their film was confiscated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. After six hours, however, it was determined that national security had not been violated. The men were released and the film was returned, defusing a First Amendment confrontation. ''Broken Arrow'' raises a number of important security and information questions. They are still being answered, in San Francisco and Washington.
For more on Park Place go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_Place_(TV_series)
� Date: Sun April 22, 2012 � Filesize: 48.0kb, 273.5kb � Dimensions: 1047 x 1350 �
Keywords: Harold Gould & Don Calfa