On The Jazz
On The Jazz Newsletter: Volume 1 Issue N°1

Date: October 9, 1994
Author: Nicole Pellegrini
Download: otjv01i01.zip

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The totally unofficial A-Team electronic mail newsletter

Submission address: [email protected]
Administrivia: Nicole Pellegrini
[email protected], [email protected]
DATE: October 9, 1994
Greetings everyone! Well, it's finally here, the first issue. I think we've got a pretty good number of people here to start some decent discussions.

There weren't a whole lot of posts this week, so excuse me if I babble on a bit to get things going. Thought I'd start out by posting my top 10 favorite episodes list. I tried to narrow it down to 5 but I couldn't :-)

Sort of in order...

10. "Till Death Do Us Part" - I'm a bird I'm a plane I'm a choo-cho train. With Murdock in a wedding dress how can this one not make the top 10!
9. "Pros and Cons" I have just 2 words to say: TRR-ASH BAGS!
8. "The Sound of Thunder" Great plot, I thought, good
"serious" show, the one where they head back to Vietnam on the pretense of finding the person that can clear them.
7. "There Goes the Neighborhood" Hannibal as neigherhood watch captain? Oh no... One of my all-time favorite scenes is in this one: BA silencing his alarm clock with a gun :-)
6. "The Maltese Cow" - moo.
5. "Recipe for Heavy Bread" - never mess with the Golf Ball Liberation Front!
4. "Black Day at Bad Rock" They didn't get much funnier than this one.
3. "West Coast Turnaround" I prefer the title Operation Watermelon. Love what they do to Amy's car...can I get mine
remodeled like that?
2. "The Beast From the Belly of the Boeing" 1st season classic where everything that could possibly go wrong with Hannibal's plan does. The only thing that annoys me is that in syndication they cut out one of my favorite Murdock bits, when his psychiatrist tells him he been found sane ("Don't give away my room yet, Doc?")
1. The fifth (last) season opener. Ok, that's cheating cause that's really 3 episodes, but a great plot! In fact I thought all of the 5th season shows were great.

Well that's it from me for now...I've made a few comments after some of the posts too when I had something to add. BTW, I have a copy of the complete episode list on-line which I can include in future digests if people want it. Any votes yeah or nay?

until later,

Quote of the Week:
 "Ready to fold, spindle, and mutilate, Seargant?" 
           -- Hannibal to B.A. in "Pure-Dee Poison" 
Date: 94-10-04 17:45:30 EDT
From: [email protected]
Subj: Dwight Schultz
To: Onthejazz

Does anyone out there have a detailed bio on Dwight Schultz? I have one on Dirk Benedict and will post it later when I get enough time.
Ed. comments...
>Does anyone out there have a detailed bio on Dwight Schultz?

I wish I did! The only thing I know about him was that he mainly was a theater actor before the A-Team. And he was (still is?) married to an actress named Wendy Fulton, who was in the episode "Bounty." I think she was in a show called "Supertrain" or something like that, way back when.

As far as things he's appeared in other than the A-Team, here's all the stuff I know of:

Theatrical movies:
Date?? "Alone in the Dark" I've never seen it but I am dying to. Why? He plays a psychiatrist in a mental ward!! Talk about role reversal. All I know about this one is that it's a horror flick where he gets terrorized by some escpaed patients. It was on video a few years back but now I think it's out of print. Anyone have/seen a copy?

1989 (?) "Fat Man and Little Boy" He played scientist Robert Oppenheimer in a movie about the scientists working on the Atomic bomb project. Good movie, I thought.

1992 "The Temp" He had a really small part as an executive for this company where a chick is going around killing everybody. He gets it about halfway through.

TV Movies:
1993 "Victim of Love: The Shannen Mohr Story" He plays a guy who kills his wife to get the insurance money. Based on an Unsolved Mysteries true story, it's better than the average tv crime-movie-of-the-week (mostly because of his typically good performance). Does anyone have this on video?

I know there's at least 2 others he was in but I don't know the titles. One was a Perry Mason movie, the other was way back from when The A-Team was still on the air.

TV Guest Appearances:
Star Trek: The Next Generation: He appeared like 5 or so times as Lt. Reginald Barclay. Two of the episodes were called "Hollow Persuits" and "The Nth Degree," I don't know the titles of the others as I haven't managed to see them yet.

Anyway, that's all I know. Any additional info, please send it in!
Date: 94-10-04 21:05:26 EDT
From: [email protected]
Subj: Review of the A Team Series
To: Onthejazz

This review comes from Harry and Wally's Favorite TV shows. The authors are Harry Castleman and Walter J. Podrazik. The book reviews television series from A to Z. This review is directly quoted.....

THE A-TEAM (***) 60 MIN (96EPISODES & 2 HOUR PILOT COLOR; 1983-1987 NBC)
ADVENTURE with Mr. T as B. A. Baracus, George Peppard as Col. "Hannibal" Smith, Dwight Schultz as Capt. "howling mad" Murdock, Dirck Benedict as Lt. "face" Peckman, Melinda Culea as Amy Allen, Eddie Velez as Frankie Sanchez, and Robert Vaughn as Gen. Hunt Stockwell

A perfect vechicle for Mr. T. And one that he is so obviously pleased with that in real life he incorporates an allusion to his series character on the license plate of his flashy red Rolls-Royce convertable. It reads: "MR. TBA" - with "BA" referring to his A-Team name, B. A. Baracus.

Mr. T has good reason to be pleased. This could have been just another routine action series, propped up by a familiar hollywood veteran (George Peppard), some good character players (Benedict and Schultz), and Mr. T himself-fresh from his role as the fighting-mad challenger in the hit theatrical film Rocky III.

Instead, at its best, The A-Team offers something just a little bit different: a send-up of its own adventure genre, complete with a quirky mix of offbeat stories and personalities. This light approach is pretty well executed by Stephen J. Cannell's production company, whose roots reach back to other genre series done with such a touch, including BLACK SHEEP SQUADRON, THE ROCKFORD FILES, and THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO. In particular, The A-Team plays as a dead-on send-up of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.

To veteran TV watchers, the always-in-control, planned-to-the-last-detail routine of the Impossible missions force on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE has always been an especially ripe target for parody, and much of the A-Team seems structured with an almost delibrate disdain for their perfect execution. Both groups might triumphantly drive off in a mysterious van at the end of each story, but there are two completely different worlds at work.

For starters, the members of the A-Team are wanted by the government, not employed by it. They had been part of a crack commando squad in Vietnam in the 1970s that was falsely accused and convicted of treason in the last days of the war. but they promplty escaped from their maximum security prison and headed back to the states. There, in between bouts with pursuing army officers and MPs, they operate as modern-day soldiers of fortune.

As such, the A-Team charges for its services, rather than drawing from some blank-check government account. But, like all good fictional adventure heroes, the A-Team members waive their $100,000 fee often enough to make you wonder just how they ever balanced their books.

Perhaps the most distinctive difference between the two teams is that the elaborate schemes of the A-Team more often than not carry a sense of backyard improvisation.

Team leader hannibal Smith might begin an assignment with a plan, but usually has to adapt it to unexpected twists. in fact, his trademark line ("I love it when a plan comes together!") often carries more than a touch of irony. In some episodes the mission can't even begin until "Howling Mad" Murdock (a crack pilot who also happens to be clinically crazy) is sprung from the local psych ward; or until B. A. Baracus is tricked into taking a knockout drug so he can be loaded onto a waiting plane (he has a fear of flying); or until the smooth-talking Lt. Peck can con someone out of the cash or materials necessary for their transportation.

Even the hardware reflects this humorous spirit. While the Impossible Mission forces always seems to have the latest top-secret electronic hardware straight from the CIA's weapons warehouse, the A-Team usually has to make do with whatever is at hand (rolls of toilet paper, for instance).

And, in the ultimate caricature of TV adventure series conventions, despite all the guns and explosions in story after story, nobody really gets hurt. a car might careen, tumble, and crash, landing upside down....but the occupants will always be in one piece with just enough strength to pull themselves from the wreckage and run away before it explodes.

Unfortunately, after about two dozen really good episodes, The A-Team itself sometimes falls into the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE formula trap, grinding out generally interchangeable confontations with generic bad guys. But even then, its lighter tone manages to save the overall series, with such touches as unusual guest stars (including Mr. T's chort from the wrestling circuit, Hulk Hogan, and pop singers Boy George and Rick James) and in-joke media allusions (for example, Dirck Benedict, who had previously played Starbuck in BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, finds himself face-to-face with a man dressed in an alien Cylon costume).

For its final season, the A-Team swaps some of its FUGITIVE trappings (pursuit by the army) for formal entry into the espionage game. After facing a firing squad, they strike a deal to do some impossible missions for a rogue government agent, played by Robert Vaughn. This also provides the setup for a delightful tip-of-the-hat tribute to Vaughn's THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. days, a story called "the Say Uncle affair" (with guest star David McCallum).
The above is the opinion of the authors not mine (just a little disclaimer just in case it made anyone upset) Well anyway I hope everyone enjoys the reading.

Date: Tue, Oct 4, 1994 11:43 PM EST
From: [email protected]
Subj: A-team parodies
To: Onthejazz

There were two shows that I can remember that did parodies of the A-team. One was on the Benny Hill show, and was called the B-Team. The other was on Alvin and the Chipmunks, and was called the C-Team. Dave's watch was stolen, the guys meet up with Mr. T at a restaurant, and they concoct an elaborate scheme to get it back.

My favorite A-Team episodes were "The Road to Hope", the one where they go to Africa, and the one where they go to some South American country, B.A. gets hypnotized, and Hannibal utters the immortal phrase "gimme clips", which breaks B.A.'s hypnosis (under the word "eclipse").

Who played Amy, and what was her last name on the show?
-david hamilton
Ed. Comments...

>There were two shows that I can remember that did parodies of the A-team.>One was on the Benny Hill show, and was called the B-Team.

I love the Benny Hill show, but I don't remember seeing this one :-( Must've been funny. Do you remember the plot at all?

I remember Howard Stern doing a radio parody once in his typical bad taste. It was called the "AIDS - Team" about 4 gay men going around infecting as many people as possible. Really bad, even for Howard.

There was an issue of Cracked magazine that did a comic crossing the A-Team with the Love Boat. I still have it somewhere at home, I remember it being pretty good (Hannibal lighting his cigar with a flame-thrower, etc.) Anyone have scanning equipment? I might be able to find it and send it off to get scanned into a couple jpeg or gif files.

>Who played Amy, and what was her last name on the show?
Her full character name was Amy Amanda Allen (hence the nickname "triple A"), and the actresses name was Melinda Culea. I haven't seen her in much of anything since the show -- just a few guest appearances here and there.
Date: Thu, Oct 6, 1994 8:05 AM EST
From: [email protected]
Subj: Looking for this episode!
To: Onthejazz

Hi, A-team fans! Perhaps someone here will be able to help me. I've been looking for a copy on tape of the A-team episode guest-starring Boy George. If anybody has a quality copy and is willing to tape it for me I will most definitely reimburse you for your time and the shipping!

Fred Wu
[email protected]

Date: Fri, Oct 7, 1994 10:41 AM EST
From: [email protected]
Subj: Howling Mad
To: Onthejazz

Just a couple of days ago I saw Dwight Schultz in a movie called "Child of Rage". Dwight played a preacher who with his wife had adopted two kids. The girl was a homicidal maniac who stabbed her puppy with needles and pushed her brother down the stairs and mashed his had into the concrete. Only 7 years old! The movie had a happy ending though...
John P. LaRocque ([email protected])
********]|_______>___________/ "There are those who believe
         |_____ /       that life here began out there..."

Ed. comments...

John, did you see this or on video or on tv...? Ie, can I probably rent it at my local video store? And was it fairly recent or old?

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