On The Jazz
On The Jazz Newsletter: Volume 2 Issue N°5

Date: November 27, 1995
Author: Nicole Pellegrini
Download: otjv02i05.zip

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The totally unofficial A-Team electronic mail newsletter
***** Now in it's second year of publication !! *****

Submission address: [email protected]
Administrivia: Nicole Pellegrini
Please use the following addresses for subscribe/unsubscribe
and back issue requests:
[email protected], [email protected]

*NOTE* It is now possible to subscribe JUST to the newsletter and not receive messages sent out through the reflector. If you wish to change your subscription type, just email me.

The A-Team Homepage(s):
DATE: November 27, 1995
Greetings again everyone,

Well, after my computer decided to crash halfway through this newsletter, I'm hoping to get this thing written up without any more difficulties. And yes, it's a jam-packed issue this week, folks! So tread lightly...

First, a belated

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!! (and many more!)
to Dwight Schultz, who had his 48th birthday two days ago, on November 25.

In Dwight-related news, there is now a catalog available of audio tapes of almost every edition of the UFOs Tonite radio program, which Dwight frequently co-hosts. Which alos, apparently, may soon be broadcast on certain AM radio stations instead of just the Cable Radio Network. You can check out the UFOs Tonite web page at
for more details on which nights Dwight was or wasn't in studio. To get a copy of the catalog, just email [email protected].

Dirk Benedict will be appearing in this Thursday's episode of "Murder, She Wrote" (that's November 30), on CBS. I know this message went out over the reflector but I wanted to make sure our newsletter-only subscribers found out in time about it.

Been a while since we've heard anything from the T, but it looks like he's getting back in the spotlight again. He made a recent appearance on the Howard Stern show (though I have yet to hear this personally), and from December through February of 1996 he will be appearing as the "Genie With-An-Attitude" in a stage production of "Aladdin" at the Palace Theater in Manchester, Great Britain. Tickets are supposedly available, ranging from 6 to 15 pounds. If any of our British subscribers actually get to see this, please, give us all a first-hand report! I'd also be eternally grateful if someone could snag me a playbill, and any posters, ads, news items about the production they might come across.

I *think* that wraps up the main news items, so I'll move on to the answer to last issue's

>What was the code message B.A. sent to Murdock when he, Hannibal, and Face
>were captured?

The "message" was the time "Sixteen minutes past six."

The answer to this week's question can be found in a certain episode involving logging and the search for BigFoot:
>What was Leo Bell so famous for?

Valerie, I will be very disappointed if you don't remember *that* one! :-)

This issue I'm pleased to present some actual, original A-Team fiction from one of our subscribers, Laura Michaels. She has graciously allowed me to reprint here some of her pieces, which appeared originally in various (now out-of-print) fanzines. The first one is a very short piece, but interesting in that it relates to the recent thread on the reflector about the team and firing lines...
Reprinted from On The Jazz #9 by Deborah Okoniewski This takes place during "Trial by Fire" and refers to events in "Children of Jamestown".

by Laura Michaels

Templeton Peck looked over the walls of his room again and at the bars. He began to remember about the time they first started to make some real money and a reputation as mercenaries. That's all he seemed to do, think over past situations in his life, talk,... or have nightmares. No amount of talking could con himself out of this nightmare.

Amy had just joined the Team. They had been trapped then too and about to die. He remembered what they'd all told Amy, "Accept death." B.A. had said, "It gives us the edge." He looked over at his friends and saw how differently they were reacting now. Maybe it had been a long time since then and longer since Nam. They had sort of come to think of themselves as indestructable, forgotten what real danger was, or maybe, they weren't in such real danger then.

He just couldn't get over the change in reactions since that job. Were these his friends? He could hear himself telling Amy, "Accept death. It calms you." He was anything but calm. He couldn't get over the way he was feeling either. All the time, it felt like it wasn't real, wasn't happening, but he just couldn't escape and wake himself up from this nightmare.
Next issue, you can look forward to part one of a longer piece from Laura which I just received today (thanks!) which should get the interest of you "V"-fans out there, "The Visitors vs. The A-Team."

Finally this week, a review by me of a fanzine which I picked up while at ConRad just about a month ago. I finally finished reading recently. Because I know the author/publisher said she had a few more copies available for sale, and would consider doing a second printing if there was sufficient interest, I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss it here for those who might be interested...

"Nightmare: An A-Team Novella" by Rita Ractliffe.
Published 1990.
For information on availability and current cost, contact Rita Ractliffe, 15500 Erwin Street, #297 Van Nuys, CA 91411 Because of the adult content of the 'zine, it is not available for sale to anyone under 18 and an age statement is mandatory when inquiring.

One of the most common genres in fan-written fiction is, and it seems always will be, the hurt/comfort story, wherein one of the main characters is seriously injured (mentally, physically, or both), and the other characters provide whatever comfort and help is necessary. Some actual A-Team episodes which fell at least to an extent into such a genre were "Curtain Call" and "Without Reservations." In fan-fiction, it often seems that the more an author really likes a character, the more pain and suffering they get put through. If that's the case, then "Nightmare" author Rita Ractliffe adores Hannibal Smith more than anyone I think I've ever come across. Kidding aside, this is an intense, emotionally draining excursion into what happens when the unflappable Colonel Smith suddenly finds himself, for once in his life, in a situation where he is not in control, and how he struggles to deal with this afterwards. As Rita states in her introductory comments, "This is not the silly, clowning, slapstick A-Team that you grew used to seeing on the tube. They have their light moments and that was their charm. But the reality was that these were veterans - fighting men - and would have residual effects of that experience."

Set during the fifth-season of the show, the basic plot involves a suicide mission Stockwell has given the guys - the last one that will earn then their pardon - rescuing a man from a Vietnamese Prison Camp, someone who had been involved in one of Stockwell's operations. They rescue the man, but in the heat of their escape they are forced to leave Hannibal behind, and in the hands of one Colonel Dien, who just happened to have been General Chao's second-in-command at the prison camp where the guys had been interred during the war (see "Recipie for Heavy Bread"). Dien attempts ruthlessly to break Hannibal to find out the name of his commanding officer, and to pay him back for the humiliation he suffered when Hannibal escaped from the camp all those years ago. And also, because Hannibal had refused the sexual advances Dien had made towards him while at the camp.

While the rest of the guys struggle frantically to mount a rescue mission with little help from Stockwell, Dien pushes Hannibal (and Hannibal, with his usual smart mouth and atittude, pushes back), until Dien finally resorts to one method of torture that Hannibal had not been prepared for - he rapes him. Later, in an attempt to discourage any rescue missions, he arranges for a fake "execution" of his prisoner, and then sends Hannibal off on a jungle march to weaken his spirits even more and further complicate any rescue attempt.

The Team is loathe to accept the fact that Hannibal may be dead, so they mount an all-out information gathering mission through the seediest parts of Bangkok, and eventually manage to learn of Hannibal's status and that he had, after a period of time, been returned to Dien's camp. In their eventual assault on the camp, they manage to free the Colonel and a few other prisoners. But even after the rescue, they have a long struggle ahead of them - the Colonel may not survive his injuries, and even if he does the mental tramua he has suffered may take an even longer time to heal, if it ever will.

As I stated to begin with, this story is no fun-and-games. The description of the brutalities is disturbingly graphic, definitely the most realistic I have read in any A-Team fan story. This should not be too surprising, though, since Rita has put a tremendous amount of effort into researching this work, talking to Vietnam vets who had been POW's and hearing just what had happened to them. Maps, a glossary, and various documents on Camp Regulations help set the tone of realism. The writing is tight and moves, generally, very quickly. Rita has a strong sense of not just Hannibal's but all of the Team members' characters and voices. Much of the dialogue can easily be heard in the reader's mind as if it were actually being spoken by Hannibal, B.A., Face, and Murdock, and even Dr. Maggie Sullivan, who of course comes to Hannibal's help while he makes his difficult recovery. Their relationship is well-drawn and becomes a major focus of the second half of the story.

The side-plots involving the other team members keeping themselves amused - and sane - while trying to stay by Hannibal's side is well done as well. B.A. attempts to help a young Amerasian boy who looks to B.A. as a strong father-figure, while Face finds comfort with a pretty young information-dealer. Murdock tends to a garden-full of stone idols he has collected, while struggling with the guilt of feeling responsible for leaving Hannibal behind to suffer at Dien's camp. Many of the secondary characters introduced for the story, including former prisoner Doctor Hue, are convincingly drawn as well.

Other plusses: some occaisional moments of unexpected humor to lighten the mood and allow the reader a bit of fresh air now and then. And,a welcome plus to this reviewer at least, the inclusion of one gay character who is sympathetic (unlike the sadistic Dien and some of his guards) and earns Hannibal's trust, even after the attack (no, it's not one of the Team members, don't get your ire up...)

Minuses: Not many. Mainly, I could have used a bit more desciption of the attack on the camp to rescue Hannibal, which seemed to go by a bit too quickly. But I know how difficult it can be to write really convincing action sequences, so it's not a major quibble. Also, while the exploration of Hannibal's character in the second half of the story is interesting, I think some more work on the side-plots to break things up occaisionally would have been welcome.

All in all, would I recommend it? Certainly, if you are interested in a "serious" A-Team story and have a good stomach for some of the more brutal passages. Last I checked Rita was selling the 'zine at $10, plus postage, and coming in at 135 pages of CONDENSED text, you certainly get your money's worth, size-wise. Last I heard there was at least one, possibly two sequels to this story in the works, involving the team going back to 'Nam (again!) searching for MIA's. I'd certainly be looking forward to reading them if they ever get finished!
*Whew*! I do believe this issue is over and done with, folks, so I'm closing this one up and hope you've found it interesting and informative.

Until next time, amigos,
Quote of the week:

"Doctor Stockwell, I presume?"
                    (Hannibal from "Point of No Return")

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