On The Jazz
On The Jazz Newsletter: Volume 2 Issue N°22

Date: July 29, 1996
Author: Nicole Pellegrini
Download: otjv02i22.zip

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***** Now in it's second year of publication !! *****

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Administrivia: Nicole Pellegrini
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*Home of the On the Jazz Newsletter Archives**
DATE:   July 29, 1996
ISSUE:  22
Hi gang!

News is the name of the game this week, so let's get it started...

Time to recap all the latest tidbits reported via the mailing list and elsewhere the past two weeks.

A-TEAM MOVIE UPDATE: Lots more rumors but little hard facts to report still.
There is now a web-page at
for rumor-control on the movie, and the latest report included these details:

>Mel Gibson is the current top-choice of the producers for the Hannibal role.

This rumor has been heard elsewhere and may have been confirmed by Cannell
himself in a recent interview.

>"[The producers] would like the other three main actors to reprise their characters, *but only in cameo roles.*"

It seems pretty definite that they are *not* planning on using Dirk, Dwight and T as the main characters - but if they will be appearing in their original roles, what does this mean about the movie? That it *won't* be featuring the same "A-Team" that we know: Hannibal, BA, Murdock and Face - but a completely new Team of characters instead? The plot thickens (and, IMO, gets more disappointing by the minute)...

Now, if you have a thing or two to say to Cannell about the movie and are a subscriber to America On-Line, then ***PLEASE*** show up Tuesday for

Tuesday, July 30th at 5:00pm, Stephen J. Cannell, LIVE in the ABC CyberPlex on ABCOnline/America Online. Keyword: ABC Live.

Unfortunately I'm going to be on a business trip and unable to make the chat, but I'd really love to see some OTJazzers show up and try to get a few questions through the moderators. If there's enough of us there at least *some* of our questions - and hopefully a few comments about what we'd like to see done with the movie - will get through.

In any event, I'll post the transcript of the session in the next newsletter for our non-AOL members.
"ALASKA," starring Dirk Benedict and Charleton Heston, hits the theaters this week in the States, I'm told. Look for more details and reviews a in coming issue of the newsletter. Anyone else in the Philly-area planning on seeing it?
According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, noticed by [email protected]:

"Mr. T was ordered to pay 4.9 million dollars to two men who sued him claiming they developed the famous mr T mohawk and jewelery image that we all have come to love. He is vowing to appeal."

Another one of our subscribers noted that the judgement was by "default," because T and his lawyers never showed up or responded to the suit.

The model vans I ordered for the group have arrived - twelve in total - that was all the models the store had. They are Matchbox-car size and on the original package card. This week I will contact those who were the first to write me to reserve a van, and hopefully evenyone who wanted one will get one.

Also, I *still* have a stack of A-Team comic-book "trade paperbacks", with all three issues of the comic under one cover. The coloring is off on a few of the pages in the back, but other than that they are in fine condition. These have been sitting around here since Frank originally found them *months* ago, because people never sent in their money to buy them. So, they are still for sale. $3 each plus postage takes however many you want - there's at least about 10-12 here still. Contact me for details.

Plans for our new fanzine, "The A-Files," are moving forward and we're looking towards a late-fall publication. This 'zine will feature original fiction and more, all crossovers between 'The A-Team' and 'The X-Files.' The final deadline for contributions has now been set at **OCTOBER 1, 1996** and the 'zine will be in print by November. So, if you've been stewing over any story ideas, would like to contribute some artwork, or wouldn't mind proofreading, please contact me before the deadline. Also, I'm already accepting material for "Plans Scams and Vans 3," which will take any A-Team based fiction/articles/ etc. I am aiming for an early 1997 publicaton date for PSV3, but please contact me ASAP if you think you might be interested in contributing. The sooner we get material the sooner it will "come together."

That's all for the news, now on to a feature I promised in the last issue...

"The Plan" is SJC's first novel, which has just recently been released in paperback. Is it worth the cover price? This reviewer says definitely, "Yes!"

Cannell once mentioned that one of the major influences on his writing and style since his early TV-days was author John D. MacDonald (who, incidentally, happens to be one of my absolute favorite authors as well). MacDonald was one of the greats of the mystery/crime-novel genres, his work always a stand-out because of his incredible ear for dialogue, ability to create fleshed-out and memorable characters, and also the strong sense of "good vs. evil" morality that would play itself out in his stories. MacDonald's influence on Cannell was clearly evident to me while reading this novel in all of the above regards, yet Cannell's unique style that we all know from his television writing and production was also quite clearly on display.

The underlying plot of the novel is a straight-forward political thriller: the mafia has been planning an elaborate scheme to run their own candidate for president, to act as their puppet. When their original pick for the candidacy has a change of heart (and then an encounter with some hungry sharks), a new candidate must be found quickly, and the campaign begun in earnest. That's where ex-TV executive Ryan Bolt comes into the picture, hired to shoot a "documentary" on the new candidate, Haze Richards, and help create the media stir necessary to land Richards in the White House. When Ryan backs out, keeping a potentially campaign-ruining video tape in his custody, he becomes Enemy Number 1 of Mickey Alo, his former prep-school roomate and new boss of the New Jersey mafia, also the ring-leader of the Richard's scam.

Along the way Ryan joins forces with a rag-tag group that have also fallen into the ill will of Mickey and his associates: Lucinda, Mickey's sister; Kaz, an Ex-Fed who has made the Alo family his obsession for the past few decades; Cole Harris, a TV reporter sacked after running too hard on a story about the mafia controlling the media. Together and separately they work to stop "The Plan" while running from Mickey's hired assasins, and later what seems like the entire East Coast police force.

Lots of fast-paced, Cannell-style action? Yes, especially in the final third of the novel when everything hits the fan. The first third of the novel focuses primarily on the Richard's campaign itself, and is fascinating in that it is not difficult to believe that such a bid for the presidency could really take place. Haze's "issue-free" platform, focused around the vague sentiment of "making America work," being the political "outsider" trying to break the Washington beurocracy, brings to mind the strategies of Ross Perot in our 1992 elections, and also the popularity of such non-candidates as Colin Powell in this election year.

Great Cannell dialogue? Absolutely. I was laughing out loud at numerous passages, and reminded more than once of the sarcasm and over-the-top humor of current mystery-genre authors such as Carl Hiassen and Laurence Shames.

Any complaints? Well, the character of Lucinda was definitely the weakest of the "Team" - besides her apparent beauty and occaisional ability to make a witty comeback, she was a rather typical 1-D Cannell heroine. And occaisionally Cannell goes a bit *too* overboard on his descriptive language, espeically early on in the book. But this can be excused, I think, as simply a bit of over-enthusiasm on his part for his new chosen career as a serious author.

Overall, I give it an A-. I enjoyed it enough to go out and buy Cannell's new book, "Final Victim," in hardcover, something I only do rarely and when I *really* have enoyed an author's previous work. Look for a review of this novel in the future, and in the meantime treat yourselves to a good summer read and get a copy of "The Plan."

[Final note: if you *really* want to treat yourselves, go pick up a few John MacDonald books too - any of his Travis McGee series, "The Empty Trap," "The Girl, The Goldwatch, and Everything," "The Only Girl in the Game," and far too many other wonderful stories to mention. Even if you don't normally like mysteries, you *will* enjoy these books and understand Cannell's affection for MacDonald as well.]

Last issue's question was:
>What did Hannibal call his "hobo" disguise character, which he used with some
>resulting confusion in the episode "The Road to Hope"?

The answer is JACK DANIELS. Congrats to Andrew and Jennifer for their quick correct responses. This issue's question is:

>What was the name of the company Tawnia had "infiltrated" in the
>episode "Battle of Bel-Air"?

Send your answers in to me and receive much praise and recognition in the next newsletter!

"Medallions" by Rita Ractliffe, typos by me.
(Originally published in "Everything But the Kitchen Sink 5," Markalaine Press)

(NOTE: Rita mentioned to me about this story: "I wrote this to explain all of Hannibal's medals - both Korea and Vietnam...had to research every medal- every last one of them! Was interesting...")

Hannibal sat, up in the musty attic, listening to the patter of rain drops on the roof, the cloudy grey day precluding doing much of anything. They were on a rare visit to Kid Harmon, Dana, and little Johnnie. The guys were downstairs by the fireplace, enjoying the enforced rest. Hannibal could hear the faint sound of voices wafting up the stairs, and smiled at the homeyness of it. His fingers were idly playing with a bunch of small brightly colored ribbon bars. He'd found them quite by accident while looking for some old family photo books. He seemed lost in thought as he looked at the small, emblematic representations of his life and deeds.

He picked up the purple one, let his thumb slide over it, feeling the small silver star, then looked at it for a moment, remembering the day he was shot down. The guys had been there - saved his butt, otherwise he would've still been there - buried. He remembered the surprise of the Claymore exploding, no chance to react, and being thrown aside like a ragdoll. He'd been semi-conscious, unable to move. VC snipers had started using him for target practice. BA had come charging out like a mad bull, scooped him up and carried him back to the ditch where the rest of the squad lay, hiding. He still didn't remember too much about it, other than the medic had forced him to be taken back to base, due to a large shard of steel buried in his arm. It had broken the bone and cut a vein, sealing its own bloodflow, and they had no way of taking it out - AND stopping the bloodflow - in the field. He remembered how he'd protested, just wanting to get back in action, not to leave his men up for grabs to the VC just over the hill. But it had been taken out of his hands. He shook his head slightly, remembering the pain and the aggravation he'd felt. He'd gotten a long leave for it, but coming back home for a visit had been uncomfortable for everyone. Jan's husband, Jack, in particular, had hated and envied the handsome soldier, and didn't bother to hide it. Hannibal had finally gone back to 'Nam, where he felt he belonged. He pursed his lips at the bittersweet memory.

He looked into the satin-lined box, shook it around. The silver and bronze stars lay at the bottom, each with their own memory...'conspicuous gallantry and valor in action" in Vietnam. Hannibal had never seen it that way. He'd just done what everyone else did. He merely survived where so many hadn't. He really hadn't wanted the small merits, but others higher than himself had insisted. "Accept them in memory of those you think earned them more, then," he was told. It made sense, and so he did.

The small, plain Korea Service and National Defense medallions lay to one side, plainer and less gaudy than the others, but potent reminders of his early youth in the service. He'd been young and raw and eager. Like so many others, he felt inspired at being able to go out and personally strike a blow for freedom against "those Commies." It had been a brutal awakening. Korea had been unlike any war before it. The vagaries of the Oriental mind became more apparent as it dragged on. The drain on everyone, the emotional stress, all combined to exhaust even the most eager recruit. The cold - the never-ending cold - had gotten to the young lieutenant more than anything. Hannibal was from good midwestern stock, raised in the snowy drifts of the upper Great Lakes states, but the Korean cold had been an insidious rot that slowly ate away your resolve. He'd thought once that duty in a hot-spot, warm jungle and the like, would be heaven compared to that. He smiled ruefully to himself. Little did he know he would get his wish so resoundingly.

A voice came up the stairs. "Uncle John, diner'll be ready in about fifteen minutes, OK?"

Hannibal answered cheerfully, "Sure thing, Kid. Be down in just a bit."

He shook the box again. The small bars rattled around, tumbling over each other. He spotted the standard issue, the Joint Service Commendation, Bronze and Silver Stars, the Soldier's Medal, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Capaign with bar, Distinguished Service, US Army Commendation, National Defense, Armed Forces Expedition. Once they had represented a world of honor and integrity to him. Once - when he was still somewhat idealistic. Then he saw IT...the medal that had been the worst ache in his heart.

He reached down, took the simple blow andsilver grosgraine bar out of the box, set the box down. He looked at the medal for a long moment. The Congressional Medal of Honor. The highest award a grateful nation could bestow on its warriors. He'd never felt he earned this one either. Escaping the POW camp had been a simple fact of life; something you did just because. But somehow the brass had felt that because he'd brought out three other men with him, he'd done something special. He'd always been a little bemused by that - if the self-same brass could have only seen the times when the Team had to carry *him* along, he being so very wasted and sick with dysentery and from the residual abuse he'd suffered as a POW - they might not have been so quick to honor him thus. He'd protested -- loudly -- that on this one, the guys deserved equal honor. None of them could have done it without the others. But the military had only wanted one figurehead, and he'd been chosen.

He smiled at the memory; after the award ceremony, he'd been interviewed - asked how it felt to be finally out of the war. Hannibal had looked askance at them. He wasn't out of it...he still had six months to go on his current tour. He was then informed that it was standard operating procedure that Congressional Medal of Honor recipients did not go back to battle - they'd done their share, and would stay at home and be an inspiration to other young men going into battle. Hannibal hadn't liked that idea at all, and his answer had been to re-up for yet another tour. He had nothing Stateside to really keep him there - to come home to. Mom and Dad were dead, Jan was 'happily' married to Jack (although sometimes he wondered if that was really true), and since Jack hated his guts, going to them had never been a possible consideration. He'd missed seeing Kid grow up, but that was the way of the world. It was more politic to leave them alone. She had her baby; it was enough. She didn't really need him to be around.

Besides, he'd hated the idea of breaking up the Team. They worked well together and none of the guys had any reasons to go home either. So he'd gone back to fight again. This time, however, things turned out in a way that none of them would have ever dreamed of. That damned mission to Hanoi...it seemed like a bright ray of light at the time. A way of doing something positive to force the end of the war (never mind the sheer, unadulterated jazz of it!) Then everything had screwed up, the war came to an end *while* they were in Hanoi, and they found themselves criminals, condemned by the very government they'd served so well. What good did Congressional Medals of Honor do you then? He remembered his journey back "home" - to face trial...

...Hannibal sat in his seat, manacled hand and foot to it, staringmorosely out the plane's small window at the endless water below. At one point he shifted his position, having to grapple with the manacles to do so. Face was seated next to him, watching him; the long trip over the Pacific Ocean had given him plenty of opportunity. Since they'd been arrested on their return from the Hanoi job, Hannibal had been reticent, silent, holding it all in. Face sensed that he still didn't understand - even yet - what the hell had gone wrong. All he knew was Morrison was dead, and he and the boys were going to jail for obeying their orders. There was something more wrong here than usual and for once Hannibal had no answers, no comprehension of what had happened. He felt betrayed and conversely, felt that he'd betrayed the guys who had merely followed his orders. He was still confused and hurt about it all; and mad as hell because he was now going to face 10 years in the brig for serving his country too well. If Hannibal had ever been truly bitter in his life, now was the time. They faced a short, sweet "trial" at Bragg and then would be incarcerated for a very long time. //Not necessarily,// Hannibal thought, the beginning of a plan forming in his mind. Had he been guilty of treason against his country, as charged, then fine - he'd have taken his lumps without a word of protest - but he'd be damned if he'd give in meekly to *this* travesty. He wasn't sure how the guys would react to his plan or if they would even want any part of it. But no matter - he had determined that he was not going to stay around for the final act - not the way they had it written right now...

...and he hadn't. The guys elected to go with him, smarting every bit as much at the injustice of it all. Because they'd given their trust, and *faith* so willingly, Hannibal had always felt afterwards a particularly great need to watch out for them, take care of them. They were almost like the "sons" he might have hah, had things worked out differently.
A noise from downstairs shook him out of his melancholy reverie. Sighing regretfully, Hannibal rubbed his fingertips lightly over the amassed collection of 'honor' one more time, then wrapped them in the tissue and convered the box, put it away. He retreived the book he had come up for originally, adn started to open the pages. His reverie was broken again by Kid's voice hollering up the stairwell.

"Unca' John. dinner's ready. Come on down."

Yeah, he was on the run - branded a fugitive and felon by the very people who had so honored him once upon a time. Where was the sense of it sometimes? But that was OK; he still had Kid, Dana and little John, his 'real' family; and of course the guys, the 'family' he'd made for himself, and Maggie Sullivan, who was as much a dream come true as this old warhorse could wish for. It was enough...more than enough. He smiled to himself as he went downstairs to join the crowded kitchen group, hearing the hub-bub of animated voices.

Little John had come to the stairwell to get his uncle, and Hannibal bent down, scooped up the youngster in a bearhug. "God Bless America..." he said softly, without any bitterness. Face stood around the corner and heard him.

"What was that?" he asked, curious.

"Nothing," smiled Hannibal as he lifted the baby to a more comfortable position and went into the dining room, his face wreathed in smiles.

<The End>
That's all for this issue...stay tuned for more in the future and until then, stay on the jazz!

Quote of the week:
Decker: "My Christmas present is *you*, Smith."
Hannibal: "You have expensive taste."
                               (from "Battle of Bel Air")

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