On The Jazz
On The Jazz Newsletter: Volume 3 Issue N°7

Date: January 3, 1997
Author: Nicole Pellegrini
Download: otjv03i07.zip

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

Reflector submission address: [email protected]

Administrivia: Nicole Pellegrini
Please use the following address for subscribe/unsubscribe and back issue requests (do NOT send them to the reflector address):
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Also use that address if you wish to change your subscription status to receive the newsletters only (or go from newsletter to news + reflector).

The A-Team Homepage: http://www.seas.upenn.edu/~pellegri/ateam.html
*The A-Team On the Web: http://www.xs4all.nl/~jmm/a-team/
*The A-Team Hawaii Page: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~kaonohi

*Home of the On the Jazz Newsletter Archives**
DATE:   January 3, 1997

Current newsletter + mailing list subscribership: 152
Current newsletter subscribership: 175

Another "jazzy" year is here, and so it's time to pick up with all the latest related to the Team...

CONTENTS:NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS: Upcoming fanzine release/Web page in the news/Mailing list survey

UPCOMING FANZINE RELEASE: By next issue, schedule permitting, I should have final release information on PLANS SCAMS AND VANS 3, our latest 'zine of original A-Team fan-fiction. This is definitely our best and most diverse issue to date. An electronic version will also be available, although it may not be ready at the same time as the print version (I need to work out the details of my conversion software first!) There will also be more information on tentative deadlines for submissions to our other upcoming 'zines for '97.
WEB PAGE IN THE NEWS: Two national publications made mention of the A-Team Homepage recently, as listed here.

NEW YORK POST (Sunday, December 22, 1996) - "TV Sites that get you with the program"

Photograph: Mr. T and George Peppard, from the episode "Pros and Cons" (yes, you can call me crazy for recognizing which episode). Caption reads: "So what do A-Team page creators think of one who doesn't like George Peppard and Mr. T? They pity the fool!"

"As the number of cable channels slowly creeps up toward the 500-channel utopian goal, the dilemna of what will fill the hours of programming time has created a resurgence of what I like to call cult, or kitsch, TV.

"Shows that haven't been seen in years are suddenly airing daily on channels like fX and Nick at Nite. If you're feeling a bit rusty on the plot twits and characters of your former favorite shows, chances are you can learn all you want to know, and then some, on the Web.

"Most current shows have their own official sites, and many cult shows have several unofficial homes. A sample range of them and what you can expect to find on these sites follows:

"A-Team Homepage http://www.seas.upenn.edu/~pellegri/ateam.html

"Who could forget the underground commando team that brought us our weekly cup of Mr. T?"

"Obviously not the diehard fan who created this site. If you're rusty on theplotline, go to FAQ for the character stories, titles of episodes, and even their order. 'Behind the scenes' includes gossip from on-set fights and why the show was cancelled, as well as the present fate of several characters.

"Marla Heasley, who played Tawnia, sent in an e-mail one day when she accidentally surfed onto the site. Not content with mere trivia-swapping, the site creators staged a Columbia House Campaign Page and succeeded [Well, not yet - n] in making the distribution company carry A-Team videos - a model case of online activism."

(Article goes on to continue with 4 other pages described...)

theWEB MAGAZINE (January 1997, page 105)
Listed in the TV/Radio Hot Five section
"Remember when a man named Mr. T won a bouncer competition back in the early 1980s, propelling him to international stardom and eventually, onto 'The A-Team'? Now fans can band together to discuss past episodes, swap pictures, suggest new plot lines, and read timely news about the cast. Did you know that an 'A-Team' movie is planned for 1988? That Mr. T has been ill for some time? Bet you didn't even know you cared. Here's fan homage at its best."
The first of two surveys in this issue. Those of you on the message reflector list are aware of the discussion of how/whether/and when this list might switch from its current set-up at umich to a fully automated "listserv"-type list. While still holding out some hopes that we might find a sponsor for free somewhere, I have also investigated what sort of options might be available via commercial services for doing this.

Personally, I am in no rush to change the current set-up, provided JJ at umich-or in his absense in the future, someone else - is willing and able to maintain the subscription list. However, I feel it is important to look at other alternatives for the future, or if people *really* feel it is worthwhile going automated. The benefits, of course, are the abilites to offer digest-mode for the reflector (having all messages for a day sent in one message, instead of instantaneously), and also automated sub/unsub requests. The minus is, if we don't get a free service, we would be looking at a fairly hefty (likely $100-200/year) fee, which I would want to somehow raise via either subscription costs or preferably small, voluntary but not mandatory donations.

So, I would really appreciate people telling me their opinions on this topic. Simply cut out the following survey and e-mail it back to me.
Please mark an "X" by any statements you agree with, and feel free to add additional comments if you desire.


- I think the list, as currently operated, is just fine. I don't think anything should be changed.

- I think it would be a good idea to switch to an automated list server, and would be willing to donate at least $2-3/year to finance the list.

- I would support switching to an automated list if neccessary, and donate $2-3/year, but I do not think we need to change the current set up right now.

- I would not support changing the list to an automated server if it would involve a charge of any kind (either voluntary donations or a mandatory subscription fee.)


- If a digest-mode of the mailing list was offered, I would switch from newsletter-only to digest.

- I would be willing to pay (again, $2-3/year) for having this service available


This editor would like to extend my sincerest thanks to Marla for not only agreeing to be interviewed for this newsletter, but for providing such thoughtful and extensinve replies to the questions posed by myself - and suggested by some of our subscribers. And now, on to the interview...

OTJ: In the years since "The A-Team," what other projects/work have you been involved in?

MARLA: After "The A-Team," I did the "Love Boat," and I starred in a feature called "Born to Race" with Joseph Bottoms and Mark Singer. I was in the "Marrying Man" as Paul Reisers wife and I did a television show called the "Highway Man." I guess you could say that I neglected my career for an eight year relationship, in which I was living out of California, so during that time my work was infrequent and very sporadic. I then returned to Los Angeles and got in the jewelry business, which I design and manufacture. I am planning to create a website in the near future to show my line.

OTJ: Did you find it difficult entering a popular, well-established hit show like "The A-Team" as a new character?

MARLA: No, at first I did not find it difficult, I was too excited about getting work. However on my first day of shooting I did become a bit nervous (to say the least) due to George Peppard - God rest his soul. My call was for 8:00am for makeup and hair, I arrived at the set at around 7:45 and I arrived in the makeup trailer at 8:03. George was sitting getting his makeup done and he said to me "you are 3 minutes late." Then he asked me to come to his trailer after I finished makeup and hair, he wanted to talk to me. So when I was done, I went to his trailer and he proceeded to tell me how the he and the rest of the Team does not want a girl on the show and that the show does not need a girl. He told me that the only reason I was on the show is because the network believed the show needed a girl for the ratings. He said we all have very strong and well-developed characters and if you want to keep up with us you better be just as strong. He said he did not believe that a woman could keep up with them and he will still try to convince the network of that. After that, for about a week, he watched every scene that I was in, even when he was not in it, which was very discomforting for me. After that first week, George was very sweet to me. It was a delight working with him.

OTJ: Can you describe a bit about what it was like working with each of your co-stars - George, Dwight, Dirk, Mr. T? Any outstanding memories about each of them: Or about Stephen Cannell and the production crew?

MARLA: Most of them kept pretty much to themselves but they were all very nice.

Mr. T loved children, he was great with them. He was very religious. He would listen to religious tapes every day. He was very a very nice man, even though he played tough.

Dwight is incredibly talented. I believe he had the most difficult character to play and he did it extremely well. He was very quiet, which many actors are.

Dirk, very talented as well, has a great sense of humor. As I am sure you already know, he fought cancer and beat it. He has a great outlook on life. He was on a life-long macro-biotic diet. He is very committed to his health and well being. What he has accomplished takes a very strong will.

After the first week on the show, I never had any difficulty with George again. On my last day of filming, George took me aside and for about a half hour he reminded me what he said to me the first day and he told me that if they were going to have a regular girl on the show it would be me. He told me it was nothing against me. He said that I had been very professional but again, a girl was not needed as a regular. He was actually so nice about it. I guess it was his way of apologizing.

The stuntmen were amazing. The crew was great. I could not have asked for a better crew to work with. The makeup artist on the show, Vee Neal went on to receive an Academy Award for makeup on a feature film.

After the show, I became close with John Ashley and his lovely wife Jan. John is a great man. He was wonderful to me. My first audition for the A-Team was with John. He and his wife are remarkable people.

Stephen Cannell had a boat very close my parents boat in Newport Beach, California. I would see him every once in awhile and say hello. He was always a very kind person. Everything he has achieved, it is greatly deserved. He has been blessed with talent.

OTJ: Have you stayed in contact with any of the crew or cast?

MARLA: I still keep in contact with John and Jan Ashley, but I have not kept up with anyone else. I have run into some of the crew and stuntmen on other shows since then. I ran into Dirk twice in a period of two weeks, about three years ago at health food restaurants. He seemed to be doing great. I ran into T in a jewelry store a few years ago.

OTJ: Do you feel that your character, Tawnia, was given a fair chance to develop on the show? Were you happy with the way her character was portrayed, and what might you have liked to have seen changed/developed?

MARLA: I guess you could say that they did not give me a fair chance and visa-versa. What I mean by that is, at the same time I got the part, I fell in love with someone who lived in another state. Every second that I was not working, I was traveling, which is very tiring. So I was definitely partly to blame. I was torn between my work and someone I loved. When I had the chance to put my all into a part, I didn't. That was my fault. Live and learn! However, because they did not want a girl on the show, my part was very limited, I was not able to develop the character, so I really was not given a chance. I do believe that if my part was larger, I would have put more into it. I would have liked to be more an integral part of the "Team." At the same time I enjoyed the time that I did have.

OTJ: In most action shows today, writers build a romantic/sexual undercurrent between the lead characters, an ongoing story of "will they or won't they" (i.e. from David & Maddie on "Moonlighting" to Mulder & Scully on "X Files"). What are your thoughts on, if Tawnia had stayed with the Team and if the writers had pursued this line, which one of the team might Tawnia have ended up with and why?

MARLA: I think the obvious would be Dirk. The first show I did, in my apartment, we flirted with the idea. However, Tawnia knew Dirk was a ladies man, so I don't believe it would have gone very far. Although it would have been a fun flirtation.

OTJ: Are there any outstanding memories or recollections about being on the show that you would like to share?

MARLA: Well one thing that your subscribers probably do not know is that before I joined "The A-Team," I did a very small part in another episode of the show. I do not remember the name of the episode. I had a very small part. I do remember though that it was on a sail boat and a motor boat. [It was the episode "Bad Time on the Border" - ed.] Soon after, I was called in to read for a regular role. I had around five auditions and then I read for the network, which was a tense and exciting day for me. After I got the part, but before I started filming A-Team, I did one episode of "Riptide", which was also a Cannell production.

One great memory was around Christmas time, my call times for work were always incredibly early, sometimes 5:00am. We were generally on location, so every morning I would freeze. I had a jacket, but not quite warm enough. One day George showed up to work with Christmas gifts for everyone. He gave me a very warm Eddie Bauer down jacket. I was extremely happy.

OTJ: Finally, several people have asked whether you have a contact address, where they might be able to write you for an autograph or to send you a letter.

Marla has asked that - for privacy reasons as she does not currently have an agent receiving mail for her, that if you would like to send her a letter or an autograph request to do so through me. I will be glad to pass it along to Marla, who extends her apologies at this time for not having a more direct route to be contacted.

Most of you know my mailing address already but just in case you need it again: Nicole Pellegrini, 2429 Locust Street #315, Philadelphia PA 19103.

As promised, this issue I'm presenting a review/synopsis of one of two unaired A-Team scriped I received recently. This first one is called "Play it Again, Murdock" and is written by Tom Blomquist. The script is dated Sept. 4, 1986, with a revision date of Sept. 11, 1986 listed as well. This episode would have been set during the 5th season.

In the opening scene, we observe the strange sight of several officials in the Kremlin, watching an old episode of "The Rockford Files". One man named Colonel Molotov promises that the TV program is part of a plan to ruin Americna foreign policy in the third world.

After the opening credits, we return to the A-Team compound in Virginia, where the guys are busy giving Stockwell's security more trouble until Stockwell himself arrives. He descirbes an upcoming mission, involving contacting a man who was the former Turkisk Ambassador to the United Nations, and who promises to have important information for "our side." However, he will only agree to meet with "our best agent." Stockwell, unwilling to risk actually sending someone he considers his best agent into what could possibly be a trap, announces that he plans to send Murdock instead - much to the other guys' amazement. The men are resistant to the idea of sending in someone solo, so Stockwell agrees to letting Murdock have one backup along as they travel to Casablance for the meeting.

Face is Murdock's backup, and the captain quickly becomes wrapped up in the mystery and aura of his surroundings. Soon enough they end up in a Cafe that is a "modern day clone" of Rick's Cafe Americain from "Casablanca," and it doesn't take long for Murdock to go into a full Humprey Bogart impersonation...

Murdock lights a cigarette and it takes Face a moment to notice.

If Ambassador Kemal doesn't show up pretty soon, we're going to miss that flight.

MURDOCK Maybe he met with an unfortunate "accident" (another Bogart) They say accidents have a way of happening in Casablanca.

FACE What are you doing? You don't smoke.

There's a lot you don't know about people in... Casablanca.

Are you going to keep this up the whole trip?

MURDOCK (as himslef) Party pooper.

The story continues with several interesting twists and developments, including the arrival of a mysterious lady named Carmen - sent to contact Murdock by Kemal - who develops a quick and strong interest in Murdock, who also becomes quite smitted with the beautiful woman. Things go awry at the meeting with Kemal and the Ambassador is mortally wounded (or so we think). Murdock gets a bump on the head that causes him, for the rest of the episode, to flash back and forth between the present day surroundings and a "black and white, 1942-style" Casablanca, right out of the movie. Carmen tells Murdock/Rick that she cannot see him anymore - because of reasons she cannot reveal - but Murdock isn't ready to give up.

At the end of the second act, it is revealed that the ending of the episode is to be voted upon by a 900 number audience poll. The question is whether, once Murdock learns Carmen's secret, "Should he stay with the A-Team? Or, should he go after Carmen?"

By the third act, the rest of the Team shows up, bewildered at a case that now involves "Dead diplomats, Russian operatives, and movie studios."

This isn't shaping up into your run of the mill assignment.

FACE Er ... what 'til you see Murdock.

Why? What's goin' on with him?

FACE Let me put it this way - if he shows up here and calls you Peter Lorre, don't worry. That's probably who you are.

Frankie, Hannibal and B.A. go off to investigate at Casablanca Film Studios while Face and Murdock try to find out what's going on with Carmen and why certain men are after her. Carmen confesses to Murdock how she betrayed Kemal and feels responsible for his death. Meanwhile, back at the film company, the guys discover the "Rockfod Files" tapes and find subliminal messages have been edited into the tapes with anti-American propaganda added. One of the men after Carmen turns up dead, and Face and Murdock are placed under arrest for suspicion of their involvment by the shady Captain Chouinard, who appears to have some connections with the KGB. Hannibal bargains Murdock and Face out of prison by promising Chouinard Kemal's real killer.

That evening the Team gathers with Chouinard at a Hotel where a gathering of "International Broadcasters" is meeting. The Russian Colonel from the opening scene is talking on stage, promising "exciting new programs your audiences will enjoy." Hannibal interrupts, accusing Molotov of the subliminal messaging, when all of a sudden Ambassador Kemal appears, alive and well and at Molotov's side. He accuses Hannibal and the Team of being American spies sent to assinate him. B.A. and Frankie force their way to the projection booth, pulling a reel off and putting it into a splicer while Kemal continues speaking, accusing the Americans now of being responsible for adding pro-American subliminal messages. But instead of the film he expects to see, BA and Frankie have added their own instead, causing much confusion. Molotov and Kemal attempt to flee, and Molotov ends up killing Kemal in a struggle as they argue about their failed plan. As B.A. and Frankie continue in persuit, Face and Murdock arrive, just as Carmen does, in the clutches of one of Molotov's associates. They see the men leave for the airport and give pursuit.

At the airport, Molotov tries to keep the Team at bay by holding Carmen at gunpoint. Nurdock advances on Molotov, engaging him in a tense confrontation until the Team manages to diffuse the situation with a distraction. Chouinard, also on the scene, commends the Team for their work.

Another plane is firing up on the runway, in a recreation again of a scene out of "Casablanca." Carmen tells Murdock she is leaving now, and asks him to come with her. Unable to decide, a phone in a nearby booth rings. At this point, the script splits into 2 different endings. Both times it's Stockwell on the phone:

(1) Stockwell tells Murdock, "Go with her. you've earned it." With the rest of the Team watching, Murdock leaves with Carmen and as the plane takes off we hear his voice, "Here's looking at you, kid."

(2) Stockwell tells Murdock, "Let her go. I have another mission for you. Don't forget your friends' pardon." Again, we end with Murdock giving in famous line, but this time it's with a tear in his eye as he watches her plane leave.

Overall, this is a really interesting, extremely funny script. Some of the dialogue is outrageous, a great parody and take-off on "Casablanca" very similar to the James Bond parody of the episode "The Spy Who Mugged Me." The use of the phone-in to decide the ending is the main sour point it leaves me wondering who would vote for actually having Murdock *leave* the A-Team for a woman he just met - something that seems totally out-of-character (and if this was because Dwight was going to leave the show, then it wouldn't have made sense to have the other ending as an option!)

Still, with the black and white sequences I would have loved to have seen this episode actualy filmed and aired. There are good bits in the story for all of the guys, not just Dwight - even Mr. T, who seemed to be highly ignored in the writing of most of the 5th season episodes aired, has some very funny lines.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this script, Script City sells scripts for many if not all A-Team episodes, at a pice generally in the range of $15-20. To get a Script City catalog, call 800 - 676 - 2522.

Next time, a review of another unaired script, "New in Town, Sailor?"

We had a few - but only a handfull - of responses to our survey for picking the best suggested name for H.M. So, here's the list again, with people's reasons for their ideas, I'll take your votes for the next few weeks still before posting the results:

(1) Howard Merv
Because: Howard is so perfectly normal that no one would think of it to see him and Merv because that is the namesake of the Fastest, kick-*ssest missles ever to nail an armoured support vehicle.

(2) Harvey Mondolin
Because: I like Harvey, because of "Harvey the Wonder Hamster". As for Mandolin,that's a neat-sounding instrument.

(3) Her Majesty's
Because: Given his excellent "fake" British accent, couldn't Murdock have been exposed to British culture because one his parents was British? So the H.M. Could stand for "Her Majesty's" as in "Her Majesty's Ship (HMS)."

(4) Hot Muchacho
Because: He is.
(5) Harpo Marx
Because: His parents loved the Marx brothers.

(6) Harlan Malkavian
Because: I always liked the name Harlan, but it's odd enough that I could see HM not wanting to use it. Malkavians are the looniest clan of Vampires. They are all insane.

(7) Hank/Henry Michael
Because: I think Murdock wants to be different, unfortunately he was stuck with two normal names. To add mystery, he only goes by the initials H.M.
(8) Henry/Harold Murdock
Because: Murdock is one crazy individual, H.M. stands for Henry (or Harold) Murdock. He was born Henry Murdock, but chooses to go by the name H.M. Murdock. Which, said in full, would be Henry Murdock Murdock.

(9) Humphrey Mudge
Because: Back in the 80's when the show was originally on, my best friend and I asked the Ouija board what HM stood for. It said Humprey Mudge.
(10) Herman Melville
Because: Perhaps that cockroach he named was Murdock's namesake.......And Murdock would make a great Melvillian character--think Ahab, or Bartleby the Scrivener (tho' that character reminds me more of Barclay, but I digress...)

(11) Harold Maude
Because: Everyone must know the inherent insanity behind Harold and Maude....
(12) Happy Monster

(13) The obvious - just HM
Because: He introduced himself to assembled baddies in "Bend in the River" with something like, "You can call me H.M., Hmm, or Hmm Mmm." He *was* born in the era of Harry S (and S only) Truman.

(14) Harley Marlboro
Because: Wasn't there a movie a few years back called "Harley Davidson and The Marlboro Man? That's probably how that popped into my mind.

(15) Holmes Morrison
Because: okay A-Team trivia buffs, give me that one!
(16) Horatio MacArthur
Because: With the British Accent however, the H could stand for Horatio as in Horatio Nelson a naval hero....
That's all for this issue - until next time, stay on the jazz!

Quote of the week:

"I knew it; I just knew you had a plan."

"Comforting, isn't it?"

"I'll get the van..."

Murdock, Hannibal and B.A. from the end of "The Grey Team"
sockii, aka nicole
"Having had a personal life, I found it vastly over-rated."
Proud member of the Narn Bat Squad <Whack!> and the C.o.M.

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