TV Guide Review
Trish Stewart Interview | Original TV Guide Review
The following is a review of the series Salvage 1 which appeared in TV Guide in March, 1979.
Special thanks to Paul-Dean Martin for sending this!

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Once you have been to the moon, some astronauts say, everything afterward is a letdown. That should have provided a clue to the makers of this ABC adventure series. The two-hour pilot was a farfetched simple-headed but enjoyable tale of a scrap tycoon (Andy Griffith) who builds his own rocket to salvage abandoned space machinery from moon landing sites.

The end of that story would have been a judicious moment to close down the shop and take up a new line of work. But television is always hungry, so Salvage-I has been spun out for a weekly run. Now Griffith and his pals use the rocket to hop around the Earth-a strangely cost-inefficient form of travel-to salvage items from remote places. In the pilot show, Griffith recruited his supporting cast: Joel Higgins as an unemployed astronaut, Trish Stewart as a demolitions expert capable of making rocket fuel and of looking good in jeans. Scrounging old NASA parts, they built a moon vehicle. (If all this space gear could be bought so cheaply, what was the point of salvaging parts on the moon? Oh, well.) While an officious FBI man (Richard Jaeckel) made sputtering attempts to stop the takeoff, Higgins and Stewart blasted off in their home made rocket and in due course reached the moon.

The story had its charms. The idea of everyday citizens flying to the moon has folk-appeal, the rocket-building process was picturesque if preposterous, the musical score was good, and the amateur rocketeers were a cocky and likable bunch-including Griffith, still getting away with his ol'-country-boy number.

Now, however, it's the writers who are scrounging. In one story, the team landed on a jungle island to capture rare monkey specimens. There they found a dithery scientist and an abominable ape-man of some sort. The ape-man attacked, the rocket was damaged and wouldn't take get the picture. I thought the island looked a lot like Laurel Canyon.

In another story, our heroes set down in Burma to salvage a World War II bomber for an aviation museum. Guarding the airplane was the ever-popular Japanese soldier who doesn't know the war is over. The soldier got the drop on the salvage group, but then helped them fight a troop of Chinese guerrillas. In the end they flew him home, gently breaking the news about who won the war. Simple entertainment is the idea, but someone on Salvage-I is putting too much stress on the "simple."

When two-hour TV-movies first appeared, they seemed to offer a chance for television to break the monotony of week-to-week series. Now, virtually every two-hour feature is a "pilot" for a series, laying the groundwork for monotony to come. A good TV-movie, by and large, is one that ends. It's a shame when a good sprinter, is passed off as a distance runner.

As those astronauts said, once you've gone to the moon, there's no place to go but down. End

TV Guide MARCH 24, 1979


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