PAUL BRYAN'S JOURNAL
From the diary about this episode:
Almeria - en route to France
Tuesday - Wednesday, September 7 - 8
I am sitting here on a flight to France, trying to make sense of, and pull together 48 hours of my life that seem to come out of a horror movie. Keep telling myself that everything is fine, or must be, since I'm sipping champagne and about to be served boeuf bourguignon by a friendly air hostess.
On Tuesday I learned from Tony that everything had been part of a detailed plan Robbie had been working on a long time to get back at Rosintha and Johnny.
Arranging the bank deposits and sudden withdrawl for cash to live on as well as incrimimate the pair. He had kept his eye out for a tramp his own size, then shot him in the face after offering the man his own clothes.
Mrs. Fielding had learned early on that Robbie was alive, but still tormented poor Rosintha with her false compassion and finger pointing.
Rosintha was so brainwashed that she wanted to go to her husband and mother-in-law to support them, but I insisted on taking her to her sister in San Francisco, and walking away from the despicable Fieldings. As it was, Maria Mercedes drove down herself to pick Rosintha up.
So I decided to go to the lake where my family used to spend the summer. After a brief chat with a lady who was closing down the house she rented out for the season, I moved on, but when I returned from looking at our old cottage, there was something that bothered me, and I decided to have a look around.
Next moment I was jumped by a bunch of hoodlums who had bound and gagged the mother and daughter, and quickly did the same to me. From their tattooed hides to their paraphernalia and names, they were a walking endorsement of the Nazis. A weird deja vu after the run in with a Hitler advocate in the Himalaya.
When I found out the gang had just killed a man - an assault for money that went wrong, I knew that there was nothing that would stop them from killing us - and they probably would.
The whole scene became complicated when the gang went searching for getaway clothes in the attic, and produced clippings that tore into the personal lives of the mother and daughter, a girl who'd always believed she was adopted, but now found out that Mrs. Southworth really was her mother, born from a liason with the owner of the house we were in.
I couldn't tell whether all this was neutral, or would make things better or worse for us. That was really all that mattered.
The next happening was one which appeared to be an imminent death sentence for us. A state trooper had come searching for the gang, and when he started for the house, they shot him dead.
The girl in the gang, Velma, was now in deeper than she dreamed possible, and didn't seem to like it. Things were reaching breaking point for us, so I singled her out as the weakest link in the group - and also the one who probably had the most compassion - if that's a word that could possibly be applied to her.
She was just smart enough to consider saving her own skin as the bottom line, and when the guys, knowing they had to get out fast, went upstairs to shave off their beards, I told Velma that the gas chamber was awaiting them all now, but the three of us would put in a good word for her if she untied us. She would get away completely free.
Velma was loyal to the gang, that was clear, but the fact that she was wavering was something I had to jump on, so I firmly ORDERED her to untie us. And she did.
We pretended to still be bound, and I called the leader to come downstairs. Using a ruse of offering him money for his getaway, I took his moment of hesitation to jump him, break his arm with a karate chop, and get a hold of his rifle.
When the others came down, I made them drop the second one. Mrs. Southwood recovered it, and her daughter went out to get help. The area was crawling with police, and the gang were taken away in virtually minutes.
Had remained cool throughout - as I remember it at least - constantly calculating what to do next, but within an hour of being freed, was shaking like a leaf.
After giving my statement, I was checked over by a doctor. He handed me a box of tablets to last a few days, and told me to first take the sedative he also provided and lie down as soon as possible.
What I did do was to start on the tablets, get a taxi back to San Francisco, just managing to catch this flight to Paris. Now for that sedative.
Paul meets a mother and daughter at the lake
Daughter and mother are caught trying to escape
Elke says she always wanted to know about her parents
The newspaper clipping reveals a family scandal
They listen to the troopers movements in the yard
Velma finally makes the decision to untie them
Paul has overcome the gang
In a parking lot an outlaw biker gang covered with Nazi symbols hits up a man for five dollars, and when he won't give them the money, they beat him up, but manage to avoid pursuing police.
On a sentimental journey to the nearby lake where his parents used to own a cottage, Paul encounters Mrs. Southworth and her daughter Elke, closing up the house they rent out over the summer. After a few pleasantries, he continues his walk.
Continuing their own journey, the bikers hear over the radio that the man they assaulted has died from his injuries. They look for a quick place to hide, pull up where the women are just about to depart, and tie and gag them.
Paul passes by and looks around suspiciously. When he spots the car in the garage, the bikers jump him, and though he resists, he too ends up bound and gagged. When allowed to speak again, Paul asks the gang's plans, and they say they'll stay until the food runs out.
But alone together, the gang decide to kill the three, to avoid their later identifying them. When the opportunities present themselves, Paul begins working on Velva, the one girl in the group, on the dangers of capture, why she's in the gang, the crime committed, and any angle that might separate her from the others. But to each he points out how greater their punishment will be if they kill the three.
Also talking among themselves, and realizing they may be facing death, the daughter reveals that she is adopted, and she shares her story with Paul
To find a change of clothes for their getaway, the gang break down the attic door, then into a trunk. They speak openly now about killing the three, then find an old photo of a couple in front of the house. The gang leader reads from a clipping in the trunk, revealing the lady of the house to have been an invalid who drowned when her wheelchair slid off the edge of the boat landing. It further comes out that her husband is Elke's father, and his wife committed suicide when she found out about his love affair with her nurse, Mrs. Southworth. Though she never saw him again, he left her the house when he died.
The uncovering of family history is suddenly halted by the sound of a state trooper arriving in the yard. The gang watches, and as he obviously finds evidence that someone is home, before he can call for reinforcements, the gang leader shoots him with a rifle. This now changes their plans, and they need to move on as quickly as possible. When they go upstairs to shave off their beards, Paul again begins to point out to Velva the trouble she is in. She is obviously upset by the killing, and the fact the hostages will also be murdered.
Paul tells her that it's inevitable that they'll be caught and face a death sentence, but he says that he and the two women will vouch for her if she unties their bonds.
Velva is obviously torn between loyalty to the gang and saving her own skin, and wavers in both directions, then takes Paul's instructions to cut their bonds so that he can initiate a plan.
Then Paul calls the leader to come downstairs, proposing to make a deal to save his life.
Appearing still to be tied up, Paul says that the gang might need money to get away.
The leader looks interested, and in that split second of hesitation, Paul jumps him.
In the ensuing struggle, Paul overcomes the man, and has him on the floor with the shotgun pointed to his head.
When the others race downstairs to see what the commotion is, they too are forced to drop their weapon.“Now, come down and pick up your Fueher,” Paul says.
A siege episode was inevitable at some point in the series, but utterly distasteful, it's difficult to praise this Hoodlums on Wheels, a production that is nevertheless done very professionally and realistically.
Jo Swerling Jr.
Director of Photography
John L. Russell A.S.C.
Howard E. Johnson
John McCartey & Perry Murdoch
James T. Porter
Color by Pathe
Editorial Dept. Head
David J. O'Connell
Costumes by Burton Miller