First Aired: 10-12-1969 (30)
A bright morning is in effect when Val, Barry, and Fitzhugh cross the land of a crazed technician, industrialist, electronic wizard, braggart, millionaire Kronig. His computer predicted the arrival of all seven little people. Kronig's Dr. Lalor is shown a furnace beneath Kronig's chess table--which burns fallen pieces. Steve and Dan watch as a giant guard of Kronig's fires a polarizer gun at them and they fall beneath him, helpless.
Kronig is a fanatic chess player. Val, Barry, and Fitzhugh are tossed from a cage onto the chess table which is standing on a center pedestal. Kronig tells them he was observing them on his camera screens for a long time as they passed by in groups of 2, 4, 5, 6, or 7 en route to the city. When Lalor and Kronig go into the computer room, Val steps on a square trap door and falls as it opens beneath her. She holds on until the other two can help her up. Steve calls Betty, who, at the ship in the radio-computer room, pinpoints the others' location and keeps a radio channel open. A guard also uses the magnetic shock gun on Steve, Dan, and Mark just after they hid the rope and pin, the thermal gun, and the hatchet razor matchstick. The guard carries them through the mansion while Lalor tells Kronig it is illegal to capture little people. Lalor also became upset when Val almost fell into the furnace. Lalor tells Kronig he is too intense and may have another nervous breakdown. Kronig is fascinated with his own superiority. At Lalor's pleading, Kronig turns off the trap doors. Kronig wants a test of intelligence: a chess game. The victory for the little people means freedom; if Kronig wins, he turns them over to the SID. Fitz tests a trap door when Kronig tells them the doors will be locked. If they refuse to play, the giant will turn them over right away. He gives them an Earth size chess game, table, and chairs for them to pick their best player. Dan tells the others he is better at checkers. Steve played for fun only but once wrote a book on it. Mark programmed a computer to play chess once but he reveals that it doesn't make him an expert. As Steve and Mark play to see which is better, Barry comments on their moves. Steve queries Barry and finds out the boy played All State Pre Teen Competition Chess Game and won. Mark tells a complaining Fitzhugh that Bobby Fischer was only 14 when he beat Reschesky for the US Championship. Barry takes over Steve's seat to play Mark. Val cheers the boy on, quietly. Barry seems able to beat Mark. Steve tells a worried Barry he will have to play him. Barry is nervous that if he loses, his friends will be turned over to the SID.
Steve gets an idea to have Mark program the Spindrift computer to help Barry make his moves (double entendre). Val gives them her radio, which the giant didn't take. Kronig tells Lalor that a hundred thousand people are obssesed with chess. Kronig dismisses Lalor as his doctor but wants him to stay as a friend. Insulted that the Earth people have chosen a boy to play against him, Kronig vents his anger by having the others tie each other to the chess pieces. The game begins with Lalor helping Barry by moving the pieces for him. Barry must sacrifice the knight (Steve). Kronig dumps Steve, roughly handling him, into the chess box on the floor, laughing, "The boy plays like an idiot." Steve looks up at him, angry.
Barry also manages to get Mark (a bishop) and Dan (a rook) to the floor box. On Steve's instructions, Dan lets himself get captured by the guard and is put back in the box while Steve and Mark escape--the alarms ringing for all three but only Dan is taken. Kronig doesn't want to be disturbed and no one realizes the other two are gone. Near a radiator, Steve and Mark open a small square sheet of metal and escape through the walls. In the forest, Mark calls Betty to warm up the ship's computer when a giant guard arrives near he and Steve. Steve has Betty talk about anything (she chooses food--well, she is a stewardess) through a hidden walkie talkie to distract the giant. Mark draws him away from the radio so Steve can then retrieve it and the other tools. Lalor gets Kronig to grant Barry a six minute adjournment, the fanatic not allowing the boy the already agreed upon hour. Mark walks into a rope animal trap and gets hung upsidedown by his feet. He grabs onto a tree-bush and calls Betty, who wants to come help him. He tells her to shut up, listen, and yells at her, adding, "Everybody needs you right where you are!" She apologizes and turns up the computer motivator; Mark giving quick orders at the top of his lungs. He has her call Barry and tell him to stall Kronig. She does and tells him to just follow Mark's orders, seeming a bit annoyed at the boy as Mark was at her. Betty has to call Mark back when the computer begins showering sparks at her. He tells her how to stabilize it. Steve slips back into the box and the guard doesn't notice Mark's absense. In the radio room, Mark has a near tantrum, "Why doesn't that kid answer?!" Betty calms him, "Mark, coffee, tea, or milk?"
Mark stops and relaxes, "Still calming the passengers, eh?" He seems to have lost his ill temper and is nicer. Finally, the plan works. Barry puts Kronig in a disclosing check. Kronig turns on the trap doors. Val, still tied to the chess piece, realises this, "He's trying to kill us."
Val yells, "Off the squares, Barry, run! Run!" A trap door opens near her. Kronig tells a protesting Lalor the little people are not real people and one or two can go into the furnace. Lalor defends the Earthlings, "They are real people--members of the universe, entitled to life just as we are. You have no right, no reason to destroy them." The guard and the technician lock Lalor in a closet. Barry tells Kronig he will not continue the game unless the doors are shut tight. Kronig counters by showing him the furnace fires on the viewscreen. Fitz faints, feeling his square move---and the man drops the radio Barry had given him in order for Kronig not to see it. Kronig sees it even though Barry tries to hide it. The mad giant drops them all into the furnace just as Dan and Steve were drilling into the trap door electrical wires. Dan spots this and tells Steve, who drops the rope and his gear, in shock. Val calls and tells him the heat isn't on--shorting the lights must have shorted the whole electrical system. The guard and the technician try to fix the controls and the guard leaves his magnetic gun on the floor near the vent square. He almost put his hand into it but the technician called him over to the consoles. Steve and Dan sneak out and magnetize the two giants. The guard drops the keys to the closet. Steve gets the keys to Lalor just as Kronig captures he and Dan and tosses them down the chute into the furnace, "Down! Down!"
The backup systems start to come on and Kronig, being delayed by a fighting Dr. Lalor, works to turn on the fire to the furnace. Dan begins to drill out through the solid steel using the thermal tool; then Steve takes over. Dan tries to fan the others with his jacket. They drill out and Steve hurries them all out the hole. Lalor tries to turn off the furnace and as Kronig rushes to stop the smaller man, Kronig himself falls into the sparking devices and falls. Lalor stoops to check him and he seems dead to Lalor. Steve answers the worried calls of Mark who is still waiting with Betty at the ship, "We're on our way back home. Everyone accounted for." The five pass a huge tree stump.
DEADLY PAWN review
An exciting episode, showcasing Barry a great deal more than usual. Alex Drier, a Canadian actor and newscaster akin to America's Walter Cronkite, does a fantastic job as the neurotic, semi-sane, genius who is fascinated by the mathematical odds and permutations---especially those involving his winning and the deaths of the little people on the trap door squares. Kronig comes out and says what other giants have expressed before--they do not consider the humans real people. A few flaws: the guard do not realize that first, Mark and Steve are missing, then Mark alone is missing and Steve is back---at differing times. Betty, although still confined to a room at the spaceship has much more to do and was in character---even though her bit is little more than a cameo. Her pivtol part here, reminded of her earlier role as peacekeeper in the first season. She had many good scenes here, mainly with Mark but also a brief one with Barry and another with Steve, both via the radio. This gave back a bit of continuity with her character. It is really a shame that the next six episodes produced (filming order) not had her totally missing but did not even offer an explanation for her absense. She was missed by me for all six. At times, the chess pieces look too big when the scene melds the giants and the humans with it all in one shot. At times, it just didn't look right but the idea wasn't ruined. It is not as good as the chess sequence in the Ray Harryhausen movie THE THREE WORLDS OF GULLIVER. The music, mostly original, is excellently beautiful---cute at times, suspenseful, pulsating, yet lighter and continuous throughout 95 percent of the segment. The last piece and a few other bits sound a great deal like LOST IN SPACE'S THE HAUNTED LIGHTHOUSE, indeed both were done by the wonderful Joseph Mullendore, who has done other scores for Irwin's shows, including THE TIME TUNNEL and VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. Mark's rope snare music sounded a great deal like the music in RETURN OF INIDU when Dan and Val were attacked by the hawk. Not surprising as Mullendore did INIDU too---and that episode is all the better for it!
The mansion set was nice looking, much better than the one room set we saw in COLLECTOR'S ITEM. Here was a den, the chess room, the lavish entrance area, and the chess control room. Not a great deal but serving its purpose. The exterior painting of the mansion, probably stock, was also nice---a large, pretty mansion---brooding and imposing. I was glad they just didn't use the Bruce Wayne mansion again as they did in COLLECTOR'S ITEM.
Some wild props included the ray gun, the chess pieces, the chess box, the radiator pipes, and the furnace room. All in all, a well made segment, a trifle predictable but entertaining in spite of that. Val wore her blue jacket over her yellow shirt. Val's outfit for the next few episodes (PRODUCTION ORDER WISE) is as follows: a new blue button down shirt which looks more comfortable and has a yellow collar and trim which goes down the front for LAND OF THE LOST; this is also in EVERY DOG NEEDS A BOY; the old yellow shirt worn under the blue jacket-vest, belt, and checkered skirt (still worn with the new blue top which is a lighter blue) in THE CLONES; and back to the new light blue top for COMEBACK. It must be noted that the skirt stayed the same---only the top changed.
DEADLY PAWN also had Barry sticking up for the others and himself against a giant--something which happened far too little in the series. His scenes against Kronig are well played and very different from the more agressive Mark scenes against other giants in other episodes as well as different from any scenes with the adults and the giants in almost every other episode. Kronig was a horrible man and so annoying as to almost be too realistic---many sportsmen cannot handle failure and are braggarts, doing things they shouldn't be doing if they are to be role models to the young. Just look at our sports celebrities in almost any sport today. Not many good role models.
DEADLY PAWN also proved that Earth sports are also GIANT sports. Chess was certainly ingrained in the populace's pass times. How? Answers, as always aren't really forthcoming. Again, it could have to do with the resonance talked about by Murray Leinster in his three books and the well conceived space-time warp ideas in Deanna Lund and Fred Eichelman's book VALERIE IN GIANTLAND. The show itself did not give us much explanation as to this.
THE UNSUSPECTED ----PROMO TO NEXT WEEK AIRED DURING THE DEADLY PAWN
What's unsuspected and unexpected is to finally have one of the scenes to next week---tagged onto the back of DEADLY PAWN is this:
"This is Gary Conway, stay tuned for exciting scenes from next week's show..."
"This is Gary Conway, here are some exciting scenes from next week's show..."
MUSIC USED IS 30 SECONDS OF THE MUSIC USED IN THE CRASH AS THE PROFESSOR GIANT GRABS HIS BUTTERFLY NET AND STEVE, VAL, DAN, AND MARK DASH ACROSS HIS FIELD OF VISION FAR BELOW THE TABLE TOP AND THIS LEADS INTO A COMMERCIAL AD. THE MUSIC IS ALSO USED WHEN STEVE IS GRABBED BY ZARKEN AT THE END OF ACT THREE AS BOULGAR INSTRUCTS JUST OUTSIDE THE SECURITY BUILDING AND THIS TOO, LEADS INTO A COMMERICAL AD. WHILE THIS WASN'T USED EACH AND EVERY TIME, I BELIEVE IT WAS THE MAIN MUSIC USED FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE SCENES TO NEXT WEEK.
1---Fitzhugh, alone in the forest, walking during the day, a radio in his hand. Steve comes from behind some bushes and grabs him, putting his hand over his mouth. Fitzhugh wide eyed, is pulled back by him.
2---Forest: Steve grabs Barry, twists his arm behind the boy's back, and turns him away from him, "What're you up to?"
3---Forest: Steve pulls some kind of cord or vine. A giant knife falls just short of Mark, who is walking. He falls and remains down.
4---Betty, on her knees, extreme close-up--Betty screams loudly.
5---Valerie, a gag just off her mouth, now around her neck, extreme close up, behind her is the wall of an air duct, "Where's Betty? What've you done with her?" Steve, extreme close up, grabs her and tugs hard; Barry, extreme, close up as he squints and struggles at his ropes.
6---Long shot: giant wall with a mouse hole in it: Steve swings his razor-matchstick hatchet down---Barry is underneath him; Steve is swinging at a jacket thrown by Dan----who is not seen---and Dan is on the other side of the hole--we don't know this and it looks like Steve is hatcheting at Barry, who is bound hand and foot, gagged at the mouth. The hatchet hits the floor near Barry, who jumps back.
7---Medium shot to zoom in on close up: Steve pushes Fitzhugh, who is wide eyed in fear, against the wall of a heating vent, "Nobody fools me!"
8---LONG SHOT: Steve, Mark near giant phone; Barry is ontop and behind giant black phone---Steve lunges at Mark with the hatchet weapon.
9---CONTINUATION OF NUMBER 8---Medium shot: Steve's lunge misses Mark and hits the phone dial, Mark grabs the stick handle of the hatchet device; Barry watches from the phone as they struggle.
10---MEDIUM SHOT---Dan races out of the heating vent doors, "Steve!" He runs left and off camera.
11---CLOSE UP-Steve pulls a knife (an animal's claw) out quickly.
12---LONG SHOT-Dan, rushing at Steve from the vent in NUMBER 10, stops short in front of Steve's knife, Steve lunging at him.
NOTE: I also recall scenes for next week to THE LOST ONES (showing Nick pushing Val, the big fight when Joey gets knocked into the cage, the trapper watching Steve and Nick fight, Nick threatening the men about the girls, Dolph attacking the girls, Steve and or Nick in the giant's hand), GRAVEYARD OF FOOLS, WILD JOURNEY, HOME SWEET HOME (such as one quote about landing on Earth!), THE MARIONETTES, RETURN OF INIDU (of course, they showed the ghost and the snake and Enog menacing Val in his fist), A SMALL WAR, CHAMBER OF FEAR (with what looked like Fitzhugh falling off a table top), GHOST TOWN (with the girl towering over a city with what made me think the giants were landing on Earth), GIANTS AND ALL THAT JAZZ, NIGHTMARE, COMEBACK, DEADLY PAWN, THE CLONES (with a shot not in the finished episode of two Valeries holding onto and staring at one another in the windtunnel sequence), THE BOUNTY HUNTER, THE CRASH, and maybe a handful of others, maybe. I sure wish we could find these. They were quite interesting. PANIC, PAY THE PIPER, and DOOMSDAY (definitely used was Kobick's yell of, "Do you hear me, Burton, you haven't got a chance this time!") seem to come to mind too but the memory is hazy as is those of THE MECHANICAL MAN.