THE INSIDE RAIL
First Aired: 10-5-69 (29th)
Fitzhugh and Barry are watching horses race around a track. Fitz gets carried away with the race and runs onto the track only to be nearly trampled by the horses as they pass overhead. Barry runs out and gets him back to the rial, angered by Fitz's desire to bet. Fitz laments that he hasn't been near a race track since they left LA. Dan has collected horse hair and hopes none of the others have an allergy to horses. He tells this to Steve, then sneezes. Fitzhugh tries to tell Barry he was engaging him in neglected education--higher math which he claims is what the races involve. As Barry tries to figure out a problem, a giant race track bum named Moley--walks directly over them. Fitz pulls Barry behind a discarded shoe box. They duck behind it as Moley seems to look right down at them and reaches down.
The bum picks up a cigarette butt and smokes it, leaving. Coming out of hiding, Fitzhugh finds a fallen ticket on the next race--Saltzbury, a horse he would bet on anyway, "his horse." He tells Barry they can bribe officials and get a watchmaker to build him a bike. This is good since Barry didn't know what he'd do with a bike 40 feet high. Mark thinks the horse hair will make a good high intensity cable if Val can braid it. Val tells the men and Betty that she used to watch her grandfather braid horsehair lariats. Despite Val and Mark's defense of Fitzhugh, Steve and Dan, who know Fitzhugh well, have them search for the boy and the man. Fitzhugh's horse wins and he has the bum Moley cash it in. Moley has never heard of little people but Fitz misjudges giant nature (noting that it is not human nature). Moley, confronted by Track Security Chief Rivers, turns Fitz in to the bullying giant (who wants nothing but the reward for their capture). Steve and Dan distract the giant long enough for Fitz and Barry to escape. Steve warns Fitz to stay hidden in a stable or he'll ground him to the ship for a month. Dan and he leave to find the others while Rivers calls his men, telling them, "Little people are loose on the race track grounds." He has them plug all holes in the fences. The girls and Mark see a billy-goat that reminds Val of Fitzhugh. A sergeant drops a wooden block in front of them as they prepare to go through a hole in the fence. He grabs Mark and deposits him in a paper bag, then chases the two girls and drops his hat over them!
Rivers isn't happy--he tells his units there are four more little people at large. Fitz complains to Barry who agrees with Fitzhugh that Steve did think he was talking to a child when he was talking to Fitzhugh. Instead of threatening Steve (Fitz claims to have a cousin's brother in law who is an administrative assistant to a senator who will haul Burton into court), Barry tells Fitzhugh he is going to thank him for saving them from Rivers. A stable man brings in a horse Fitzhugh admires--Mannekin. Fitz chastises Barry for not recognizing a great horse at his age. Fitz goes to his stall to see it followed by a hood in a suit. The stable groom comes in and kicks the hood out but the horse gets excited, kicking. The metal bridle falls off a hook and traps Fitz beneath it. Barry runs in, gets a stick at Fitz's prodding, but it breaks and he falls. Steve and Dan joking around, ride the saddle pad, carried by the groom man, into the Tack Room. They had seen Mark and the women captured. The groom opens a drawer where Mark and the girls are taped down by masking tape. The sergeant, in a good mood because he thinks he is getting a bonus for finding them, kicks the groom out and brushes a spider away from the drawer with a ruler. Mark comments, "Aren't we lucky to have him guarding us--he's got a heart as big as Mt. Rushmore." Val says, "Yea and probably made of the same stuff--solid granite." Below, Steve jokes about taking the giant, Dan saying, "Right, we'll tackle him. You grab him around the shoelaces and I'll jump up and down on his big toe." Steve tells Dan a particular good luck charm (not Dan's unlucky rabbit's foot he once had) will aide them: a horseshoe trophy hanging directly over the Sergeant's head as he sits and reads. Barry hooks a belt around the bridle and Mannequins's rope, causing the horse to rear up with a shout, freeing Fitzhugh. Dan climbs up to the horseshoe and pushes on the Sergeant's head, nearly falling with it. They free the other three, Val vowing she will never use fly paper again when she gets back to Earth. A giant rooster towers over the drawer and all five of them!
Dan feeds the giant rooster some popcorn that the sergeant dropped. They get up onto the top of the small table and the men toss a paint stirrer at it. Rivers rushes inside and orders, "Hold it! You little pests, don't you move or I'll squash you like bugs!" They are stopped in their tracks until the rooster flies up at him, probably attacking them again. They run to the back of the counter--which is attached to the tabletop--but not for long as the giants move the table top away from the slim counter. Steve has to jump across when the giants do this--the rooster below what seems like a great ravine. Dan and Mark pull him up because he didn't quite make it onto the ledge. The girls find a rat hole which everyone just makes it into, with Mark saying, "Let's just hope that no one's home." Rivers sticks his hand at them, then a stick, leaving it on the ledge when he figures the rat hole can run for miles away and out. From a bench side, Fitz order Moley to bet on Mannekin in the 5th. The five little people use the stick--the paint stirrer--to cross the abyss between ledge and table. Val almost falls. Fitz breaks his former promise to Barry and Steve but he prompts Barry into not telling Steve. When the hood returns to hypo Mannekin with a needle full of slow down juice, Fitz places a match in his shoes and lights it on fire!
The hood gasps in pain before he can needle the horse. The groom arrives and uses a pitchfork to takes the hood out to security. The hood drops the incriminating needle and it lands right near Barry and Fitz. While Fitz watches the race, Dan comes and finds Barry; the others arrive, Fitz returns, yelling that he has won. Then he stops, "Mark, ladies, I was so worried about you." Mark frowns, "We noticed that, Fitzhugh." Dan threatens to carry Fitz out with Mark's help when the con man wants to stay to collect his winnings. Steve has Fitz tell Moley to report them to Rivers and the two little men watch as Rivers makes Moley change clothes with him, Fitzhugh amused that Steve knew this would happen. Steve tells him, "My dear Watson, that's exactly what I would have done." Rivers chases the goat again and inside the stable tries to grab Fitzhugh. The other men jab the needle into his ankle. Everyone gets out of the stable including a half fainted Rivers. While Betty tells Val she is right--the goat does remind one slightly of Fitzhugh, the con man sneaks off. Steve chases him along the white fence, "I've had it with you---I'm going to..." Fitz yells, "You're going to what...?" Rivers stumbles out near them, calling all units!
The goat rams Rivers from behind and sends him running off. "You should've put your money on the goat," Steve laughs. They run to the unblocked hole where the others get out. Also where Moley drops money down to Fitzhugh; the giant bet on a horse in the 7th race and won. Steve talks to Fitzhugh into leaving the giant money. Fitz says, "Somebody up there doesn't like horse players." Following Steve through the hole, he does leave it.
Review: This was the first second season episode filmed and would have made a good way to begin the season; however it is a lighter story than most and it contains some of the funniest lines in the entire series. The new theme and credits were terrific. For some reason when this episode was rerun on a now defunct local UHF station on Long Island (Channel 68 here) it ran with the first season theme song over the first season opening credit visuals! (?) As an aside, RETURN OF INIDU had the sound of the second season theme song but played over the visuals of the first season! Other strange things have happened during GIANT's reruns. For instance, once when INIDU was rerun, it was back tracked--at the point when Inidu is about to unknowingly drink the poison---the commercial break airs, then we go all the way back to when Inidu leaves the house and the villain appears for the first time!
The end theme for many of the second season episodes is the first season theme song ending. This changes about half way through the second season when a recut second theme is used for closing. Conway, Arngrim, Marshall, and Krazner had their second season opening credit shots taken from this episode. The rest came from A PLACE CALLED EARTH. New outfits appear for Mark (a brown leather jacket over a black long sleeve sweater), the girls, and Barry (a yellow sweater over a button down light colored shirt, and greenish trousers). Val wore a sleeveless blue jacket over a yellow long sleeved shirt and a checkered blue and yellow skirt with blue boots. Betty now wore a tan vest-jacket over a bluish aqua top with a tan skirt. It was completed with tan boots. Richard Shapiro is to be credited for writing Barry as more mature and somewhat older. Barry certainly looked it. He was somewhat wiser to Fitzhugh's childish ways. He also was subtle in some of his banter with the con man; somewhat sarcastic at other times. His answers to Fitzhugh were well placed and biting but not in a disrespectful way. He still cares about the man as seen when he tells Fitzhugh that he doesn't owe his life to him when he really did. Barry, here, seemed to be telling Fitzhugh how to act properly--their roles reversed somewhat as Barry was growing up. Harry Geller's music here was original with some brief inspired and clever variations on previous Williams bits (especially just after the horseshoe falls on the Sergeant and Steve lets the others know he's there on top the drawer). Some music sounded like bits used on TV's Batman (especially the King Tut episodes). This story, while having a few brief silly parts, has many fine moments, teeming with great dialogue ("don't worry if it falls we'll be camped up here for the winter.") The racetrack gave a different feel to the show and was a nice, new setting when compared to most other episodes. Splitting up the cast for a majority of the story helped give everyone a meaty role. Vic Tayback, the hood here, played Mel in the TV sitcom version of ALICE. Arch Johnson played in many television roles including a rare series called CAMP RUNAMUCK. John Harmon was in STAR TREK'S CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER. Shapiro also wrote an episode of COMBAT entitled GULLIVER. This stars Stefan Arngrim, before GIANTS, and was a well written and acted color episode of the last season of COMBAT. It garnered high acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival as did Stefan's excellent acting as a small semi-villain. This episode takes place entirely during the daytime. I found this one a delight, not at all as silly as LOST IN SPACE became, but a fresh change from the darker aspects of GIANTS and lots of fun. That aside, there were also some hair raising sequences such as the attack on the girls and Mark by the sergeant and later the threat to them by Rivers. The scene where Steve jumps across the gap between counter and table is stupendous. I also liked the idea that Barry had to save someone for a change---even yelling loudly, something he hadn't really done since DOUBLE CROSS. I do wish they could have shown more shots of Fitzhugh with Mannekin all in one frame but the racetrack shot of all the horses running over Fitzhugh is superb even by today's standards.