25 April 2015 | schappe1
6/16/61: "Incident on a Bridge"
This series is pretty down to earth but occasionally they could suggest that something a bit beyond our conception of reality had taken place. This is a flashback episode with Tod and Buz explaining the events that led to the disappearance of two people at a railroad bridge in Cleveland. The police suspect they either jumped onto a passing train or they fell into the river. Tod thinks they may have just climbed the ladder they were on right up into the sky. At the end of the story, we aren't sure who is right.
This episode is over-wrought and excessive poetic, almost a verse drama at times, (and thus characteristic of Stirling Silliphant's work). The plot is derivative of both Victor Hugo's "the Hunchback of Notre Dame" and Eugene O'Neill's "The Hairy Ape". Nehemiah Persoff plays Divorovoi, (De Vor-Oh-Vye), an ape-like man working in a gravel yard where Tod and Buz have found jobs. Persoff used a mouth appliance and fake teeth long with an extended eyebrow and maybe contact lenses to suggest this ape-man. But it turns out he's a gentle, misunderstood soul inside. The one person who sees this is a mute woman who takes care of the chores in the boarding house where they all live. It's run by the woman's father, also the owner of the gravel yard, who doesn't want his daughter marrying an ape. He's chosen his foreman, a bully that T & B have their weekly fight with, as the groom. Divorovoi and the girl run off, setting up the incident at the bridge.
What I really like about this episode is that it's a product of its environment, a Russian community in Cleveland with the spires of a church always visible, (and suggesting an escape into the sky). The camera-work is very nourish. The place looks gritty and dirty. Despite the darkness of the story and atmosphere, it would be a good episode to be an introduction to Route 66, a show for which the stories grew out of the various places in which they took place. On that note, the first season came to an end.