Mike Hammer - More Than Murder

The TV Tomb of Mystery is an ongoing attempt to stave off acquisition of any more impulse-buy DVDs by taking better inventory of the ones already in hand.  

Today's excursion:

Aired January 26, 1984.

Mike Hammer here. Betsy and I paid a visit to Dog Star Omnibus, Inc. and persuaded the powers that be to let us guest-author this post. I'll do all the talking; Betsy will just sit here on the desk and look pretty. But don't get any ideas - if you want to see how fast she can rejoin the conversation, go ahead and try your luck. I'll put a bullet-hole in your chest wider than the goddamn Holland Tunnel.

Let's start at the beginning.

Here's me, Mike Hammer. Handsome devil, aren't I?
These ladies certainly think so. Every lady I meet, actually. Particularly this lady in the phone booth:

I mean, the episode stops for a full ten seconds just so she can look at me and tell me with her eyes that she could search from Honolulu to Halifax and never lay eyes on a more desirable hunk of real estate.

Later, I bring this random dog-walker's dogs to heel, saving some poindexter from getting his buns chomped. She's head over heels... naturally. But I was on the clock.

A few things changed between Murder Me, Murder You and this time around.

I'm trying to quit smoking. Not very successfully.
I'm still driving this beat-up Ford Mustang around and parking illegally.
And I'm still mixing it up with this pencilneck Assistant D.A. Barrington.
This time about the goddamn frame job of my BEST FRIEND Captain Pat Chambers.

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a goddamn frame job of a GOOD HONEST COP. Like I told that jerkoff D.A. when my BEST FRIEND is being dragged through the meat grinder, I'm not going to sit around and wait for a bunch of empty suits to figure out how to dot their i's and cross their t's. I'm getting out there in the street and doing some meat-grinding of my own.

I'll get to the specifics in a minute. Let me reintroduce my secretary Velda. 

Last time she was played by Tanya Roberts. This time around, she's played by Lindsay Bloom. Lindsay did a lot of TV work and got the ongoing role of Velda in my subsequent TV series The New Mike Hammer. But she had me with her work in:

This cinematic master-stroke from 1979.

I don't know much about movies, but I know what I like. And H.O.T.S. is it. Nowadays every movie's got to be about heroic lesbians teaching some emo twit the watoosie or some goddamn thing. It all adds up to B-O-R-I-N-G. I like the way this one adds up better. I had the volume off, so I couldn't tell you what it was about, but you can ask Velda.

Another film I like? Harvey.
That's right, the one about the imaginary rabbit.

I'm not ashamed to say this one grabs a hold of my heart-strings and pulls on 'em like Apollo pulls the goddamn reins of his sun-chariot.

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, More Than Murder.

Like it says up there, this originally aired on CBS on January 26, 1984. We were up against two shows you probably never heard of - Masquerade and Buffalo Bill - and two you probably have, Cheers and Hill Street Blues. I like Cheers and Hill Street Blues just fine, but we had Magnum, P.I. as our lead-in. If you can tell me where you're going to get a more kickass one-two mustache punch than Thomas Magnum and Mike Hammer, I'll give you the deed to the Brooklyn Bridge and move to Alaska lock, stock and barrel.

When last we met, I was getting over the deaths of the only woman I ever loved and the daughter I never knew. This time around, I don't even mention that. Quit living in the past. Other things I don't mention this time? Viet-goddamn-nam. You know where the encyclopedia is; I've got a job to do.

I'm paid a visit by an old buddy, Malcolm Dobbs (Tim McIntire.)

He's a bigtime country music star and in town for a big show. The reason he drops in on me is he wants me to be his bodyguard for this high-stakes poker game he's going to. I tell him to get lost - Mike Hammer doesn't do private bodyguard work, even for old grizzly buddies like Dobbs. I call him an "old buddy," but I don't really act too friendly towards him.

Later, he's assassinated.
Dobbs goes to the high-stakes poker game just the same and sure enough, there's trouble.

No one knows, but Captain Chambers, my BEST FRIEND, is staking the joint out. He's waiting for the arrival of Tom Phillips (Sam Groom) but when the fight breaks out, he runs after the gunmen himself (after they parachute out of the penthouse - pretty bad-ass. I'll make a note. That's my catchphrase - I'll make a note. I say it at least four times every ninety minutes.) He's shot and put in the hospital, and that's when they try and hang a frame on him for the robbery. That's where I come in.

I get this girl named Angela (Ingrid Anderson) to go out and run some interference.

Okay, so ladies who get too close to me end up dead. It happens. Usually it's just the ladies I physically hook up with. I'm definitely a poster boy for the Hard-Boiled Hero Death Penis campaign. 

Take Sandy, aka Holly-Lynn Johnson, the chick from For Your Eyes Only.
Technically, we never even get the chance to bang.

I'm getting ahead of myself. If you recall, my last adventure had me mixing it up with an all-female courier service, run by a dude in drag. This time around, it's almost as if they had a court order to do the opposite. Sure, I meet plenty of bosomy broads who undress me with their eyes, but then there's these guys, with whom I spend far too much time.

I mean, mustaches and my own mug aside, this is about the unsexiest thing ever inflicted on the American public. Still, when it comes to clearing the name of my BEST FRIEND, I'll do - and go - wherever it takes.

That includes working with this freakin' D.A. Man! I can't stand this guy. He had the judge threaten me with contempt of court, but I told them both I'd just plead temporary SANITY.
And roughing up this dude from Mean Streets.
I just want to break in here, Mike, and say you're the best goddamn friend a fella ever had.
No sweat, pal. We're going to get to the bottom of this if I have to bloody every nose from here to Hoboken.

That's Captain Pat Chambers, ladies and germs... one damn good cop, an even BETTER friend. If I got going on all the crazy things we've gotten up to over the years, we'd be here all
day, but sometimes a friendship is about the quieter things.

Pat Chambers is the kind of guy you can cry in front of and not have to punch in the face after. Goddamn, I love this movie.

Anyway, my investigation leads me to saying things like "Identikit Composite" fifty or sixty times, and while Captain Chambers is recuperating from his bullet wound, I find myself falling improbably in love with one of the girls at the high stakes poker game.

Eve Warwick (played by Robyn Douglass.)
Now, look, I know as much as anyone that when a lady decides to go to bed with me, she might as well check herself into the morgue. But what man could resist this seduction technique?

Chicken lipstick?
Yes, please.

Needless to say, I crack the case. Remember Tom Phillips, that jerkoff I mentioned that was supposed to be staking out the poker game with Captain Chambers? He pretended to be the only guy in the department on my side the whole movie - that should've tipped me off. Turns out, he's the one who robbed the game and he's the one killing everybody.

Ms. Warwick and I track him down to a ferry, where he ends up shooting her.
It's like this guy hasn't read the goddamn script. Don't they know this is what sets me off?
I probably would've shot him either way, sure.
He even says "Help me..." for some reason. Probably for the benefit of the viewer - get across just how OVER THE LINE I've been pushed.

The Captain's good name is cleared, and even the jerkoff D.A. more or less apologizes. I'd tell him to get stuffed, but when these broads I almost-love get murdered I go into a little bit of a funk about it all. But as always, Velda helps me find myself again.

And the city. Always the city.

See you later, chums.



  1. Congratulations on your guest contributor! I think he's a fine addition to the site. He makes a great case not merely for this movie, but also for "Harvey."

    "Nowadays every movie's got to be about heroic lesbians teaching some emo twit the watoosie or some goddamn thing." -- Very nearly provoked a spit-take with that one.

    You've got to feel sorry for Lynn-Holly Johnson. Barely on the cusp of legality, she's crawling into the sack with Roger Moore; three years later, she's meat for the grinder of Stacy Keach. How do you cope with those as your early career assignments? Probably pretty well, actually, since in at least one of those cases people are still regularly seeing her work thirty-plus years later.

    1. I finally got myself untied and out of the well Mike and "Betsy" shoved me into and am able to read what they posted in my absence. If Mike Hammer wants to come back and guest-post again sometime, he's more than welcome - hopefully he won't feel the need to rough me up.

      That is funny (and true) about Lynn-Holly Johnson. I'd totally forgotten she was in Watcher in the Woods until looking her up for this post. I used to watch that one a lot back in the day. (Though damned if I remember much about it. Freaked me out as a kid, though.)