New discovery about A Piece of the Action

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I started watching Robin and the 7 Hoods today, and I wasn't ten minutes in before I had to stop and write this.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_and_the_7_Hoods

    It's set in the 1920s. The movie begins with the departure of Chicago's biggest Mafia boss. Then the next biggest boss (Peter Falk) calls a meeting of all the bosses, and he announces a new arrangement: there will be a single, unified organization, he himself will henceforth be the top man, and all other bosses will report to him. And they will pay a service fee, cutting Peter Falk in for fifty percent of their revenues.

    Funny thing: that's exactly the scene that the whole episode of "A Piece of the Action" is structured to lead up to, with Shatner in the Falk role. And Shatner wears a blue pinstripe suit just like Falk's. And a light gray, pinch-front fedora with wide, dark headband, just like Falk's. And Shatner adopts the comical accent and inflections of Falk's mob boss character. And he uses the same broad gestures to "talk with his hands."

    This was a very successful picture that was released only three years before "A Piece of the Action." I hardly think it was all a coincidence. Shatner's Falk emulation is so pronounced, I would bet Star Trek's first-run audience was supposed to recognize the episode as an homage to Robin and the 7 Hoods. It's not like the show was hiding it. They hung a lantern on it.

    And that was the biggest joke in this Star Trek comedy: you would laugh with delight when you suddenly realized Shatner was doing a shameless take-off on Falk's movie character. It's a joke that was soon lost to viewers as the film faded from memory, while "A Piece of the Action" was rerun scores of times on TV. I'm 58 and I never knew about it.

    This might be as close as Star Trek came to doing a Carol Burnett-style movie take-off sketch.

    From Wikipedia:
    (Emphasis added.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020
  2. Henoch

    Henoch Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Nope, don't see the similarities. :rolleyes: :guffaw:
    [​IMG]
    Like you, I never made the connection to the movie. Good catch.
     
  3. ItsGreen

    ItsGreen Captain Captain

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    even Spock dresses similar
    [​IMG]
     
  4. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Heh, looks like Joseph Ruskin there; "Gamesters of Triskelion" and "A Piece of the Action" aired back to back.

    I've never seen this movie, the Rat Pack doesn't normally grab me, but I will check this out.
     
  5. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    What a fantastic catch, Zap!! Bravo! Absolutely no question in my mind that you're right - this was supposed to be an homage that the Star Trek audience recognized. I like how you made your case. :bolian:
    And it never ceases to amaze me how we can still learn new things about our favorite show! :beer:
     
  6. BK613

    BK613 Commodore Commodore

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    As long we are on the subject, I've always wondered about the interior sets of APotA. They seem way more detailed than the typical ST sets. Each office has a different layout and a variety of differences. Different sized fireplaces. All kinds of different moldings and floor surfaces. There are different doors with different hardware. And the hallway at JoJo Krakos's with the tiles and the stairs. Not to mention the warehouse with all the pinball machines. All of it seems more elaborate, more expensive, than what ST could pull off.
    Thoughts?
     
  7. ItsGreen

    ItsGreen Captain Captain

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    a couple of clips, more online

     
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  8. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sadly - that movie pretty much never shows up on TV anymore. I've seen it a few times many years ago and it's a fun movie. For a semi-musical...
     
  9. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    Wow! I'll have to watch it so I can get the joke in a couple of years.
     
  10. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Sgt Pepper Premium Member

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    Loved that movie as a kid, the same time I was watching Trek reruns for the first time.
     
  11. scotpens

    scotpens Professional Geek Admiral

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    "A Piece of the Action" made use of sets, wardrobe and props left over from The Untouchables (1959-1963), another Desilu production.
     
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  12. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Were those sets still standing 4 years later?

    I don't see the Production Reports for this show. Maybe @Harvey has them and can tell us in which stages the office interior sets were.
     
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  13. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I never made the connection either and yet my Father was a big and I mean BIG Frank Sinatra fan! He had this film in his collection but only watched it now and again and really not very often! But now you've brought it up I can never break the thought of that! I do recall though that Piece and Hoods were both screened by the BBC in 1980 at the time of going into videoing virtually everything! Hoods on 10th May 1980 and Trek's Piece on 22nd September 1980 so not exactly back to back but within four months or so...
    JB
     
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  14. alchemist

    alchemist Captain Captain

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    Not at the beginning of its life. Interestingly, neither the story outline ("The Expatriates") nor the first draft script ("Mission Into Chaos") has this concept in it.

    Krako's office was on Gower stage 11. Bela's office was on Gower stage 8.
     
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Thanks. So basically Krako's office was on one of the Mission: Impossible stages (7 & 8). Neither were on the regular Trek stages (9 & 10).
     
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  16. Steve Zodiac

    Steve Zodiac Cadet Newbie

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  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    According to this page, The Untouchables used stages 2, 3, 4 and 16 in Culver City and stages 9 & 10 in Hollywood. I doubt that any of those sets were still standing four years later (although set pieces may have been kept in storage). The New York street set on stages 9 & 10 must have been demolished to make way for the Star Trek sets that occupied those soundstages.
     
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  18. plynch

    plynch Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So much carpentry and construction! Reminds me how Hollywood was one of the big battlegrounds of the labor movement and Communist activity trying to infiltrate or take them over. Wasn't there a small riot outside one of the studios during a strike?

    And Reagan said the thing that turned him "right" were the tactics he said he observed as head of SAG, when trying to have meetings, the "Reds" would yell and rattle chains to prevent discussion.

    Sorry for the digression, but hearing of an entire NY street scene wiped out -- that's a lot of work gone, but . . . next production must roll, eh?
     
  19. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    Could the suits that Shatner and Nimoy wore be the actual ones from the movie? They look identical except for some extra buttons on Shatner's jacket. Or is it just all pin-striped suits look the same?
     
  20. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    If you count the number of pinstripes on Kirk’s lapels they don’t match. And Western Costume probably had tons of these kinds of suits for rent if the studio didn’t.
     
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