Season 1 episode 20
Movin’ On episode “Ransom” is a tight little mystery with lots of pretty pictures. Written by Stephen Kandel, it’s fun for the audience to try figuring out who is the bad guy. The answer is not obvious. Suspicion falls on three characters. Any one of them could be the kidnapper and the culprit is not revealed until the last moment.
As fun as “Ransom” is for it’s well crafted mystery, it’s likely to be even more fun for our truck loving audience because Director, Alex Grasshoff and Director of Photography, Ted Landon pulled out all the stops and loaded up the episode with more than usual the number of driving shots featuring “The big green truck.” Make sure to watch to the very last shot to see an extraordinary tracking shot as Sundance veers off, up, and away on a freeway transition!
And don’t miss the fantastic garment factory location! The space is huge and a kaleidoscope of color and activity and it’s shown off during an extensive “walk and talk” that covers the entire factory floor. There’s also a fun restaurant location and a spectacular scene involving Sonny and Will climbing down a cliff to the ocean below. I marvel that they let the stars actually do that scene. Not too many productions today would let their stars work in such a dangerous spot.
Finally, I’ve been focusing on our music recently. Renowned composer, Geroge Romanis did a great job on the “Ransom” score. The jazzy sound works perfectly with the visuals and the feel of the mystery.
A couple of weeks ago I was driving along a beautiful spot of coastline near San Diego and recalled I had been there before. It was when we were filming Movin’ On, but I didn’t immediately remember which episode. I checked our movinontvshow.com Episode Guide and I realized the episode was “Ransom.” That realization led to another fun memory.
Many moons ago I lived in New York and was chummy with the actor Lee Marvin. One day Lee called and invited me for drinks and dinner at Sardi’s, a restaurant in New York’s theater district. Well, I never turned down a chance to pal around with Lee, so I said, “Sure, let’s meet and eat.” Lee graciously signed autographs while we socialized at the bar. Suddenly, Ralph Meeker walked in. Ralph saw Lee and came over to join us at the bar. Lots of hugs and backslapping followed. Ralph had worked with Lee in one of my favorite films, The Dirty Dozen, with Charlie Bronson, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Richard Jaeckle and Ernie Borgnine. Well, we’re drinking. Lee and Ralph are trading “Dirty Dozen” stories that all end with lots of laughter. Folks at the bar are rolling in the aisles. They can’t believe they’re getting this personal behind the scenes look at two actors telling tales. Well, the bartender buys us a round or three. The stories get wilder and funnier. The laughter gets louder and more exuberant. Before you know it, it’s a party and I don’t remember making it to dinner! But I do remember a heck of a lot of laughing with Lee and Ralph.
Anyway, back to “Ransom.” Our casting director recommended Meeker for the lead. “By all means,” I said, “bring Ralph in and let everyone meet him.” It was a great decision. Ralph was a pleasure to have on the set. He, Claude, and Frank talked theater and got on great. When I showed up, I stirred the pot a little bit between takes, telling the story of the night with Lee and Ralph at Sardi’s. Well, out of left field, Claude jumped in and started telling stories about his time working with Lee Marvin on the film, The Killers. It’s remarkable how similar Claude’s stories about Lee were to Ralph’s stories about Lee. We all had great fun shooting “Ransom” and it almost felt like Lee was there with us. Lee Marvin was a terrific guy and a great actor. How I would have loved to have had him in Movin’ On!
When you watch “Ransom” you’ll appreciate the fantastic location that is the centerpiece of the show. Hats off to our location director, Tony Brown. You’ll also recognize the beautiful and talented Karen Carlson, who joins Meeker in this nicely put together show. I’m certain you’ll enjoy a “job well done.”