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Ness goes up against a trio of baddies who each desire to become Chicago's new king of champagne: slimy Ed Wald, miserly Barney Loomis, and slippery Michel Viton.
Thursday May 25th, 1961
In late November, 1932, upon receiving an anonymous tip, Eliot Ness and the Untouchables raid a warehouse filled with champagne bottles. The landlord of the building, Michel Viton, is arrested but later released for lack of evidence. After leaving the Cook County Jail, Viton is met by a deaf mute named Birdie who takes him to see his boss, Edmund Wald, a bottle manufacturer (who's also the one who tipped Ness as to the location of the champagne). Wald is manufacturing champagne bottles and has a man in Indiana making a brew of spiced cider and sugar cane that can pass for champagne. Viton sips the stuff and says it's passable. Wald can get all the bogus stuff he wants for $2 a quart and wants to re-sell it for $10 a bottle...Read the full recap
Robert Stack reportedly passed out on the set during the scene where Birdie tries to strangle Eliot Ness because George Kennedy got too into his character.
Barry Morse would return in Season Four's Globe of Death. His most famous role is that of Lt. Phillip Gerard in the 1963-67 ABC drama The Fugitive.
Viton: A good bottle of Chateau Blanc always concerns a Frenchman.
Worker: We were paid in advance by the employment agency.
Ness: Didn't that seem strange?
Woker: MIster, when you ain't worked in five months, believe me, it don't seem strange.
Viton: Can you supply the money?
Wald: I got an uncle but it'll be like pulling teeth.
Son: I"m hungry.
Barney: Music is good for the digestion.
Barney: (to his family) As long as it's my money, I'll have all the opinions around here.
Seth Otis is the name of a speakeasy owner in this episode whom Ed Wald sends Birdie out to kill. The name Seth Otis would also be used again in the Season Three episode, The Matt Bass Scheme. Interestingly enough, in that episode, Seth Otis was a speakeasy owner and he was played by none other than Michael Constantine, who played Ed Wald in this episode. Apparently, writer David Z. Goodman had a sense of humor since he penned both episodes.
The thing that makes this episode work is that the guest stars seemed like they were enjoying working on this episode and working with each other on-screen. Good chemistry always makes things better and that's the case here.