Worst. Prop. Ever.

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

So, we (and by we I mean Sammy) were punching around trying to find actual content on the television last night, after perhaps having had our fill of Anthony Bourdain and before Wolf Blitzer’s magic Wall of Counting Down (not to be confused with Keith Olbermann’s Countdown) was willing to call Wisconsin for Obama, and, okay, I’ll admit it, we watched thirty seconds of Hawaii Five-O on WSB’s second digital channel, a seemingly random collection of ancient reruns, from Perry Mason to Knight Rider apparently provided as a trickle of revenue stream to broadcast channels.

At any rate…we saw Steve McGarrett questioning a Hawaiian security guard in the lobby: “Are you sure you saw him come in at 9:41?” The guard said: “Positive. All three of us saw him.” “Three of you?” “Yeah, me, my partner”—indicating another guy at the table—“and the computer.”

The role of the computer is being played by—I’m not kidding—a consumer-grade Akai reel-to-reel tape deck with a small silver box duct-taped to the side, from which he clumsily yanks a card that says in typography much more 1970s printing house than 1970s computer: “9:41 PM”. They didn’t bother to dub in bleeping or adding-machine sounds.

The IMDB entry on this episode says in the comments “The teleplay by Jerome Coopersmith is from Malle’s Ascenseur Pour L’Échafaud, a sort of translation by way of homage.” This site dismisses it as a collection of unlikely events that strain belief. Me, I just like that it was so cheap a show that when they asked the prop guy for a computer, that’s what they got. Apparently in a different episode, they shot a scene inside a US Post Office that was supposed to take place in a shop in Hong Kong …and then flipped the film so the “Use ZIP Codes” and “Buy Stamps” signs were..uh..more Chinese?