Sunday, March 16, 2008
When I was a little girl, I had to be in bed before The Fugitive came on. It was my parents' favorite show and they tried never to miss it, so every week I heard the theme music through the bedroom wall. I knew Dr. Richard Kimble was wrongly convicted of a murder he didn't commit -- like the Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island, the show opened each week by restating the premise (though not in song).
A local TV station has begun airing reruns and I am my mother's daughter -- I've become hooked on the adventures of Dr. Richard Kimble. Unlike the Harrison Ford movie, this series concentrates on Kimble's day-to-day adventures as a fugitive, always on the run, taking menial jobs, working hard to fit in and not be noticed, as he simultaneously looked over his shoulder for Lt. Gerard -- the dogged detective he escaped -- as well as the one-armed man he believed killed his wife.
I love Janssen's horrible weariness, and his voyeurism. Every week he finds himself drawn into the lives of everyday citizens: a mother and son, abused by the man of the house … a stewardess who has just discovered the man she loves is married … farmworkers who are exploited by land owners … Kimble is sure he could help and he's tempted to stay, except he's got Gerard behind him and a date with the one-armed man ahead of him.
There's an interesting class dynamic at work on this show. Richard Kimble may be a convicted murderer, but he's also a surgeon -- which in TV land makes him smarter and more sophisticated than the food servers and fruit pickers he now moves among. Since the show aired in the early-mid 1960s, everyone smoked and drank. I love the back-combed hairdos, the enormous rotary dial phones, and how the men all wear suits and ties, even to go to the movies or a ball game.
And then there's the basic tension of the show: How long can he stay in one place? How long must he keep running? Can he find the one-armed man before he kills again?
Like my mom, I love this show.
I woke up with a tenacious, nagging headache that I just can't shake. I think it's because the air in here may not be as fresh as it could be. Cat fur/dander and litter dust, pollution that accompanies being as close to the train as I am, an antiquated heating system … I've got one of these air filter towers in my bedroom and have ordered a second for my living room. Hopefully this will help. It can't hurt, and it certainly has to be better for me than handsful of OTC painkillers. (I fear I'm becoming the Marilyn Monroe of Advil.)