We’ve all heard the overused expression about the bottom of the barrel. This show is what’s under the bottom and in the sludge.
Bob Denver plays Rufus Butterworth and Herb Edelman is Bert Gramus. They’ve been friends since childhood and own a diner named “Bert’s Place.” Joyce Van Patten is Bert’s wife Claudia. This is Denver’s follow up to “Gilligan’s Island.”
Typical episodes: “Big Tom Gets Married”- This episode features Alan “Skipper” Hale and he does refer to Rufus as “Little Buddy.” Truck driver Big Tom (Hale) wants Rufus to propose to bar waitress Gertie for him. He says he doesn’t have a way with words like Rufus.
Rufus goes to the bar and does what he promises. Gertie’s three brothers go to toss him out. One brother, Steve (Vic Tayback) is the most vocal. They all find out that Rufus is speaking for Tom. Gertie excepts the proposal and Steve warns Rufus that Tom better not be drunk and miss the ceremony. Tom has a reputation of jilting women.
Back at the place next to the diner Tom and Bert are drunk after toasting the upcoming marriage. When Rufus tells Tom Gertie excepted he wants to back out. He even goes out the window to the ledge and threatens to jump. Bert and Rufus get him back inside and then it’s off to the bar for the ceremony. Hale is impossible to take in this juvenile episode.
“Treasure Map”- A coffee salesman tries to convince Rufus to buy his product for the diner. He says he could win a trip to Brazil and leaves a folder. Customer Sierra Red (Percy Hilton) is a down on his luck prospector. He can’t pay for his food and gives the guys a treasure map instead. He says it leads to a million dollars stashed by Pedro The Bloody of the Gold Coast Pirates. He’s too tuckered out to go after it himself.
Rufus consults a book about pirates and starts taking the map seriously. Bert thinks he’s crazy. Eventually Bert thinks there just may be something to it and he and Claudia join Rufus on the hunt. Bert wants to keep and eye on him because he doesn’t trust him to give him his share. When he finds the folder about Brazil he really gets paranoid. The three set out to find the treasure.
Bert keeps a sharp eye on Rufus. Finally Rufus catches on. Claudia has to seperate them. Now they get to the cave and X marks the spot. They use picks to get through it. Out comes a man who says they need an extra hand. The guys think someone got there ahead of them and they’re out of luck.
Around the corner are a number of men playing cards. They all have maps. Turns out Sierra stiffed all of them for food and drinks in exchange for the maps.
How this garbage lasted for forty-two episodes is unbelievable.
Herb Edelman was on many TV shows incuding “St.Elsewhere” as Richard Clarendon, “Knots Landing” as Sgt.Levine and “Murder She Wrote” as NYPD Lieutenant Artie Gelber….Joyce Van Patten has had a long movie and TV career. She was Maureen Slattery on “Unhappily Ever After” (1995-96) and has a movie coming out this year called “This Must Be The Place” as Dorothy Shore.