The Rockford Files (1974) s05e20 Episode Script

Never Send a Boy King to Do a Man's Job

You don't run cons on gantseh machers, pal.
You do if they fleeced your father of his will to live.
It's going to be very interesting, working together after eight years.
Oh, it's going to be so much more than interesting.
Well, I knew it was popular but we're talking about millions here.
Incredible, isn't it? Hundred thousand even.
I want to race this buttercup.
But you just bought yourself a race car.
(PHONE RINGING) ROCKFORD ON ANSWERING MACHINE: This is Jim Rockford.
At the tone, leave your name and message.
I'll get back to you.
(BEEPS) COLLINS: Mr.
Rockford, Ms.
Collins from the Bureau of Licenses.
We got your renewal before the extended deadline but not your check.
I'm sorry, but at midnight you're no longer licensed as an investigator.
Mr.
Sakowitz, don't tell me you can't do anything.
Legal? How can it be legal to steal a man's property? This This bandit gets my printing plant, I get bubkes! What kind of "legal" is that, Sakowitz? Why don't you take your attorney's advice, Mr.
Brockelman? It's all over.
You're out of business.
What, because you say so? Get out! We're closed.
We're out of business.
Majority opinion.
City council, zoning commission, Sakowitz and Greenspan.
Now, that is a very prestigious law firm.
I do business with them myself from time to time.
In other words, you also bought my attorney.
Well, you paid for legal advice, you got legal advice.
Sign it.
You can buy everybody from here to Sacramento.
I'm not signing anything.
Harry, I think the gentleman needs a pen.
(GRUNTS) (METALLIC CLATTERING) Hey, Mom.
Not now, Richie.
What happened? Your father needs help.
What? Why? What happened? What didn't happen? Dad, what happened? Did somebody break in here? Why didn't you call me? Richie Are you all right? Listen to me, "Are you all right?" You should be in the hospital.
Did you call the doctor? Your father wouldn't let me.
It's a couple of bruises.
It's nothing.
Medical expert.
What about internal injuries? They hit you in the stomach, they hit you in the chest.
Hit you? Who hit you? Why aren't the cops here? No police.
Richie, this is very important.
We can't bring the police into this.
Look, it's all over.
I sold the plant, that's all.
Twenty-five years is a long time.
You know I've been talking about retiring.
Who bought the plant, Dad? Harold Jack Coombs.
The big sports promoter? The one who owns the LA Icers? And the one who wants to build a race track right where your father's business is.
Your father got up in front of the city council.
We should have known better.
You can't fight a man like that.
You try it and he destroys you.
Is that what happened, Dad? You opposed Coombs, so he forced you to sell? He had you beaten up until you agreed to it? Well, you can't just sit there and take that.
You have to file assault charges.
Call him on it.
Publicly.
Richie, son, you don't understand.
This man is a real gantseh macher.
He's a political power.
I file charges, I guarantee, I'm the one who goes to jail.
I signed the bill of sale.
I have the man's check, $40,000.
Yeah, but if you signed under duress Look, Richie, don't make a tummel.
It could get worse.
All right, sweetheart.
Forty thousand dollars! Dad, the plant is worth a half a million.
Come on, will you? Twenty-five years work! We gotta do something! He did it nice and legal.
What should we do? Get a gun and steal it back? Dad, I may not know a lot about the printing business, but when it comes to crooks I am one savvy little sucker.
I want you to tell me everything that happened, right down to the very last detail.
My little boy is going to tackle Harold Jack Coombs? He's going to get my printing plant back? How is what I ask.
I don't know, Dad, but if it's possible, I promise you I'll do it.
So finally they just went down there with some real old-fashioned Jack Palance moves, they kicked him around until he signed the bill of sale.
You should see his face, Jim.
It's all black and blue.
He's just sitting there at home staring at the wall, saying stuff like, "That's a real gantseh macher.
" What? That's Jewish for a big-time heavyweight and believe me, Jim, for Dad, that's a real throwback.
He, he just doesn't use Yiddish idioms.
It's like he's suddenly become my grandfather or something.
I'm worried about him, Jim.
I'm real worried.
It sounds like a real bummer.
I wish I could do something to help.
Well, uh, the thing of it is, is Jim, I was, you know, just sitting there thinking and, you know, scratching the old beanbag and I said to myself, "Rich, you're good.
"Well, you know, pretty good.
"But when it comes to suave and smooth, "boy, you run a shabby second to old James S.
Rockford.
" Oh, hey, really.
No, no, no, I mean it's true.
You're the softball king.
I've seen you slow-pitch some real tough characters.
Really now, come on.
Unfortunately, you throw anything but little garters at a guy like Coombs, they're gonna come back and hit you in the forehead.
I mean, he's too big, he's too powerful and a lousy bet.
Oh, hey, Dad, how long you've been here? Hey, what are you doing? I never knowed you had a waffle maker.
I don't.
That thing hasn't worked in over two years.
Well, did you check the connection? Maybe just a loose wire or something.
It could be a lemon, too.
Let's just put it back in the car and get it out of here, huh? Well, no need cramming all this stuff into your car.
We'll put it in the pickup and I'll deliver them on my way home.
We put it the pickup and six months from now I'm going to go over to your place and I'm going to find it all squirreled away in your garage.
It goes to the Goodwill, Dad.
Oh, hey, look who's here.
It's Richie.
I know, it's Richie.
Dad, I told you it goes to the Goodwill.
Didn't you hear me? Hey, how you doing, Mr.
Rockford? Boy, it sure is nice to see a father and son working together like this.
You know, I used to help out my dad.
Of course, he's really under the weather now.
That's why I came by here today.
How come? Well, I wanted to ask Jim to help but he's too busy right now.
So I guess, you know, Mom and I are gonna have to work it out best we can.
Dad's attitude is really, really bad.
I'll give it a week, maybe two and he's straight into St.
Mary's, or worse yet, that home for the aged over on Crenshaw.
He's lost everything he has.
Of course, you know, like I said, Jim, he's real busy Richie Hey, Jim, I understand.
I mean, if you're too busy, you're too busy.
What did I do? Did I make an appointment? Did I call up and say, "Hey, Jim, I need two weeks of your time?" No sir, I sure didn't.
So now you say you're too busy, I understand, that's good enough for me.
No kidding? Now, wait a minute.
Just hold the phone, you fellas.
Look, sonny, if this boy's daddy needs help and you are too busy delivering perfectly good things to the Goodwill, then I am going to lose a lot of confidence in you.
Would you excuse us for just a moment? What're you trying to do, huh? Hey, I need your help.
If I can't get this for my father legally, I'm gonna run a game on Coombs.
You're gonna what? A con.
I figured you knew more about it than I did so I came over and I asked, but you're too busy with your waffle irons and your toasters.
So I'm leaving.
Hey, hey.
A con? You don't run cons on gantseh machers, pal.
You do if they fleeced your father of his will to live.
You try to run a game on Harold Jack Coombs and blow it, you're gonna end up doing so much time, they could stack it on end! My experience tells me anybody who is greedy can get took.
I'm telling you, Richie, now, you don't run games on legits.
Legits always go to the cops.
You can't blow the mark off worth a damn.
You can't use the stall, because they bolt.
Your classic moves are right down the toilet.
You get a sting one time out of ten.
I have no other options.
If you won't help me, I'm gonna do it by myself.
Look, you got any seed money? Yeah, uh, $40,000.
I think I can come up with forty It's not enough.
It's all I got! It's the sum total of my father's life.
It works out to about two dollars a day.
It may not be enough for you, but it's enough for me.
If you don't help that boy's daddy, I'm going to be mad at you.
Well, life is full of bitter disappointments, Dad.
I got a question for you.
What are you doing poking around in there again? Well, I've got a question for you too.
Where did this toaster come from? That toaster? Oh.
That's the one you gave me for Christmas.
Yeah, $34.
75.
Well, it got in there by mistake! How was Well, I can't Those things happen! Hey, Dad.
How come you're still awake? I was just reading.
(LAUGHS) I guess I lost track of the time.
You know, I saw Jim Rockford today.
You remember him? Oh, yeah.
Yeah, a nice guy.
He's in your line of work, isn't he? Yeah, sure is.
Yeah, he's a nice man.
He's a responsible type.
If a man like that is in the detecting business, how bad can it be, huh? You know, I was thinking today, Dad, I think it was in 1968, I was just a kid, but I remember the chain of printers that tried to buy you out.
Calder and Baer.
Mmm-hmm.
Oh, they made a fair offer.
I just didn't want to sell.
Right.
So, you didn't.
You stood up to them and you won.
Well, we can win this time, too.
Only it's going to be just a little bit tougher because you've already signed the bill of sale.
Uh-oh, I don't think I want to hear what comes next.
Dad, uh I'm gonna need that $40,000.
(CHUCKLES) Hi.
Where's Sharon? She's at lunch and then she's going to the library.
To the library? No kidding? The library? Hey, Jim, I'm kind of busy here, do you mind? Knock it off, huh? You try to work a stall and a pullback on me, I'll throw the hook instead of swallowing it.
Yeah, okay.
What are you in to? Going through these clippings.
You're serious, aren't you? I'm looking for a way in.
I figure I gotta know this bandit before I pull his pants off.
Yeah, well, the only reason I'm down here is the Goodwill is just a couple of blocks away.
Hey, Jim, this is my problem, it's not yours.
I know it's dangerous, but my father needs help.
And that guy busted his britches for me.
How can I explain it? I mean, he's just my dad, that's all.
And Jim, this guy took his business away with zoning commissions and city council meetings and finally he went down there and he beat him up.
Now my father's so frightened, he won't fight back! So I will! You got anything? No.
I have maybe one thing.
Coombs is a hypochondriac.
He spends six weeks out of every year at a clinic.
It's funny, Howard Hughes was the same way.
Some kind of germ freak.
I wonder why that is.
Well, maybe it's because the one thing you can't buy, no matter how rich you are, is good health.
Yeah, well, that's what I was thinking of doing.
Pulling, you know, some kind of health angle.
Like maybe giving him symptoms of a tropical disease, set up a clinic, run a cure, charge the guy a fortune.
Never work.
Hey, don't tell me what will work and what won't work.
You know, you're not involved in this so do me a favor and just butt the hell out, will you? Richie, come on, pal, hey, hey.
I don't wanna see you get jammed up on this thing.
But the reason it won't work is because this guy has probably got 20 doctors.
The minute that you give him some symptoms, I mean they're gonna run him into one of their own clinics and diagnose him.
You're gonna be up to your collar stays in Viennese physicians.
Well, I'm working on a stall to cover that.
All right.
Hey, look.
Rich, I mean, you want to make a run at this guy, you gotta come at him at a crazy angle.
What? I don't know yet.
Yet? I don't know and speaking strictly as an offstage adviser, I'll tell you this much, you're probably into a big store game, at the very least.
It's gonna cost you more than 40 grand to finance it.
Oh, I'll get more.
There is one way that you can set these things up where the mark ends up paying for part of the con.
It's an inside sting.
It's a little bitty sting inside the big one.
Go on.
Go on.
Well, as an adviser, huh? Right, right.
No, sir.
Not as an active participant in any way, shape or form.
Well, I'd say that the best way to pluck a guy like this is to hit him hard and fast.
Take something away from him that he really wants.
You know, get him coming at you instead of you coming at him.
He'll be very leery of anybody selling anything.
He's got salesmen coming at him all day long.
Okay, okay.
Go on.
Well, the whole idea of a con is to start the mark off working with something that he understands, plausible stuff, and then, with each move, you take him further and further away from reality, huh? You hook him, you show him the pot of gold and then you back away.
Then you bring in the stall.
You get him off balance, so when you're ready to sting him, he's gonna go for something that, on the first day of the con, he would have laughed at you for even suggesting.
Hey, I know all that.
Here, look at this.
"Coombs' Fear of Flying.
"Fact, Fiction or Just a Negotiating Ploy?" Is that anything? Well, I don't know but on the outside, I'd say that Mr.
Coombs is dealing with some emotional problems.
Fear of flying, germs.
(CHUCKLES) This could be fun.
So you're in? Of course not.
I'm just playing around.
Oh, absolutely.
Of course not.
I think this guy Littrell is a natural.
RICHIE: Well, we've got six naturals, all of them with enough hatred for Coombs to play along.
There's Marian Belford.
Coombs lived with her for six years and then he booted her out.
She's suing him for half the community property.
Then, there's Congressman Menteer.
No, no, no.
I don't like broken-down politicians.
No, I think even if we get this doctor, what's his name, the cardiologist that Coombs ruined? Dr.
Davidson.
Yeah.
Even if we get him to go along, I don't think he's as good as this guy Littrell.
Yeah, I guess maybe you're right.
Maybe I am, maybe I'm not, I don't think we ought to waste any time talking to this guy.
Find out a little bit more about Coombs' obsession for this car.
Now, you said to find something that a guy wants and then take it from him.
You think we can take this race car away from him? You ever heard of racing for pink slips? Registration slips? Come on, that's strictly high school.
You're talking about a $100,000 race car here with all sorts of revolutionary design features.
This car's headed for the big time.
Maybe.
Maybe it's headed for my house.
We'll see.
You know, I'm still trying to get what it is you guys are after.
Well, the thing of it is, is we know you're angry at Jack Coombs.
(LAUGHS) Angry don't hardly hit the situation at all.
Well, sir, if I could just tell you what he did to my father.
You see, we had a printing business and he had my father beaten up.
He took the business away, paid him $40,000 for it, and it's worth a half a million! Well, I got horror stories of my own, pal.
What's your action in this anyway, stroke? Uh, him, he's just an adviser.
No kidding.
Yeah, I'm the one who wanted to talk to you.
See, we plan on running a game on Mr.
Coombs.
We prop him up and take his little toy away from him.
Now, what I'd like to know is just exactly how fast is the Coombs Special? Oh, it's fast, pal.
It's really fast.
In fact, with his man Vern in the stirrups, I don't know anybody who could lay down a faster lap anywhere.
It's gonna flat run away with anything in its class.
You know, that's what galls me the most.
Because I damn near built that thing from the ground up.
All those new suspension designs, the air foil, the new flywheel, everything, they're all mine.
How would you like to own it? Ain't nobody gonna own that thing.
No way at all.
I understand that Mr.
Coombs drives it every now and again.
LITTRELL: Ah, you saw the articles in the newspaper.
Oh, he likes to come out and shove it around, you know, show off to his girlfriends.
He can take it up to about three quarters of its potential and handle it pretty good.
But when it comes time to push to the limits, old Mr.
Coombs has some chicken feathers where his competitive spirit should be.
ROCKFORD: Yeah, well, here's my proposition, Larry.
Could a talented amateur in this car, with a little instruction, beat Harold Jack Coombs driving the Coombs Special? Well, it would depend on the amateur.
I could run him off the track but it would really depend on how much that amateur is willing to push it.
Hey, I'll push it.
Don't worry about that.
No, no, no.
I'm the amateur.
I thought you were the adviser.
Yeah, well, every once in a while an adviser has to get out of advising and do a little practical application.
Now wait a minute.
Let me see if I got this straight.
I loan you my car.
Work with me for a couple of days.
And then somehow you get Coombs to race you.
What do I get out of this? Well, if I win, you get the Coombs Special.
If I lose, you lose your car and get to visit me in the hospital.
Okay, mister, I'll tell you what.
Let me see you behind the wheel and I'll let you know.
So, your dad lost his business, huh, kid? Mmm-hmm.
Take a look at this claw.
Now Mr.
Coombs' notary public, Harry Stone, he gave me this special design.
He fixed it up for me one night after me and Mr.
Coombs had a little misunderstanding.
Only took him about six minutes with a sledge hammer and two guys to hold me down.
Anyway, you show up out here tomorrow morning, we'll have a look, stroke, and I hope you're hell on wheels.
A real gantseh macher.
Well, we've got our shill, all we need now is a tale to tell.
(PEOPLE CHATTERING) Well, Richie, you did a good job.
A lot of good, solid artists.
Thanks.
Odette? Oh, yeah.
Odette Lependieu.
She wasn't on your list, but I heard about her from some of the others.
I thought she might be all right.
It was okay to invite her, wasn't it? Yeah, yeah, sure.
She's good.
She is very good.
And a fox.
Mmm.
Angel, you weren't invited here, were you? Must have been an oversight.
Jimmy, I want you to meet a good friend of mine.
Dr.
Herbert Wetherford.
New in town but old in reputation.
Doc, doc.
Nice to have you with us, Dr.
Wetherford.
Doc.
Mmm? Doc.
Take your pill, okay? I'm in for 10% of your fee, so let's be sure we make the cut, Daddy.
Put your mind at rest, Evelyn.
Let's get on with it.
All right, everybody, can I have your attention, please? Can you just move down to the front and sit in the seats up here.
Yeah, we gotta get started here so if you can hurry up, that'd be a big help.
Thanks a lot.
All right, you may have heard that we're into a variation of The Big Store here.
On the blackboard are the characters and the qualifications that we'll need.
We'll be screening people on an individual basis in the conference room.
First up is Albermarle, Charles J.
, followed by the Alioto Brothers, Rocco and Kent.
Okay, Toulie, thanks for dropping by.
We'll be in touch.
Okay.
Bye.
Bye.
Uh, Frederick Doyle.
Hi.
Ah, Frederick.
It's been a long time.
Lodi.
We worked the heiress con on Al Jacobi, the guy that sponsored phony rock concerts.
And a sweet one it was.
You were the only one who got busted.
Too late getting out of the hotel room.
Hey, what happened? I really feel embarrassed about having you come in and audition, Frederick.
Richie, this is one of the greats.
No problem.
It's an important scam and you want things to be right.
If we get into egos, we might as well give up this business.
Good.
The chances are you'll be doing a variation of your state geologist routine.
You'll have to do some boning up.
Books? I'm afraid so.
Okay.
I need the job right now.
Okay, hey, always good to have you aboard, Frederick.
Uh, Michael Groytowicz.
Groytowicz? ROCKFORD: Cowboy Mickey Just call me Alphabet.
Uh, it says here that you also work as Michael Grumman, attorney at law, and Viscount Henri Latache-Villon.
Right.
Right.
Sometimes your titles really work out well for you.
Especially when you work in Europe.
But I've also had a great response to the viscount in Canada, New York, Miami.
It goes very big, very big.
You speak any foreign languages, Mickey? Languages.
I got a good French accent.
I can go Scottish, you know, if the speeches are not too long.
And of course, Texas.
Well, thanks a lot, Mickey.
Thanks for dropping by.
We'll be in touch.
Oh, by the way, that phone number that I just gave you, you know, when you call, let it ring twice, hang up and then call back again.
Got you.
Odette Lependieu? Hi.
Odette, you speak a foreign language.
Yes.
English.
I meant foreign to Americans.
French, Italian, Spanish, some German.
And, of course, Urdu, an old Islamic dialect.
That sound anything like Egyptian? I don't speak Egyptian.
I speak Urdu.
Only because of an old alliance.
That's probably close enough.
We may have an embassy post for you.
Nice to meet you, Richard.
ROCKFORD: That's it.
We have our list.
Tell the others they'll work at the auction.
You know, I've been going over the budget.
I think we're gonna be at least $10,000 short.
Well, we'll just let Coombs pick up the tab.
We'll have the Hittite pot.
Hey, Jimmy.
What do you think? Three piece, matching.
Looks great, Angel.
Sorry, I'm not going to be able to use you on this one.
This has got to be a class act right down the line or it's just not going to happen.
I'm not class? Is that what you're saying? I'm not Chichicastenango enough for you? Well, thank you very much, I'm sure.
You can have the twenty.
We're paying $20 audition fee.
You can still have that if you want it.
You bet I want it.
On principle, buddy.
You and me are finished.
That's it.
(SPEAKING SPANISH) Come on, let's go to work.
Boy, that was an education.
I mean, what the hey, never taught me what I learned today.
All right, all right, Richie, I'm in.
All right? I'm going to do it.
You keep soaping me up, my skin is gonna pucker.
If you rope Coombs like you roped me, we're gold.
Would you excuse me a minute? Still losing your keys? Still finding them.
You're looking well, Odette.
How's Carl? I have no idea.
Really? You were so close at one time.
Adversity has a way of bringing people together.
$50,000 worth? Mathematics was always your forte.
It's going to be very interesting, working together after eight years.
Oh, it's going to be so much more than interesting.
(ENGINE ROARING) Well, how did I do? I keep telling you, you've got to drop your RPMs going into the turn and pick up the speed coming out! I did.
Yeah, I know, but not enough.
You're still having to brake into those turns like my Aunt Louise.
Look, when your foot's off the gas and the car's under centrifugal stress, you give up control.
Yeah, but how did I do? Great.
Hey, Jim, here it is.
It looks primitive enough.
Is it Hittite? Uh, Thrifty-Save Imports.
You see, the thing of it is, is I've been studying some anthropology and throughout mankind's history there's just one basic pot, right? So I've got this girlfriend who's studying pottery in night school and she's going to add some cuneiform, working from the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Good.
(EXCLAIMING) Keep driving, stroke.
You don't race my car until I feel relaxed.
I don't like the way it's handling, Vern.
Something's holding it back.
I ran a 1:13 just a few minutes ago.
That's an awfully good speed.
I'm telling you it's dragging its butt.
Mr.
Coombs, there's not a car that can touch it out there.
That's as good a speed we're going to get.
That's what I want to hear.
Just keep it that way.
But if Marian or her attorneys come around, it's a lemon, right? Riddled with problems.
Take it around a couple of times, all the way out.
Well, now, there you go, darling.
There's your racetrack.
Where are the horses? Horses? Well, now, don't that beat all? You said racetrack and I come tearing out here like we're talking the same lingo.
Horses, huh? Yes, sir.
Honey, how about the part of the horse that went over the fence last, huh? Hey, hey, hi ho, Silver, away! (BOTH LAUGHING) You got a problem, fella? Oh, nothing I can't handle in a pair of regular pants.
And your high heels? Well, now, don't you look cute.
Just a racing uniform.
Oh yeah? Yeah, that looks like something Captain Space wears on that Saturday morning kiddie show.
Anybody ever shut your mouth for you, fella? A few people have tried.
Honey, you said you wanted a race, huh? How about a contest between one west Texas thoroughbred and one silver-lamé jackass, huh? (LAUGHING) Race with you half bagged? Okay, buddy, you are on.
You're on! You can't take that on the track.
I can't? Hey, Mr.
Coombs, sir.
You want to take your conversation elsewhere? I want a hot lap.
Just keep your shirt on, Larry.
Besides, I didn't think they allowed gimps to drive on this track.
Hey, don't give me any trouble, Mr.
Coombs.
This time I don't have to take it.
You wish.
Hey, Vern.
Look who's here? The world's highest priced cab driver! Hey, uh, what do you call this thing? A race car.
What do you care? Is this allowed on the track? Well, yeah.
How much? It's not for sale.
Except to drive trash to the dump.
And then you gotta get a ride back.
How much? What do you say, Hundred thousand even.
I want to race this buttercup.
I don't know where you're coming from but you just bought yourself a race car.
Okay.
It's you and me.
Winner take all, Mr.
Combs.
Coombs.
You're not an experienced driver anyway.
I drove a little stock iron in my time.
Just put your foot to the fire wall.
That's it.
How about this guy, huh? Fancy dresser, fancy talker, don't you just love him? All right, your car against mine.
Vern.
Vern? Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Who's Vern? It's you and me, good buddy.
I don't drive competitively.
The people that insure my holdings wouldn't allow it.
You just put your foot to the fire wall just like I said, unless you're afraid you're going to hurt your little silver suit.
Mr.
Coombs, he's drunk.
Everybody can see that.
Well, that's good.
Maybe he won't get around the first turn.
All right, let's go, cowboy.
You're on.
Meeker.
That's Jimmy Joe Meeker.
Just put your foot to the fire wall, good buddy.
(ENGINES ROARING) (TIRES SCREECHING) (TIRES SCREECHING) You did it! You beat him, Jim! I'm taking that baby home! All right, cool it, Larry.
We gotta play out our hand.
Hey, boy! Hey! Where's your pink slip? You wearing it? All right, Vern, tow the Special over to this gentleman's To his To wherever he lives.
Captain Space, thanks for the race.
I ain't gonna forget this day! Neither am I.
He's right, Larry, he won't.
TOULIE: Hello.
WOMAN: Toulie, Coombs is on his way up.
Got it.
Okay, people, the mark is on his way.
Let's get to work on those phones and typewriters.
Here he comes.
(PHONE RINGING) May I help you? I'm expected.
Where's the material on the reconciliation with Thebun Amun? It was supposed to be on my desk in a manila folder.
Has anybody seen it? I'm Jack Coombs.
Well, you're right on time.
Would you like to have a seat? Where is that no-good, do-less, son of a T.
J.
Meeker.
Don't crowd me, boy.
I'll get to you.
Fennimore? Yes, sir? Now, I'm getting tired of telling you the same thing twice all the time.
I'm in there drilling for water in a dry hole.
Now, I told you I wanted a bottle of water in there.
Do you think you could get it for me? Sir, I don't mind helping out around here, but I am not an office boy.
I am the curator.
Is that a fact? Well, I don't see you doing a whole lot of curating.
Well, I can't find the material on the reconciliation of Thebun Amun.
Well, do you think you can find a water bottle? Now, you know right where they are.
Why don't you go right down there and fetch one, okay? Meeker? Would you give me Hey, you want an appointment? You want to talk to me? You just make an appointment.
I have an appointment.
My name is Jack Coombs.
We raced at Riverside a couple of days ago.
Well, of course you are, of course you are.
I just didn't recognize you in them normal clothes.
What, you just save those little tinsel drawers for special occasions, huh? That was my racing suit.
Well, it sure was no winning suit, was it? Well, you see, that's what I want to talk to you about.
Now, the Coombs Special Oh, hey, now that's a fine little buggy.
'Course I'm gonna have to change the name.
Now what do you think of the Meeker Streaker? Please, that car means an awful lot to me.
Now what I want to do is buy it back from you.
You name your profit, I'll pay you top dollar.
Well, it does appear that it means something to you.
But I'm sorry, I can't help you out.
You see, I was talking to my cousin, Billy Buck Beaudine, and I promised to ship it down home to him for his boy, Ralph.
Just had his 17th birthday.
You're going to give the Coombs Special to a 17-year-old punk? Well, now, Ralph's got his faults, but I don't think I'd go so far as to call him a punk.
Well, you can't do that! It's overseas.
Wendkos? (SIGHS) Tell him I'm, uh Tell him He says he knows you're here.
All right Boy, you go tell T.
J.
I'm going to need the latest inventory.
Yes, sir.
Well, what Yes, sir.
(LINE CLICKS) WENDKOS: I mean to say I did get it.
And there isn't one thing on that list that wasn't there two months ago.
Well, sir, these things take time.
Any money? Now, you listen to me, Meeker.
I start seeing results or the money stops.
I gave you power of attorney on this project and I'm holding you fully responsible.
No more high times on my cash.
Well now, Mr.
Wendkos.
Just where did you ever get the idea that this old country boy had his hand in the till? Now that grieves me, sir, it does.
Well, what are all those junkets to Vegas? I'm not paying you for that.
You were cathead man on an oil rig when I found you.
You mess up on this operation, that's where you'll end up.
Back on the oil rig.
Or under it.
Now, do I make myself clear? Oh, yes sir, yes, sir.
Just as clear as crick water, sir.
Yes, sir.
Meeker, I got a feeling you're going to blow it.
(HANGS UP) Where is that water bottle? What is the matter with you, boy? But she said I was supposed to I'm the one that does the saying around here, Fennimore.
All right, I'll get the water.
Meeker? Do you mind? Now, what is it, honey? The cultural attaché, Miss Cavafy, is here to see you.
All right, all right, all right.
I don't see why you can't give me five minutes of your time! We have had our conversation.
I'm a busy man.
Well, you can't be that busy.
Well, now, Miss Cavafy.
If you don't look cuter than a speckled pup sleeping under a wagon.
You just go right on in, honey, go right on in.
Thanks.
ROCKFORD: I think we pulled it off.
Good job.
(PEOPLE CHATTERING) It's magnificent, isn't it? From the Cappadocia dig.
I'd have said that was exhausted years ago.
Well, it appeared to be but then there was a shift in the substructure and up popped this little beauty.
You're not going to bid on it, are you? See, I'm going to try for it myself.
I want to start my own personal collection.
You know, after all these years of studying the Hittites, I don't have one single piece except for a tiny trepanning tool that I found in Relax.
The museum's not interested in additional Hittite relics.
Oh good.
Good luck to you, Doctor.
Oh, thank you, Doctor.
It doesn't look like much to me.
I see stuff like that in the five-and-dime and nurseries all over the place.
Oh! Begging your pardon, sir, but not like that.
No? Oh, similar, sure.
I mean art inspires imitations.
But I'd say that dates back to somewhere around In the reign of Suppiluliumas.
Oh, really? You seem to know a lot about it.
Well, it's my specialty.
Didn't I see you in Jimmy Joe Meeker's office? My name is Jack Coombs.
Oh, yes.
T.
J.
Fennimore.
Is Meeker into the Hittites? Unfortunately, no.
Well, you're his new curator.
Isn't that true? Look, I'll level with you.
I followed you here for a reason.
From what I saw, we have a mutual dislike for Meeker.
MAN: Ladies and gentlemen.
The auction will begin in a few minutes.
And maybe we ought to talk about it.
What is he into? (SIGHS) I am employed by Mr.
Meeker.
I'm not at liberty to discuss the nature of my work.
(BELL RINGS) Excuse me.
I think the auction is about to begin.
(PEOPLE CHATTERING) And sold to the lovely lady in the first row.
Kindly pay the cashier.
And now, number 310.
An exquisitely fashioned Hittite unguent pot.
Thought to be from the reign of Suppiluliumas, late 1300s, B.
C.
Can we start the bidding at $3,000? Do I hear 3,000? Three thousand.
Five.
Five.
The bid is five thousand.
Five thousand once, five thousand twice Six.
Eight.
Eight.
The bid is eight thousand.
I'm bid eight thousand once, eight thousand twice Uh uh Eight thousand, twenty-five.
Ten.
The bid is ten thousand.
I'm bid ten thousand dollars.
Ten thousand once.
Ten thousand twice.
Any further bids? Sold for $10,000.
The gentleman in the third row.
Kindly pay the cashier.
I would like to call the audience's attention, please, to page 5 of your auction program.
Please note the correction that the entire art lot from the Bruno Munssinger Estate will be held later on this evening.
I might remind the audience that the entire Munssinger Estate has never before been on public view.
That's the Bruno Munssinger Estate.
Mr.
Fennimore.
It's yours, if you want it.
If I want it? Sure.
But you just spent $10,000 taking it away from me.
Wait a minute, if this is some kind of bribe No, no.
I just like to give presents.
Especially to somebody who does me a favor.
It's nice to reciprocate.
Just a little information about Jimmy Joe Meeker's current project.
I can't do it, Mr.
Coombs.
Look, I respect your loyalty, but I saw the way he treated you.
Now, you owe him nothing.
You and I could team up and shaft that motor mouth.
Think about it! I'm a very wealthy man.
I could buy you every pot the Hittites ever made, and potholders to go with them.
Don't misunderstand me, Mr.
Coombs.
I have very little respect for Mr.
Meeker.
But I do have respect for myself and I want to keep it.
MAN: That's a wrap, everybody.
Great job.
You can pick up your checks from Jim Rockford in the morning.
(CLATTERING) I told you I had a present for you.
The pot of Suppiluliumas.
Now it's just mashed.
Now, here's a nice, quiet place where we can talk.
Mr.
Coombs, I think that you're making a terrific mistake here.
Oh, really? How's that? Well, you see I'm due at the biannual meeting of the Mensa Society, and it's a really big affair.
And as a founding member of the Tarzana chapter, if I don't show up Harry.
It's going to be a real mess.
(SHOUTS) You're going to kill me, right? Dr.
Fennimore, I have nothing against you personally.
You see, it's Jimmy Joe Meeker I want.
Now you give me the information I need and I'll keep Harry there on a short leash.
If I can just make you understand that there are certain principles involved here.
Honor and loyalty may not mean much to some people, but to me, it's my whole life.
Harry, why don't you show him what honor and loyalty to the wrong person buys him.
(GRUNTING) All right, Doctor.
Don't cough in my face! Jimmy Joe Meeker has Robert Wendkos' power of attorney on a matter of some importance and I want to know what it is.
He and the Egyptian government have entered into a secret agreement.
The Egyptian government? Of course, fighter planes.
Wendkos bought the Beller Aircraft Corporation about eight months before that senate subcommittee got on his case and he had to leave the country.
No, no, he's not selling anything.
He's buying.
Antiquities.
Well, he's not exactly buying.
I mean, you can't put a price on the treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamen.
What we're talking about here is national heritage.
What we're talking about here doesn't make sense.
King Tut? Yes, it does.
An arrangement with the Cairo Museum, through the Egyptian government.
An exhibit.
What do you take me for? There's already a King Tut exhibit touring the country.
Meeker is arranging for a second one after the first one is over.
At least, he's supposed to be.
Wendkos keeps pouring money in and Mr.
Meeker keeps spending it.
What does Robert Wendkos want with a bunch of mummies? He's into conglomerates.
Oh, come on, Harry, let's wrap this up.
No, no, no, no, really! I'm telling you the truth.
I mean, this, this thing is a real mania with Mr.
Wendkos.
I tried to interest him in the Hittites, but he wouldn't have a thing to do with it.
Egyptomania is a historical fact.
I mean there was Homer, and Karl Richard Lepsius, and Sir Gardner Wilkinson, and Napoleon, for Pete's sake.
Robert Wendkos isn't doing this for cultural contributions.
He isn't into anything that doesn't add up to cash.
But it does.
This exhibit has been playing in museums all over the country and it's been raking in millions of dollars.
Now, imagine if this were booked in the convention centers.
You could charge top dollar and accommodate ten times the amount of people.
And that is what Wendkos is going to do? Yes, sir.
They're taking a whole real big show business approach to the whole thing.
Vegas casinos, possible tie-ins with some Neil Diamond concerts.
I personally don't approve of this.
But what the hey? I mean, if the Egyptian government is willing to go along with it, you know, it's not that easy to find a job as a curator.
How much money would you say is involved? Harry.
Hey, look, I don't know anything about it.
That's not my end.
But if you promise that he won't hurt me anymore, I'II I'll do my best to help you try to find out.
All right.
(CAR HORN HONKING) Hey, Freddie, Freddie! Big problems! We couldn't get into the curator's office.
The whole wing is off limits.
We tried the gas leak story to clear out the staff but the security guy said nobody could leave, not even during a bomb scare.
How much time do we have? None! Brockelman's on his way with the mark.
We'll have to do it in the museum proper.
How, Frederick? I'll explain when we get in, Amy.
We'll have to station ourselves so the Brockelman kid sees us.
Let's hope he can roll with the flow.
You don't need us.
Yeah, let's get out of here.
Now Mr.
Coombs, I need your assurance that you're not going to say anything to Dr.
Henning here at the museum about Mr.
Meeker's plans.
You see, I wouldn't want him to tell the press, put the kibosh on things.
I wouldn't want to take that risk.
As curator of the new Tut exhibit, I'll be able to write my own ticket.
Now, that may not mean a great deal to you but it does to me.
Great deal? How about nothing.
The office is right over this way.
AMY: Yes, Doctor.
There's Dr.
Henning now.
The entire display of decorative art from the reign of Louis Philippe should be here.
Now, people are into Art Deco now and there's a connection.
So all this goes up into the Connolly wing with the Bayonne tapestries Dr.
Henning.
Oh, Dr.
Fennimore.
Hi.
We had the 12:30 appointment.
This is Mr.
Coombs.
We tried to call you back to cancel but you never seem to be around, Doctor.
I've got a rush project on my hands.
We've got Louis Philippe coming in here.
A loan-out from the Musee des Arts Decoratif in Paris.
I'm Harold Jack Coombs.
Your appointment was actually with me.
I'm very pleased to meet you, Mr.
Coombs.
I've heard a lot about you.
But as I told Dr.
Fennimore, I really can't discuss the finances of the Tut exhibit when it was hosted here, except of course, in the most general terms.
And now today is really a terrible day.
I'm sorry.
Well, as I intimated to you, Mr.
Coombs is interested in making an endowment to the Egyptology Department.
Right.
And I want to talk specifically, not generally.
Well, an endowment would of course be appreciated but really you should take this up with Mrs.
Connelly who's head of the museum board of directors.
In fact, I'm sure you must know Mitzi Connelly.
Forget Mitzi Connelly, will you, please? I want to talk to you about Tutankhamen.
Now, what's the problem? Let's go to your office! You do have one, don't you? Oh, there's Sergeant DeRitter.
I want to talk to him about TV security cameras for the Louis Philippe.
Could you tell me what time the museum closes? Okay.
Look, all I want is It might get you a whole Harold Jack Coombs Memorial Wing stuffed with every Egyptian artifact you could want and Louis Philippe and 18th-century Italian window sills for all I care.
Ten minutes.
It's all I can spare.
Amy, would you get me the Tut exhibit files.
Then cancel the Brody lunch, push back Luis to 4:15 and obviously I won't have a chance to look at those mosaics.
You're interested in these figures for what purpose? I don't quite see In terms of his possible endowment.
Yes, that's right.
You see, I'm in this partly for my PR.
And I want to see what I'm getting into.
Well, the traffic through the museum went up 176.
2% during the time the Tut artifacts were displayed.
And if dollars are any indication of interest, and let's not kid ourselves, we made Look, you promise to keep these figures to yourself? I mean, this is a nonprofit institution but the staff doesn't always understand that when it comes time to negotiate, nor does the public when it comes time to canvas donations.
Well, absolutely.
I understand.
Well, I knew it was popular but we're talking about millions here.
Incredible, isn't it? The Greco-Roman, you can't pay people to look at them.
But this? Who knows why the mania? Maybe it's the mystique of the ancient curse that the general public can hook into.
What curse? Superstition.
Mumbo jumbo.
People defiling Tut's tomb, that sort of thing.
People strangling to death right and left.
Well, thank you, my health has never been better.
And neither has the museum's.
Yes and at seven dollars admission.
I mean, what would happen if we beefed up that admission? Serket, incidentally, was the hit of the show.
It was lovely.
Although the small mummiform coffins containing the king's viscera were also quite popular.
Yes, well, the figures are certainly encouraging.
But that doesn't even include the ancillary rights.
T-shirts, calendars, books, watches, bathrobes.
Here are the figures from our gift shop.
Incredible.
This is as far as I go.
Don't be dramatic.
Get in the car.
No, sir.
If you're going to kill me, you're going to have to do it right here at high noon on Wilshire Boulevard.
(LAUGHING) Kill you? As far as I'm concerned, Fennimore, you can go back to your water bottle and your clay pots.
But if you say one word to Meeker, you'll disappear from the face of the Earth.
Like the Hittites.
I think we sit on Meeker for a while.
But I'm going to get that sod-kicker, if that's the last thing I do.
Let's go.
I feel so foolish.
I transposed the numbers in the address.
It was so good of you to let me use your telephone.
Thank you.
It's quite all right.
Goodbye.
(CAR ENGINE STARTING) Nothing like 20 minutes of cold silence to bring old memories rushing back.
What right have you got to be sore? Aren't you forgetting something? What? Your appalling accent, Mr.
Meeker.
It's best to stay in character, don't you think? Angel? What are you doing here? Save the thanks for later, Jimmy.
Pigeon is on your left flank.
Where's Dr.
Wetherford? He's in the car cutting some z's.
Why didn't you wake him up? It's hard with narcolepsy.
When they're gone, they're gone.
Wetherford's a narcoleptic? But he's our Egyptologist.
I got him laid out in the seat.
Nobody can see him.
Angel, you knew this when I hired him, didn't you.
Don't worry about it, Jimmy.
I got my Egyptology down.
Besides, who else here seen Mummy's Tomb 12 times? A dozen even.
Besides, I been rehearsing with Wetherford.
I know the scam as well as he does.
I don't think we've got any choice.
All right.
But you keep your mouth shut just as much as possible.
A lot of nodding and a lot of knowing looks.
Well, meaning no disrespect, but I never seen such a bunch of nervous Nellies.
You put me in mind of my old Aunt Hattie.
She collected teacups.
We're dealing with a little more than teacups here, Mr.
Meeker.
These objects are thousands of years old.
Magnificent! The temperature must be controlled.
And salt water is lethal.
How could you store them near the harbor like this? I assure you, Miss Cavafy, I had no idea this was going to happen.
You don't need to apologize for me, boy.
You can see the stuff's all right.
The king's ushabti, wearing the crown of Lower Egypt.
Anubis.
Professor Stein? A pendant representing Amenophis III, wearing the Khepresh.
Good, good.
We can all see it's a genuine dealie and no harm done by the storage.
The boy's got his Khepresh.
See, it's all right.
Hey, that would make a right nice belt buckle.
ODETTE: Seventy degrees.
No more, no less.
And no humidity.
The conditions must duplicate pyramidal storage exactly.
And the security you've commissioned is laughable.
Fifteen men at all times.
Can you understand that? I think you can tell the ambassador there's been no damage to the present.
When is the next shipment expected? Within the month, Professor.
It's so difficult because of public interest to secure the necessary secrecy.
But I would say within the month.
Feel free to call on me.
The brilliance of the ages before us.
Beauty unsurpassed, wealth unimagined! Thank you, Professor Stein.
Who wouldn't risk the infernal spirits? Who wouldn't dare the vengeance of the pharaohs to touch such splendor? I have held greatness in my hand.
We better slip out of here before we're spotted.
Harry, I finally know how I'm going to get him.
Come on, Jack.
HENRY: Carol, that fellow Coombs is on his way in.
CAROL: Thanks, Henry, we'll take it from here.
(PHONE RINGING) (TYPEWRITERS CLACKING) Hello.
Mr.
Coombs? Well, you managed to find your way in, do you think you can find your way out? Suppose I could if I wanted to.
Did you barge your way in here just to make sport of me, boy? Jimmy Joe, nobody has to make sport of you.
You do such a good job all by yourself.
But there are facets of your personality and your life that fascinate me.
Your association with Robert Wendkos, for instance.
I don't know what you're talking about.
Now you've got about five seconds to get yourself out that door or you're going butt-over-teakettle out of that window.
And it's 26 floors up, Mr.
Coombs.
Your association with Robert Wendkos, your secret agreement with the Egyptian government.
Now, those are interesting things.
I mean, I can see it now.
The second King Tut exhibit, sponsored by Jimmy Joe Meeker and Harold Jack Coombs.
So how does that sound? You're talking Pritikin County hogwash.
Jimmy Joe, I am in on an equal partnership basis.
Or Robert Wendkos is going to find out that you have been playing Bet-a-Million Gates at the Vegas tables with his money.
You see, Dr.
Fennimore started talking and I just couldn't shut him up.
I'm going to tell you something about threats, Mr.
Coombs.
They're a lot like sidewinders.
You can start them out in one direction, but they got a mean habit of doubling back on you.
Why don't you just translate that for me, huh? Let me explain it to you.
Now let's say that you talk to Mr.
Wendkos, if you can find him.
And you spread all these poison lies about old Jimmy Joe, huh? That doesn't leave me too much options, does it? So I figure I'd just have to get myself in touch with this little filly that you kicked out of your house.
Marian Belford, who ain't so hard to find, tell her what you did with the car.
You see, old Vern, he just started talking and I couldn't shut him up.
That car is not Marian's! The Coombs Special is mine.
Oh, well, not according to the newspaper articles I've been reading.
She's claiming that's community property.
Look, I don't care what she claims.
She's not my wife.
Ah, well, now you see, the courts, they getting funny about those things these days.
You know, you live with a gal for seven years like you did and you never get around to doing the right thing by her, legal like.
Now the court sometimes will just split everything right down the middle, just like you was married.
Marian has nothing to do with this.
Oh, but she has.
You see, it all comes down to this.
You see, you threaten to tell Mr.
Wendkos that Jimmy Joe ain't doing a job for him because you want in.
Well, I want you out.
So I threaten to tell Marian that you gambled away the Coombs Special which the court says you can't do until everything is settled.
It's a technicality.
Oh, really? Adios, Jackie Boy.
Adios.
Sir? I would like to see Miss Cavafy.
I beg your pardon.
Miss Cavafy.
We never met.
My name is Coombs.
If you'll just tell her I'm an associate of Mr.
Meeker's.
I'm sorry, sir.
We have no one by that name here.
Look, I know it's supposed to be top secret.
If you'll just tell her I'm here.
We have no Miss Cavafy.
All right, you never heard of her.
Will you humor me, give her my card? Tell her that I am in possession of some information of great importance to the Egyptian government.
She'll want to know.
Thank you.
ROCKY: Ain't you supposed to be doing something constructive? I am doing something constructive.
I'm trying to straighten up my bank book.
When you're running a con, you don't get much of a chance to do anything.
You know, there's nothing as sinful to me than one man who tries to fleece another man out of his life's work.
(KNOCKING ON DOOR) Of course, there are those who say a man is lucky to have half million dollars to get took for.
Half a million dollars? I didn't hear nothing about half a million dollars.
That's because you're not a partner.
You horned your way in.
And, what are you doing here, anyway? I thought I told you to hole up until this thing was over.
Hole up some place? You like that? What am I, some rat in the corner? I'm supposed to curl up in Wino Alley while you live like Wayne Newton? Do you think I enjoy living like this? (CHUCKLING) All right.
Here, go get yourself a hotel room.
(KNOCKING ON DOOR) Hi, Richie, come in.
Oh, hi, Mr.
Rockford.
How's your pa? Oh, I'm worried about him.
He just sits around all day.
Mom can't get him to eat anything, can't get him interested in anything.
It's like he's given up.
What did you get, Rich? Oh, more fabulous news.
Doyle and Amy didn't get the crates of Egyptian chochkis back to the Universal Studios prop department on time.
So we got charged for an extra day.
I'm gonna make your pa up a pot of soup.
That will do him good.
I'll stop off at the store on my way home and get everything I need.
Oh, good.
Thanks.
You know, Jimmy, you could save some money if we bunk in here together.
You got a massive room here.
Forget it, Angel.
Barley soup.
Jim, Coombs wants in.
Why don't we just say okay and take the money? Richie, these have to be classic moves.
There aren't any shortcuts.
You tell him the tale, you show him the goods and then you give him the stall.
That's the way it works.
Yeah but what if he decides to take no for an answer? He won't, he won't.
Toulie caught him hitting on the Egyptian consulate.
They turned him away.
He left his card.
Odette will take it from there.
You really think she can handle it? There's nobody better.
She could look an elephant in the eye, relieve him of his tusks, and he'd catch himself saying, "Thank you.
" There is nobody better.
(PIANO PLAYING) Thank you for meeting me here.
They said at the consulate they didn't know you.
I have a friend who works there.
He told me of your visit.
Well, I understand the need for secrecy.
I'm sorry if I caused you any problems.
I'm an Egyptian national, Mr.
Coombs.
I'm here to make sure you won't repeat the mistake.
If my government felt I was here misrepresenting myself, claiming diplomatic privilege Well, you are their cultural attaché.
No, I am not, Mr.
Coombs.
Well, why don't I just tell you what I know and we'll stop sparring around.
You are representing the Egyptian government in their agreement with Robert Wendkos.
You're arranging for a second King Tut exhibit to tour the country.
(CHUCKLES) You're a man with an extraordinary imagination, Mr.
Coombs.
Then you wouldn't mind if I released that information to the public? Of course not.
Except for the embarrassment to you when my government denies it.
I don't enjoy seeing men made fools of.
I prefer to think of them as strong, wise and capable, whatever the truth.
An idiosyncrasy.
You must have some problems in that area with Jimmy Joe Meeker.
Mr.
Meeker is a problem of long standing.
Thank you for the wine, Mr.
Coombs.
And, as I requested, please don't compromise me further by any other visits to the consulate.
Miss Cavafy, please.
I understand your position.
Try to understand mine.
I am interested in this exhibit.
I understand its potential and I could get it on.
I don't think you people quite understand the kind of clown that you're hooked up with.
If somebody isn't around to control Meeker, you're going to have a first-class fiasco on your hands.
Are you saying there will be no second Tut exhibit? Exactly.
As for Mr.
Meeker, I know him extremely well.
Yes, he's a He's a thief and a liar.
And he'd be horrified to hear me talking this way but it's something I've waited to say for a long time.
Please go on.
(KNOCKING ON DOOR) Oh, yeah! (KNOCKING ON DOOR) Hold your horses! (KNOCKING ON DOOR) Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You remember our conversation we had this morning? You almost knocked it plum out of my head.
You remember? Harry.
I remember.
I remember.
Well, since that time I've had a very interesting chat with Miss Cavafy.
You fixing to move in on my filly too, huh? She loathes you.
(SCOFFS) She just ain't used to me yet, that's all.
Do you mind if I get up? Slowly and carefully.
That's just about all I can manage.
(GROANING) Are you all right, Jimmy Joe? All right, Coombs, just what is it you want? The same thing I wanted this morning.
Only now I want more.
Fifty percent.
An equal partnership with Robert Wendkos or, I turn Harry loose and you wind up in long-term traction.
I can't do that.
Why sure, you can.
You're out looking for investors, you've found one.
Here I am, Jimmy Joe.
We'll sign the papers in the morning.
Well, you ready to come up with half million bucks? 'Cause that's what it's gonna cost you.
No, not if you draw up the contract the way I tell you.
You see, I get valuable considerations and you know what that is.
Your life.
So you have the papers ready in your office by 10:30 in the morning and just so you don't worry, I'll bring the dollar in cash.
Harry.
Half his action for a buck? Yeah.
Wendkos is gonna kill me, boy.
Why don't you just throw him one of your West Texas dowers.
That will get him over the hump.
Jimmy Joe, you typed up this partnership arrangement just fine but you forgot to sign it where it's typed in there.
Oh, and Dr.
Fennimore, I would like you and Grace, if you please, to sign right down here where it says witnesses.
And Harry will then notarize it since he's a notary and it will be completely legal.
Are we celebrating then, Jimmy Joe? I sure as hell ain't.
But you satisfied, ma'am? My government is satisfied.
I'm satisfied.
It should work out well for all of us.
Maybe not for all.
Uh, Mr.
Meeker, does this mean that I'll be reporting directly to you, or to Mr.
Coombs? Who cares? To me, son.
That'll be just fine.
Yes, my government would prefer that you report to Mr.
Coombs.
You and your government can go milk a duck, ma'am.
Miss Cavafy, I noticed they had very little of the serpentine and bubbly here but I think I can take you some place and scare up a little bit.
Shall we? Oh, excuse me, just to make this completely legal, $1, U.
S.
Legal tender.
Bye.
If there's a market on "smug", Coombs has got it cornered.
Not even a new one.
This isn't the way it was supposed to work, is it? Well, it's just another variation.
Yeah, well, how does this particular variation work itself out? I don't know.
I've never seen it before.
You know, Doyle says that any con where two of the principal players get beat up by the mark probably has some basic flaw in it.
He also Hey, hey, I'm not doing any criticizing here.
The thing of it is, is I'm just trying to figure out if we have any options.
Options? Of course we've got options.
I mean, a con is not a con without options.
They're built in.
Where? Hey, hey, I'm only asking because I'm trying to figure out, you know, which direction I should be working in, so to speak.
Now, I'm not saying that this is a bad con, no sirree, this is a dynamite con.
I'd like to find the guy who's going to say that this isn't one of the best cons (SIGHS) He gave us the old greased pole, didn't he? Hmm.
Yeah, but we still got a few aces.
Like what? What about Wendkos? He can't get back in the country.
There's 18 government agencies waiting to land on him.
Yeah, but we're using a ringer for Wendkos.
That's our edge.
Yeah, but how are we going to keep Coombs in line until we figure out what to do? What if he wants to see the artifacts again? They're back at the studio.
That's why we have Odette.
Thank heaven for little girls.
ODETTE: Here's an example of the jewelry collection.
Actually, this was probably the finest found on the king.
The pectoral of the vulture Nekhabet.
Gold, lapis, and small gold and glass beads.
It's really exquisite.
Of course, this particular pectoral was part of the first exhibit, but to give you an example.
I take it we're not repeating any items? Oh, no.
I have a photograph here of the pectoral of Isis and Nephythys.
It's in here somewhere.
These were in order until Mr.
Meeker got his hands on them.
He handled them so greedily.
That's Jimmy Joe.
Do you know how relieved I am to have you a part of this? I feel as like some great weight had been lifted.
You just leave everything to me.
May I? It's done.
Now, let's get on with the celebration, shall we? The inventory Oh, that can wait.
I suppose my government doesn't expect Let me just get these picked up a little.
You know, most men with the prospect of millions of dollars would be trying to rush things.
And that could cause problems.
Of course, with Mr.
Meeker, I've been contending with the reverse of that.
That's because he has no financial stake in it.
He was just using it to bleed Wendkos.
Don't you worry about Jimmy Joe.
He won't be bothering anybody from here on out.
Thank you, Jack.
Mina You say that beautifully.
I want to please you.
You do.
You will.
Thanks.
You know this is my favorite time of day.
It's the middle of the night.
I think it's the quiet.
It gives everything a sense of importance.
A car passing, a breath being drawn.
How'd everything go today, all right? Fine.
How were things at the office? All the show-and-tell material work okay? I said it was fine.
Of course, I had to seduce him.
Oh? That's what you wanted, isn't it? I mean, you said to keep him distracted.
That ought to do it.
You asked for a report.
That's the report.
I'll be in touch.
Odette, you really climbed into bed with that goon? He's a very attractive man.
He's a hood.
He's a crippler, a thief A thief? Somebody should have told me that.
You know how I feel about thieves.
Yeah, I know.
I never told you to go to bed with the man.
I wouldn't ask you to prostitute yourself.
It disturbs you? You're damned right it does.
Poor Jim! Always so sensitive.
How can I make you feel better? Really, it was nothing to do with you.
I enjoyed it.
You said there was an emergency.
Robert Wendkos.
I got a call at my hotel telling me to round you up and herd you up to the office.
Think he wants to talk to both of us on the horn.
Come in.
Oh, Mr.
Wendkos This is A happy surprise? Oh, well, yes, sir This is more of a shock.
I mean, what with the Justice Department The Justice Department thinks I'm still in Costa Rica.
Just the three of us know that I'm here.
Oh, well, Mr.
Wendkos, this is Mr.
Coombs.
Shut up.
You're finished, Meeker.
I'm leaving instructions with the bank that you're not to draw one more penny on the account I set up.
The locks on all of these offices will be changed, all company-issued credit cards will be revoked.
You just hold on a minute there.
Now, we got ourselves a contract.
Not anymore.
The Tut exhibit was mine.
I conceived the idea, I made the initial arrangements with the Egyptian government.
There's a lot of time, energy and cash in it.
You were authorized to sell 30% because of my cash flow problem.
You sold this pirate, this sports promoter, Mr.
Wendkos, you're forgetting one thing.
You gave your power of attorney to Meeker.
Now, the idea of the sale may not appeal to you, but it's legal.
Not after this is filed.
It's a revocation of that power dated 24 hours before you signed your contract.
It's notarized and completely in order.
No deal, Mr.
Coombs.
You're both out.
Give me that.
What do you think you're doing? I ain't gonna let you do this, Mr.
Wendkos.
I ain't going back to work on no oil rig.
Oh, you're right, Jimmy Joe, you're not.
You're going to jail.
Now, get out of here.
(GRUNTING) The son-of-a-gun stopped breathing on me.
I'll go down and get Harry.
He'll know what to do with the body.
You forget Harry, I can't trust you, but I'm stuck with you.
So, I'll handle the body.
Now, Coombs, you're still in and so am I, huh? But where I plant Wendkos, well, I'm gonna be the only one who knows that.
Well, I couldn't talk anyway.
I'm an accessory! I'll rest a whole lot easier knowing I'm the only one who knows where to dig him up.
All right.
I'll be in touch.
You can get up.
You did a nice job.
Thanks.
Come on.
I'll buy you a drink.
There you are, my dear.
Thank you, Jack.
I spoke this morning with Mr.
Halzaz, the curator of the Cairo Museum.
Also, with certain members of the President's cabinet.
Both the museum and the government are delighted with Mr.
Coombs' participation in the venture.
Why don't we all just call him Jack? Also, they've cabled the contents of the shipment which is now being prepared for export and that would be your department, Dr.
Fennimore.
Oh, you have no idea how much I've been looking forward to this.
Oh, wow.
The King's sandals.
That's a first.
His drink strainer Reliefs of the feast of Optet The royal vulture! Is that good? Oh, it's the goddess of Upper Egypt.
The pieces will have to be more suitably housed than they have been.
Oh, don't worry about that.
I'll take care of that.
As you take care of everything.
Well, gentlemen, the photographs are here, the descriptive texts You're welcome to peruse them at any time.
As to the actual, physical display of the exhibit if you'd care to leave that in my hands and of course Dr.
Fennimore's.
Oh, that's an excellent idea, sure.
Well, then.
Oh, there is one other thing.
I haven't had a chance yet to see the first shipment.
Now, when can that be arranged? I did want to work a bit on the display with Dr.
Fennimore.
Would tomorrow afternoon be terribly inconvenient? No.
That's fine.
All right, Meeker, let's go.
I'll talk to you later.
I got that warehouse for next to nothing.
What that woman's talking about You got any idea what dehumidified storage is gonna cost? We'll pay for it.
Who'll pay for it? I got zip in my back pocket.
The old cash flow ended for Jimmy Joe at 3:00 a.
m.
You got rid of the body all right? Yeah, it ain't the first, ain't gonna be the last.
I gotta tell you, Jack, that man was a real disappointment to me.
He plucked me right off an oil rig.
He knew I had the reputation as a hell-raiser and a no-good.
What did he expect? Maybe loyalty.
Yeah, I guess that's what it boils down to.
I don't know.
A lot of loyalty I seen out of him.
I mean, you take a West Texas boy, you put him in city clothes, you give him a taste of white bread and serviettes Ain't no way you're gonna kick him back to pinto beans and jackass whiskey.
That man was just a disappointment to me.
Meeker, I want to tell you something.
You and I are partners because of your little mishap with Wendkos' neck.
That doesn't mean I have to stand here and listen to your chicken-plucking life story.
Good morning, sir.
Good morning, Harry.
Listen, there's a draft around here some place.
Would you check it out? Yes, sir.
Did you read the paper this morning, Harry? No, sir.
Did you hear anything on the radio last night about the curator for the museum? No, sir.
He died.
Some kind of freak accident.
He was Bicycling.
"Dr.
Henning, an advocate of physical fitness, "and onetime miler for Dartmouth College" I thought they only skied.
"yesterday fell victim to what officials deem a bizarre accident.
"While on a route traveled every day for the past 15 years, "Dr.
Henning became entangled in a clothesline, which ruptured his esophagus.
"Dr.
Henning had, for the past four" The rest of it is just bio.
Hey, that's good.
I like the clothesline bit, it shows flair.
Well, I had four units in Journalism.
No, no, no, no.
That's not four units, that's style.
Did you have any trouble slipping our page three in his morning paper? No, no, no so you liked the clothesline thing? Oh yeah, yeah.
Well, you see, the idea was, as I saw it, was to come up with something, you know, really memorable.
So that immediately ruled out you know, choking on chicken bones, drowning, you know your everyday sort of fatality.
And then, I thought clotheslines.
You don't even see clotheslines anymore.
I mean everyone has dryers.
I don't.
I have a clothesline.
Oh.
Hey, I thought Odette said the meeting was at 10:30.
Yeah, well, Odette says a lot of things.
What have you got against her? Me? Nothing.
Boy, I think she likes you.
You can tell just by the way she's looking at you.
The 14-year-old expert, huh? Oh, thanks a lot, Grandpa.
All right, all right.
I'm sorry.
You're right.
Odette likes me.
I like Odette.
And you're both mad about something.
If there's anything I hate more than an amateur psychologist it's an amateur psychologist before breakfast.
Would you like to eat? Okay? Sure.
Oh, they did it to the eggs again.
(WHIRRING) WOMAN: Coombs is on his way up.
Dr.
Fennimore is exceptionally well informed for one whose specialty is not Egyptology.
I'm sure he can answer any of your questions, Jack.
If not, Professor Stein can.
Oh, that will be fine.
ANGEL: It's out of the question.
Completely out of the question.
You'll have to find somebody else.
Settle down now.
You're just a little upset.
Upset? Yeah, upset.
Now, you go on back in my office there and you just sit yourself down till you're feeling right again.
(CLEARS THROAT) Well, is Dr.
Fennimore ready to take us to the warehouse? Fennimore? No.
No, he's not ready yet.
Fennimore He's gonna be in late today.
Very late.
You want to know the facts, I don't even want to talk to you.
Now, I was in there once which I consider a technicality.
I could have been anyone.
I could have come in off the street.
What's he talking about? What's the matter with him? Nothing! And so far so good, nothing, and I plan to keep it that way.
I can be of no further help to you, Miss Cavafy.
What do you mean? Well, he's just a little upset like I said.
Do you mind? I've lost two colleagues in the past 24 hours.
I don't plan on adding myself to the list.
Are you talking about Dr.
Henning's accident? Accident? A clothesline across the windpipe? And you call that an accident? Yes.
Well, it wasn't, sir, any more than Fennimore's death.
Dr.
Fennimore's dead? Yes, he suffocated in his sleep in the prime of his life.
Now, Mr.
Meeker might call this coincidence Well, what do you call it? The Curse of the Pharaohs.
Oh, it's hogwash! I suppose Lord Carnarvon's death was hogwash and George Benedite, and who knows how many others? There are inscriptions in the tombs of the Pharaohs that date back to centuries which threaten, and these are their words, not mine, which threaten "the living who violate the tomb.
" Dr.
Henning put on a nice little show at his museum.
Fennimore was fixing to do the same.
There was no violation of no tomb.
These objects are sacred.
They have been profaned by handling, exploitation or put on public display.
I want no more of it.
Now, I'm sorry about Dr.
Fennimore, but you'll have to find another curator for the museum.
I wouldn't touch the job.
Now, Doctor, please Please just go into my office.
There's some aspirin in there.
I'll be right with you, sir.
Nincompoop.
I'll find another curator.
I'll round one up somewhere.
There's got to be a whole bunch of them out of work.
Yeah, but what if they share the Professor's attitude? How do you people feel at home I mean in Cairo? Well, there's a certain amount of I mean, there are people who believe that But, it's just superstition.
Why, sure it is.
Yeah.
The deaths are coincidental.
I mean, there can't be any other rational explanation.
I'll show you through the warehouse, Jack.
I'm not as knowledgeable as Dr.
Fennimore or Professor Stein, but Well, I don't think today I will We'll save it.
I understand.
Dr.
Fennimore's death is a great loss.
Uh, what we'll do is we'll wait till Jimmy Joe signs on another curator.
There'll be plenty of time.
Whatever you say.
(WOMAN SOBBING) Poor T.
J.
Your lunch is ready, Mr.
Coombs.
Steak.
Thank you, Harry.
If you don't mind, would you cut it for me? Small pieces.
Yes, sir.
I don't know why you bring me to a Mexican restaurant when you know I'm on a bland diet.
Oh, the guy said he's got a night job teaching.
Would be more convenient.
Hey, you're the one who wanted me to get cracking on this new curator.
I don't know why he couldn't come by the office in the morning.
Oh, honey, uh, I'll have a margarita, no salt.
A glass of soda water.
Now this resume thing here says like he ought to know what he's doing.
I'll look at it tomorrow.
All right.
You know, it's strange the way those people died in the '20s that Professor Stein mentioned.
Oh, I don't think it matters too much.
All that mojo business.
You'd think a grown man like Stein would know better.
Haven't you read some of that junk about that curse? Are you funning me, boy? Curses belong in Mexican bar rooms.
Yeah Uh, excuse me do you think, uh, I got air coming down my back from an air vent.
The air conditioning is hitting me.
Do you think you could move us to another table? I'd appreciate it.
I'm telling you.
It's getting me right between my wings.
Air conditioning always gives me a cold.
I'm gonna be stiffer than home brew by this time tomorrow.
Oh, hey, why don't you sit here? I always like to sit where I can see everybody, you know? I've been giving this curse business a lot of thought.
Now, ain't that just damn fool silliness? Well, I don't know.
Now, you know the Egyptians were culturally very advanced.
Scientifically.
Embalming and all of that.
Yeah, I suppose.
Hey, they've got some really tasty things on this menu.
Have a look at it.
I'm not really hungry.
You know, it is possible that these deaths could be related to the Pharaoh's tomb.
Come on, now, a smart man like you.
You can't believe that.
Well, maybe not a mystic curse, but something maybe like Like germs.
Well, an obscure disease, a virus maybe, in the wrapping of the mummy or on the painting of the horses and the boats.
Come on, it's coincidence.
Just pure and simple.
It's like when I was a kid, down in Texas.
You know, they had this big Indian medicine man.
You know, big mojo, they said.
Well, he got into a beef with this dirt farmer named Beaudry.
So he goes home to paint himself up, see, and he does a soft-shoe outside old Beaudry's place I mean, he's chanting, and he's shaking this gourd and everything.
Says he's putting a curse on him.
What happened? Old Beaudry? He died.
You never saw such a hoopla.
They ran this Indian right outta town just like it was his fault.
I tell you.
Do you remember what Dr.
Henning said about the curse? No.
Everybody strangling left and right.
And not only Fennimore and Henning, but also Wendkos.
Now, I knew you were gonna start throwing that up at me.
I didn't mean it that way.
I'm not making an accusation.
But think about it, how did he die? You strangled him.
Coincidence.
And I'm tired of chewing on the same old bone.
I got other things to think about, like money.
Which is something you and I have not talked about.
I mean, I got certain expenses, certain obligations, you know? You're not going to bleed me the way you bled Wendkos.
Now, I will pay you what I think is fair.
I can't wait to take that to the market.
Hey, we gotta wait for that new guy.
Come on, come on.
Why don't you order something? There's nothing here I can eat.
You think they'll scramble me a couple of eggs? (GASPING) You think they'll scramble me a couple of eggs? (GASPING) Meeker? Meeker? MAN: What's the matter with him? (PEOPLE CHATTERING) WOMAN: Oh, my God! Meeker! I'm a doctor.
Maybe I can help.
There's no pulse.
This man is dead.
Herb, where have you been? I've been doing a buck and wing with no music.
Traffic ticket.
Sorry, Jim.
(KNOCKING ON DOOR) (PANTING) He's dead.
Who? Jack, what's the matter? Meeker is dead.
I mean, we were sitting at the table, talking.
All of a sudden, he couldn't get his breath, he just keeled over and Let me get you a drink.
I don't want a drink.
I just want out.
Out? I want out of our deal.
Now, I don't know if there's a curse or not but people are dying all over the place.
And I don't want to hear anything about coincidence.
It has something to do with this damned Tut exhibit.
Jack, please, sit down.
Let's try to approach this with some degree of calm.
Mina, I am not here to talk about it.
Now, I want a release from the contract signed by your government.
I can't do that, Jack.
Do you want to see me dead? Of course not.
Listen to me, you're in shock right now.
You're not thinking clearly.
Not thinking clearly? I wasn't thinking clearly when I got into this.
I hated Meeker's guts because he made an ass of me out at the track.
I wanted to destroy him.
Well, he's destroyed all right.
And I have a feeling I'm next.
And don't tell me you can't let me out of the contract.
You've got to! You know I'm very fond of you, Jack.
If I could But my government would never agree.
But why not? Well, you have to look at it from their side, too.
They've spent a great deal of money arranging this exhibition.
How much? I'll reimburse them.
Oh, I'm afraid that's impossible.
The figure's close to a million dollars now.
A million dollars? I can't pay them that! I won't pay them that! I've only been in this thing a week! You own 50% of the rights.
That gives you 50% of the responsibility.
All right.
A million dollars.
50%.
Would $450,000 buy me out? I don't know.
It might.
Tell them to get the rest from Wendkos.
I suppose he is primarily responsible.
Mina, please.
It means a lot to me.
Then I'll try, Jack.
(RINGING) Jim? Jim, come on, the phone's ringing.
All right, all right, take it easy, either we did it or we didn't.
Hey, could you come up with something a little more encouraging than that? ROCKFORD: Yeah, hello? He's meeting me at his bank.
Noon tomorrow.
How much? A cashier's check for $450,000.
Oh great.
That's great, Odette.
$450,000.
Great! We'll meet you at Mr.
Brockelman's house tomorrow at you're meeting him at noon? Make it 2:00.
You have the address? I have it.
All right.
Odette? You did a good job.
Thank you.
We did it, kid.
We did it! This releases you from any connection with the Egyptian government, the Cairo Museum, the proposed exhibit everything.
Relieved? Relieved? No, I'm frightened.
I don't care how much money I paid to get out of this.
I have a feeling that in the end that Little Boy King is gonna have me across the river in a rattan chair.
Jack, let me buy you lunch.
I don't eat, I don't drink.
I'm afraid to swallow pills.
I can't sleep.
It's been the worst week of my life.
Do you believe in premonitions? More than I believe in curses.
I have been a winner all of my life and I have this strange premonition that I'm never gonna win at anything again as long as I live.
I mean, it's creepy.
It's like there's a noose around my neck.
Take care of yourself, Jack.
You were supposed to be tailing her! I didn't think it would be necessary.
We can trust Odette.
Maybe Coombs took her out to lunch afterwards.
You know, to celebrate.
She wouldn't have gone.
I told her 2:00, here.
If she was hungry and we didn't say anything about the party.
She didn't know there'd be any food.
If you had a check for $450,000 in your hands, would you be thinking about food? She split on us.
Odette? Come on, Jim, you know her.
I mean, what happened when you worked with her before? She split on us.
With $50,000.
Only this time it was your dad's money.
That's why I wanted you to follow her.
Actually, I just wanted to believe she wouldn't do it again.
Well, Jim, you should have said something about this before.
I mean is that why you didn't want to talk about her? What am I gonna tell my dad? I've just made things worst.
And his $40,000 is now flushola.
Hey, Jim, great party.
You ought to try the gefilte fish.
Yeah, I bet.
I think we ought to tell him in the bedroom.
It's going to be hard and with all these people here Hey, Jim, sorry Amy and I were late getting the Egyptian stuff back.
The studio's got no sense of humor.
What's a couple of bucks when you score big like you did? How much you get, Jim? Oh, less than we had hoped.
Well, we were just talking about you boys.
Mr.
Brockelman, Richie and I would like to talk to you for a moment in private, if we can.
Well, Mr.
Rockford, there's something I'd like to say to you right here in public, if you don't mind.
People.
Everybody.
Can I have your attention, please? Dad, not now.
Can we Richie, just let me say something.
Sorry I'm late.
I imagine you've been waiting for this.
I figured you'd be well on your way to San Francisco.
Las Vegas.
I changed my mind.
I thought I wanted to get even.
With me? You don't know how I felt when you took off with that 50 grand.
You just left Carl and me I left? You're the two that took off.
I never saw a penny of that money.
Neither did I.
You don't think Carl Don't you? Oh.
Well, Odette, you and I have some catching up to do.
That might be very pleasant.
Oh, I think it might.
Look at all them zeroes.
(ALL EXCLAIMING) Now, ladies and gentlemen, listen, as I was saying, I got a lot of thanks to give today to all of you.
May you live to be a thousand and never owe a dime.
(CHEERING) I got a special thank you to give to my friend Jim Rockford here.
I'll never forget this, Jim.
You're a mensch.
And a very special thank you to say with all my heart and with such pride to my son, Richie.
Hey, Joseph, have we got a couple of kids here, huh? We sure have.
(ALL CHEERING)