S3 E1 The Family Gun

Hello again my friends and fellow GT fans. Welcome to season 3. It starts with a bang. James bought a gun to protect the family against a high volume of crime in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, it almost led to some very serious consequences. Here is the review. Hope you like it.

James was fixing a lamp and Michael was marveling about how he can fix things. James agreed though he didn’t like bragging (this was revealed in ‘The Family Business’ episode, James should have persisted in opening his own store). J.J. was painting a picture of a young woman who moved across the street, but wished she stood still until she went to make a phone call. Ironically, she called him to ask him politely not to immoralize her (how she got his phone number is yet to be explained). J.J. said if she didn’t like it, just pull the shade down, which she did. Michael suggested he paint a picture of Thelma, J.J. replied he’d prefer to paint the shade. They hear a secret knock at the door which turned out to be Willona. The door had a bunch of locks on it because of several robberies in the building. She came to join Florida to do laundry and checked if they had everything, including their police whistle. Michael protested that it was no use since the cops wouldn’t even come. J.J. responded that they may not have had laundry to do. Thelma suggested they put J.J. down there and run him through the washer, for his head is always going around in circles.  J.J. suggested they take a picture of Thelma down there and scare away the muggers. James offered to come down for protection, for he was a Korean War combat veteran. Florida replied that a neighbor was joining them with a baseball bat. In one very funny moment, Willona stated she had only life to give for her panty hose.

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J.J. suggested jokingly that they move to a fancy apartment on Lake Shore Drive. James responded they would never take them because they had no French poodles for the doormen to walk. Florida and Willona return with good news and bad news. They didn’t get mugged but someone stole all the washer and dryers. Florida started to wonder what if someone were to break in their apartment. James said he had the solution. He took out a gun he recently got. Florida is bewildered at that, claiming he’s deathly scared of guns. Florida sent Thelma to the drug store for aspirins for her headache. Michael announced he was going outside to practice shooting, Florida panicked at his choice of words but James said he meant play basketball. a policeman showed up at the door to answer Florida’s report that her purse was stolen a week before. Not a very bright cop since he addressed her as Georgia and claimed she reported a stolen bicycle. Then Thelma came home hysterical because somebody tried to attack her. The cop asked her for a description, she said he had a leather jacket. The cop claimed he couldn’t do much since her description was inaccurate. He left saying he’d look into it and told Florida if he found any more information on her stolen bicycle, he’d notify her. An angry James went for his job to retaliate against Thelma’s would be mugger but when he went in the box where he kept it, he found it missing.

James angrily demanded who was responsible for removing the gun. Florida insisted that if she even touched the gun she would turn white as a sheet. J.J. stated if that didn’t prove her innocence, nothing would. J.J. claimed he was a lover and not a killer. A Saturday Night Special to him is getting a girl to say yes after saying no six other nights a week. James threw everything in the closets and the dresser drawers all over the place while searching in vain for the gun. When Florida started putting everything back in place, James said they would never find the gun if she played this is the way we fold our clothes. James checked if the kids found it and J.J. said he found an old Tootsie Roll pop, which James tossed right away (I knew the Evans’s were poor, but to find old food like that and eat it, not too cool). Willona came in and announced a 5 year old boy in the building accidentally shot himself with an identical gun. James, of course, started thinking it was his gun (like somebody would break in their apartment and take it and carelessly leave it behind for a kid to find, think again). Of course, James started getting the guilts and stated the gun was for protection but instead it caused a little kid to get hurt. Michael came in and stated the kid was doing all right according to his brother. He told the family he hid the gun under the lamp James was fixing. He did so because he was afraid if James ever lost his temper he would do something he’d later regret. James was happy that he found the gun but stated that he had to punish Michael for disobeying him when he told the kids not to touch it. Florida agreed but admitted Michael meant well. Michael also admitted he unloaded the gun and shot at the ceiling to prove it but missed one bullet. That resulted in James giving the gun to Florida to throw away.

Originally aired September 16, 1975

Written by Hubert Geiger, Roger Shulman and John Baskin

Directed by Herbert Kenwith

Guest star Dave Turner

A sub-title for the episode was James Goes Overboard

John Amos (James) demanded this kind of episode for the series, and a great, hard-hitting plot it was. It dealt with the high crime in the neighborhood and the reality of the circumstances that owning a gun can bring. One thing that didn’t make sense was when Michael asked James if he had a permit, he answered ‘I permit me to own a gun’. James could face up to 1 year in prison for illegally concealing a gun. Of course, J.J.’s remarks for the funniest scenes in this rather dramatic episode, such as, when they found the gun, he stated ‘it is just like me, slim, black and dyn-o-mite’. Next week, we have another great episode ‘A Real Cool Job’.



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