S3 E14 Cousin Cleatus

Welcome back friends and fans to another review of GT. In this episode, Florida’s nephew Cleatus robbed a bank for $25,000 and sought refuge at the Evans apartment. Hope you enjoy the review.

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Florida got a new stereo set she won in a church raffle and the family was anxious to try it out.  Thelma went to put a record on and the family started dancing. Suddenly, the lights went out and the stereo turned off. James turned the lights back on but the lights went off again. James had Thelma turn the stereo off and he put the lights back on when Thelma turned it on again, it went off gain. They concluded that Florida received a defected stereo. A couple of F.B.I. agents came to the door and informed Florida that her nephew Cleatus was suspected of robbing a bank in Atlanta, Georgia for $25,000. Florida and the rest of the family were shocked since Cleatus was never known to do a thing like that. Michael accused them of picking on him because he was a member of the Black Falcons.  Michael asked them why were they wasting time on Cleatus when they should have been looking for the guy who killed Medgar Evers (civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1963). They claimed they needed to leave without answering the question.

After James cautioned the family (especially J.J.) to keep the F.B.I. visits secret, Willona came in and started questioning them about their visit and about Cleatus. She also showed them his mugshot in the newspaper. The picture in the paper very much resembled him, although Florida insisted that it wasn’t. The F.B.I. agents returned to call for a cab, as their tires on their car were stolen. They jokingly asked the agents if they really expected to get a cab in that neighborhood. (This brought a little humor to an intense family moment) Florida stated that last time she talked to her sister Clara (Cleatus’s mother), she said everything was well with him. Michael started insinuating that was why they were picking on him. The Black Falcons were an organization helping underprivileged black people. Michael them maintained Cleatus was a hero. James warned him to try picking his heroes better. Another knock on the door came and gave Florida the strange feeling it would be Cleatus. A little kid was at the door asking if they were the Evanses and if anybody else was there. After he left, Cleatus showed up at the door.

Cleatus said he was running hard and needed a place to stay. He denied robbing the bank and James asked him why was he hiding and dodging like he was. He said because as a Black Falcon the F.B.I. was quick to harass him and wouldn’t believe he was innocent. J.J. claimed that in the paper he did resemble the bank robber. Cleatus stated that he just needed a good night sleep before he can get his act together. Florida told Cleatus that his mother was obviously plenty worried about him. He said he’d call her but they probably had her phone tapped. When Cleatus went to wash up and get ready for bed, Michael tried to help him with his briefcase but it opened and there was $25,000 in cash in it, indicating that he was the robber.


Florida and James asked Cleatus at this point to leave, although he offered them $5,000 for board. As he was leaving, Michael was going on about how disappointed he was that Cleatus would do such a thing. Cleatus grabbed Michael and pulled out his gun, using him for walking insurance so the family wouldn’t call the police. Willona came in and when she saw what was happening, she posed as an Avon lady but Cleatus told her to sit down. Cleatus then demanded they turn the stereo on. When they did so, the lights went out and James tackled Cleatus and got his gun from him. Florida asked him what happened with him, how he could do a thing like that, Cleatus answered he was sick and tired of being poor and wanted his bread in one big loaf, instead of one lousy slice at a time. James sarcastically answered that they were so rich they they would never know. They just sat in their Lake Shore Drive penthouse and ate caviar while counting their stocks and bonds. The F.B.I. agents came back because their cab never came. They seized Cleatus and called for some means of transportation, then left. Michael apologized for thinking Cleatus was a hero and that the biggest hero he knew was none other than James.

Original airdate December 16, 1975

Written by Roy Allen Thompson, Norman Paul and Jack Elinson

Directed by Herbert Kenwith

Guest stars John Anthony Bailey (Jack Baker), Edward Crawford, Beeson Carroll, Laurence Haddon

Another good episode. This one depicts how easily a good person can turn to crime due to lack of money and opportunities. However, when I researched the Black Falcons, all I found was they were an aerobatic team for the New Zealand Air Force, not a black organization in the 1970s. (Please let me know if you can prove otherwise). Also, Medgar Evers was killed in 1963, twelve years before this episode aired. Byron De La Beckwith was the prime suspect but was acquitted by an all-white jury. He was eventually convicted in 1994 after a re-trial.



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