"The Midas Touch"

(Original air date 11/15/74)

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Oscar is conned into an illegal mining operation by an old college friend

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Story: Donald L. Gold & Lester William Berke

Teleplay: Donald L. Gold & Lester William Berke & Peter Allan Fields

Director: Bruce Bilson



Elk Horn, Nevada. Oscar makes a brief stop at a remote gas station to ask direction to the old abandoned Bull Frog mine. The elderly attendant (Woodrow Chambliss), a seemingly harmless man, is actually working in connivance with the people who are luring Oscar into their scheme. He calls his contact to inform him of the preyís impending arrival.

When Oscar arrives at the mine, he meets with super intendant MacGregor (Noam Pitlik) who is happy to report that more than twenty-five million worth of gold had been extracted thus far. A number that pleases Oscar, thinking the ore is destined for his special OSI project.

Days later, Steve is working in his auto shop when he receives a call from Oscarís secretary, Julie Farrell (Kate McKeown) who finds it odd that her boss hasnít given sign of life since Friday.

           

Steve drives to the OSI to search Oscarís office for clues on his whereabouts. He stumbles an empty envelope marked Top Secret. Miss Farrell explains that itís Oscarís special pet project that involves his old college friend, Bert Carrington. (Farley Granger)

Steve meets with Carrington in the park to further discuss the project, one that Oscar supposedly handled by himself. Bert explains that Oscar arranged the reopening of the Bull Frog mine to quarry for gold, and asked him to furnish the necessary equipment. Problem is now that word has it that the mine is being exploited illegally, and that given the fact that Bert signed for everything, he is worried that the government will nail him for taking part in a covert operation. He believes Oscar might be a traitor but Steve remains sceptical.

     

With Miss Farrell, Steve goes to the address given by Carrington where he finds Oscarís bogus office. As they begin searching the vacant premises, Steve spots a safe encased in concrete and yanks it out. Inside is incriminating evidence of Oscarís involvement in that mining operation. Still, Steve wonít condemn Oscar just yet.

           

Steve goes to Elk Horn to investigate. He drops by the same gas station to ask for direction. Again, the attendant reports the stranger to his contact.

On the government property Steve is stopped by two men who handcuff him and bring him to their boss, MacGregor, who apologizes to the colonel for Connorsís (Richard D. Hurst) harsh treatment.

           

While waiting for Oscar to show up, Steve has no other alternative but to agree to work in the mines. He cleverly fishes for information on the operation, all the while surveying the area for any sign of trouble. He spots a small shed with barred windows, one he intends to investigate at nightfall.

     

During the night, Steve sneaks out to go poke around the shed. Inside he sees a drugged Oscar lying on a cot. He breaks open the window bars, shakes Oscar awake to explain that his dear college pal is trying to set him up. Oscar is stunned. He wonít believe that Bert is playing him for a fool. It was him who told him that he was being set up and to come help him out of the jam. Steve won't argue anymore and hurries Oscar out the window.

           

They come to an electrified fence. When Steve tries to tear it open, the alarm sounds. Plan B: he slings Oscar over his shoulders and flees but gets caught by Carringtonís men who bring them both to their bossís office.

           

There, Bert tries his best to convince Oscar to join in their venture and that should he refuse, he will have Steve killed. Worried that Bert will make due on his threat, Oscar reluctantly agrees to use his Snow White clearance code to charter a military cargo plane to ship the gold to Marseille.

The next day, while the gold ingots are being hauled in a van, Carrington assures Oscar that once safely in Marseille heíll have Steve released, a promise he doesnít intend to hold. Oscar doubts the manís word but has not choice but to go along.

MacGregor instructs the men to erase all traces of their presence on the premises. He orders Connors and Pete to drive Austin in the middle of the desert where they are to leave him stranded with a two-day supply of food and water.

Once Connors out of earshot, MacGregor pulls Pete aside to convey him the bossís exact orders, which are to dispose of the prisoner.

           

As they drive through the desert, Steve suspects the two men of plotting to kill him despite Connorsís assurance that their strict orders were to leave him stranded. When Pete tries to shoot Steve, Connors objects. In the commotion, Steve breaks his bonds, bends the rifle and steals the jeep to catch the shipment of gold before itís too late.

           

Steve spots the blue van and chases after it. He jumps on the driverís side to compel MacGregor to drop his gun, after which he crawls into the passenger seat.

     

At Neville airfield, Lieutenant Evers (Gary Cashdollar) escorts Oscar and Carrington to the cargo plane where they wait for the van to arrive. When MacGregor shows up, he discreetly warns his partner of the unwanted passenger. They quickly dispose of Steve by knocking him out and leaving him unconscious on the ground.

           

Minutes later, Steve regains consciousness and takes off at a bionic sprint toward the plane. He dives inside just as the cargo door shuts close and overpowers Carringtonís men.

           

Alerted by the commotion, Carrington proceeds cautiously to the back of the plane with Oscar as his shield. Crouching on the roof of the van, Steve surprises Carrington by leaping on him. Thereafter Oscar orders the plane to double back.

Later, Lt. Evers reports to Oscar that all of Carringtonís men have been apprehended. Some apparently stayed behind at the mine to quarry for more gold to use as their personal gain.

Now comes the hard part which is to exonerate Oscar of all blame by sorting out the incriminating evidence against him.

           

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