Matt Houston (1982–1985)
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Stop the Presses 

Tabloid publisher Al Brodax is nearly electrocuted beside his pool. The prime suspects tried to sue him and lost: ex-con Hanrahan who became a scapegoat for his legal troubles; mobster Ross; a sexy centerfold; and a bigamist magician.


Don Chaffey


Lawrence Gordon (creator), James L. Conway




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Horsley ... Matt Houston
Pamela Hensley ... C.J. Parsons
John Aprea ... Lt. Vince Novelli
Paul Brinegar ... Lamar Pettybone
Dennis Fimple ... Bo
Penny Santon Penny Santon ... Mama Rosa Novelli
Bradford Dillman ... Frank Graham
Herb Edelman ... Wally Hanrahan
Murray Hamilton ... Al Brodax
Heather Locklear ... Cindy McNichol
Stuart Whitman ... Carl 'The Champ' Ross
George Wyner ... Murray Chase
Malcolm-Jamal Warner ... Johnny Randolph (as Malcom Jamal Warner)
Gordon Hanson Gordon Hanson ... Male Aide
Fiona Gordon Fiona Gordon ... Bikini Model


When a friend of Houston's who works for a publisher of a tabloid is nearly killed. The police think someone is trying to kill the publisher, The prime suspects are four people who tried to sue the man and lost; an ex-con who worked for the publisher when the publisher was starting his paper and helped him promote his paper and made him the scapegoat when they were charged for mail fraud. A mobster whom he claimed used his influence to get his girlfriend a beauty title. And a magician who's a bigamist. Houston goes to see them and when he goes to see the mobster, the man is killed. Written by

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Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

3 October 1982 (USA) See more »

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Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Neither Electrifying Nor Shocking
19 August 2011 | by JasonDanielBakerSee all my reviews

Tabloid publisher Brodax (Murray Hamilton) invites three people who unsuccessfully sued him for libel to his house to be the first to view his next edition - one which includes stories about them that are more personally destructive than those they sued him over.

After Brodax has provoked them his landscaper Ron Randolph is electrocuted and nearly killed as the pool, in which Brodax always takes a dip at precisely that time of the day, has been connected to a current. Brodax is the obvious target but given the fact that countless people wanted him dead it becomes rather a puzzle as to who may have done it and why.

The mob boss Carl "Champ" Ross (Stuart Whitman) whom Brodax has slandered is logically the most lethal and pathologically the most aggressive. But the other suspects, a bigamist magician named Graham (Bradford Dillman) and a conman named Hanrahan (Herb Edelman) have strong motives too. Houston is then confronted with the fact that things might not be as they appear.

Houston could have been libelled by this newspaper in keeping with his playboy image. The narrative might then have communicated some sense of the character's public self. But showing him helping investigate the near death of an employee as he does here works too I think.

In the first season an offbeat vibe was cultivated and casting for those initial offerings featured many sitcom performers including 4 out of the 7 castaways from Gilligan's Island each in a separate episode.

A 21 year old Heather Locklear, simultaneously appearing as a regular cast member on both Dynasty and TJ Hooker at the time somehow managed to find a way to work appearing as a guest star in this episode into her schedule. Other than the actors playing Houston and C.J. she is one performer your parents didn't grow up watching on a dumb sitcom which sets her apart from many season one guest stars on this show.

Paul Brinegar and Dennis Fimple who played Houston's comic relief ranch-hands Lamar and Bo are actually in this episode. In several episodes after the beginning of season 1 they would be credited with appearing but were only seen in the opening montage. It would soon become clear their presence on the show was counterproductive. But here they are along with a scene at the Houston ranch.

This episode also marked the screen debut of Malcolm-Jamal Warner (Theo Huxtable on the Cosby Show).

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