Friday, July 09, 2010

Livin' in the 70s - Run Joe Run

The following story originally appeared on my first website, jwilsonsworld, on 4/20/2007.

Run Joe Run: David Janssen's The Fugitive recast as a dog. "Wanted: male German shepherd, black and tan, answers to the name of Joe. Accused of attacking his trainer Sergeant Will Corey, a crime he did not commit. Only Corey can prove him innocent, but he must find Joe before his pursuers track him down."

Brilliant simply brilliant. This would have to be my absolute favorite Saturday morning tv show ever. I can't recall ever missing an episode, even in reruns. Yes the storylines were simple (even for a children's show) but to my eight year-old mind this little morality play was completely engrossing. I loved dogs in general but particularly German shepherds so when this riveting live-action tale about a shepherd that was wrongfully accused and on the run from the authorities hit the airwaves I was hooked right away. My favorite part of the show was always when Joe, often in a difficult situation, would have a flashback to his old Army training days. The camera would close in with an extreme Sergio Leone type close-up on Joe's eyes while special "Joe thinking" sound effects would play. Suddenly Joe would remember something that had occurred during his training that would help him in the situation that he currently found himself, very smart dog indeed! Joe could do anything from turn on a water faucet, to help a lost blind girl find her way home (and anything in between). And much like the original Fugitive Joe would often selflessly help others without any consideration for himself. Why? Because he was an innocent dog accused of something he didn't do, and only an innocent dog would think of others. And have no doubt that he was completely innocent, the show's snappy intro let us know that fact right up front when it set up the entire premise for us (and in less than a minute too). Unlike the original Fugitive, Joe was never exonerated of his crimes and to this day is still on the run in badly worn bootleg copies of his adventures. But perhaps someday he will find some peace, or at the very least be released on DVD so that all of his old fans can enjoy his story all over again.

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