Director: Ezra Stone
Writers: James Allardice and Tom Adair
Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, Frank Gorshin, Johnny Silver, Pat McCaffrie, Dennis Cross, Jimmy Cross, Saul Gorss, Jack Perkins, Fred Carson, Jack Wilson, and Rian Garrick
Composer: Jack Marshall
Air Date: 3/31/1966
While searching for a car to give to Marilyn, Herman becomes a victim of Fair Deal Dan (Frank Gorshin)—a shady, silver-tongued dealer who sells the Munster patriarch a stolen convertible. Thereafter, the police arrest Herman and imprison him in a local station, where jailhouse shenanigans promptly ensue.
“Herman, the Tire Kicker” is a clever, well-made episode. Especially terrific is Herman’s conversation with Fair Deal Dan, the deceptive tactics of whom often border on the absurd.
For building a premise around the gullible tendencies of Herman, writers Tom Adair and James Allardice should be commended. Specifically, Herman automatically assumes that Fair Deal Dan—a stereotypical used car salesman—must be an honest and trustworthy individual given the nickname with which he identifies, leading to a variety of humorous exchanges between both characters.
In jail, an intoxicated man boasts about never having seen a pink elephant, a purple pussycat, a red rhinoceros, or any of the “strange creatures” that annoy so-called average drunks. As soon as Herman arrives, however, every prisoner in the cell begins climbing the walls in fast motion, believing the figure to be an alcohol-related hallucination—an amusing, over-the-top reaction that will satisfy fans of The Munsters.
Despite receiving a confession from Fair Deal Dan, the officers never apologize to Herman for mistakenly apprehending him—a mildly annoying aspect, especially considering that one policeman makes a pass on Herman’s niece.
By suggesting that Herman and Lily donate their recovered money to Eddie’s college account, Marilyn reveals herself to be a kind and generous young woman—a testament to the fact that strong family values, even in a kooky or unusual setting, contribute greatly to the building of one’s character.
Though somewhat mean-spirited (even in a comedic scenario, Herman’s predicament may offend those of a sensitive nature), “Herman, the Tire Kicker” deserves praise for highlighting the selfless and thoughtful attributes whereby the Munsters are defined. For this reason among others, series enthusiasts would be wise to view this effort.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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