Season 8

Episode 816: “The Blue Angel”

Episode 816: “The Blue Angel”
Original Air Date:February 2, 2002
Written by::Glenn Berenbeim
Directed by:Larry Peerce
Produced by:

Martha Williamson
Jon Andersen
R.J. Visciglia, Jr.

Guest Cast:


Max Ernest Borgnine
Elmer Tom Bosley
Young Max Matthew Glave
Young Elmer Tom Gibis

From being televised at the 1939 World’s Fair, to finishing out his days as the director of a community access station in South Bend, Indiana; Max Blandish has run the spectrum of television’s growth. Once he had ideals and dreams, now all he has is a lump of bitterness and emphysema. His failure to make the right choices has brought him to the bottom of the entertainment barrel, and his cigarettes have brought him to the end of his days. Now, he tries to hide his ailment, while filling the airwaves with: singing cowboys, Elvis impersonators, chicken farmers, and the pinnacle of bad taste “the Blue Angel”.

Gloria arrives with a respirator, as a representative of “Life Support”. Max has a fit and insists that he ordered no such thing, his longtime friend and cameraman, Elmer, admits that he did. Max storms off, and Monica appears to tell Gloria all about him. When she first met Max, he made the right choice to put a young Japanese girl on the air, and was fired for it. That was the last time he took a stand. When Monica finishes the story, Elmer calls for Gloria to get the respirator, Max can’t breath. They attend to him, and Max comes back to himself. Shortly thereafter, Tiffany “The Blue Angel” arrives. She has the flu and won’t be able to go on at midnight. When Max takes her out of the room to get some tea, Tess appears and tells Gloria of her experience with Max. It was 1954 and Max was back at the top of his game, directing a variety show for the 4th of July. Everything was perfect, great television waiting to happen, except for one thing. The blonde singer the sponsor hired is terrible, despite Tess’s attempts to instruct her. Max is so impressed with Tess’s voice, and so eager for the show to go well, that he replaces the singer with Tess. When the sponsor finds out, he insists that his singer goes on as planned. According to him, the American people don’t want to see a black woman sing “God Bless America”. Max reluctantly agrees. Because of this, he keeps his job, but loses his dream.

As Tess finishes her story, Max enters and baits Gloria into taking over for the Blue Angel. When Max leaves, Tess tells her what the blue angel does. She’s a stripper. Gloria doesn’t think she can do that, but Monica tells her not to worry, to let God do the directing. When the time comes, and she’s on the air, Gloria drops her trenchcoat to reveal her angel garb and glow. She gives Max an entirely different kind of revelation than the one he was expecting. She tells him that it’s never too late to do the right thing, and that he doesn’t have to let his dreams die just because they didn’t turn out how he thought they would. On the air, Max accepts this truth, and God, and admits that “TV didn’t ruin me, I ruined TV.” With that said, he vows that from now on, he’ll put out the best programming that he can. He throws away his cigarettes and begins his new life.

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