#42 - "A Prince of a Ranger"
Lured by his fantasies of the romantic American west, Prince Lazlo of the obscure Balkan principality of Ambrasia comes to Laredo to sign a treaty with the leaders of the equally obscure Latin American state of Aguacaldo. His half sister Helena and her consort Karl take advantage of this opportunity to hire an American ruffian to do away with the prince. He takes a shot and misses while Lazlo is showing off his riding skills at an impromptu rodeo.
While Joe takes the prince to the Laredo Saloon for his first shot of red eye whiskey, the paid assassin tells Helena and Karl that he's not going to take on a town full of Texas Rangers.
Captain Parmalee decides that Lazlo can best be protected if Chad takes his place. The prince protests until the Captain tells him that he can take Chad's place as a Ranger, bringing brigands to justice and going on buffalo hunts. Chad has no problem once he catches sight of Antonia, Lazlo's lovely but oh so neglected betrothed.
The switch passes the first test when Reese can't tell them apart. He guesses that Lazlo is Chad because only an American would know that Baltimore is the capital of Massachusetts. Chad's first royal duty is to make up to Lazlo's financee for years of romantic neglect inflicted by the real prince. The Captain, perceiving Chad's intentions, sends the other Rangers over in sequence to interrupt him.
When Chad complains as he observes his girl Cindy Lou make time with Lazlo. Erik reminds Chad that he's making time with Lazlo's girl.
The Captain has a party for the Prince where Reese makes himself the center of attention with what he believes are amusing stories of derring-do. Helena takes advantage of Reese's noisy stories to bring the Prince a cup of poisoned punch. Reese accidentally breaks the punch glass. When Helena's dog tries to lick up the punch, Helena grabs him so frantically that Erik gets suspicious. When the dog growls at the Prince whom he usually likes, Helena gets suspicious.
Helena tells their paid assassin of the switch. He challenges "Chad" to a gunfight. Erik and Chad see what's going on. As the two combatants back away from each other, Erik drives a hay wagon between them long enough for Chad to knock out the Prince, change clothes, stuff him in the wagon and appear in his place. Some fancy gunhandling convinces the assassin to turn tail.
Instead, he's captured by Helena's assassin who holds him until he can get paid. Chad is forced to stall the treaty signing until Joe and Reese bring Lazlo back. When they find him, Joe has to talk Lazlo out of defecting to the Rangers. They make the switch just in time. After Lazlo signs the treaty, Karl cries foul, claiming the signature is a forgery. However, when he exposes the Prince's wrist to show the absence of the princely birthmark, there it is.
When the royal party leaves on the stage, Chad apologizes to Antonia for pretending and taking her in. She responds by saying she'll forgive him, if he'll forgive her for pretending to be taken in. The show ends with Chad facing his laughing fellow Rangers with a "can I help it if I'm so irresistible to women" shrug.
NiteOwl Review: A decent enough, although silly, second year episode. We liked Mimsy Farmer better as Lorrie in the superior "Calico Kid" episode. The best scene was the last exchange noted above.
Chad meets his royal double
This episode uses one of the most ubiquitous television plot devices ever borrowed from popular literature, the unrelated double who looks so much like the hero that even his friends and family can't see the difference.
Disappointed that he has not been able to chase down any outlaws, the prince is restless in the Ranger barracks. When Reese brags about how Joe can track in the dark, Lazlo takes off to put him to the test.
Original air date Dec 9, 1966
Directed by Charles Rondeau
Written by Joseph Bonaduce
Neville Brand as Reese Bennett
Peter Brown as Chad Cooper
William Smith as Joe Riley
Robert Wolders as Erik Hunter
Phil Carey as Capt. Parmalee
Mimsy Farmer as Antonia
Lisabeth Hush as Helena
Ivor Barry as Frollo
John Ragin as Karl
William Phipps as Spurs
Anne Hogan as Cindy Lou
Paul Micale as Martinez
J.J. Smith as Lazlo's back
(Peter Brown's double)
Official Peter Brown Fan Site