Though the "Pirouette" episode
has the second version revamped color-tinted opening credit sequence, it does not feature Joey Aresco and Ilene Graff among
Supertrain's crew, which was part of the revamped show format. Also, Edward Andrews is shown wearing the second version uniform,
but Harrison Page is still wearing his original red porter's suit. Edward Andrews, Harrison Page, and Robert Alda are
only crew members listed in the credits and/or seen in this episode. These above mentioned facts makes this fifth "Supertrain"
the bridge episode between the original Dan Curtis-produced installments and the later "All New" episodes of the later format.
You know you are in for a treat when you see that "Three's
Company"-star Joyce DeWitt has been blessed with Special Guest Star status. Kidding
aside, this episode of "Supertrain" is one that was truly packed with guest stars. Another example to note too is that
as with most episodes of "Supertrain," the guest stars arrive for departure from ABC and CBS and rarely NBC. This is
primarily due to NBC's lack of successful shows that would produce familiar faces that coule lend themselves to guest shots
on a show like "Supertrain." In addition to the mentioned Ms. DeWitt, this episode has Tony
Danza of "Taxi" airing on ABC; Isabel Sanford of CBS' "The Jeffersons";
Vic Tayback from "Alice" (CBS); another ABC star-"Barney Miller"-regular
James Gregory and Jamie Farr out of his usual dresses on "M*A*S*H"
one of the series most notabe guests is in this episode. Bernie Kopell from ABC's "The Love
Boat" has shore leave and takes a busman's holiday aboard "Supertrain." Given the many
comparisons that "Supertrain" would suffer in relation to this Spelling-created ABC series about romance on the sea, it is
interesting to find that NBC was able to even borrow Kopell from "The Love Boat" for "Supertrain."
Bernie's character is even a doctor, just what he played on that other show, to complete the picture.
look quickly during the opening of the episode and you'll see another TV legend..."Don't Squeeze The Charmin" commercial
pitchman Mr. Whipple is seen bellying up to the bar preparing for a wild trip aboard Supertrain.
The plot of "Pirouette" concerns the efforts of a disgruntled
former servant, Isabel Sanford, trying to eliminate the heir to a desired inheritance. Joyce
DeWitt plays the cliched long lost heir to her late father's fortune. DeWitt's character,
Natalie Smithborne, was a free-spirited dancer type who had become estranged from what we assume was a stuffy conservative
old money daddy that didn't understand her. The episode includes one of those infamous Supertrain stopping at an abandoned
station situations that defy logic and explanation. As mentioned elsewhere on this site, if Supertrain was built brand
new from the ground up in 22 months as we're shown in the first episode then how can there be old derelict stops on its route?!?
As we find out in the series, Supertrain does have its share of places where the locals lament that "The train doesn't stop
In "Pirouette" however, the train does stop and picks
up Special Guest Star Joyce DeWitt. A search for the missing heiress has been conducted by Isabel
Sanford to reunite DeWitt's character with her father's fortune. Tagging along to provide
security for DeWitt are a couple of bodyguards in the form of Vic Tayback and Jamie
Farr. Snooping around also is Tony Danza, playing a reporter, looking for the scoop
on this missing heiress story. Then we also have Isabel Sanford's friends and former co-workers at
DeWitt's family's home played by James Gregory and Mako.
Shortly after being reunited with DeWitt,
Sanford's character Reba fakes a dizzy spell and claims she's out of pills. DeWitt
rushes away to get the prescription filled at the Supertrain infirmary and is attacked enroute by James Gregory
and Mako. Returning to her compartment, DeWitt explains to Sanford
that two men tried to throw her off the train. It should be noted here that like the unattended Baggage Car, apparently
Supertrain's Passenger Car doors are not locked. Nor apparently is there any fail-safe that keeps them from simply opening
wide as the train rolls along at 200mph! Sanford calms DeWitt down and puts her to
bed and then exits to supposedly obtain the needed nerve pills.
Quickly we discover that Isabel Sanford's
Reba will likely never be remembered as fondly as Shirley Booth's "Hazel," as it seems Reba
was behind that attempt on Natalie's life. Turns out that James Gregory and Mako are
former co-workers of Isabel Sanford's and they've all devised a plot to kill off Joyce DeWitt's
character and split up the soon to be inheirited money. DeWitt gets a glimpse of Sanford motioning
in Gregory and Mako and realizes the fix she's in now. In the process of being attacked,
DeWitt escapes and a window is broken out in her compartment. Rather shockingly, this does set off
an alarm in Edward Andrews' office and he and Harrison Page investigate. Given
the lack of alarm and no safety on the doors, it is surprisingly that a window buzzer goes off due to this breakage.
DeWitt is assumed to be off the train and possibly dead from falling out the window.
As Vic Tayback and Jamie Farr
grill Tony Danza about his interest in DeWitt and all suffer Isabel Sanford's
crying fits over the missing Natalie, Joyce has escaped and stumbled into Bernie Kopell's
compartment. And no she doesn't look at him and exclaim, "Did I cross over to 'The Love Boat' by mistake???...I
was Special Guest Starring on 'Supertrain' over at NBC." They introduce themselves and we find out Kopell's
character is a gynecologist that is shy around women. Yeah, who came up with that one?! Like it
usually happens on a train trip, the two fall in love in a matter of hours.
Kopell takes over Dr. Robert
Alda's Infirmary and hides DeWitt there under an oxygen tent. One assumes that Kopell
simply pulled ratings rank on Alda and claimed Supertrain's medical facility for his own without question. The plan to hide Natalie hits a snag as Isabel Sanford drops by the Infirmary
searching for DeWitt's character and spots her under the oxygen tent. A mad chase ensues and Supertrain
pulls into New York just in time for them all to end up in a pile on the red carpet at Grand Central. Danza
plays a decoy-DeWitt under a sheet in a wheelchair allowing the real Joyce to get away with
her new beau Bernie Kopell. Sanford, Gregory and Mako
are busted by Tayback and Farr and all apparently ends happily ever after. Though
we don't know if Tony Danza actually gets the promised interview in exchange for helping DeWitt
and Kopell escape. Maybe in the Director's Cut on a future DVD release, huh?