The Checklist: Acapulco H.E.A.T. (S2 Ep20) “Code Name: The Stolen Leg”
The Acapulco H.E.A.T. television series is a rather unique story. The syndicated show first hit the airwaves in 1993 with what could be described as a “cast of thousands”. Catherine Oxenberg (aka Mrs. Casper Van Dien) and Brendan Kelly were the two main stars of the first season. The show capitalized on the successful Baywatch formula, with beautiful people fighting crime in sunny locales. The first season would also feature the one and the only Fabio in a recurring role and John Vernon of Animal House fame as the head honcho of the Hemisphere Emergency Action Team.
But after one season Acapulco H.E.A.T. would go on hiatus until 1998 when the second season debuted in syndication. Only two original cast members, the gorgeous Alison Armitage and martial artist (and Bulletrproof Action favorite) Michael Worth would return. Armitage’s Cat Avery Pascal and Worth’s Tommy Chase would be joined by Nicole Bernard (played by Lydie Denier) and Joanna Barnes (played by Christa Sauls) to make the new Acapulco H.E.A.T. team a foursome.
In this edition of The Checklist, I take a look at “Code Name: The Stolen Leg”, the 20th or 24th (depending on who you believe) episode of Season 2 of Acapulco H.E.A.T. and put it to The Checklist test…
- Synopsis: Tully Simms is in Puerto Vallarta for a tennis tournament when his prosthetic leg is stolen. Simms hires the H.E.A.T. team to find the stolen leg.
1. Did the theme song performed by Pepper Mashay make the move from Season 1 to Season 2?
There are some stark contrasts when you compare the two seasons of Acapulco H.E.A.T. I think Michael Worth said it best when he said season one was more James Bond, while season two was more private eye. But there were two things that the second season HAD TO DO if it wanted to call itself Acapulco H.E.A.T. The first was keep the general premise of “beautiful people fighting crime in sunny locales”. The second was keeping the awesome theme song. The song entitled “Feel the Heat” by Pepper Mashay was one of the things I remembered most about the first season.. well the song does return for the second season, albeit a dance remix version of the song. Truth be told I prefer the original mix, but maybe that’s just me. 1/1
2. Were there any notable guest stars?
A hallmark of any great action adventure TV series is the use of guest stars. “The Stolen Leg” has two notable guest stars. The first is the instantly recognizable Richard Lynch (Invasion U.S.A.). In this episode, Lynch plays artist/sculptor Elliot Roth, the man who sponsored Tully Simms for the tennis tournament and a man with a shady past making him the H.E.A.T. team’s #1 suspect in the theft of Simms’ leg.
A personal anecdote about Lynch’s involvement in Acapulco H.E.A.T., a few years back after researching the lengthy filmography of Richard Lynch and seeing he had appeared on Acapulco H.E.A.T. I asked Catherine Oxenberg if she had any memories of working with Lynch on Acapulco H.E.A.T. and she replied that she did not remember… I found this odd at the time. How does a person not remember Richard Lynch? He has a face that once you see it you will never forget… but this was actually my mistake. Lynch was not in the first season and Oxenberg was not in the second season. So the two never did actually work together and that would explain why Oxenberg had no recollection of the event.
The other guest star of note may not be instantly recognizable, but fans of direct to video action movies of the 1990’s like No Escape No Return, Guardian Angel and Ballistic will recognize Robert Miano who played Tully Simms, the man with the stolen leg and a man who we learn was merely a pawn in an Elliot Roth counterfeiting scheme. 2/2
3. Was the episode a time capsule look into 1998?
One of the great things about watching decades old television shows and movies is the look back it provides at that fashion and technology trends from when the show or movie was originally produced.
Acapulco H.E.A.T. delivers in both departments… the clunky laptop computer and non-flat screen displays used by the enigmatic Joanna (she is your stereotypical ditzy blonde but she’s also a tech whiz!?!?) was certainly a look at what was considered “high-tech” in the late 90’s. The wardrobe of the main cast of characters also reflected the times… but the hat that is worn by Richard Lynch’s Elliot Roth is not something I recall men wearing in 1998. The only hat more ridiculous during this time frame than the one Lynch is wearing would have to be the infamous urban sombrero that J. Peterman was selling. 3/3
4. Did Michael Worth keep his shirt on?
On the commentary track on the season two DVD release, Michael Worth revealed that the producers of the show were always trying to get him to appear with his shirt off. Again the show was about “beautiful people fighting crime in sunny locales” and there were plenty of bikini clad women to look at, so you can see where the producers were looking to add a little extra sex appeal for the female viewers. This is something Worth battled them on through out the second season. If I were the executive producer I would have been figuring out a way to have Alison Armitage appear topless, but I digress…
So who won the shirt vs. skin battle in “The Stolen Leg”? The producers (Max and Micheline Keller) or Michael Worth? The results are in and Michael Worth was wearing a shirt of some sort the entire episode. Worth wins! 4/4
5. Did the episode end on a lighthearted note?
Despite the often life threatening danger and the horrible human beings the H.E.A.T. team had to deal with in any episode, things seemed to always end on a happy note. There was no need for counseling or signs of emotional scarring. This was not exclusive to Acapulco H.E.A.T. as many shows over the years have utilized the happy ending.
“The Stolen Leg” did not deviate from the happy ending course and in this particular episode after going up against a former KGB agent and some murderous counterfeiters we wrap things up with Michael Worth doing his best George Burns impersonation… say goodnight Gracie. 5/5
- Final Score = 5/5 (100%) If a final score of 3 was a hot episode of Acapulco H.E.A.T and a final score of 4 was a hotter episode of Acapulco H.E.A.T. then “Code Name: Stolen Leg” was Acapulco H.E.A.T. at its hottest!