How come, every time you watch a criminal trial, there's some cop who drops a glob of potato salad on the bloody footprint, or leaves the fingerprint cards on the dashboard of his Chevy Nova and burns 'em up, or tracks mud all over the linoleum in the kitchen where the murder took place?
I mean, I've never been a cop, and I've never been involved in a murder case, but I know how to preserve a crime scene just from watchin' "Kojak."
How can this happen in 98 percent of the cases? I'm fairly sure that if I ever did stumble on a murder scene, I'd start screamin' out "Don't touch anything! Don't walk on it! Don't breathe on it! Put an electrified fence around it!"
How come I know this? How come everybody knows this except the cops who show up and start loungin' around on the sofa, kickin' off their shoes and startin' a fire in the fireplace where the murderer threw his arson matches?
There was a cop in the O.J. case who used the goldurn phone. So then they couldn't get any fingerprints to find out who else used the phone.
Don't they have a class at the police academy where they show old episodes of "Law and Order" or something? Isn't there some old grizzled detective who stands up and tells the rookies that he'll cut their fingers off if they mess with any of the evidence?
Whenever the cops finally get on the witness stand, they say stuff like, "Well, then we put the revolver in a baggie and I took it to my son's Little League game, and then I washed it in vegetable oil to get some of the rust off and make it shine, and then I gave it to Officer Wilcox, who showed it to Officer Randalson, who stuffed it in a duffel bag in his locker until Captain Giles fished it out and logged it into the evidence room, where it fell off a shelf and the grip got broken."
And then the prosecutor has to say, with a straight face, "So, other than those people and those locations, this gun was taken directly from the crime scene to the courtroom today, is that correct?"
And the cop says, "Yes, that is correct."
And then the judge gets blamed for throwin' out the evidence and lettin' loose the guy being tried for his 48th felony.
Listen up: Don't touch the goldurn stuff! Okay? I do not wanna have to tell you guys again. Don't touch it! Thank you.
Speaking of people that just keep doing the same goldurn thing over and over again, we have Julie Strain and Linda Blair in the same movie, which would seem to be impossible because how can you have two femme-fatale demon-possessed witchy-women in the same story?
Only one man could do it, and that's famed exploitation director Jim "Please Remove Your Bras, Ladies" Wynorski.
The movie is Sorceress, and basically what we've got here is Julie Strain trying to win back the man she loves by dripping her blood all over the pictures of people at the office so they'll have horrible car accidents and her husband will get promoted.
When he finds out, he throws her off the balcony, sort of by accident, but even after she's dead she won't let him have a divorce.
Rochelle Swanson is the girl from the office who shows up and tries to date the widower immediately. Toni Naples is the friendly witch who taught Julie everything she knows and occasionally comes by for kinky sex, especially when Julie is haunting her suburban tract home.
Linda Blair is the wife of the guy who got paralyzed when Julie Strain put a spell on him, and she has a suspected mass murderer living in her shed out back, and--oh yeah--she's a witch, too. She can go to her pentagram altar, close her eyes, and start reciting weird words, and pretty soon everybody wants to make the sign of the triple-jointed mongoose with the neighbor's maid.
In other words, way too much plot getting in the way of the story, but a whole lot of demonic aardvarking.
Six dead bodies. Twenty-seven breasts. One motor vehicle chase, with crash and burn.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...
Linda Blair, as the devoted wife who's secretly addicted to witchcraft, for saying, "Howard, pull off the road right now!"
Toni Naples, as the helpful witchcraft counselor who says, "You know, the best way to get rid of ghosts is to clean house."
Joe Bob says check it out.
Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's memory mystery comes from...Steven Bevacqua of Stratford, Conn.
"What movie was it with Teri Hatcher (Lois Lane on ABC's 'Superman') where she does a heck of a lot of nude scenes? Can you find that flick?"
A video will be awarded to the correct answer.
We Have a Winner!
In a previous column, J.W. Narins of Scarsdale, New York, asked about "a B-movie science-fiction flick which I saw in the late 1970s...The single salient feature of the film, which I still recall, is one of the male protagonists, who is possessed of enormous supernatural powers, largely latent.
"He has a habit of sitting on the bridge of their spaceship and playing with a circle of light, which plays up and down between his palms like an oscilloscope reading, only without the oscilloscope.
"On this little ship, they travel to a number of planets, one of which is covered with ice..."
We received eight correct answers, so our winner was chosen by drawing. And he is...Dan Darr of Fort Worth, Texas:
"I found that flick! The movie J.W. describes is Star Crash, starring 'Babewatch' beau David Hasselhoff.
"This sci-fi adventure is a real stinker; I think its main purpose is to showcase the enormous talents of its female lead. It has gratuitous battle scenes where you can see strings from the model ships.
"The female star is always (of course) scantily clad in what looks like a leather bikini and thigh boots. One of the best scenes takes place on the ice planet, when she is outside with the incredibly human robot she befriended.
"She is locked out of the ship, and the robot advises her to lie down and hibernate. When they finally get her back in the ship, they defrost her and she is fine. I loved it--it was absolutely terrible. Check it out!"
Additional information came from our seven runners-up, including...Bruce Whitten of Dallas:
"Its other salient features include a robot with a Texas accent and Caroline Munro, who had her voice dubbed but her body exposed by wearing bikinis under transparent spacesuits.
"The character J.W. mentioned was played by Marjoe Gortner and, much like any movie Marjoe is in, he doesn't die soon enough."
Copyright 1995 by Joe Bob Briggs. Distributed by NYT Special Features/Syndication Sales.