Free stream of the week: Mr. Lucky "Operation Fortuna"
Watch Jack Nicholson in one of his earliest roles.
Each week, MeTV.com offers dozens of episodes to stream for free on your computer or mobile device. They are all worthy of your attention, but we highlight one in particular that is a must-see.
A heist aboard a boat. Award-winning Hollywood legends. The creator behind Breakfast at Tiffany's and the Pink Pather films. A director responsible for a handful of sci-fi classics. What more could you ask for from a hip slice of 1950s television?
Mr. Lucky ran for just one season, in 1959–60, but the gambling adventure was actually a hit. The series from the mind of Blake Edwards drew a 24.4 household share in the ratings. However, the soap company sponsoring the show pulled out. The sponsor, Lever Brothers, had already meddled with the series, worried that gambling would not help the squeaky clean image of their product.
"Operation Fortuna," the 30th episode in the series, came near the end, after Lever had attempted to "clean up" the series, but it still oozed cool. That's due in large part to the cast and director.
In the first scene we meet Martin, a waiter aboard the floating Fortuna II. Mr. Lucky, portrayed by series lead John Vivyan, is firing the kid, who begs to finish out the week. Sure, why not. As he leaves the office, Martin gives a devilish look in his eyes. Jack Nicholson is playing young Martin, and nobody does devilish looks quite like him, even at this early age. You can already see a hint of The Shining in him. He is the inside man.
It was one of Nicholson's first few screen appearances, and he was joined by Richard Chamberlain, who plays one of the gang robbing the ship. There are guns, speedboats and brawls. The whole affair was deftly helmed by Jack Arnold, the director behind 1950 sci-fi classics It Came from Outer Space, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Incredible Shrinking Man.
Stream "Operation Fortuna" to see how the whole thing shakes out.