Tag Archives: Monopoly Thief

The Tiniest Things Can Spur the Strangest of Memories

Sometimes, old memories come flooding back in the strangest ways.

A while back, The Curmudgeon wrote about channel-surfing one night and hearing a character on a stage, pretending to be an actor, reciting a single line that The Curmudgeon immediately recalled as coming from a Shakespeare play he had last encountered in fifth grade (1967-1968).  He was amazed – amazed! – at how easily the memory returned.

Well, something similar happened recently.

As The Curmudgeon has written, he is a telecommuter:  he works at home.  He generally eats lunch sometime between noon and 12:30 and then retreats to his living room where he reads, often with the television playing in the background

Noon to one o’clock is not a good time to be looking for something to watch on television, and on this particular day, The Curmudgeon tuned to the high end of his cable spectrum and Hawaii Five-0 (he will have some choice observations about Hawaii Five-O and other such fare in the near future).  He rarely enjoys it, but it passes the time.

The station could not have been on for more than ten seconds when The Curmudgeon noticed the background music playing in the episode – and he knew the episode right away.  In the series, the later-to-be-highly-regarded actor Hume Cronyn played a gentlemanly thief who always left, as his calling card, one of the orange or yellow cards from a Monopoly set, hence the name he was known as by McGarrett and crew:  “The Monopoly Thief.”  Unlike most of the series’ serious, straightforward, almost grim episodes, the two episodes featuring Cronyn were humorous and charming, and someone associated with the program clearly understood how these episodes were different from the usual fare and took pains to commission a distinctive musical score to complement similarly distinctive episodes.

Now, more than forty years later – a quick trip to the wonderful imdb web site revealed that the Monopoly Thief episodes aired in 1970 and 1971 – The Curmudgeon was able to name that tune, before Cronyn even appeared on the screen, after about eight or ten notes.

Forty years and eight or ten notes.


Book ‘em, Danno!