The House on Sycamore Street

Supervising producer, Joyce Burditt. Director, Christian I. Nyby II. Writer , Bruce Franklin Singer. Camera, Laszlo George; editor, Tom Pryor; music, Dick DeBenedictis.

Supervising producer, Joyce Burditt. Director, Christian I. Nyby II. Writer , Bruce Franklin Singer. Camera, Laszlo George; editor, Tom Pryor; music, Dick DeBenedictis.

With: Dick Van Dyke, Cynthia Gibb, Stephen Caffrey, Barry Van Dyke, Mariette Hartley, Peter Scolari, David Warner, Kerrie Keane, George Hamilton, Ron White.

Those crafty Canadians may be on to something with their national health-care program. The three Vancouver physicians featured in this telepic are not only compassionate and cheerful healers–they solve crimes on the side. Unfortunately , they don’t generate laughs, suspense or an enthusiastic rooting section.

Dr. Mark Sloan (Dick Van Dyke) is stunned when a former student, who left the idealism of healing for the avarice of cosmetic surgery, drops to the pavement from a rooftop. Suicide, deduces police detective Steve Sloan (Barry Van Dyke), who also happens to be Dr. Sloan’s son.

Murder is the diagnosis of Dr. Sloan, a gifted but cloyingly eccentric surgeon (he conducts a lecture on the liver in rap). Young Sloan urges his father to leave police work to the professionals.

But Dr. Sloan and his two resident assistants, played by Stephen Caffrey and Cynthia Gibb, are not about to languish in the wards when there is a wrong to be righted.

This mandates an interminable slog through an exhaustingly convoluted and astoundingly implausible plot that erodes into a predictably hackneyed conclusion.

Fortunately, Mariette Hartley and George Hamilton give the production some panache. Ron White also enhances the proceedings with his suitably callous villain.

Everything about this telepic–performances, technical credits, screenplay, direction–is just fine. No more, no less. Its most compelling characteristic is a well-intended and fully realized innocuousness.

Popular on Variety

The House on Sycamore Street

(Fri. (1), 9-11 p.m., CBS-TV)

Production: A presentation of Fred Silverman Prods. and Dean Hargrove Prods. in association with Viacom. Executive producers, Dean Hargrove, Fred Silverman. Producer, Barry Steinberg.

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