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The Outer Limits: Cry of Silence (1964)
Eerie Offering from The Outer Limits
To me, this is the most eerie of all the Outer Limits episodes. This seems to be to the contrary of other user reviewers. I must agree that the script is clunky and the special effects are quite medieval. However, the concept of this episode intrigued me strongly enough that I kept coming back to it a number of times in order to fully understand what it offered.
The cast is minimal. 3 people (4 if you count the brief glimpse of someone driving a pickup at the beginning).
The eeriness seems to stem from the fact that the two heroes of this tale are stuck in a canyon devoid of the sounds of any life. We find out later that a force from beyond our galaxy has invaded the canyon and would like to communicate with people from our planet, but can't seem to find a way. So, it/they inhabit(s) tumbleweeds, frogs and rocks in an attempt to dialog, but can't, because they don't know the proper means to understand the human intelligence they sense is present in the canyon.
Eddie Albert and June Havoc are the unfortunates who have stumbled into this forsaken canyon. June senses the presence of the alien immediately, while it takes Eddie Albert a bit to wise up.
Enter Arthur Hunnicut, wonderful character actor (El Dorado, The Twilight Zone), to add thickness to the plot. It's not quite apparent what Arthur is in the story - is he a farmer who inhabits the farmhouse the threesome finally reach or is he someone investigating the phenomenon of the alien presence that has landed in the canyon? Eddie Albert allows the alien presence to enter his psyche in order to discover more about it (them?). The result is something some would call overacting. I personally was swept in by the intensity of Albert's performance in manifesting the alien's forlornness in coming to a planet where it senses intelligence, but can't connect.
There is one unintentionally humorous moment where Albert vows to Havoc that he will lay aside his desire to own a farm. The irony being that, shortly after this series, Albert starred in the sitcom, Green Acres as a city lawyer who is pleased as punch to have purchased a farm, much to the chagrin of his cosmopolitan wife, Eva Gabor.
What I appreciate about this episode is the concept of individuals finding themselves in a place that is remote and away from almost all human contact, only to realize and sense the presence of an invisible being or beings whose presence is being manifest in odd and uninterpretable ways.
Cheyenne: Big Ghost Basin (1957)
Had to see this again as an adult
I remember seeing this episode as a tot. I'm not sure how old I was, but I remembered it as a child completely different than when I recently saw it again as an adult.
It may have been a re-airing in the area I lived in because there is no way I could have remembered it from its original air date of 1957. I would have been too small. It must have re-ran in my area in 1959 for me to be able to remember it at all.
As a child, I remember being intrigued with monsters. Once again, it must have been in 1959 when I saw this because this is the first time I heard about Bigfoot (a.k.a. Sasquatch). My mother mentioned a little ways into the episode that the creature must be a Bigfoot.
It wasn't until 1958 that the phenomenon, previously known as Sasquatch, had been referred to as Bigfoot. My parents would have been aware of this phenomenon because an acquaintance of theirs was Jerry Crew, the man who, evidently, was tricked into reporting evidence of a creature dubbed 'Bigfoot' with 16 inch feet. This took place near Eureka, CA.
It was later revealed in 2002, that Crew had been misled. Crew's boss, Ray Wallace, at the time of the 'Bigfoot' sighting, died that year. Wallace's family revealed that he (Wallace) loved to play pranks... and that he had carved some wooden 'feet,' strapped them on and tramped around in the mud at the area where Crew was working, thus leading him to believe a monster had wandered through the site (true believers in 'Bigfoot' have never accepted Wallace's family's admission).
Watching this episode as an adult was disappointing, after having believed all these years that the episode was about a Bigfoot and not a Bear. Even then, it's curious that the viewing audience seemed to have been led to believe that this was a monster of some sort (the glowing eyes staring out from the dark), prior to the Bigfoot hoax that followed it. Perhaps this episode inspired Wallace to concoct this hoax?
As scary as this episode was, there is a glaring plot flaw. Bears and other woodland creatures fear fire. Any Bear who had been singed by fire would fear it and run from it rather than risk being burned again by stomping it out and covering it with dirt - unless of course, it was Smokey the Bear. Perhaps Smokey helped to inspire this episode as well.
Good Morning, World (1967)
Lives of morning D.J. team
It's hard to add much to what's already been said about this show. All I have to say is, it was cute, clever, smart and entertaining.
Billie De Wolf was perfect as the uptight boss with A.R. (anal retentiveness). Pencil thin mustache and whiny voice. Scowly eyebrows.
Joby Gray was great. I remember one episode where the two DJs were hosting a fund raiser and he kept trying to sing his "Banana" song.
Speaking of songs, the opening sequence with the "ting ting ting" sound along with the conglomeration of still photos in succession of the two DJs getting ready for an early morning radio show was very entertaining in itself.
Joby and Ronnie Schell played well off of each other. I can't understand why it was canceled after so few episodes.
Doctor Dolittle (1967)
I can't be as kind as many of the other commenters. I didn't see it when it first came out, although, I was inundated with the "Talk With the Animals" song everywhere I turned. Seems like we even played it in our junior high band.
I was under the impression that this was the most heralded musical in history with regard to the hype surrounding it. It was only recently that I realized that it was panned by the critics.
I finally watched it on Turner Movie Classics and realized what a "snoozer" it was. I kept thinking there might be some romance between someone in the film - Samantha Eggar and Rex Harrison... Samantha Eggar and Anthony Newley... Samantha Eggar and Geoffery Holder... Samantha Eggar and the Push-Me-Pull-You... Anthony Newley and Geoffery Holder... anything that would give this story a little life.
Rex Harrison is a great actor and carried this exhausting effort as bravely and heartily as he possibly could, however, in the end, it was a pointless story that dragged on and on and on.
"Talk to the Animals" was a reasonably good song for a musical, however, the rest of the songs rated "banal" in my estimation. Even Anthony Newly couldn't seem to pull it out of the fire with his pleasant voice and apt song styling.
It seems that the only thing that might have held children (since it was a family movie) would have been the animals, which weren't really used all that dramatically.
As much as I admire the actors who performed in this insipid tale, I have to say, it barely held my interest. My apologies to those who truly loved this movie.
The Hideous Sun Demon (1958)
Great low-budget sci-fi flick!
Who wouldn't want to see a movie called, "The Hideous Sun Demon"? What a great title for a fifties "B" sci-fi thriller! The pan at the beginning from the ambulance to the sun (the catalyst for what turns our subject into the hideous monster) works well.
Radiation is such a great vehicle for "plausibility" in changing otherwise normal human beings and animals into "hideous" monsters! This movie is no exception. Released in 1959, this movie would have been riding on the nuclear concerns of that era.
The explanation as to how a man could wind up turning into a reptile-like creature is less than plausible, but heck... who cares? The fun of the movie is watching the life of the tortured genius and how he deals with the effects the nuclear accident.
The scenes of our hero standing on the cliff, contemplating ending it all show the depth of his despair, however, it is never explained why this character is so brooding. We can understand the impact of having to reorder his life in order to keep from becoming his lizard-like other self, however, we are never informed as to why he has become so recklessly dependent on the bottle. This would have helped deepen the character.
The song the blonde Marilyn Monroe wannabe (Trudy) sings to him is, well, "Torchy." "Strange Desire." It says it all, eh?
Speaking of songs, I actually enjoyed the happy little rock and roll tune that's played while he's having the tar beaten out of him by "Mugsy" and friends.
One mystery I'll never be able to solve... how'd he get his coat back from blondie (Trudy)?
We see the tender side of this man when he is being aided by the child in the pump house at the oil fields. This helps us to see more dimension in the man and how his alter-ego, the scaly monster is not really who he is.
The interaction between the busty blonde babe and himself are a bit puzzling. Why does he come on so strong when they are at the beach and why does she cozy up to him after backing away so strongly? Probably just awkwardness in the script writing.
The scenes of the monster running about are good. Clarke handles the physical aspect of being a superhuman monster well.
With regard to the police shooting scene on the top of the structure the monster is being chased on, was this officer Barney Fife with only one bullet? He shoots the monster, then when the monster rushes him (the policeman), he throws his gun at him. What the heck?
This movie is a classic tragedy in so many ways. The monster side of Clarke, although changed psychologically, is never looking for trouble. He just wants to get out of the sun so he can return to his human self. However, the complications of his own bad choices put him in touch with the wrong element and he retaliates when he is being harmed physically.
This sets him up to be hunted by "those who don't understand," thus ending his pathetic existence.
This movie actually ascends it's "B" rating in many ways. It is a must-see for those who enjoy the black and white fifties sci-fi.
Casey Jones (1957)
When Gilligan's Island first came out, I remember my family and I exclaiming whenever we saw Alan Hale Jr. appear on the screen, "Hey, it's Casey Jones!" I truthfully don't remember much about the series, as I was but a tyke when I watched it, other than seeing Alan Hale Jr's friendly, smiling face looking out from the train as the opening credits rolled. I remember liking the show and our family sitting around the t.v. enjoying Hale's characterization of the legendary engineer. I enjoyed the other comments and remember it as good, wholesome family entertainment.
When I was in my twenties and living in Los Angeles at the time, I took my fiancé (now, wife) to visit Alan Hale Jr's Fish and Chips Restaurant in Glendale. Hale just seemed like a very happy and likable fellow as well as a great character actor.
The Art of Love (1965)
Make... this... available... for... PURCHASE!
I was just talking to my wife about this hilarious movie from the mid-sixties and decided to look it up on the web. I first saw it on an afternoon movie show, "Dialing for Dollars" from the Bay Area of California.
The premise is nothing short of genius - an artist (Dick Van Dyke) pretends to commit suicide in order to make his paintings more valuable. His best friend (James Garner) helps him pull it off, but horns in on Van Dyke's girl. When Van Dyke finds out about it, he decides NOT to surface after his disappearance starts to look like a murder. His buddy is implicated and Van Dyke decides to let his "friend" sweat it out through a trial (where Van Dyke shows up in an "old man" disguise" a la his old man character from Mary Poppins) where Garner is sentenced for murder.
Others on this forum seem to remember the old lady who likes to watch be-headings murmur "Guillotine. GUILLOTINE!" while Garner is being led to his execution.
My favorite scene, though, is where Van Dyke is trying to make it to the execution in time to reveal he is not really dead in order to save his friend at the last minute.
He's riding in a cab and there is a traffic jam in a small town on the way there. Van Dyke nervously tells the cab driver to hurry because he has to get to his best friend's execution. The driver pulls the cab to a sudden stop, exits the cab, pulls Van Dyke to his feet by the lapels exclaiming, "What kind of a ghoul are you?", throws him on a dirt pile and drives off.
The hilarity of this scene is Van Dyke running around with his long lanky legs trying to find a way to the prison where Garner is about to be executed.
Kudos to the writer, director and actors in this madcap, scream of a movie!
A Man Called Shenandoah (1965)
Wandering the West to find Memory
When Robert Horton got done with Wagon Train, he starred in this short-lived t.v. show. It was a Western about a guy who gets shot in the head, gets amnesia and wanders around the West trying to remember who he is.
I barely remember this show, but remember liking it.
It was one of those shows like The Fugitive, or The Guns of Will Sonnett that would give a little hope of finding what the point of what the show was about but would fall just short at the end and dash all your hopes. In Horton's case, it would be finding a clue or almost remembering who he was and then losing it.
It didn't last too long. Perhaps the premise didn't allow for enough development of plot and character.
The Green Slime (1968)
Pond Scum in Space
Robert Horton moved on from Wagon Train (or Trailmaster - whichever title you prefer) and starred in THIS pre-Star Wars chiller-diller space thriller, which beckons us to exclaim a major, "GO FIGURE!" I saw it in the theater when it first appeared. I saw the poster and told my friend we had to see it. I mean, who could resist a movie called "The Green Slime"? This was cheezola of the lowest caliber - my favorite kind.
It's been so long, I need to re-rent it, so I don't remember that much about it except the bad acting and poor special effects. I do remember a rocket take-off that was so obviously a Japanese-style miniature set, you could almost see the finger prints.
The green slime monsters' outfits were hilarious! It seems to me that giant one-celled space bacteria don't really need a giant cyclops-like eye in the middle of their foreheads (foreheads either, for that matter), but then, maybe that's just me.
This movie was obviously not going for an Oscar, but hey... it's a must-see for anyone who can truly appreciate bad acting, a terrible plot and awful special effects. It's a triple-threat! And, oh yes! Special kudos go to the truly awful theme song. It's definitely worth the rent if you can find it somewhere.
Blaze Glory (1969)
Powerfully funny send-up of classic Westerns
This absolutely had to be an offering from the sixties. It was the kind of stuff teens like myself loved - a spoof of the classic Western, a la Warner Brothers and Bugs Bunny. The sniveling baddie dubbed "The Pug-Nose Kid" has a bit of a Richard Widmark/Dan Duryea quality about him while Blaze reminds us of the deep voiced, sparse-worded Gary Cooper (the deep voice was supplied by Ted Cassidy - i.e. "Lurch" from the Addams Family).
The fact that the voices were (obviously) dubbed and hyperbolized made it all the more hilarious.
The stop motion "horse" riding action causes one to ponder, how'd they do it? You can almost figure it out, but not quite. This is genius filming.
Blaze's "fifty-gallon" white hat is perfectly exaggerated to symbolize the square-shouldered good cowboy in contrast to the Pug-Nose Kid's facial scar and black leather duds.
Blaze's all-American outfit is reminiscent of Evil Keneivel's outfit or perhaps, Peter Fonda's helmet from Easy Rider.
This spoof has it all - the stage-coach robbery, the damsel tied to the railroad tracks, the cliff-hanging fistfight and the ultimate hero's victory. All clichés, readily poked-fun-at and exaggerated by the brilliant script and cinematography. And, oh yeah, the score isn't bad either.
And, if I'm not mistaken, isn't there a very similar short about a motorcycle gang with similar special effects? If someone knows the name of this one, please leave a note on it.
Good show but overrated
Hoo-boy, am I going to be the bad-guy regarding comments about this show. Everybody loves dogs and animals, and yes, Lassie (who, I understand was played by a series of male Collies - they found that female collies were difficult to train and work with) was an incredibly well-trained and smart dog. That part was fun. But, as a t.v. show, I found the plots to be contrived and the pace of the shows to be slow, filled with long spaces with no dialog. The music was schmaltzy and maudlin, as were the plots, I'm afraid. Timmie, played by John Provost was a cute child actor. He seemed to go for long periods without checkin' in with Mom or Dad. You'd think as much trouble as he got in where Lassie had to go find Mom and Dad to rescue him, the Martins would have kept a little tighter reign on their boy. Lassie had this uncanny ability to communicate long complex sentences with only a bark or two. She also had an amazing ability to understand fairly complex English sentences. As a family show, it was obviously aimed at families with younger children. It was a fun show, if you could suspend reality enough to stay with it.
It's been mentioned over and over, the Tom Brewster character called "Sugarfoot" in this series was an "unlikely hero." Sugarfoot is much like "Monk" in that, he has a handicap - he is apprehensive and often unsure of himself. He wants to solve crimes in the Old West but is often thrust into scenarios in which he feels uncomfortable. His character is much like Jimmy Stewart in "Destry Rides Again," or perhaps, Gary Cooper in "Along Came Jones." Then again, perhaps there is a hint of "Jim Rockford" in this character.
Will Hutchins was obviously chosen for his appeal to young ladies as a surfer-looking blond with a good haircut. Seems like he would have fit a little better in a "Hawaiian Eye" style show. He has a bit of an "Owen Wilson" appeal, although, definitely campier.
All of this considered, I enjoyed "Sugarfoot" as a tongue-in-cheek Western series.
Pop Group with Costumed Animal Schtick
This was basically, "The Monkees" for kids with cartoons and a weekly serial tossed in for fun. Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In was an obvious influence as well with the pop-art sets, patterns and color schemes. Paul Winchell's voice (Jerry Mahoney and Mortimer Snurd - a popular Ventriloquist/Dummy act of the time) as Fleagle was fun. Winchell was also the voice of "Tigger" from Disney's "Winnie the Pooh" and many other cartoon voices, including the leader of the "Anthill Mob" in "The Adventures of Penelope Pitstop." Daws Butler's voice (Huckleberry Hound and many others) as Bingo was great too.
I had to see reruns of this show to remember it was Jan Michael Vincent's t.v. debut in the "Danger Island" segment.
"Chongo" (Uh Oh) got a little irritating with his constant bird sounds in place of real language.
The cartoons were fun - Three Musketeers and Arabian Nights.
It was an obvious Hannah-Barbera effort.
Lots of fun for kids. Teens too.
GREAT theme song (La la la, la la la la)!
Second City TV (1976)
Coo roo coo coo coo coo coo coo
All of the user comments are great but they leave out some of the best contributions from SCTV - The McKenzie Brothers and the Redneck Movie Critics.
From the beginning of the opening credits where it was announced that "SCTV is on the air" followed by t.v. sets being thrown out of windows to crash on the sidewalks below, the laughs ensued.
I understand that Canadian Television had an extra two minutes more than U.S. television, so they asked Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis to come up with an extra two minutes of material that would air on Canadian Television. Their contribution? The Mackenzie Brothers, eh? It was all ad-lib. The Great White North sketch was eventually added to the American version.
Each week would be a different topic - "This week, our topic is how to stuff a mouse in a beer bottle, eh?" "Take off, eh?" "No, you take off, you hoser." "How do you like my new toque (rhymes with kook), eh?" "It's a beauty way to go, eh?" These guys were absolutely hilarious! They had the entire country doing Canadian-speak," eh?
The other guys I loved were the Red-neck movie reviewers. Dressed like Elmer Fudd on a wabbit-hunt, Joe Flaherty and John Candy rated movies based on whether they "blowed 'em up real good," or not. You guessed it - if the movie "blowed 'em up real good" (followed by lots of guffaws and yuks), it was a good movie. If there were no car crashes or explosions, well, it was a bad movie.
This was an extremely clever show and launched the careers of some powerful comic geniuses (Eugene Levy, Martin Short, Catherine O'Hara included among those already mentioned). It's definitely worth the late-night t.v. watch on T.V. Land.
The Gong Show (1976)
Critics basically said this was the end of civilization when the Gong Show came out. Gary Owens was supposed to be the host, but Chuck Barris, the hand clapping, head-scratching creator of both The Gong Show AND The Dating Game, usurped that position at the last moment, as I understand it.
It was a simple premise. Basically, let anyone who thought they might have talent come out and do their thing, whatever it happened to be and have a panel of judges either give them the gong or rate their act. Some folks knew they were going to hear the tintinabulation of the gong because they went on just to get their mug on T.V. Others were serious about their "craft" and were hurt when they were the one for whom the gong tolled. I remember thinking, "Lardo the Clown," a kazoo-playing clown with horrible make-up was one of the most wretched.
Others were pretty darned good and I always wondered if any of them went on to have a career in the entertainment field. Jaye P. Morgan once cattily remarked regarding a sweet young lady with a beautiful voice, "I would have given her a higher score if her neckline would have been lower." Such was the tenor of the show. My favorite guest critics included Steve Martin, who usually just looked puzzled when a bad act was on, Artie Johnson, Jamie Farr and of course, Jaye P. Morgan. I understand, Ms. Morgan was asked to leave the show after flashing her bra to the camera. It is said the shot never aired, although, there are those who swear they saw it.
There were the usual gang of idiots who would show up without warning - Gene Gene, the Dancing Machine was my favorite interruption in the show. But, there were so many others - the Unknown Comic - a guy named Larry (?) who would come out and sing a song about, "I'm gonna play my tuba" (what are you going to do?). He usually ended up blowing a long sour note on whatever instrument he had walked out with, with Chuck saying, "Aw Larry, why did you DO that?" The Gong show was just plain fun, although some days were fairly dismal, with the acts all being bad and not much action from the guest critics.
All in all, I liked it. It was a fun party every time it aired... and, you could tell, even the the Dwarf enjoyed himself.
Adonis plays lawman
Okay, here's my gripe. If you're going to make a Western series about a famous American Old-West character with a MUSTACHE, which, by the way, was the lawman's most prominent feature, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! MAKE THE ACTOR GROW A CRUMMY MUSTACHE! Or, if he refuses, FOR PITY'S SAKE, HAVE MAKE-UP GLUE ONE TO HIS UPPER LIP! I mean, THIS IS Hollywood, for cryin' out loud!
Also, Wyatt Earp WAS NEVER MARSHALL OF TOMBSTONE! I don't know where they got this stuff.
Hugh O'Brien (who was once introduced as "Hug" O'Brien on "The Hollywood Palace" by Raquel Welch. She, of course was playing dumb-ditz that night and it had to be explained by the host - Bing Crosby? - that the "h" made the "g" silent) was a little froo-frooed with the silk vest and all that.
And, what was up with that theme song? Any Western that had a barber-shop quartet sing its theme song deserves no respect! "Wyatt Earp. Wyatt Earp. Brave, courageous and bold. Long live his name and long live his glory," etc. Please! The words were a bit more Ivanhoe-ish than fit for a rootin' tootin' shoot 'em up Western.
All funnin' aside, yeah, as a tyke, I liked this show. It was a good old Western with gun-slingin' and horses.
The Hollywood Palace (1964)
Great long-running variety show
Whatever happened to the variety show? Where today can you see acts like Senior Wences ('sawrrright? 'SAWRRRIGHT!); the guy who spun plates on fiber-glass poles to the tune of Khachaturian's "Neighbor's Dance"; the harmonica group who dressed in liederhosen and the midget went around biting everyone in the knee when he got kneed out by the other performers; the guy who tried to get his dog to jump through the hoop and the dog, instead, would slowly droop to the floor anemically; Carl Ballantine, the magician who had everything go wrong in his magic act; all those comedians and impressionists; the juggling acts; the acrobat acts; and a plethora of other folks who did acts in nightclubs and show rooms all over America? This was the place. We didn't get Ed Sullivan in our town during my early years, but we DID get the Hollywood Palace - on Saturday nights at 9 p.m. - just before "The Outer Limits" aired at 10 p.m.
The theme song was "Put On a Happy Face," played brightly by an off-stage orchestra (originally led by Les Brown). It was a pre-recorded show with a live audience, much like Ed Sullivan, except it had several guest hosts, largely consisting of Bing Crosby and Don Adams.
I remember it as the introduction of Raquel Welch to America. Raquel would come out each week and place a placard on an easel introducing the next act. If I'm not mistaken, she began on the show coming out in something akin to a Bunny suit (as in Playboy Bunny outfit minus the ears) with dark stockings? Anyway, I miss these types of shows. Steve Harvey is the closest thing to this type of show and it's a shame. It's just not "all that" in comparison to "The Hollywood Palace."
Bat Masterson (1958)
"He wore a cane...
and Derby Hat. They called him Bat." I always wondered how you could "wear" a cane? Oh well.
Boy, could that guy USE that cane, though. Hoooooey! He could trip you or bonk you on the head faster'n you could order up some prize-fight tickets.
This was really an odd Western. I came across on old episode preserved on a DVD with several other old Western t.v. show episodes. A woman shows up in a scene and Barry gives her a google-eyed double take. Campy acting. But, much better than Wyatt Earp (Earp had been one of the real-life Bat Masterson's buddies), starring Hugh O'Brien, which tried to take itself seriously - but didn't succeed.
Still, this was a fun show. I enjoyed it, even though I was but a tyke when it aired. It introduced me to Gene Barry, who would later star in "The Name of the Game" with Tony Franciosa and Robert Stack.
I enjoyed Barry's cameo in the newly released "War of the Worlds" (Spielberg version).
Hawaiian Eye (1959)
Early Hawaiin detective show
Before Hawaii Five-0... before Magnum P.I., there was... Hawaiian Eye!
The stars really did surf during the forward credits (I think)! I thought that was so cool! I was only around 5 when this show appeared.
What I remember about the show is, Tracy Steele had a really cool name and a pencil thin mustache. I loved pencil-thin mustaches back then. Paladin (Richard Boone) in "Have Gun Will Travel" had one too. I always thought, "When I grow up, I'm going to grow a pencil-thin mustache like those guys. But, I never did.
Tom Lopaka. By his name, were we being asked to believe pretty boy, Robert Conrad, was Hawaiian? Puh-LEEZE! There's a link on a website called Whirlygig that offers a portion of the episode called "The Comics." It guest stars Mary Tyler Moore. In it, Tracy Steele has arranged for Lopaka to be asked to the stage in a nightclub they are enjoying for the evening, to sing a song. With a little coaxing, Lopaka goes to the stage and sings the cheesiest lounge lizard style song called, "I Want You, Pretty Baby." Holy cow, is it hokey! Was that really Robert Conrad's voice or was it a dub-in?
All that aside, this was a fun detective show. I remember thinking Cricket Blake was pretty cute! Connie Stevens became an early sixties blonde female icon in this series.
The series made us think of Hawaii and its tropical enticements. The theme song still haunts my memory.
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973)
A movie that was fun to be scared by
What a sadistically weird movie this was! Have you ever thought you saw something out of the corner of your eye, but when you looked directly at it, it wasn't there? Of course, it was in the shadows, so if it really WERE there, you wouldn't know for sure, would you? That's what this movie is about. Small, dangerous things in the shadows. Of course, they couldn't harm you directly... while you were alert... but they sure could mess you up if, say... they strung a rope across the stairs or did something to you in your sleep.
The theme of this movie is, "Did I really see it?" And of course, we know Kim Darby really did, but it was too late when she finally knew forsure.
As a t.v. movie, it was okay - production, setting, acting, special effects and make-up... but the idea of things... lurking... waiting... made your hair stand up and want to exit the room along with the rest of your body.
And what the heck WERE those things, anyway? They lived in the furnace... or BELOW the furnace - we know that for sure. But were they demons? Goblins? Aliens? And was one of them Kim Darby's grandfather? We never know the answer to this. All we know is they're nasty spiteful little things that want to make you one of them. And, I guess, that was the spookiest part of the story - it never let you know the answer. Just made you wonder what sort of ickies could be lurking below YOUR furnace! The spookiest moment is when Kim ticks one of them off and it makes the nastiest face. You really don't want to tick one of these little creepy-crawlers off.
I watched this movie-of-the-week alone at night really late while I was home by myself. Even though I was well into my teens at the time, I was totally weirded out.
The moral of the story, I guess, is that if you don't want evil miniature creatures to drag your wife off to the nether-regions below your furnace, don't be a workaholic and ignore her when she says she's seeing strange nasties in the corners or the room.
M Squad (1957)
Classic Police Drama with Chutzpah
There's no way you could ever truly "get" "Police Squad" or any of the "Naked Gun" movies without seeing "M Squad." When you see "Police Squad" or "Naked Gun", you know it's satire, but satire of what? You realize it must be satire of old police dramas, but very pointedly, it is satire of THIS PARTICULAR police drama. They broke the mold on film noir police dramas with this one.
This was no sissypants show. It was made for men who appreciated real men - the perfect vehicle for Lee Marvin as Frank Ballinger, tough Chicago detective. With his low-voiced police growl and tall lanky tough-guy look, he dealt with Chicago bad guys with frank talk, force and the point of his snub-nosed revolver.
This show would have a difficult time airing today due to its lack of political correctness in the violence department. However, it would be fun to see another run on cable.
Wise Marshall, Young Protégé
John Russel was excellently cast in this Western about protecting Laramie from the badder elements of society.
Russell, a former Marine, was straight and tall and worked wonderfully as the wise lawman who used his six-gun with deadly accuracy and regularity. Peter Brown as Deputy Johnny McKay was also fast in the leather slappin' dept.
Brown brought the young ladies in to view the weekly adventures while Russell, I'm sure, caught the attention of both women viewers and men.
This was a smart Western with a great theme song composed of male voices singing the praises of the "Lawman." Russell's steely eyes made the part of tough-guy Marshall believable. The epitome of what you would expect a real Marshall in the old west to be. Brown's good looks and athletic prowess made for some great action during the series.
I was sad to see Russell cast as a villain in the 1985 Clint Eastwood film, Pale Rider. Russell will forever remain one of the ultimate lawmen in the Old West in my mind as a result of this wonderful old Western series.
The Guns of Will Sonnett (1967)
Geezer Mentors Young'n
Walter Brennan played all sorts of characters - crusty sidekicks (Rio Bravo), meddling old fools (Disney's, The One and Only, Original Family Band) and evil baddies (My Darling Clementine and How the West Was Won), but rarely did he play a tough guy, mentor and sage as he did in The Guns of Will Sonnett.
Brennan acts assured with the oft-repeated line, "No brag, just fact." This hombre's nobody to mess with, even if he is an old dude.
He's leading his grandson (Dack Rambo), Jeff Sonnett, from town to town looking for his son, Jim Sonnett (Jason Evers), whom they always seem to just miss. This series was reminiscent of The Fugitive where Dr. Richard Kimble always seemed to barely miss finding the one-armed man.
Brennan really doesn't want to fight unless he has to. He's long on scripture, but short on fuse when it's necessary to defend himself and Jeff.
Jim, it seems, has a reputation of being fast with a gun himself, hence, the continual wandering and cutting out of town just before Grandpa and Son show up for a long-standing family reunion.
Dack Rambo, obviously added to draw a young female audience, was a pretty boy, but fast with a gun like his father and Grandpa.
This was a great show. Brennan's character was wise, tough and ready for action. The music was haunting and wistful. I heartily wish it had run for more seasons than it did.
The Outer Limits (1963)
Aliens, Monsters and Alternate Dimensions, Oh MY!
This show was for people who liked to get the willies! It was really intended to be a way to examine man's nature, using sci-fi as the vehicle, however, the writers and producers didn't mind throwing in elements that would give you the heebie-jeebies.
I still remember how my family stopped everything we were doing the first time we heard the "Control Voice" tell us "They" were taking control of our television set. We knew it was a gimmick but it still got our attention.
Another heebie-jeebie element was the music. There were two theme songs for the show, both fabulous scores with full orchestra beautiful, but with a wondrous creepy edge.
It aired in our town a town with only one t.v. station that offered programming from all three networks in various rotation at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday nights so, you had to stay up late to see it. That time made it the creepiest for me as a child. The folks usually went to bed around ten and my sister and I would watch it with the lights turned low and then be afraid to go to bed.
The black and white filming made it even more eerie and other-worldly. The glow from The Galaxy Being and the alien in The Bellero Shield worked better in black and white, I felt.
Many actors who later became famous were featured on this show (Sally Kellerman, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Carol O'Connor, Robert Culp, Martin Landau, Robert Duvall and Adam West, to name a few) not to mention some who were already well-known such as Warren Oates, Eddie Albert and Ed Asner.
Some of the weirdest episodes to me were, "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork," "The Mice," "The Invisibles," "The Guests," "Don't Open Till Doomsday" and "The Duplicate Man." Particularly weird was, "A Feasibility Study" where an entire neighborhood of earth is lifted off the planet and transported to another world where the inhabitants have become like rock unable to perform manual labor and needing slaves to do their work for them. The rock-like beings were extremely scary to me as a child.
With a limited budget, this series came off well, I believe. Not that there weren't some stink-bombs among the episodes, like "The Invisible Enemy" and "The Brain of Colonel Barham." Still, there were so many episodes that made you terribly thoughtful and others that would raise the hair on the back of your neck, like, "Cry of Silence." The biggest thing wrong with the series is, it didn't even complete two full seasons. I've watched these episodes over and over on DVD and continually yearn for more.
The Greatest Show on Earth (1963)
Drama under the Big Top
I like to comment on obscure or somewhat forgotten t.v. shows. This is no exception, judging by the dearth of comments on this particular show.
Jack Palance as leading man and not villain. Who'da thunk? But, he was a good one in this show. Palance plays Johnny Slate, Circus Director for the Barnum and Bailey Circus.
The show focused on individuals in the circus and the drama that surrounded their lives.
Slate was ever-ready to jump in and help, kibitz, guide, etc., while running the circus. I seem to remember a lot about Slate supervising putting up the tents and taking them down. Also, loading up the train and moving on to the next town.
Mostly, I remember enjoying the acts that were featured - lion-taming acts, trapeze acts, etc.
It was a good enough series but short lived. It introduced Jack Palance to t.v. audiences as a likable character - in deference to most people's recall of the actor, the evil Jack Wilson, gunslinger baddie from Shane.