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  1. I had heard of Route 66, but never knew what it was (other than a TV series), so I decided to watch Season 1, Episode 1, and was pleased to see Martin Milner co-starring as Tod Stiles (Martin Milner was the policeman driving on Adam-12, which I *loved* as a young teen). The other co-star (for the first three seasons) was George Maharis, as Buz Murdock, who also starred on the short-lived series, "The Most Deadly Game." After Maharis had to drop out because he contracted hepatitis, he was replaced by Glenn Corbett (also as Buz Murdock) who was, believe it or not, Zefram Cochrane: the inventor of warp drive on Star Trek! The series is free on Hulu (with ads). Route 66 is a "Thelma & Louise"-style "road trip" series, in which the same two friends run into different situations and people each week (hence the term, "hybrid anthology-drama"). It was an indirect-spin-off of the series "Naked City." It's an "anthology," because every week is in a different location, with different characters and situations; it's a "serial," because it's always the same premise, with the same two co-stars - so you have a little of both. Episode 1 was really good - very creepy, actually - and if I watch more episodes from Season 1, I'll fill them in here as I go (if you see them filled in, that means I've watched more, but didn't want to take up your time with additional postings). Where were you when you heard about the World Trade Center bombings on 9/11? It probably seems very fresh in your mind - it's important to remember, when watching TV shows such as Route 66, that the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred just as recently to them, as the World Trade Center bombings occurred to us now - that's how fresh WWII was in their minds. I'm not saying Route 66 has anything to do with WWII; merely that it helps to have that perspective because that war influenced everything (and, yes, I'd be lying if I said their weren't some allusions to WWII in Season 1, Episode 1). I'm not sure if the website, route66tvshow.blogspot.com, is comprehensive, but the work they put into covering Season 1, Episode 1 is absolutely extraordinary, and I'll be using it as my reference-link until I find a reason not to. I can't believe someone could put *this* much work into covering all 116 episodes, but maybe it's true - anyway: *highly* recommended from what little I've seen. Anyone wishing to go into depth about any given episode should go to this blog, and explore it in detail. [Edit: Unfortunately, it only goes on for the first nine episodes, and I've had no success in contacting the blogger - what a shame.] Season One (Oct 7, 1960 - Jun 16, 1961) 1.1 - "Black November" - Directed by Philip Leacock (Director of "The War Lover"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (Academy Award Winner for Best Adapted Screenplay for "In the Heat of the Night") Featuring Everett Sloane (Bernstein in "Citizen Kane") and in an *extremely* early appearance: Keir Dullea (David Bowman in "2001: A Space Odyssey") [Apologies for the darkness of the picture above, but it was one of the few good shots of a very, very young Keir Dullea ("Open the pod bay doors, HAL.")] 1.2 - "A Lance of Straw" - Directed by Roger Kay (Director of "The Cabinet of Caligari"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (2) Featuring Janice Rule (Helen Foley in "Nightmare as a Child" on "The Twilight Zone"), Thomas Gomez, and Nico Minardos (the Doctor in "The Gift" on "The Twilight Zone" (2)) 1.3 - "The Swan Bed" - Directed by Elliot Silverstein (Director of "Cat Ballou," Director of 4 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (3)), Written by Stirling Silliphant (3) Featuring Zina Bethune (Gail Lucas on "The Nurses"), Betty Field (Mae in "Of Mice and Men"), Henry Hull (The Werewolf in "The Werewolf of London"), Murry Hamilton (Death in "One for the Angels" on "The Twilight Zone" (4), Mr. Robinson in "The Graduate") 1.4 - "The Man on the Monkey Board" - Directed by Roger Kay (2), Written by Stirling Silliphant (4) Featuring Lew Ayres (Paul Bäumer in "All Quiet on the Western Front," Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor as Dr. Robert Richardson in "Johnny Belinda"), Alfred Ryder (Edgar Price in "The Borderland" on "The Outer Limits," Professor Robert Crater in "The Man Trap" on "Star Trek" (2, the series premier, aired exactly fifty years to the day before I'm writing this sentence)), Frank Overton (Sheriff Heck Tate in "To Kill a Mockingbird"), Bruce Dern (Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor (2) as Woodrow "Woody" Grant in "Nebraska," Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor as Captain Bob Hyde in "Coming Home"), Ed Asner (Seven-Time Emmy Award Winner, Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," Captain Davies on "Roots"), Roger C. Carmel (Roger Buell on "The Mothers-in-Law," Harcourt Fenton Mudd in "I, Mudd" on "Star Trek" (3)) 1.5 - "The Strengthening Angels" - Directed by Arthur Hiller (Directed "Love Story"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (5) Featuring Suzanne Pleshette (Anne in "Hitch Hike" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," Annie Hayworth in "The Birds," Emily Hartley on "The Bob Newhart Show" ), John Larch (Mr. Fremont in "It's a Good Life" on "The Twilight Zone" (5), Chief of Police in "Dirty Harry"), Harry Townes (Three episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (2) Arch Hammer in "The Four of Us Are Dying" (2) on "The Twilight Zone" (6), Dr. Clifford Scott in "O.B.I.T." on "The Outer Limits" (2), Reger in "The Return of the Archons" on "Star Trek" (4)), Warren Stevens 1.6 - "Ten Drops of Water" - Directed by Philip Leacock (2), Written by Howard Rodman (Writer of 26 episodes of "Naked City") Featuring Burt Brinckerhoff (Director of "7th Heaven"), Deborah Walley (Gidget in "Gidget Goes Hawaiian"), Tony Haig (Johnny Hutton in "Twenty Miles from Dodge" on Gunsmoke) [Tony Haig, the twelve-year-old boy in this episode, didn't go on to have a big acting career, but he was absolutely magnificent in this episode, and it would have been justified to nominate (or award) him an Emmy for his fantastic performance here.] 1.7 - "Three Sides" - Directed by Philip Leacock (3), Written by Stirling Silliphant (6) Featuring E.G. Marshall (Juror #4 in "12 Angry Men," Ronald J. Grimes in "Mail Order Prophet" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (3)), Stephen Bolster (Roger Landover in "One Life to Live,"), Joey Heatherton (Singer on "The Joey Heatherton Album,"), Johnny Seven (Karl Matuschka in "The Apartment,") Paul Genge (Mike in "Bullitt") 1.8 - "Legacy for Lucia" - Directed by Philip Leacock (4), Written by - Teleplay: Stirling Silliphant (7), Story: Melvin Levy (Co-Writer of "The Six Million Dollar Man" (movie)) and Stirling Silliphant Featuring Arlene Martel (Morgue Nurse in "Twenty Two" on "The Twilight Zone" (7), T'Pring in "Amok Time" on "Star Trek" (5)), John Larch (2), Jay C. Flippen (Happy Spangler in "The Return of Happy Spangler" on "The Dick Van Dyke Show") 1.9 - "Layout at Glen Canyon" - (Unfortunately, route66tvshow.blogspot.com ended after just nine episodes.) Directed by Elliot Silverstein (2), Written by Stirling Silliphant (8) Featuring Charles McGraw (Mike Burkeman in "Johnny Got his Gun"). Bethel Leslie (Nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Movie as Ellen Dudley in "Statement of Fact" on "The Richard Boone Show"), Zohra Lampert (Jessica Heyman in "Let's Scare Jessica to Death"), Richard Shannon (Buck Henderson in "The Tin Star"), Lane Nakano (A Japanese-American who fought in the 442nd Infantry Regiment. in WWII, Sam in "Go for Broke"), Elizabeth MacRae (Lou-Ann Poovie on "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C."), Donna Douglas (Elly May Clampett in "The Beverly Hillbillies") [Like the excellent route66tvshow.blogspot.com blog (which, unfortunately, ends after this episode), and all the other critiques I've read, I, too, thought this episode was a jumbled mess. Then, I saw it a second time, and almost a third time, and I realize now that it isn't a jumbled mess at all; it's just too complex for a "mere" TV serial - it's a *great* episode, and commands several viewings in order to fully appreciate.] 1.10 - "The Beryllium Eater" - Directed by Alvin Ganzer (Director of 4 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (8)), Written by Richard Collins (Producer of 127 episodes of "Bonanza") Featuring Edgar Buchanan (Pops in "Coyote Moon" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (4), Doc Bolton in "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank" on "The Twilight Zone" (9), Uncle Joe Carson on "Petticoat Junction"), Edward Binns (Juror #6 in "12 Angry Men" (2), Mr. Brown in "Heart of Gold" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (5), Colonel Donlin in "I Shot an Arrow into the Air" and General Walters in "The Long Morrow" on "The Twilight Zone" (10)), Inger Stevens (Karen Wilson in "Forecast: Low Clouds and Coastal Fog" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," Nan Adams in "The Hitch-Hiker" and Jana in "The Lateness of the Hour" on "The Twilight Zone" (11)) [How do you not love an episode when "Uncle Joe" on "Petticoat Junction" strikes it rich?] 1.11 - "A Fury Singing Flame" - Directed by Elliot Silverstein (3), Written by Stirling Silliphant (9) Featuring Leslie Nielsen (Lloyd Ashley in "The $2,000,000 Defense" and Rudy Cox in "Ambition" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (6), Steven Grainger in "The Magic Shop" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (2), The Phantom in "The Phantom of What Opera" and Colonel Denny Malloy in "A Question of Fear" on "Night Gallery," Dr. Rumack in "Airplane!"), Fay Spain (Leslie Lenox in "The Last Dark Step" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (7), Mrs. Marcia Roth in "The Godfather, Part II"), Lili Kardell (Lorna Jenkins in "Malice Domestic" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (8)) [Leslie Nielsen was serious, respected, dramatic actor until the 1987 film "Airplane!," which was his very first comedic role - he essentially had two careers as an actor. I chose the entrance path to Carlsbad Caverns as a picture because it's special to me personally - I've been there twice, and on my second visit, I had to drive two hours *averaging* 75 mph (it was New Mexico, with higher speed limits) to make the final tour of the day - I made it, but I had to literally run down the trail and yell out for the tour guide: After two hours of panic, I made the tour, by about fifteen seconds - I remember the entrance path - where the photo above was filmed - very well. For anyone who's been to Carlsbad Caverns, and remembers them turning the lights off - probably one of the only times in your entire life you've experienced essentially 100% darkness - there's a good moment in this episode that will make you remember the tour.] 1.12 - "Sheba" - Directed by William F. Claxton (Directed 68 episodes of "Little House on the Prairie"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (10) Featuring Lee Marvin (Conny Miller in "The Grave" and Sam "Steel" Kelly in "Steel" on "The Twilight Zone" (12), Academy Award Winner for Best Actor as Kid Shelleen and Tim Strawn in "Cat Ballou" (2)), Whitney Blake (Dorothy Baxter on "Hazel") ["Sheba" is a riff on the biblical story of "Bathsheba" - thus, it's not a surprise that Lee Marvin's character has the *unbelievably hilarious* name of "Woody Biggs" (in the biblical version, King David lusts after Bathsheba after seeing her bathing). 1.13 - "The Quick and the Dead" - Directed by Alvin Ganser (2), Written by - Teleplay: Stirling Silliphant (11), Story: Charles Beaumont (Writer of 22 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (13), Teleplay of "Backward, Turn Backward" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (9), Co-Producer and Co-Writer of "The Masque of the Red Death") and Jerry Sohl (Writer of 4 episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Predsents" (10) Writer of 3 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (14), Writer of "Counterweight" and "The Invisible Enemy" on "The Outer Limits" (3), Writer of 3 episodes of "Star Trek" (6)) Featuring Susan Kohner (Sarah Jane in "Imitation of Life"), Frank Overton (Martin's Dad in "Walking Distance" on "The Twilight Zone" (15), Sheriff Heck Tate in "To Kill a Mockingbird," Elias Sandoval in "This Side of Paradise" on "Star Trek" (7)) Betsy Jones-Moreland (Evelyn Gern in "The Last Woman on Earth"), Regis Toomey (Longest screen kiss in cinema history until 1988 (with Jane Wyman) as Capt. Joe Radcliffe in "You're In the Army Now"), Pamela Searle (Miss England in 1959, and 3rd-Runner-Up in Miss Universe), Harvey Korman (Leading Man on "The Carol Burnett Show") [This is the second episode with multiple writers (the first being 1.8, "Legacy for Lucia"), and both were very good - this one was, admittedly, a bit fanciful, perhaps "overly optimistic," but still the product of a *lot* of hard work.)] 1.14 - "Play It Glissando" - Directed by Lewis Allen (Director of "Suddenly"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (12) Featuring Anne Francis (Altaira in "Forbidden Planet"), Jack Lord (Steve McGarrett on "Hawaii Five-O"), Harold J. Stone (Lieutenant Jack Noonan in "Lamb to the Slaughter" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (11)), Barbara Bostock (Carol Parker on "Love on a Rooftop") [An interesting study into the life of a beloved genius, which often manifests as the life of a lonely savant, only able to function on stage, and not in the real world. Jack Lord plays the role of a world-class jazz trumpet player, who seems to be not as nice of a guy off-stage as he is on-stage.] 1.15 - "The Clover Throne" - Directed by Arthur Hiller (2), Written by Herman Meadow (Creator of "Have Gun - Will Travel") Featuring Jack Warden (James A. Corry in "The Lonely" and McGarry in "The Mighty Casey" on "The Twilight Zone" (16), Juror #7 in "12 Angry Men," Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Performance as George Halas in "Brian's Song," Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (2) as Lester Karpf in "Shampoo" and Max Corkle in "Heaven Can Wait"), Anne Helm (Holly Jones in "Follow That Dream"), Arthur Batanides (The Police Sergeant in "The Jokester" and Police Detective in "I'll Take Care of You" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (12), Leader in "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" and Tabal in "Mirror" on "The Twilight Zone" (17), Lieutenant Ken Galvin on "Specimen Unknown" on "The Outer Limits" (4), Lieutenant D'Amato in "That Which Survives" on "Star Trek" (xx)), DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard H. "Bones" McKoy on "Star Trek" (xx)) [I can't believe I'm saying this, because I'm usually completely put off by people like "Sweet Thing," but this has been one of my favorite episodes - it's an episode where "the end justifies the means," and if you see it, you'll understand why I say this. I'm jaded as hell, and hard to dupe, but boy oh boy was I duped - and the foreshadowing was *all there* the entire time (the fence - you'll know what I mean when the closing credits roll). This episode alone makes me want to see "Have Gun - Will Travel" because writer Herman Meadow wrote both. If you're not watching the series in order, this wouldn't be a bad place to start - just don't be too put off by Sweet Thing and hang in there.] 1.16 - "Fly Away Home, Part 1" - Directed by Arthur Hiller (3), Written by Stirling Silliphant (13) Featuring Michael Rennie (Klaatu in "The Day the Earth Stood Still"), Dorothy Malone (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress as Marylee Hadley in "Written on the Wind"), Cathy Lewis (Deirdre Thompson on "Hazel" (2)), Bert Remsen (Star in "Nashville"), Jenny Maxwell (Ellie Corbett in "Blue Hawaii") [Crop-dusting airplane crashes, field hand opens up plane and helps injured pilot out, pilot screams to field hand: "Don't stand there like a fool; get back before she explodes!," field hand backs off, pilot starts to stagger away from the plane but passes out, field hand runs back to pilot and helps him regain consciousness and limp away to a safer distance, airplane explodes, pilot turns to field hand and says, "Cigarette?" That's in the first *ninety seconds* after the opening credits. At the end of Part 1, I wouldn't exactly call this a "gripping tale," but there are some intriguing questions that need to be addressed.] 1.17 - "Fly Away Home, Part 2" - Directed by Arthur Hiller (4), Written by Stirling Silliphant (14) Featuring Michael Rennie (2), Dorothy Malone (2), Cathy Lewis (2), Bert Remsen (2), Jenny Maxwell (2), Ford Rainey (Electrician's Mate 2nd. Class Harris in "The Sand Pebbles") [I'm pretty sure that - unless special effects in 1961 were a heck of a lot better than I'm aware of, Martin Milner really *was* being filmed in the back seat of an airplane, not that that's any great stunt, but it's something. I'm writing this as I'm watching, and I'm about nine minutes into Part 2, but because of "The Clover Throne," I'm starting to wonder if Dora (the owner of the crop-dusting company, because her husband was killed in a sulfur-application accident) may not be as crazy as she seems, thinking her husband is still alive, nursing his burns somewhere - still, this is pure conjecture on my part, with absolutely no evidence to back it up with. My God I wish I had contact with George Maharis' acting coach - there's something that he does that irks the living hell out of me, and he does it consistently - whenever he's watching an act on stage (which is *often* in this series), and wants to show approval to the camera, he has this annoying little shake-of-the-head, like Gee Whiz that's great! Am I the only person in the world who notices this? The scene with Summers (Michael Rennie) brushing the barn with the inflammable sulphur, causing a life-ending explosion, is absolutely incredible considering the tools available to cinematographers in 1961 - it remains to be seen what and why, but wow - what a scene: The drama reminds me of Season 4, Episode 2 of "The Twilight Zone" - "The Thirty Fathom Grave," except instead of the crew of the submarine calling muster on Chief Bell, Summers almost appears to be calling muster on himself - there are only eight minutes left to this two-part episode, and I'm very much looking forward to its resolution. After watching the entire two-part episode, all I can say is that it is so complex that I don't even know what to use for photographs - is it "great?" I don't think so, but for weekly television? Yeah, it's pretty darned good - it was nearly as long as a movie, but if I had seen it as a movie, I'd most likely have been disappointed; as a TV series, it's very impressive - I can't imagine how they possibly did this in two weeks.] 1.18 - "Sleep on Four Pillows" - Directed by Ted Post (Director of 4 episodes of "Twilight Zone" (18), "Beneath the Planet of the Apes," and "Magnum Force"), Written by Stirling Silliiphant (15) Featuring Patty McCormack (Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress as Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"), Larry Gates (Doc Baugh in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"), Marianne Stewart (Town Gossip in "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte") John Berardino (Major League Baseball Player, 1939-1952, World Series Champion in 1948) [Oof. Out of the first eighteen episodes, this one may have been my least-favorite. It was waffling back-and-forth between being serious, then farcical, then silly, then worrisome, then farcical again, to just plain lame. Unless you're watching all the episodes, you can skip this one - I was so desperately hoping something interesting might come out of it, but the exact opposite happened, and it was a waste of time. You can skip "Sleep on Four Pillows" unless you're a completist or a masochist (and I'm not sure there's much difference between the two).] 1.19 - "An Absence of Tears" - Directed by Alvin Ganzer (2), Written by Stirling Silliphant (16) Featuring Martha Hyer (Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (2) as Gwen French in "Some Came Running"), Rin Tin Tin II - Unrelated to Rin Tin Tin, Born as Golden Boy, Jr. (Rin Tin Tin on "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin"), Herb Armstrong (Waiter in "Cape Fear"), Joseph Ruskin (Master Thrall Galt in "The Gamesters of Triskellion" on "Star Trek"), Paul Richards (Attacker in "Kiss Me Deadly") [The opening of this really hurt to watch, as it seems that Donna Stevens (Martha Hyer) was literally "Just Married," and lost her husband in a senseless gas-station robbery. I once dated a blind girl, and know first-hand the cruel dependence they must have on the people they're with, many of whom take advantage of them, or take them for granted - they're willing to take risks that none other of us would take, because they have to. This episode was okay, but it really didn't have enough material to fill the entire hour - they had to pad it some, probably assuming that the novelty of a beautiful blind woman would be enough to do it with.] 1.20 - "Like a Motherless Child" - Directed by David Lowell Rich (Director of "Madame X"), Written by - Teleplay: Howard Rodman (Co-writer of screenplay for "Coogan's Bluff"), Story: Betty Andrews (Writer of "The Education of Sarah Jane" and "Odds for Big Red" on "Have Gun - Will Travel") Featuring Sylvia Sidney (Mrs. Verloc in "Sabotage," Aunt Marion in "Damien: Omen II"), Jack Weston (Charlie Farnsworth in "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" and Julius Moorner in "The Bard" on "The Twilight Zone" (19), Carlino in "Wait until Dark," Danny Zimmer in "The Four Seasons," Max Kellerman in "Dirty Dancing") [There's one scene in "Like a Motherless Child" where Sylvia Sidney almost mockingly looks at Buz and says, "Poor Baby," as he asks her if he can come back and see her that evening. Buz, you'll remember, was raised in an orphanage, and Sylvia Sidney's character chose to give her son away when he was two-months old - he's an orphan; she willingly caused the existence of an orphan. She keeps saying, "Poor Baby" to him, but after about ten repetitions of this, it's clear that her tone is going from "mocking" to "loving" and they both see in each other the one person who was most-lacking from their lives. The picture above occurs towards the end of the scene, when she has completely broken down, and Buz has capitulated as well. This was, by far, the most "different" - not better, not worse; just different - Route 66 episode I've seen, and I would absolutely *not* recommend it to the first-time (or even the fifth-time) viewer of the series - it was very, very out of character, but for the seasoned viewer, it had a lot to like (and a lot not to like).] 1.21 - "Effigy in Snow" - Directed by Alvin Ganzer (3), Written by Stirling Silliphant (17) Featuring Scott Marlowe (Eliot Gray in "The Throwback" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (13), Jory Peters in "It Crawled out of the Woodwork," André in "The Forms of the Things Unknown" on "The Outer Limits" (5)), Jeanne Bal (Nancy Crater in "The Man Trap" on "Star Trek"), Mark Tapscott (Lieutenant in "Still Valley" on "The Twilight Zone" (20)), George_Macready, (3 episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (14), Hillary Prine in "The Ordeal of Mrs. Snow" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (3), Dr. Bixler in "The Long Morrow" on "The Twilight Zone" (21), Larry K. Hillerman in "The Invisibles" and Dr. Marshall in "Production and Decay of Strange Particles" on "The Outer Limits" (6), William Hendricks in "Night Gallery") [If I remember correctly, this is the first photo that has come from the cold (no pun intended, honest) open.] 1.22 - "Eleven, the Hard Way" - Directed by William A. Graham (Director of "Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones"), Written by George Clayton Johnson (Writer of "I'll Take Care of You" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," 6 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (22), "Ocean's Eleven," "Logan's Run," and "The Man Trap" on "Star Trek" (xx)) 1.23 - "Most Vanquished, Most Victorious" - Directed by William D. Faralla (Production Manager of "The Wild Bunch"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (18) Featuring Beatrice Straight as Kitty Chamberlain (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress (3) as Louise Schumacher in "Network"), Royal Dano as Dr. Clemente (Deputy Sheriff Calvin Wiggs in "The Trouble with Harry," Martin Ross in "My Brother, Richard" and Mr. Atkins in "Party Line" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (15), Mr. Miley in "Change of Address" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (4)), Pat DeSimone as Cazador (Tony Minetta in "Dino"), Frank de Kova as Davey Briggs (Pedro in "A Personal Matter" and Señor Vargas in "Strange Miracle" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (16), The Man in "The Mechanic") [This is a very watchable episode, but one which operates under a far-fetched premise. Perhaps the most interesting thing is how it interweaves the West Side Story motif, but I'm afraid that despite it being a guilty pleasure, it's just too unrealistic to hit home - Todd just would not get that emotionally involved so quickly, being twenty-years removed from a situation. Still, judge for yourselves - the acting is good, there are a couple high-powered fight scenes, and also several sub-motifs wrapped in the overarching story line of "finding Carol."] 1.24 - "Don't Count Stars - Directed by Paul Wendkos (Director of "The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (19) Featuring Dan Duryea as Mike McKay (Al Denton in "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" on "The Twilight Zone" (23), "Waco" Johnny Dean in "Winchester '73," China Smith on "China Smith"), Susan Melvin as Linda McKay (Trudy in "Ladybug, Ladybug"), Vaughn Taylor as Frank Hammond (George Lowery in "Psycho," Mr. Judson in "The Incredible World of Horace Ford" on "The Twilight Zone" (26)), Randall Latimer in "The Guests" on "The Outer Limits" (7) Good Samaritan in "In Cold Blood"), Mary Jackson as Judge Mary Lindstrom (Mrs. Wilson in "Mink" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (17), Miss Pepper in "Of Late, I Think of Cliffordville" on "The Twilight Zone" (27), Mrs. McRae in "I, Robot" on "The Outer Limits" (8), Emily Baldwin on "The Waltons," ) [I thought sure I recognized the drunk man that Tod and Buz pulled from the water, and sure enough, it was Dan Duryea, who played a virtually identical drunk in "Mr Denton on Doomsday" on "The Twilight Zone." Of particular note is that "Don't Count Stars" is the earliest episode of anything (television, movies, or what-have-you), where an extended reference is made to a high-level profession - in this case Judge Lindstrom - where the name, "Judge Lindstrom," is repeatedly mentioned for nearly twenty minutes, before a pronoun is used in a conversation, completely without fanfare: In this case, the pronoun is "she." I would be very interested in knowing if anything earlier than this episode (Apr 28, 1961) so casually revealed a typically male profession being held by a female - I must repeat: To this episode's credit, there was absolutely no drama, scary organ music, or shocked looks upon people's faces; it was simply mentioned in the course of normal dialog, about twenty minutes into the episode ... "she."]
  2. Note: As of this writing, a high-quality version of this film can be found for free at this URL: http://ffilms.org/marnie-1964/. For those trying to find Hitchcock's cameo, this is the *one* time it will be impossible to miss. *** SPOILER ALERT *** Okay, there's something about "Marnie" Edgar (Tippi Hedren) that's more than meets the eye - instead of simply being a shrewd, serial bandit which is obvious from the very beginning, you have two very disturbing scenes in the first thirty minutes: the "dream scene" at her mother's (Louise Latham's) house, which culminates with her mother, Bernice Edgar, taking a very "Hitchcockian" stroll back down the stairs, and the "spilled red ink" scene at Mark Rutland's (Sean Connery's) office. The viewer should also bear in mind that, at this point, there isn't necessarily a reason to believe that Marnie knows that Mark Rutland is a major client of Sidney Strutt's (Martin Gabel's), from whom she stole almost $10,000 to start the movie - but she *might* know, as she's obviously a very resourceful woman, and might have deduced this while working for Mr. Strutt. Sean Connery does not play fools - there's something a *little* too easy about Marnie bearing witness to this five-digit safe combination in the desk drawer of Rutland's office - they apparently had the perfect candidate right before Marnie interviewed - could Rutland have suspected something from the very start? It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I've learned not to try and outguess Hitchcock (that's the surest way to make a fool of yourself). And yet, he gives her a paper to type about arboreal predators in the Brazilian rainforest, making it very clear that most predators are women - we're being messed with. Master of Suspense bastard! I wonder if this scene of Rutland kissing Marnie had any influence on "Eyes Wide Shut": 1'30" into this 2'10"-long movie, I am as confused as I've ever been with any Hitchcock film - "The Wrong Man," this isn't: I have no idea why anybody is doing anything that they're doing. The "obvious solution," which is being planted into our heads, is too obvious - and it would *really* make this movie dated, whereas one of Hitchcock's trademarks are a timeless quality to most of his works. Every hunch I'd thought of may have been overturned by the question, "Are you still in the mood for killing?" Hitchcock is like Bach: In a Bach Prelude, Fugue, or pretty much anything else, there aren't any superfluous notes (think about it after hearing the question asked (*)). Well, the "obvious solution" happened - with a twist to the twist, of course. I was getting ready to say this was, at best, an average picture, and certainly a sub-average picture for Hitchcock. After having watched the entire film, I still think it's a sub-par Hitchcock film, but I think "Marnie" is a decent motion picture, worth seeing if you're a Hitchcock fan; not necessarily worth seeing if you're looking for true greatness. This is a good film; it's just not a great one. Not having seen either "Frenzy" or "Family Plot," I'm wondering if "The Birds" was Hitchcock's last great movie (Edit: I forgot about "Torn Curtain" and "Topaz," neither of which I've seen either, but for both of which I have greater optimism.) And the final question tonight on Jeopardy: What attracted Sean Connery to Marnie, especially given the thefts? I can see a physical attraction, but to take it as far as he did simply doesn't make any sense at all. (*) This unanswered question remains one of the great unanswered mysteries of this film.
  3. I saw "Onibaba" a couple of days after I saw the Oscar-winning "Best Picture" of 2017, "The Shape of Water." While the latter disappointed me, the former was a delightful surprise--a gripping tale of human survival. The film is set in the 14th Century, during a Civil War In Japan. Beautifully shot in black-and-white, it tells the harrowing story of a middle-aged woman and her daughter-in-law who must resort to drastic measures to survive in their war-ravaged world. Basic human needs--food, water and sex--are the things the pair desire, and they do what they must to acquire them. Although it is set in Medieval times, "Onibaba" has a timeless quality, and could take place in any war, at any time. The women's hut is surrounded by fields of tall grass. Much of the film is shot low in this grass, creating a claustrophobic mood. The viewer feels anxious and trapped, just as the women surely felt hiding there. The acting is wonderful. The story is gritty, intense, erotic, and full of suspense. I highly recommend this film. I saw "Onibaba" for free at the Freer Gallery of Art as a part of their Japanese Film Classics, offered at 2 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the Month. The next screening scheduled is "Drunken Angel," a 1948 film directed by Akira Kurosawa, on June 6.
  4. Listen Up! I'm writing this comment six months after writing this post (on Nov 17, 2014). If anyone has any ambition to go through the entire series of The Twilight Zone, do yourselves a favor and buy "The Twilight Zone Companion" by Marc Scott Zicree before you start - I just got my copy yesterday after having already gone through 150 episodes (I didn't know it existed before), and I can assure everyone that it is indispensable - it is *the definitive* reference guide, and the paperback cost me something like $11.96 with free shipping on Amazon Prime. Trust me and buy this book before you begin - you'll thank me after only one episode. I cannot believe I watched this entire series without it - don't make the same mistake I did. *** SPOILER ALERT: Assume that all episode links contain them *** The Twilight Zone - Season 1 (Oct 2, 1959 - Jul 1, 1960) 1.1 - "Where Is Everybody?" - Oct 2, 1959 - <--- The books in this rack are all entitled, "The Last Man on Earth." Directed by Robert Stevens (Directed 44 episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"), Written by Rod Serling (Writer of "Requiem for a Heavyweight" on "Playhouse 90") Featuring Earl Holliman (Sergeant Bill Crowley on "Police Woman"), James Gregory (Senator John Iselin in "The Manchurian Candidate," Dr. Tristan Adams in "Dagger of the Mind" on "Star Trek"), Garry Walberg (Hansen in "Balance of Terror" on "Star Trek" (2)) 1.2 - "One For The Angels" - Oct 9, 1959 - <--- "A most persuasive pitch, Mr. Bookman - an excellent pitch." Directed by Robert Parrish (Academy Award Winner for Best Film Editing for "Body and Soul"), Written by Rod Serling (2) Featuring Ed Wynn (Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor as Albert Dussell in "The Diary of Anne Frank," Army in "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (2) As Himself in "The Man in the Funny Suit" on "Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse"), Murry Hamilton (Dr. Stafford in "The Swan Bed" on "Route 66," Mr. Robinson in "The Graduate") 1.3 - "Mr. Denton On Doomsday" - Oct 16, 1959 - <--- "The gunner and me, we're gonna have a showdown here." Directed by Allen Reisner, Written by Rod Serling (3) Featuring Dan Duryea (Mike McKay in "Don't Count Stars" on "Route 66," "Waco" Johnny Dean in "Winchester '73," China Smith on "China Smith"), Martin Landau (Andro in "The Man who was Never Born" on "The Outer Limits," Rollin Hand on "Mission: Impossible," Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor as Béla Lugosi in "Ed Wood") [Martin Landau making Mr. Denton sing for his drink reminds me of Paul Dano's unspeakably heinous taunting scene from "12 Years A Slave" - maybe I'm wrong, but I think at least an indirect influence is there.] 1.4 - "The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine" - Oct 23, 1959 - <--- "There you are, Jerry ... there you are. You look so young." Directed by Mitchell Leisen, Written by Rod Serling (4) Featuring Ida Lupino (Mrs. Helen Chernen in "The Hard Way," Director of "The Hitch-Hiker" (The first female ever to direct a Film Noir)), Martin Balsam (Milton Arbogast in "Psycho"), Jerome Cowan (Miles Archer in "The Maltese Falcon," Thomas Mara in "Miracle on 34th. Street"), Ted de Corsia (Randolph E. Branch in "The Inheritors" on "The Outer Limits") [The "aging actress" is Ida Lupino, who, by this episode, was all of 41 (my how times have changed).] 1.5 - "Walking Distance" - Oct 30, 1959 - <--- "Martin, I only wanted to tell you that this is a wonderful time of life for you." Directed by Robert Stevens (2), Written by Rod Serling (5) Featuring Gig Young (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor (2) as Rocky in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"), Ron Howard (Academy Award Winner for Best Director for "A Beautiful Mind"), Irene Tedrow (Lucy Elkins on "Dennis the Menace"), Frank Overton (Sherrif Heck Tate in "To Kill a Mockingbird," Elias Sandoval in "This Side of Paradise" on "Star Trek") [I'm writing this 28 episodes into Season 2 because I only recently realized that The A.V. Club reviewed The Twilight Zone episodes. The reviewer, Todd VanDerWerff, positively raved about this episode - so I took it seriously, and watched the second half of "Walking Distance" again, and I liked it a *lot* more than I did on first viewing. Maybe it's because that, as a whole, I don't like the series quite as much as I remember as a teenager, but regardless, I really did see things in "Walking Distance" on the second viewing that I missed in the first. A *very* young Ron Howard (five years old!) is in this episode, as is Irene Tedrow, who plays the mother, and who also appears in Season 2's "The Lateness Of The Hour" - many, many actors appeared in multiple episodes.] 1.6.- "Escape Clause" - Nov 6, 1959 - <--- "You deed to me your so-called 'soul,' and in exchange, I give you immortality." Directed by Mitchell Leisen (2), Written by Rod Serling (6) Featuring David Wayne (Sam Jacoby in "One More Mile To Go" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (2), Andrew Anderson in "The Thirty-First of February" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," Ralph White in "The Three Faces of Eve," The Mad Hatter on "Batman," Dr. Charles Dutton in "The Andromeda Strain," Dr. Mill in "The Diary" on "Night Gallery"), Thomas Gomez, Virginia Christine (Model in "Salvage" and Secretary in "The Long Shot" in on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (3)) 1.7 - "The Lonely" - Nov 13, 1959 - <--- "No, but you don't understand: She's not a robot; she's a woman!" Directed by Jack Smight (Directed 4 episodes of "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (2)), Written by Rod Serling (7) Featuring Jack Warden (Juror #7 in "12 Angry Men," 3 episodes of "Route 66," Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Performance as George Halas in "Brian's Song," Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (2) as Lester Karpf in "Shampoo" and Max Corkle in "Heaven Can Wait"), Jean Marsh (4 episodes of "The Saint," Co-Creator and Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series as Rose Buck on "Upstairs, Downstairs"), John Dehner, Ted Knight (2-time Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series as Ted Baxter on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show") [This is one of Ted Knight's very first roles in Hollywood. Surprisingly, he also plays the prison guard who guards Norman Bates at the end of "Psycho" (*** MAJOR SPOILERS are at this link, which is the end of "Psycho" ***) 1.8 - "Time Enough At Last" - Nov 20, 1959 - <--- "Books! Books! All the books I'll need!" Directed by John Brahm (Director of "The Lodger" (1944 version), 10 episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (3), and 5 episodes of "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour"), Written by - Teleplay: Rod Serling (8), Story: Lynn Venable Featuring Burgess Meredith (The Penguin on "Batman," Dr. Diablo in "The Torture Garden," Dr. William Fall in "The Little Black Bag" and Charlie Finnegan in "Finnegan's Flight" on "Night Gallery" (2), Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (3) as Harry Greener in "The Day of the Locust" and Mickey Goldmill in "Rocky," Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie as Joseph Welch on "Tail Gunner Joe") [Not to nitpick, but I seriously doubt there would be a source to provide enough water pressure to make a ruptured hose spray up into the air.] 1.9 - "Perchance To Dream" - Nov 27, 1959 - <--- "Do you want to know how many hours I've been awake? 87 hours." Directed by Robert Florey (Co-Director of "The Cocoanuts"), Written by Charles Beaumont (Co-Writer of the Screenplay for "The Masque of the Red Death") Featuring Richard Conte (Tony Bergdorf in "Ocean's 11," Don Emilio Barzini in "The Godfather"), John Larch (Chief of Police in "Dirty Harry"), Suzanne Lloyd (Featured in 6 episodes of "The Saint") ["Perchance to Dream" comes from Hamlet's "To Be, or Not To Be" speech.] 1.10 - "Judgment Night" - Dec 4, 1959: Directed by John Brahm (2), Written by Rod Serling (9) Featuring Nehemiah Persoff ("Little Bonaparte" in "Some Like it Hot," Jack in "First Class Mouliak" and Vladia Dvorovoi in "Incident on a Bridge" on "Route 66"), Patrick MacNee (John Steed on "The Avengers"), James Franciscus (Ben Kendall in "Summer Shade" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (4), Mike Longstreet on "Longstreet") [Note: And yes, it's James Franciscus.] 11. "And When The Sky Was Opened" - Dec 11, 1959: Written by Richard Matheson (Writer of "The Enemy Within" on "Star Trek" (xx), "Duel," The Big Surprise" and "The Funeral" on "Night Gallery" (xx)) [Note: One of the reasons this first season comes across as very dated (so far) is that 4 of the first 11 episodes (#1, #8, #10, and #11) deal with post-WWII military paranoia - with 3 of the 4 involving sheer terror. They're very good episodes, but there's no question that they haven't survived the test of time (and are perhaps a bit overacted as well). These definitely play into peoples' fears in the late 1950s - the Cold War took a brutal psychological toll on the American public, and that is represented here in full force.] 12. "What You Need" - Dec 18, 1959: 13. "The Four Of Us Are Dying" - Jan 1, 1960: Directed by John Brahm (Director of "The Lodger" (1944) and "Zzzzz" on "The Outer Limits"), Written by: Teleplay - Rod Serling (12), Story - "All of Us Are Dying" by George Clayton Johnson (Writer of "Ocean's Eleven," "Logan's Run," and "The Man Trap" on "Star Trek" (??)) Featuring Harry Townes (Three episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," Dr. Clifford Scott in "O.B.I.T." on "The Outer Limits," Reger in "The Return of the Archons" on "Star Trek" (??)), Ross Martin (Artemus Gordon on "The Wild, Wild West," Mr. Gingold in "Camera Obscura" on "Night Gallery" (??), Bradley Meredith in "The Other Way Out" on "Night Gallery" (??)), Phillip Pine (Leonard O'Brien in "The Incredible World of Horace Ford" on "The Twilight Zone" (??) Colonel Phillip Green in "The Savage Curtain" on "Star Trek" (??) Theodore Pearson in "One Hundred Days of the Dragon" on "The Outer Limits" (??), Dudley Grey in "Log 123: Courtroom" on "Adam-12"), Don Gordon (Luis B. Spain in "The Invisibles" on "The Outer Limits" (??), Dave Crowell in "Second Chance" on "The Outer Limits" (??)) [Well, maybe they listened to me - two episodes in a row now having nothing to do with the military. However, with only one exception (okay, 1 1/2 if you include "The Lonely"), all thirteen episodes are very white-male-centric - it's as if Rod Serling was portraying himself, complete with cigarettes (Serling was a four-pack-a-day smoker).] 14. "Third From The Sun" - Jan 8, 1960: 15. "I Shot An Arrow Into The Air" - Jan 15, 1960: [Note: They shouldn't have shown #14 and #15 back-to-back for obvious reasons. And we're back to the (para-)military episodes again - these two make 6 out of 15. "I Shot An Arrow Into The Air" is from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Arrow And The Song," and this is a genuinely great title for this episode.] 16. "The Hitch-Hiker" - Jan 22, 1960: [Note: I'm pretty sure that I'd seen all 16 of these episodes at some point in my life, and unlike Star Trek (either TOS or TNG), they're just not all that wonderful to see a second time. The acting is sometimes poor (refer to the gentleman above with his thumb out), and the plots hinge on "a moment" that's generally worth waiting 30 minutes for (especially when you're a teenager), but not worth another viewing - for example, if you don't figure out "The Hitch-Hiker" in the first 5 minutes, you simply need to watch more plays, movies, or television (I never thought I'd say that). However, Dan Duryea (who played Mr. Denton in episode #3) really stands out to me, acting-wise - when he's forced to sing "How Dry I Am," it is genuine pathos which evokes quite a bit of viewer sympathy.] 17. "The Fever" - Jan 29, 1960: 1.18 - "The Last Flight" - Feb 5, 1960 - <--- "We had no idea you were so advanced." Directed by William Claxton (Director of "Sheba" on "Route 66" (xx)), Written by Richard Matheson (xx), Featuring Kenneth Haigh (Brutus in "Cleopatra"), Simon Scott (General Bronson on "McHale's Navy," Arnold Slocum on "Trapper John, M.D," ), Alexander Scourby (Mike Lagana in "The Big Heat"), Robert Warwick (Major Henry in "The Life of Emile Zola") [Note: Yes! The best episode to date - perhaps the first great one - *and* it was even military in nature. This reminded me of Star Trek. [interesting - after I posted this, I read on Wikipedia: "This episode is similar to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise.] A couple of these episodes I'd seen in the past, but there's a detail or two I didn't remember, and I'm glad I didn't remember everything about "The Last Flight." If you want to watch *a* Twilight Zone, but don't feel like watching *every* Twilight Zone, start here. "Time Enough At Last" is perhaps the most famous of the first eighteen episodes, and may be just as good as this, but I'd seen it several times, so it lost a bit of luster for me.] 19. "The Purple Testament" - Feb 12, 1960: 20. "Elegy" - Feb 19, 1960: [Note: Clunk. My least-favorite episode to date. And with #18, #19, and #20, this makes 9 out of 20 (para-)military episodes. I don't remember if this turns away from military and space, and more into other aspects of science fiction, or not. Well, I guess we'll see.] 21. "Mirror Image" - Feb 26, 1960: [Note: It really is amazing just how many of these episodes were reused in Star Trek - maybe not "reused" so much as "borrowed and transformed." "Mirror Image" is a prime example, and this is about the third or fourth time it's happened - that said, this was an extremely weak episode, parallel (no pun intended) to "Mirror, Mirror" in TOS Season 2.] 1.22 - "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" - Mar 4, 1960 - <--- "Charlie, you killed him - he's dead." Directed by Ronald Winston (Director of "Banning"), Written by Rod Serling (xx) Featuring Claude Akins (Seaman "Horrible" in "The Caine Mutiny," Joe Burdette in "Rio Bravo"), Barry Atwater (Craig in "A Time Out of War," Dr. Jonas Temple in "Corpus Earthling" on "The Outer Limits," Surak in "A Savage Curtain" on "Star Trek," Alec Brandon in "The Doll of Death" on "Night Gallery," Janos Skorzeny in "The Night Stalker"), [Note: A classic. Like "Time Enough At Last," I'd seen it a few times so it lost its luster, but still, a classic. Claude Akins is unyielding with his reason, but ultimately not persuasive enough to stop the monsters.] 23. "A World Of Difference" - Mar 11, 1960: Directed by Ted Post (Director of "Sleep on Four Pillows" on "Route 66," "Beneath the Planet of the Apes," and "Magnum Force") [Note: Ah, finally! It took 23 episodes before I found one where I hadn't seen the entire thing - somehow, I vaguely remembered the beginning (after "it" happened), but didn't remember the ending at all.] 24. "Long Live Walter Jameson" - Mar 18, 1960: [Note: You just get the sense that the show is beginning to mature, and come into its own, with episodes like this.] 25. "People Are Alike All Over" - Mar 25, 1960: Directed by MItchell Leisen (Director of "Death Takes a Holiday" and "Murder at the Vanities"), Written by: Teleplay - Rod Serling (xx), Story - Paul W. Fairman (Founding Editor of "If" Magazine) Featuring Roddy McDowall (Cornelius and Caesar in the "Planet of the Apes" franchise, Gerald Musgrove in "The Gentleman Caller" and George in "See the Monkey Dance" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," Peter Vincent in "Fright Night," Jeremy Evans in "The Cemetery" on "The Night Gallery") Susan Oliver (Annabel Delaney in "Annabel" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (xx) 3 Episodes of "Route 66" (xx), Vina in "The Cage" and "The Menagerie" on "Star Trek" (xx)), Paul Comi (Modeer in "The Crimson Witness" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (xx), Lieutenant Stiles in "Balance of Terror" on "Star Trek" (xx)), Byron Morrow (Admiral Komack in "Amok Time" and Admiral Westervliet on "For the World is Hollow, and I have Touched the Sky" on "Star Trek" (xx), Vic Perrin (3 episodes of "Star Trek" (xx), Everett Jones in "Citizens All" on "Adam-12" (xx)), Vernon Gray (John Fraser in "To Paris with Love") [Note: Why is it that, unlike both Star Trek series that I've watched, The Twilight Zone hasn't skipped a single week? Yes, that's Roddy McDowall.] 26. "Execution" - Apr 1, 1960: [Note: Albert Salmi, who will appear in later episodes, is adept at playing unremorseful bastards.] 27. "The Big Tall Wish" - Apr 8, 1960: [Note: I suspect Rod Serling had "The Big Tall Wish" up his sleeve from day one. To quote Serling, "Television, like its big sister, the motion picture, has been guilty of the sin of omission... Hungry for talent, desperate for the so-called 'new face,' constantly searching for a transfusion of new blood, it has overlooked a source of wondrous talent that resides under its nose. This is the Negro actor." This is the first time I remember anyone of color in a Twilight Zone episode, and it's fantastic that it wasn't even referenced; nevertheless, this was a tough pill to swallow. As an aside, who knew that an athlete named Bo Jackson would be seriously injured after watching Bolie Jackson?] 28. A Nice Place To Visit" - Apr 15, 1960: [Note: Boy, I don't know if the other seasons will have this many "classic" episodes, but this first season has several. How can anyone see PIP as a child and not remember him (especially us latchkey children who were occasionally subjected to watching the awful Family Affair?).] 29. "Nightmare As A Child" - Apr 29, 1960: [Note: Hey! We skipped a week! I'm pretty sure Rod Serling was a "change the world" liberal relative to his day, but was also smart enough to bide his time and win over the Good Old Boys first. Here is another episode that might be considered "modern" by contemporary standards, one in which the power of a woman defeats the strength of a man. Nothing too radical, and nothing I even noticed when I first posted this, but maybe a little bit.] 30. "A Stop At Willoughby" - May 6, 1960: [Note: Only 2 of the past 10 episodes (#22 and #25) have used (para-)military or space-age paranoia as premises, so that makes only 11 out of 30 - a much more reasonable number. Also 2 out of the past 4 (#27 and #29) episodes have dealt with people of color or the strength of females - the show is definitely settling in and teaching us something rather than merely entertaining us. That said, the female character in "A Stop At Willoughby" was, just like in "A World Of Difference," a stereotypical harpy - the type of person anyone would despise. You can easily see how they chose Howard Duff to play the lead in "A World Of Difference" - his eyes and his eyebrows are perma-fixed in this kind of confused-looking stare. I've never seen a facial expression that changed so little over the course of a thirty-minute show - it's almost funny although it's not meant to be.] 31. "The Chaser" - May 13, 1960: [Note: Well, here it is: The very first episode in Season 1 that I hadn't seen any of. What a refreshing point of view to have, not having the foggiest notion of what is to transpire, and not recognizing it when it does. This episode - comic to the point of being laugh-out-loud funny at times - but also tense (in an "Arachnophobia" type of way - not knowing if an innocent mistake might kill you) - was very nearly outstanding, and gave me the "thrill of first sighting" once again, and for that, this whole endeavor has been worth it. This gives me hope that there will be others, perhaps numerous others, and this exercise is like a little treasure hunt. "The Chaser" is absolutely a comic episode, but the acting, particularly by the Clara Bow-like Patricia Barry, is fantastic - Barry plays two distinct roles here, and transitions from being a stand-offish dream-girl to "every guy's worst nightmare" in an instant, and she performs the dichotomy seamlessly. Because of the hilarity of this episode, her excellent acting could easily be overlooked, but it would be a mistake to do so. You should watch this if you haven't - I'd love to see your thoughts.] 32. "A Passage For Trumpet" - May 20, 1960: [Note: There are many inside jokes in Twilight Zone episodes, and a really clever one here is when Jack Klugman walks out of the bar just after selling his trumpet: The bar is named "Bandwagon," and that's just perfect. Between these playful little jokes, and some of the ingenious titles, there was a very clever person at work here - maybe more than one - but I suspect one of them was named Rod Serling. "A Passage For Trumpet?" Think about that title for a second.] 33. "Mr. Bevis" - Jun 3, 1960: [Note: Hey! We skipped a week for the second time in a month! What gives? Baseball season? Why do I feel like I just watched my own biography? Mr. Bevis is the way I want to be. Yeah, it would nice to have wealth, fame, idolizing fans, all that good stuff, but at the end of the day, all that's important is who cares that you're gone, what your children develop into, the character of your grand-grandchildren ... all that stuff that can't be put onto a corporate balance sheet. I know all of this, and to the best of my knowledge, I've yet to walk in ... to ... The Twilight Zone. (Although, honestly, sometimes it seems like I've come pretty close.)] 34. "After Hours" - Jun 10, 1960: [Note: A surprisingly weak episode after a long run of strong ones. Well, every series is entitled to some clunkers, and this was theirs. Weak acting, a weak storyline, a weak plot, very little consequence, very little at stake, just all-around weak and very little.] 35. "The Mighty Casey" - Jun 17, 1960: Directed by Robert Parrish (Academy Award Winner for Best Film Editing for "Body and Soul") and Alvin Ganzer (Directed 14 episodes of "Police Woman"), Written by Rod Serling (xx) Featuring Jack Warden (xx), Robert Sorrells (Charlie Guthrie in "Bound for Glory"), Abraham Sofaer (Arch on "Demon with a Glass Hand" on "The Outer Limits" (xx), Haji on "I Dream of Jeannie," The Thasian on "Charlie X" on "Star Trek" (xx)) [Note: Gosh, I hate to say it, but my least-favorite Twilight Zone episode so far has been about baseball. This could have been a classic; instead it was just a big dud. If you're a Twilight Zone fan *and* a Sports Fan, you'll be bitterly disappointed in this - the combination couldn't have been worse. That said, I've seen a lot of online comments about this episode, and not one of them mentioned that this was shown just one year after west-coast baseball began, and there's kind of a "cutting" comment at the very end regarding the West Coast - I'm wondering if this is something of a metaphor for teams (the Dodgers and Giants, to be exact) moving west of Kansas City - note that the Giants *shellacked* the Zephyrs after Casey got his heart, but that the manager moved the Zephyrs to the West Coast shortly afterwards and dominated, because he got the robot blueprint. I also read, in one comment, that the gentleman who originally played the manager of the Zephyrs passed away just before filming ended, and they had to reshoot all of his parts with Jack Warden - and they had to do it in short order - that, too, can explain a lot that went wrong. Warden was a fine actor, but he didn't give a good performance in this episode (notice how silly the opening "handshake" scene is).] 36. "A World Of His Own" - Jun 24, 1960: [Note: Season one is now a wrap, and it went out on a high note - with a comedy, yet. The ending of "A World Of His Own" was wonderful, with two back-to-back surprises (I'm not sure what this second technique is called). I'm so glad I went through this entire season because it not only lent a perspective to things, but also solidified how a series matures over time and gains its own personality. I'm very much looking forward to beginning season two. My remembering how much I enjoyed The Twilight Zone wasn't just childhood reminiscing; it's actually a really good, absolutely groundbreaking series. I believe The Outer Limits may be superior (I'd need to revisit all shows from both series to make that judgment, but hey, I've got "time enough at last," as Burgess Meredith would say). Please allow me to pat myself on the back, feeling and enjoying a small but significant sense of accomplishment.]
  5. Frostbite on your lips! "Ice Music: Building Instruments Out of Water" by Bob Boilen on NPR.
  6. For those wishing to watch all the films in Sergio Leone's "Man with No Name Trilogy," (or "Dollars Trilogy," if you prefer), all three were released in America in 1967, but they were filmed in Spain in the following order: 1964 - "A Fistful of Dollars" 1965 - "For a Few Dollars More" 1966 - "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" You'll be doing yourself a favor to watch them in order, and to pay close attention to names and faces early on in "A Fistful of Dollars" - Clint Eastwood is quite possibly the only actor or actress you'll know in this film, so it's important to sort things out, and to be mindful of both the Rojo brothers, and the Baxter gang - two rival families vying for control of this nasty little pueblo, the fictional San Miguel, just south of the Texas border. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** Eastwood rides into San Miguel, and immediately proves his prowess with a gun, earning grudging respect from both factions - the Rojos and the Baxters - and spots a deviant way to profit from the situation, pitting one family against the other. It all sounds very interesting, and this movie is rated *very* highly by almost everyone, but 45 minutes into a 1'40" movie, I think it's pretty damned boring. I know this was Sergio Leone's first "Spaghetti Western," and he felt that American Westerns of the late 1950s and early 1960s had become stolid and dull; but so far, I think *this* is stolid and dull. Well, it has another 55 minutes to sort itself out, and it's only the first of a trilogy, so maybe I should cut Leone - a legend - something of a break, given that I have very limited knowledge of the American Western pre-1964. Leone wanted to offer Eastwood's role to Henry Fonda, but couldn't afford him. Then, his second choice was Charles Bronson, who felt the script wasn't very good (so far, I'm in the Bronson camp). Fully *seven* other actors turned down the role, before Leone reached out to Eastwood, a relative unknown at the time who could be hired on the cheap - the fact that he was the *tenth* choice for the role tells me that this movie might be more about "the making of a star" than "the making of a good movie." Okay, I'm going to keep watching with an open mind, 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating be damned - if this movie ends, and I think it's boring, I'm going to come right out and say so. There's no doubt, however, that Eastwood brings a serious panache to the role, and I can easily see how a star was born with this film. I must admit that Eastwood is playing a fascinating, deadly, and profitable game of chess - but he's neither white nor black; he's controlling the chessboard from up above, wearing both opponents down, piece-by-piece, and pocketing some money each time he does. Also, 1'15" into this film, things have *really* picked up. After a *brilliant* gambit, a terrible turn of events resulted in Eastwood getting the Holy Hell beaten out of him, and all bets are now off - this last 25 minutes is going to be about whether he can survive (and of course, he will). But, wow, has this film taken a turn towards the upside. The Baxters aren't exactly saints, but the Rojo clan is pure evil - they have massacred two groups of innocent people in this movie, and deserve whatever punishment and retribution come their way. And come it did.
  7. This reminds me of the tragedy of Lyndon Johnson, who without Vietnam would be unquestionably one of our greatest presidents, in the same class with Lincoln and FDR. It just makes me weep when I think of it. Of course I hated him at the time, but that was all about Vietnam, which overshadowed everything. You younger people probably can't even imagine how Vietnam distorted and disfigured everything about our civic life as it crept into the crannies of our souls. You couldn't even fuck without Vietnam obtruding into the crevices of your pleasures. I look back on LBJ's presidency now and can only see what midgets his successors have been compared to him.
  8. This is a tough one for me. Soundgarden are one of my favorite bands of all time, and Chris Cornell is one of the truly great frontmen and songwriters in rock history. "With Chris Cornell's Death, We've Lost Another of the Grunge Era's Towering Rock Stars, and One of Its Best Songwriters" by Steven Haydn on uproxx.com I have many memories of Soundgarden, including a number of concerts, but my main one is me and my friend, as freshmen in college, heading to Laserdisk in Salem, OR, to pick up Superunknown at midnight when it was released (this was something you did back in the early and mid 90s). Badmotorfinger was such a monster of an album, and we were so excited. We played the heck out of Superunknown that night.
  9. None of these are extreme spoilers, and I don't think reading this will ruin the film for you, but just to be safe, I'll mark the entire post: *** SPOILER ALERT *** Guess who "Sex and the Single Girl" stars? , Yeah, well, I betcha didn't guess this! Or maybe you did. And why not give musical credit to where it's due? Oh my goodness! The opening music (when the credits end and the film starts) sounds like it's straight from the 1970s' TV series, "The Odd Couple." Well, this film had it beat by a good eight years. And I mean, it sounds *so* much like "The Odd Couple" that, if you watch the film, you'll chime in and agree with me. Ha! I just looked up Neal Hefti, who wrote the music for both, and I didn't know this until I after I heard the similarity - nailed it! Hefti absolutely plagiarized from himself (as many composers do). Hmm, that opening business meeting implies what needs to be done with donrockwell.com. Well - maybe my heirs can take us to those depths; I'm content to live poorly and with respect - now, if I can figure out a way to modify my estate so I can prevent this from happening - I want my descendants to suffer as much as I have. Ah yes, Managing Editor of STOP magazine, Bob Weston (Tony Curtis) is going straight for the jugular of Dr. Helen Brown (Natalie Wood). Dr. Helen Brown is livid at being mocked by Bob Weston as being a 23-year-old ... (what will it be? strumpet? trollop? harlot? The S-Bomb?) This is the moment she cuts off the man reading the article in front of her peers: What is the dreaded epithet? A 23-year-old ... Virgin! Hey, this movie is 55-years-old, man! Not bad! Natalie Wood is pissed at being called the dreaded V-word! God, if I had only known, thirty years ago, that *this* might have worked, I could have saved thousands of dollars in dinner checks, movie tickets, bar tabs, etc. You know, Tony Curtis was an extremely handsome man, right? I wonder where he's going with this angle. "I'll bet this kid has been giving flying lessons," he says about Dr. Brown, "and she's never been off the ground." And, as a parallel story, Frank and Sylvia Broderick (Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall) are enduring a strained (to say the least), ten-year marriage, even though at their lavish anniversary party, you get to see them dance to Count Basie and his orchestra (I thoroughly object to the name "Basie" not even being found in the Wikipedia article about the movie), even though they're fully credited in the film. Ugh, I'm not even halfway through this movie and it's getting really stupid (I'm referring to the scene at the pier, where everybody falls into the drink) - it's turning into a "screwball comedy" which is the last thing I want to see. Hopefully, they just decided to have a few campy moments, and it will reset itself, but after these past five minutes, I don't know what to think, but I am not in the mood for this type of corny slapstick - I don't mind cornball comedy, but I'm in the mood for some character interaction, which is mostly what we've had up until this point. So far, I'm left asking myself why they got Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall to waste their talents on this film, but maybe they'll do something worthwhile in the second half. Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood are about as expected, which means "moderately acceptable, but nothing profound" (although Wood has never looked more beautiful). Well, this movie is 3/4 over, and we appear to be done with that brief, unfortunate foray into slapstick, and are back to character interaction (and lots of mistaken identity - we're at the "three Mrs. Brodericks" part) - I know exactly how this movie will end, and I, well, let me watch the last half hour before saying any more. I hope they paid Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall well for playing in this film. Ah! Lauren Bacall's "Yeah, he's about to pass away" line, which she just now said, was priceless! This film was a nice look at Tony Curtis (aka Bernie Schwartz) and Natalie Wood in their primes, with lots of dialogue and mid-range close-ups (not face shots, but waist-up shots, so you got a really good feel for them). Likewise Henry Fonda, Lauren Bacall, Count Basie, Mel Ferrer, and a few others such as Fran Jeffries, all beautifully filmed in Technicolor. It's of the "Divorce American Style" genre of comedy, and if you like one, you'll probably like the other. Definitely a product of its time (perhaps five years ahead), it remains a dated time-capsule of the sexual revolution, and could be considered "charming" or "cloying" depending on your viewpoint or mood - it was a little bit of both for me. I'm glad I saw it, but I can recommend it only to people trying familiarize themselves with the actors or the period; not to people seeking a great movie to watch, or to have a rollicking good time. There are certainly moments of wit and cuteness, but this comes across as a movie trying to capitalize on a "movement" by getting out in front of everyone else (which, ironically, is one of the major themes of the film). "Sex and the Single Girl" is worth a watch if you're trying to learn about specific things, but in almost every category, no matter what your category is, you can find a better movie to watch. That said, if you want to see Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis at their max-hottest, this is the movie for you. *** SPOILER ALERT FOR REAL *** Also, the "anti-car-chase" scene near the end is just terrific, and genuinely funny - it's the highlight of the movie. Incidentally, the final year the U.S. minted silver dimes, quarters, and half-dollars was 1964, so all of these were silver when this was filmed. It was fun seeing the toll-booth operator get a 1940 quarter (worth about $3.50 in today's money). Interestingly, inflation alone would have made twenty-five cents in 1964 worth nearly $2.00 in 2017 dollars, regardless of its silver content or numismatic value. The cars all left a quarter without even slowing down, and it's *very* funny that the fourth car left a Silver Certificate $1 bill while taking back three quarters in the man's hand as change - all without slowing down one iota (they must have been going 70+ mph). Farcical, of course, but still very funny. and nobody in 1964 could have possibly understood why this was so funny, because it happened in a blink-of-an-eye, and to understand it, you have to stop, rewind, re-watch, stop, rewind, re-watch, etc. And Bob Weston's (Tony Curtis') 1935 Bentley 3½ Litre Oxborrow & Fuller Continental Open Tourer (license plate: PSU 698, which I don't think is coincidental) was one *sweet* piece of scrap metal (Trivia: Rolls Royce acquired Bentley in 1931): And while the traffic officer on the motorcycle is passed by all these flying cars, he decides instead to pull over an uncredited Burt Mustin who's smugly driving about 20 mph, and says, "Where's the fire?" This has *really* gotten silly at the end, and this scene has gone over the top - if it was a farce before, this anti-chase scene makes it The Comedy of Errors, and the movie is better for it, because it's really well-done. I really can't believe I'm saying this, but the last twenty minutes has turned "Sex and the Single Girl" from a mildly amusing period comedy into a hilarious farce - you'll have to gut out the first 1'30", but the last part of the movie is worth it, or at least it was to me. This turnaround was incredible, but I have to issue a disclaimer and say that my taste in humor runs towards the puerile (slapstick, dirty jokes, etc.) But to me, this film went from a "decent little comedy" into twenty minutes of something special, containing parts akin to "the crowded cabin scene" in "A Night at the Opera" which may be the single funniest moment I've ever seen in a movie. You've got to make time to watch the anti-chase scene at least twice, and unfortunately, unless you watch the first 1'30", it just won't be as good.
  10. Sam Cooke sang like an angel come down to earth. His cruelly curtailed career (shot dead in 1964 aged 33) spanned gospel, blues, rock-n-roll, and, towards the end, a kind of jazz-inflected pop that might be at home in Vegas nightclubs. Here are a couple of more-or-less rock-n-roll numbers. "You Send Me" and "Wonderful World" are better known, but I like these more: "Bring it on Home to Me" (1962) "You're Always on my Mind" (1961) Gospel recordings with the Soul Stirrers (1926-), before Sam Cooke was a pop sensation: "Jesus I'll Never Forget" (Recorded in 1954) "I'm Gonna Build Right on that Shore" (Recorded in 1951) Night-Clubby "Fool's Paradise" (Written in 1955, covered on the 1963 Album "Night Beat"): "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" (Written in 1940, covered on the 1961 album, "My Kind of Blues"): As I say, one for the ages.
  11. Muhammad Ali is in the hospital now with a respiratory ailment (he's going to be released soon), but that reminds me that we don't have a thread for the person who just might be the most famous athlete who ever lived. I've always felt badly for Joe Frazier, because he didn't get the accolades that Ali did, but most of Ali's extra accolades came from what he did outside of the ring - he, himself, said that "Frazier was the greatest fighter of all times, next to me." Ali may not be immortal, but in a sense, he is - people will be talking about him 500 years from now, and that's as close to immortality as you can come. "Muhummad Ali vs. Sonny Liston (1965) - A Look Back 50 Years Later" And for a taste of what it must have been like to fight Ali in his prime, scroll down to the bottom of the first post in "Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956)" and click on the scene from the 1962 film.
  12. A thread to mark the passing of Dwayne "Pearl" Washington at the age of 52. In the early-to-mid 80s there was no league bigger than the Big East - Patrick Ewing, John Thompson, Chris Mullen, Villanova's upset win over Georgetown in the NCAA final, the annual Big East Tournament at the Garden. And Syracuse had a 6 foot 2 point guard named Pearl Washington. His trademark "shake and bake" style left defenders flat footed. And his buzzer beater against Boston College in 1984 sealed his place as a Syracuse legend. Tribute by Syracuse Sports Columnist Bud Poliquin ESPN Tribute
  13. I got a nonsensical email yesterday from one of my two big classical music friends (from Dallas) addressed to me and another guy in New York: "Now that the National Symphony has a real music director and and Citronelle has closed, when do we drink Krug?" The guy from New York replied: "Rocks help me parse this email. You are in DC." Dallas: "No just thirsty in Dallas." --- This made no sense to me until I saw this just now: "National Symphony Orchestra Names Rising Star Gianandrea Noseda as Music Director" by Anne Midgette on washingtonpost.com I know virtually nothing about Gianandrea Noseda, but I know enough about the person sending this email to be 100% sure that this must be some type of enormous coup for the NSO, so this is great news for the city of DC. Founded in in 1931, the National Symphony Orchestra will have only its eighth Music Director with the appointment of Noseda. As you can see, it has been a relatively turbulent time since 2008: 1931-1949: Hans Kindler 1949-1970: Howard Mitchell 1970-1977: Antal Doráti 1977-1994: Mstislav Rostropovich 1996-2008: Leonard Slatkin 2008-2010: Iván Fischer 2010-2017: Christoph Eschenbach 2017- Gianandrea Noseda
  14. First, either on the piano playing Bach is regrettable. Listen to Pierre Hantai play Bach on the correct instrument. It's luminous. His Golbergs are clear and correct IMO. Gould was asked why he played Mozart so fast. "Because I can". Eccentric. Yes.
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