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I just watched SE2 EP2 of "Black Mirror," entitled "White Bear." It was the single-most intense thing I've ever seen, TV or movie. If you don't mind not sleeping, and feeling sick all the way down to your soul, then watch it on Netflix, and don't read ANYTHING about either the series, or the episode, before you do. White Bear on Netflix --- SE4 EP1 is the greatest tribute to Star Trek: The Original Series I've yet seen - this, while maintaining its own identity and sense of purpose: It is magnificent. --- So far, I've watched six episodes of this, and it's the best TV show I've ever seen - better than Breaking Bad, better than anything.
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."]
Listen Up! I'm writing this comment two weeks after beginning this post (on December 7, 2014). If anyone has any ambition to go through the entire series of "Night Gallery," do yourselves a favor and buy "Rod Serling's Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour" by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson before you start - I'm ordering my copy today after having already gone through more than an entire season (I didn't know it existed before), and I can pretty much tell that it is indispensable, and *the definitive* reference guide - this is nearly an exact parallel to what I wrote about "The Twilight Zone Companion" (so much so that I cut-and-paste the paragraph from that link, and made only slight modifications to write this). I wouldn't have stumbled upon this book had they not had a sample review of "Class of 99" online (scroll down to Season 2, Episode 3c for more information). Buy this book before beginning. Cheers, Rocks Night Gallery - Season One I know, I know, but I crave cheap escapism. Note that for other series that I've gone through, the primary link (for the title) was for the Wikipedia entry; for "Night Gallery," Wikipedia's entries are inadequate, so I'm linking to the writer David Juhl who also went through the entire series, and wrote much more detailed reviews than I will be attempting - I suggest you turn to his blog for your supplemental material, and also purchase his Kindle Edition as your second reference (if you're going to traverse the entire series, you'll want both - I've never used Kindle, so I got my information from his website). David and I have written each other several times, and from what I've gleaned, I think quite highly of him, both as a reviewer of Night Gallery, and as a nice guy in general. *** (Spoilers Abound, Of Course, Throughout The Discussions. For All Seasons - Please Watch The Episodes Before Reading Anything) *** 1a. "The Dead Man" - Dec 16, 1970: [Notes: Written and Directed by Douglas Heyes (for each episode, I'll be listing the Writer and the Director. For those numerous cases where someone (often Rod Serling) wrote a teleplay based on an original story, I'm citing the author of the story).There is already a clear difference between "Night Gallery" and "Twilight Zone," as Night Gallery is going for straight horror, and Twilight Zone is clearly more of the science fiction genre with "cosmic-revenge" style plot twists. After only one episode, this is scarier (in terms of sheer horror) than anything The Twilight Zone ever put out. Still, it's nice to see Rod Serling give his narrations before the episodes, this time in the setting of a macabre art gallery (the "Night Gallery"). I have little doubt that, although the quality of episodes might be more consistent in Night Gallery, Serling's heart probably belonged to the Zone. Each of these episodes - at least for now - is one hour, divided into two thirty-minute shorts, so I will be labeling them 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, etc. with the production dates being the same for both the "a" and the "b" episodes. I saw the ending of "The Dead Man" coming well in advance, and it wasn't nearly as difficult to watch as I feared it might have been - it could have been *really* tough to swallow, but it might not have gotten past the television censors. The stunningly beautiful Louise Sorel (as the doctor's much younger wife) gives us a fine moment with an expression of genuine horror (Sorel playes Methuselah's mate as Rayna Kapec in "Star Trek's" "Requiem for Methselah" in which she was constructed to be the most beautiful possible woman - and makes a very credible case for being so.) Michael Blodgett, the handsome gentleman who portrays the condemned patient, does so in convincing fashion. Indeed, these are two very lovely people. 1b. "The Housekeeper" - Dec 16, 1970: [Notes: Written by Matthew Howard (a pseudonum for Douglas Heyes (2) <--- these numbers, going forward, will be how many episodes the person wrote or directed up until this point), directed by John Meredyth Lucas. Unlike The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery had many writers and directors (it's not nearly as Serling-concentrated), and I plan to credit them all in these Notes - such is the level of importance I place upon writing and direction, ergo the level of greatness - despite all its silliness and shortcomings - that I place on The Twilight Zone and Rod Serling. Larry Hagman (playing homeowner Cedric Acton) looks odd but somehow quite natural and even distinguished in a beard - I rather like it on him, perhaps because it helps to mask all the innocent, All-American, comic roles he's played over the years. Hagman is married to a beautiful shrew, and brings on a housekeeper who is her exact opposite - lovely on the inside, not so much on the outside. You can probably see where this is going, especially given that Hagman experiements with "personality transfer" ... or not: As many times as I've seen "this ending," I was not expecting it here, at all (and if you deconstruct it, it logically doesn't work).] 2a. "Room With A View" - Dec 23, 1970: [Notes: Written by Hal Dresner, directed by Jerrold Freedman. The extended, opening dialogue between Joseph Wiseman (who, by the way, played Dr. No) and Diane Keaton is wonderful, never looking more lovely. This twenty-minute short was simple, straightforward, and made by the interplay between Wiseman and the unwitting Keaton - it was great fun, in the most diabolical of ways. Think how clever this is: The viewer likes both of the perpetrators, and dislikes both of the victims.] 2b. "The Little Black Bag" - Dec 23, 1970: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling, directed by Jeannot Szwarc. A marvelous episode, clearly Rod Serling at his best, involving time travel, heros, plot twists, and an unexpected ending. It's amazing Burgess Meridith and Chill WIlls, both in fantastic performances, could have done so much in just twenty short minutes. Highly recommended for both Twilight Zone and Night Gallery fans - this is a terrific little vignette that doesn't seem so little.] 2c. "The Nature Of The Enemy" - Dec 23, 1970: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling (2), directed by Allen Reisner. After two such fine tales in this episode, they're entitled to a clunker for the third, right? Right? Well, maybe "clunker" isn't a strong enough word - how about disaster? Catastrophe? Pick whichever term you like, and it won't be adequate to describe how laughably *bad* the ending of "The Nature Of The Enemy" is - seriously, you can scarcely believe it. I could have written this when I was five years old, and if you see it, you might just agree with me, or at least understand why I say this.] 3a. "The House" - Dec 30, 1970: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling (3), directed by John Astin (Gomez on The Addams Family!). This was a good, deeply reaching episode for the first 90%, but then ended with something of a fizzle - a fizzle because the ending just doesn't make that much sense no matter how you slice or dice it. Still, the overall dreaminess of the direction was enchanting, and really drew the viewer in. So, are you okay with a long, enjoyable ride, only to have it end with a shoulder shrug? If so, then "The House" won't bother you at all; if you need a *finish*, then think twice about watching it.] 3b. "Certain Shadows On The Wall" - Dec 30, 1970: [Notes: Written by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, directed by Jeff Corey. Although I didn't remember the details of this tale, I remember being *very* creeped out by it as a child; much less so as an adult now that I've seen many a 1970s British horror piece (which this follows in spirit). Agnes Moorehead, bless her heart, is excellent at playing a soul in torment - probably one of the reasons I was so frightened by this as a child. The shadow is very scary for a child, but the adults' reaction to it makes it a whole lot less scary as an adult.] 4a. "Make Me Laugh" - Jan 6, 1971: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling (4), directed by Steven Spielberg. I knew ten minutes into this that it "felt" like a Twilight Zone, so I figured it might have been written by Rod Serling, but wow, I was surprised to see it was directed by Steven Spielberg - not because it was bad, mind you; just because I was surprised. Godfrey Cambridge is a talentless comedian with Tom Bosley as his agent who runs into miracle-worker Jackie Vernon in a bar, and all Cambridge wants is to make people laugh. Given that this is Night Gallery, you can probably guess at least part of the rest. A typical episode for Serling, although I thought it could have - and should have - ended immediately after the first changeover, before any of the aftereffects were seen, but something of a letdown for Spielberg, even early Spielberg, as this episode was merely average as a whole and Cambridge's annoying aspects were equal to his pathos - it didn't have to be that way.] 4b. "Clean Kills And Other Trophies" - Jan 6, 1971: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling (5), directed by Walter Doniger. Very much of Serling's signature is on "Clean Kills And Other Trophies," as he strongly believed against sport hunting, i.e., hunting merely for "trophies" instead of for actual food. Raymond Massey is excellent as Colonel Archie Dittman, a macho trophy collector holding an inheritance over his mild-mannered son, Archie Jr. (Barry Brown), until he kills an animal with a gun (when he clearly doesn't wish to) - this, over the protests of the lawyer, Pierce, played by Tom Troupe. Dittman will be receiving fitting justice for his attitudes about a lifetime of trophy collecting, and for forcing his son, a meek young man, to follow in his footsteps against his will - all this, thanks to the house servant, Tom Mboya, expertly played by Herb Jefferson, Jr.] 5a. "Pamela's Voice" - Jan 13, 1971: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling (6), directed by Richard Benedict. Wow! This episode was only 8 1/2-minutes long, but what an unsettling moment in time it was. Shot in one setting, and featuring only two people: John Astin (who directed episode 3a) and Phyllis Diller. For anyone who doesn't want to invest much time in a "starter" Night Gallery episode, this is a good choice, and most guys will have nightmares after seeing it. Take a close look at the painting (all paintings were done by Thomas J. Wright): While many of Night Gallery's paintings are obviously dashed off (well, I suppose they all were), this is one example where the painting matches the episode just about perfectly, with minimal thought required by the viewer.] 5b. "Lone Survivor" - Jan 13, 1971: [Notes; Written by Rod Serling (7), directed by Gene Levitt (creator of Fantasy Island). I remember loving this as a child, and I still love it as an adult - I'd like to say it's because I have a broader, deeper sense of history, but the reason is that this story is just good, creepy fun. A bit overacted by John Colicos (pictured) as the survivor, but then again, how should you expect him to act, having a foreknowledge of his fate?] 5c. "The Doll" - Jan 13, 1971: [Notes: Written by Algernon Blackwood, directed by Rudi Dorn. This completes a trilogy that comprised an entire three-part episode of quality - "The Doll" is flat-out scary: Compared to the two ventriloquist episodes, and the "Talking Tina" episode on "The Twilight Zone," *this* doll is truly something from the bowels of Hell. It's an interesting story involving revenge, mistaken identity, a plot twist at the end, horror, and a fair amount of complexity, and makes Season 1, Episode 5, an excellent introductory Night Gallery hour for the first-time viewer. How can a doll be so scary? This episode starred John Williams (pictured) who played William Shakespeare in Twilight Zone's "The Bard," and also a few episodes as Nigel French (Mr. French's brother) in "Family Affair."] 6a. "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" - Jan 20, 1971: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling (8), directed by Don Taylor (who directed "Escape From The Planet Of The Apes" and "Damien: Omen II", as well as co-starred in "Stalag 17" and "Father Of The Bride"). This is a rather shameful admission, but it's the truth. I first began writing that this was a long, ponderous episode - it's about 40 minutes long, I watched it late at night when I was exhausted, and I was hoping for some cheap escapism (refer to "Pamela's Voice"). When I was about three sentences into my writing, I got even more tired, and didn't feel like writing, so I looked up some other reviews of the episode online. To a person, people raved about it, and in fact, it was nominated for a 1971 Emmy Award - either I was right in my late-night fatigue and the rest of the world was wrong, or the rest of the world was right and I was wrong. No doubt about it: I needed to watch this through again on a fresh mind, so the next day I watched it a second time, and I'm glad I did because I was wrong, wrong, wrong, due in large part to my previous fatigue and impatience. "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" is an excellent episode, and I'm embarrassed to say I was "talked into" liking it by reading other critics - but like it I do, very much. The acting is impeccable across the board, and the story - while very un-Night Gallery like, is fine drama and a wonderful exploration of humanity. I was dead wrong, and I had my eyes opened by the opinions of others. One other, very important thing: They sing, "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" to Randy Lane (William Windom) in this episode, and that's *exactly* the song they sing to Windom in "All in the Family" in the episode, "Success Story," which aired about six months later."] 6b. "The Last Laurel" - Jan 20, 1971: [Notes: Written by Davis Grubb, directed by Daryl Duke. Now this is what I had in mind the first time I saw "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" - about a ten minute episode with minimal complexity. Jack Cassidy plays a jealous man who has lost the use of his legs, and finds himself in a situation where his lovely wife and his handsome doctor are both spending the night in his house. Naturally he expects the worst, and he has developed the skill to "leave his body" (and in this case commit a murder). The lights go out, and he enters the wrong room and kills the wrong person ... himself. Nothing too complex here, and the perfect episode for late-night, tired TV watching at 1:15 AM. This would never win any awards, but it was good, cheap melodrama bordering on horror.]
I bought this book about thirty years ago, mainly because I had the attention span of a gnat. Reading long-form literature was an absolute chore for me (though I forced myself to do it), and the concept of this book, "Short Shorts," pulled me towards it like a magnet. What it is, is a tiny little paperback, composed of the absolute shortest stories I've ever read - some of them only several pages in length - by some of the most famous authors in history. The range in this book seems almost random, as the authors range from Leo Tolstoy (who offers the shortest story of them all: "The Three Hermits" - an absolutely jaw-dropping tale that's about three pages long) to Sholem Aleichem (with his twisty tale, "A Yom Kippur Scandal"), and even includes a couple of clunkers (Sherwood Anderson's "Paper Pills" - perhaps if I read this again, I'd enjoy it, but at the time, I was bored senseless even though it was only about ten pages long - of course, anyone who wrote "Winesburg, Ohio" isn't the first person I'd think to go out and do tequila shots with). Even though there are a few stories in here you won't love, the anthology as a whole is a fantastic introduction to 38 authors - all of whom are talented; many of whom are legendary - and you can read even the longest story in less than twenty minutes. You can put the book down at any point, and pick it back up five years later without missing a beat. There appear to be some used copies available on Amazon, and even though I probably paid less than five dollars for this when I bought it, I think if you can find it right now for under $10-15, you should nab it. It's great fun, it's great reading, and it's *perfect* for people who have trouble suffering through longer works of literature. From what I see, you can currently buy this for as little as one penny, and just pay $3.99 for shipping and handling (I did this with a book before, and it actually works). Don't worry about the condition it's in - it's not a keepsake, but it is something you'll want to keep.