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  1. Hulu has wonderful digital-quality episodes of this wonderful series, but unfortunately, only has 30 of 39 first-season episodes. I'm not sure why, but I'm looking forward to seeing the rest if I can find them - from what I've seen so far, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" is a superior series to "The Twilight Zone," and I say that as a Twilight Zone fan. All episode links are to the wonderful reference website, "The Hitchcock Zone" - in particular, to their "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" subsection, which contains all directors, writers, and actors. If you're a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, The Hitchcock Zone should be bookmarked on your laptop. Anytime someone is referenced in this thread for the very first time, a hyperlink is made; all subsequent references are accompanied by a number in parentheses, e.g., (4), which is the number of episodes they've been involved with up until that point (in any major sort of capacity - director, producer, writer, etc.) Until all 39 episodes are included in this thread, there will be some numbers skipped - for example, do a "Find," then a "Repeat Find" on the name James Neilson - you'll see that, since episode 29 is missing, he skips from the hyperlink (the first reference) to number (3). Season One (Oct 2, 1955 - Jun 24, 1956) Joan Harrison (39), a close friend of the Hitchcock family, was Associate Producer of all 39 Season One Episodes 1.1. - "Revenge" - Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Written by - Teleplay: Francis M. Cockrell (Writer of "Breakdown" on "Suspense," "The Expanding Human" on "The Outer Limits," 4 episodes of "Batman"), Story: Samuel Blas Featuring Ralph Meeker (Mike Hammer in "Kiss Me Deadly"), Vera Miles (Rose Balestrero in "The Wrong Man," Lila Crane in "Psycho") [The immediacy of the police car was a bit contrived (they were running out of time), but this is still a really powerful episode - with subject matter that is absolutely shocking considering it's over sixty-years old - and before it's over, you'll have your hands up to your face, saying, "Oh, *no*!"] 1.2. - "Premonition" - Directed by Robert Stevens (Directed 105 and Produced 102 episodes of "Suspense," Director of "Where is Everybody" and "Walking Distance" on "The Twilight Zone"), Written by Harold Swanton (Writer of 14 episodes of "The Whistler") Featuring John Forsythe (Charlie on "Charlie's Angels"), Warren Stevens, Cloris Leachman (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress in "The Last Picture Show") [Although this was an extremely strong second episode (second episodes are notoriously weak, as people often have "one great idea" they use up for the pilot), "Premonition" has one of the worst fake piano playing sequences I've ever seen in Forsythe (supposedly) playing Chopin's Revolutionary Etude.] 3. - "Triggers in Leash" - Directed by Don Medford (Director of "To Trap a Spy"), Written by - Teleplay: Richard Carr (Writer of "The Riddler's False Notion" and "Death in Slow Motion" on "Batman"), Story: Allan Vaughan Elston (Writer of "Isle of Destiny") Starring: Gene Barry (Dr. Clayton Forrester in "The War of the Worlds"), Darren McGavin (Carl Kolchak on "Kolchak: The Night Stalker"), Ellen Corby (Grandma Esther Walton on "The Waltons") [A fun episode featuring three big-name actors, without going over-the-top in the least, or being condescending to the viewer. There is genuine tension here, relieved by a twist that turns out to be clever and funny, but only when the episode is over and you begin to breathe again.] 4. - "Don't Come Back Alive" - Directed by Robert Stevenson (Director of "Mary Poppins" and "The Love Bug"), Written by Robert C. Dennis (Writer of 4 episodes of "The Outer Limits," 4 episodes of "Batman," "Log 81: The Long Walk" on "Adam-12") Starring: Sidney Blackmer (3 episodes on "Suspense," William Lyons Selby in "One Hundred Days of the Dragon" on "The Outer Limits," Roman Castevet in "Rosemary's Baby") 5. - "Into Thin Air" - Directed by Don Medford (2), Written by - Teleplay: Marian B. Cockrell (Writer of 4 episodes of "Batman" (2)), Story: Alexander Woollcott (The inspiration for Sheridan Whiteside in "The Man Who Came to Dinner") Starring: Patricia Hitchcock (Alfred's Daughter, Barbara Morton in "Strangers on a Train") 6. - "Salvage" - Directed by Jus Addiss (Director of 3 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (2)), Written by - Teleplay: Fred Freiberger and Richard Carr (2), Story: Fred Freiberger Featuring: Gene Barry (2), Nancy Gates (Martha Bradford in "Perry Mason's" "The Case of the Crooked Candle") 7. - "Breakdown" - Director: Alfred Hitchcock (2), Writer - Teleplay: Louis Pollock and Francis M. Cockrell (2) - Story: Louis Pollock Starring: Joseph Cotten ("Citizen Kane," "Gaslight," "The Third Man," etc.) 8. - "Our Cook's A Treasure" - Starring: Everett Sloan (Bernstein in "Citizen Kane"), Beulah Bondi ("Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "It's a Wonderful Life," etc.) Director: Robert Stevens (2) Writer: Teleplay, Robert C. Dennis (2) - Story, Dorothy L. Sayers 9. - "The Long Shot" - Starring: Peter Lawford (of "The Rat Pack") Director: Robert Stevenson (2) Writer: Teleplay, Marian B. Cockrell - Story, Alexander Woolcott 10. - "The Case of Mr. Pelham" - Starring: Tom Ewell (Richard Sherman in the play, "The Seven Year Itch") Director: Alfred Hitchcock (3) Writer: Teleplay, Francis M. Cockrell (3) - Story, Anthony Armstrong 11 -. "Guilty Witness" - Starring: Judith Evelyn (Miss Lonelyhearts in "Rear Window"), Kathleen Maguire (Obie Award for Distinguished Performance by an Actress as Leona Samish in "The Time of the Cuckoo"), Joe Mantell (Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor as Angie in "Marty") Director: Robert Stevens (3) Writer: Teleplay, Robert C. Dennis (3) - Story, Morris Hersham 12. - "Santa Claus and the 10th Avenue Kid" - Starring: Barry Fitzgerald (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as Father Fitzgibbon in "Going my Way") Director: Don Weis Writer: Teleplay, Marian B. Cockrell (2) - Story, Margaret Cousins 13. - "The Cheney Vase" - Starring: Patricia Collinge (Birdie Hubbard in "The Little Foxes" - Premiered Feb 15, 1939 at the National Theater, Washington, DC), Darren McGavin (2) Director: Robert Stevens (4) Writer: Robert Blees 14. - "A Bullet for Baldwin" - Starring: John Qualen (Muley in "The Grapes of Wrath," Earl Williams in "His Girl Friday," Norwegian resistance member in "Casablanca"), Sebastian Cabot (Giles French in "Family Affair") Director: Jus Addiss (2) Writer: Teleplay, Eustace Cockrell and Francis M. Cockrell (4) - Story, Joseph Ruscoll 15. "The Big Switch" - Directed by Don Weis (2), Written by - Teleplay: Richard Carr (3), Story: Cornell Woolrich ("It Had To Be Murder" (source for "Rear Window"), "Goodbye, New York" on "Suspense") Starring: George Mathews (Sergeant Ruby in "The Eve of St. Mark"), Beverly Michaels (Betty in "Pickup") 16. - "You Got To Have Luck" - Starring: John Cassavetes (Academy Award Nominations for Best Supporting Actor as Private Victor Franko in "The Dirty Dozen," Best Original Screenplay for "Faces," and Best Director for "A Woman under the Influence"), Marisa Pavan (Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress as Rosa delle Rose in "The Rose Tattoo," married to Jean-Pierre Aumont for 45 years) Director: Robert Stevens (5) Writer: Teleplay, Eustace Cockrell, Francis M. Cockrell - Story, S.R. Ross 17. - "The Older Sister" - Directed by Robert Stevens (6), Written by: Teleplay - Robert C. Dennis (4), Story - Lillian de la Torre (Writer of "Dr. Sam Johnson: Detector") Featuring Joan Lorring (Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress as Bessy Watty in "The Corn is Green"), Carmen Matthews (Vinne in "Static" on "The Twilight Zone" (xx), Mrs. Boatwright in "Sounder"), Polly Rowles (Helen Donaldson on "The Defenders") 18. - "Shopping for Death" - Directed by Robert Stevens (7), Written by Ray Bradbury (Writer of "Farenheit 451," "The Martian Chronicles," and "I Sing the Body Electric") Starring: Jo Van Fleet (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress as Cathy Ames in "East of Eden"), Robert Harris (Seth Bushwell in "Peyton Place"), John Qualen (2) 19. - "The Derelicts" - Directed by Robert Stevenson (3), Written by: Teleplay - Robert C. Dennis (5), Story - Terence Maples (Writer of "The Circuit" on "National Velvet") Featuring Robert Newton (Long John Silver in "Treasure Island"), Philip Reed (Kiing Toranshah in "Harum Scarum"), Peggy Knudsen (Diedre in "A Stolen Life"), Johnny Silver (Benny Southstreet in "Guys and Dolls"), Robert Foulk (Mr. Wheeler in "Green Acres"), Cyril Delavanti (3 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (xx))
  2. I saw Aziz Ansari on an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, liked him, so I thought I'd give his show, "Parks and Recreation" a whirl. Well, I haven't watched any of it yet, but I'm going to watch the pilot perhaps tonight, and I didn't want to lose all this title-tag information, so I'm posting now, will edit later. BTW, I don't summarize plots - just as I didn't with my Complete! Series! Of! Night! Gallery! Commentaries! I write these both as a (hopefully entertaining) supplement for people who have either just watched the episode, are in the middle of watching it, or are simply trying to refresh their memory in the future (that's why I include pictures that I think are representative of each episode); these are definitely not "reviews," and are just as much for my own future reference as for other people's benefit (I figure, if I'm going to spend five minutes jotting down notes for myself, why not spend seven minutes making things enjoyable for others?) Halfway into the third episode, I see no reason not to continue watching Parks and Recreation (I really like it!), so let me know if you want to see anything more than what I'm already doing (there is no better "guide" than watching the episode itself, and these commentaries aren't unlike reading the morning paper after you've already watched the Monday Night Football game). *** SPOILERS *** List of Characters in Parks and Recreation which contains look-ahead descriptions of what they end up doing. Season One 1. "Pilot" - Apr 9, 2009: <--- Leslie falls into the pit. Written by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, Directed by Greg Daniels [Notes: I'd never even heard of this show before this evening. From what I can gather from the pilot episode, this is very much of a tongue-in-cheek, self-aware farce, somewhat along the lines of "Arrested Development," but in a pseudo-documentary manner, as if the whole thing is being filmed like the live episode of "ER," "Ambush." Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) takes her mid-level bureaucrat role very seriously (and I suspect this series has more than its share of bloopers from the actors laughing when they shouldn't), Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) is a cocky, lackadaisical, skirt-chaser as Knope's underling for the Department of Parks and Recreation in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana, and Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) is a parody of a serious, concerned citizen. I can tell after ten minutes that the fourth wall is broken perhaps more often than I'd prefer - time will tell whether or not this gets to be too much. Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider) is a funny satire of a "go-getter" - a friend of Leslie's (who slept with her five years before and briefly forgot he did) - and Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) plays the hilarious injured musician-boyfriend of Ann's - he hurt his leg falling into the pit, and uses a robotic clamp to grab beer bottles, etc. (his opening scene is really very funny). Summer intern April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) is a archetypal gum-chewing, disconnected teen, and Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) is the seemingly Libertarian boss whom Leslie needs to ask for permission to turn the pit into a park. Seven major characters were introduced during this half-hour in a very easy-to-digest fashion, and I loved this pilot episode.] 2. "Canvassing" - Apr 16, 2009: <--- The team studying canvassing brochures written by (who else?) Leslie Written by Rachel Axler, Directed by Seth Gordon [Notes: I don't know if I'm going to get tired of this, but so far it's pretty darned entertaining. I read that before the Pilot was shown, Leslie was written to be a less-likable character, and I think it was a really good idea making the audience like her more; otherwise, it would have been a chore to get through this. I'm writing this as I'm watching (going back-and-forth), and so far my least-favorite character is Mark Brendanawicz because he's just so blatantly chill, but maybe that difference - which is standing out a little too much right now - will make him grow on me going forward. The sex-offender scene was a riot, and fortunately not too overplayed (that's a good sign, although it could have been even more subtle). Subtlety will be so important in this series - the man who stood up at the town-hall meeting, complaining about the loud guitar playing, overacted his role at first, and it's little things like that which can ruin a series (although his "You suck!" comment was funny) - I'm writing this, turning a blind eye to the fact that it ran for seven seasons. Oh, this show is shaping up to be quite amusing.] 3. "The Reporter" - Apr 23, 2009: <--- Shauna Malwae-Tweep talking with Leslie. Written by Daniel J. Goor, Directed by Jeffrey Blitz [Notes: Yes, this is a *lot* like "Arrested Development" in that there are humorous scenes that are less than one-second long (I'm thinking now about the online Scrabble move FISHING -> IS). Oh, how I love the little moments like when Mark walks out with his arm around the reporter, Shauna Malwae-Tweep (Alison Becker) - the entire scene takes about one-quarter second - it's this rapid-fire, 50-funny-things-in-30-minutes, slapstick-like, machine-gun comedy that I liked about Arrested Development (although that show may have been a touch *too* subtle for mass acceptance). I wonder if "America's Funniest Home Videos" with Bob Saget was the precursor of this type of humor. In a 30-minute show, 26 minutes of it would be either commercials or Bob Saget yucking it up, and all you wanted was for Bob to Shut! Up! and play the next videos in rapid succession. You have to love the allophone (with "t" and "d") when Shauna comes trotting out of Mark's pick-up truck: "Hi! Sorry I'm late!" ... "Do ... you ... live near Mark?" "No, not at all." Yeah, Mark is growing on me, all right. And Leslie's subsequent seat-recline was laugh-out-loud funny. Does anyone think that Leslie looks like "someone we all know?" (And to a lesser degree, same with Mark? I can think of people I've met in my past who look a lot like them.) Through this episode, the director appears to be breaking the fourth wall with restraint, so it's actually a plus at this point rather than an annoyance. Andy's off-camera "Men are dawgs!" type of comments are uproarious. I had an audible "Oh no!" when Mark said, "I wouldn't say ... *romantically* involved ...." How did I not know this show existed?] 4, "Boy's Club" - Apr 30, 2009: <-- Ann and Leslie crashing the "Boy's Club" Written by Alan Yang, Directed by Michael McCullers [Notes: Dog-poop fights: If you can't lick 'em, join 'em. During the "apology video" to women politicians, I looked at the timer, and realized I was almost halfway through the episode - without commercials (on Amazon), this show *flies* by. One thing that can slip by the viewer in these episodes is the cinematography - the camera work is remarkable, and I have to think it's as much directorial skill as camera work because the timing is just so awesome. Leslie remarks on Ron's "full moustache," and in the next quarter-second, the camera moves in for a droll close-up; then it's over. And I love the allegory of dog-poop fights with Leslie's personal Watergate (because she opened a gift basket from a potential contractor). I kind of wish I wasn't writing these notes because every time I laugh out loud (like during Leslie's tearful filmed confession), I cut over here to write something. Hmmm ... The chase down the street on crutches and without pants! Writing detailed commentary about this show is like reviewing individual dishes at Minibar - it just doesn't work, but man oh man I'm loving this show so far.] 5. "The Banquet" - May 7, 2009: <--- Leslie sporting a mannish do. Written by Tucker Cawley, Directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller [Notes: They're really making the most out the murals on the wall of the Parks and Recreation building which, in case anyone doesn't already know, were ubiquitous things from Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Works Progress Administration" - we have some here in Washington, DC. If anyone has a chance to go into the impressive Ariel Rios Federal Building on 11th and Penn (where the EPA is headquartered), make sure to walk up or down the awesome spiral staircases (where hangs a Foucault Pendulum): On each floor (on both sides of the building), there are WPA murals which look a *lot* like the ones in Parks and Recreation. If you know any EPA employee, ask them to give you a tour of this amazing building - it's worth a special effort just to see the staircases and murals. I swear, so far my favorite character in this show is Andy (the injured husband) - every single thing he says, or slight move he makes, causes me to giggle. I am so glad I'm writing this show up because if I wasn't, I could go through the entire series in about four days - I don't think I've yet seen a minute-long slice without it being funny. "The Banquet" may be my least-favorite episode of the first five, but it was still a winner - how did this show not have ten-million viewers?] 6. "Rock Show" - May 14, 2009: <--- Andy gets his cast off (and gets cast off by Ann) Written by Norm Hiscock, Directed by Michael Schur (2) [Notes: Finally! Some character development! And some plot advancement, but they had to wait until the season finale to do it. The one major storyline here is Ann throwing Andy out of the house after learning that he waited an extra two weeks before having his cast removed (because "he liked her serving him dinner"), and the two minor storylines are Leslie and Paul nuzzling (after hooking up once about five years ago), and Paul subsequently falling into the pit like Andy did, apparently hurting himself (but we don't really know since the season ended). This was refreshing, having some degree of continuity to the series other than "The Pit" (which is featured in one of Andy's awful rock songs in this episode - his band is just terrible. Rather than having this be "a show about nothing" like Seinfeld (or, should I say, "a show that deeply examines one seemingly unimportant construct, like "a meeting, or "a canvassing," etc. which is what Seinfeld did), it's refreshing to have the characters change (even a little bit) and grow, so the viewer feels they're investing something into the series, rather than simply watching random episodes and not missing a thing if they don't. Leslie's date with the older bureaucrat made me shiver - that was *really* creepy, in a very amusing sort of way - that man (Ron Perkins) played his role perfectly. One other thing: When Andy got his cast off, it was *gross*! And, Season One is a wrap and a thumbs-up. Note: All six shows had different directors and writers (eleven people total) except for Michael Schur, who worked on two episodes.
  3. Don't worry - I'm not going to subject you to extensive reviews of "The Mothers-in-Law" any more than I would "Petticoat Junction." But I was a classic, latchkey child growing up, and The Mothers-in-Law is a show that I watched dozens of times, so I thought I'd watch the first episode as a reminiscence. I had no idea the Executive Producer was Desi Arnaz, and this must have been premiered right after the breakup of Desilu Productions (which went defunct in 1967). This aired on NBC, and I read that they aired it on Sunday evenings against "The Ed Sullivan Show," which pretty much guaranteed a short run; I'm pretty sure I only caught afternoon reruns, although I don't remember. I recall, for some odd reason, liking Eve Arden as a child - my son accuses me of being a "hipster," of all things, because I eschew popularity (I dispute this, but that's another subject) - anyway, if it were true, my liking Eve Arden as a young child would be an obvious early example of such a thing. Yes, she was very popular, but not among young children. The most striking inconsistency in this show is the role of Roger Buell, which was played by Roger C. Carmel in season one, and Richard Deacon in season two. Does anyone know if unannounced character changes are as common these days as they were fifty years ago? it used to happen fairly often. "The Mothers-in-Law's" premise is two neighboring families, Eve and Herb Hubbard (played by Eve Arden and Herbert Rudley), and Kaye and Roger Buell (played by Kaye Ballard and Roger C. Carmel / Richard Deacon). Son Jerry Buell (Jerry Fogel) married daughter Suzie Hubbard (Deborah Walley), hence the entanglement of the two families, and the name of the series - Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard being the "mothers-in-law." Considering how silly and unremarkable the show was, there are some fairly big names throughout the cast, and between Desi Arnaz, Madelyn Davis (aka Madelyn Pugh), and Bob Carroll, Jr., it's little wonder that "The Mothers-in-Law" was a screwball comedy in a similar vein to "I Love Lucy." Anyway, what harm is there in watching the first episode? Season One (Sep 10, 1967 - Apr 28, 1968) 1.1 - "On Again, Off Again, Lohengrin" - Sep 10, 1967 - Directed by Desi Arnaz - (Ricky Ricardo on "I Love Lucy."), Written by Madelyn Davis (Writer or Co-Writer of 181 episodes of "I Love Lucy" (2)) and Bob Carroll, Jr. (Writer or Co-Writer of 181 episodes of "I Love Lucy" (3)) [This is a standard sit-com opener where the characters are introduced, the wives get into a fight, they cry and make up (that's the picture), the wedding is announced, and the future mothers-in-law meddle in the wedding - there's nothing special at all here. "Lohengrin" - aside from being a famous opera by Richard Wagner - is also a medieval Germanic legend about a knight (Lohengrin) who comes to rescue and defend a duchess - the obvious reference being to the mothers-in-law and their meddling.]
  4. I'm hoping someone unbiased and reasonable can help me sort out "The Tonight Show" fiasco involving Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno. I've seen mostly four people (all four of whom openly make fun of Jay Leno's physical attributes - his high voice, his chin, etc.), and three out of the four - in my opinion - seem like they walked out of a circus freak show: David Letterman, Howard Stern, and Conan O'Brien. The fourth, Jimmy Kimmel, doesn't have any physical characteristics to mock, but he comes across as very mean. Of the four, I see net worths, respectively, of $400 million, $600 million, $85 million, and $35 million. Of the four, I see absolutely no talent, and absolutely no likability. If you ask me, "Then why are they so rich and popular," I will direct you to a certain someone who got 40 million votes. All four accuse - viciously accuse - Jay Leno of being predatory, and hatefully mock his physical features. There's one thing about both Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon that none of the four can claim: a gentle, audience likability factor. Maybe Leno aggressively tried to get his show back instead of (as Howard Stern or David Letterman would put it) "being a man and moving to another network." How on earth does that make you a man? Leno didn't want to relinquish that job, and NBC gave it back to him. So what? None of these four people have any credibility (or talent) in my eyes, and they are all despicable to me. So, would someone here - someone reasonable and objective - please explain to me why Jay Leno is so hated ... or is he, outside of just a small handful of multi-millionaire would-be Tonight Show hosts?
  5. "Star Trek" (TOS) Main Cast Series created by Gene Roddenberry William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk Leonard Nimoy as First Officer Spock DeForest Kelley as Doctor Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy James Doohan as Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott George Takei as Helmsman Hikaru Sulu Nichelle Nichols as Communications Officer Nyota Uhura Walter Koenig as Ensign Pavel Chekhov Majel Barrett as Nurse Christine Chapel Grace Lee Whitney as Yeoman Janice Rand Eddie Paskey furtively appeared in 57 episodes, most famously as Lieutenant Leslie. Season 1 (Sep 8, 1966 - Apr 13, 1967) (available for free on Amazon Prime) 1.0 - "The Cage" (Pilot) - Original Air Date November 27, 1988 (not a typo): Directed by Robert Butler, Written by Gene Roddenberry (Creator of "Star Trek") Featuring Jeffrey Hunter (Martin Pawley in "The Searchers," Harold in "Don't Look Behind You" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour"), Susan Oliver (Annabel Delaney in "Annabel" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (2), 3 Episodes on "Route 66"), Teenya in "People Are Alike All Over" on "The Twilight Zone"), Meg Wylie (Sister Florence in "The Night of the Meek" on "The Twilight Zone" (2)), John Hoyt (Principal Warneke in "Blackboard Jungle," Ross in "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" and Dr. Loren in "The Lateness of the Hour" on "The Twilight Zone" (3), Bifrost Alien in "The Bellero Shield" on "The Outer Limits") [Many, and I would venture to say "Most," don't realize that the primary Talosian is played by a woman, Meg Wylie. It's truly interesting to see her in "The Night of the Meek," because you can get a good look at her as she's leading a prayer service. Susan Oliver is the famous "Green Girl" who is every guy's Dream Girl, pictured at the close of many Star Trek episodes. John Hoyt plays a solid (if critically overrated) role as the principal in "Blackboard Jungle." This is not *the* most enjoyable of episodes, but the more you watch Star Trek, the more you realize that it's *such* a classic, that it's important enough to demand a viewing, if not several. It's an important work, and sets everything in motion, but in my opinion, the two-part "remake" - "The Menagerie" - improves upon this original, and integrates this "true pilot" episode with the rest of the series, and if you have to watch one or the other, make it "The Menagerie," but that in no way detracts from the value of this, which eventually deserves its own viewing. The series was right to eventually publish this as its own episode in 1988.] 1.1 - "The Man Trap," - September 8, 1966 - Directed by Marc Daniels (Director of the first 38 episodes of "I Love Lucy"), Written by George Clayton Johnson (Writer of "Ocean's Eleven" (Novel), Writer of 7 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (4), Co-Writer of "Logan's Run" (Novel)) Featuring Jeanne Bal (Penny Foster in "An Effigy in Snow" on "Route 66" (2)), Alfred Ryder (Goudy in "True Grit"), Michael Zaslow (Roger Thorpe on "The Guiding Light"), John Arndt (Mr. Pool in "Amy"), Bruce Watson (Technician in "Johnny Got His Gun," Tom in "The Swinging Barmaids") Budd Albright (Stuntman on all 76 episodes of "The Name of the Game"), Sandra Lee Gimpel (Prolific stuntwoman who also played a Talosian in "The Cage"), Ed Madden as Enterprise Geologist (Dr. Gary in "Man in a Chariot" on "The Fugitive") [The death of Crewman Darnell (Michael Zaslow) was supposedly the impetus of the first-ever utterance of the now-legendary line by Dr. McCoy, "He's dead, Jim" - or, at least. so say the reviews online, but, pssst, here's a detail: McCoy actually says, "Dead, Jim." And for the record, after the second death of Crewman Sturgeon (John Arndt), McCoy said, "He's dead." So, we still have no, "He's dead, Jim." Crewman Green (Bruce Watson) was the third death, but The Salt Vampire (technically named the "M-113 Creature") stole his identity, so there was no report at all of any death from McCoy to Kirk. Navigator Barnhart (Budd Albright) was reported via communicator from Sulu to Kirk as "Casualty, Captain," so despite the first four deaths in this episode, there's not a single "He's dead, Jim." And Professor Robert Crater (Alfred Ryder) makes *five deaths* in one episode, but Kirk noticed him, and simply said, "Dead." The Salt Vampire - like the primary Talosian, played by a woman: the successful and prolific Hollywood stuntwoman, Sandra Lee Gimpel, is the sixth and final death - I cannot remember *any* Star Trek episode with six deaths - five human - in sequence (as opposed to en masse). Also, I think there's a philosophical inconsistency here with wanting to destroy the creature (instead of simply feeding it with salt) as opposed to, for example, The Horta in "The Devil in the Dark." This was not a murderous creature; it was merely trying to eat. All deceased characters are listed by t (heir real names up above - and who knew that both primary alien-antagonists in the first two episodes were played by females? I'm probably the only person on Earth who knows, or cares, about things like this - God, I'm a loser, but damn I'm good at ferreting out detail. NB - About 2/3 of the way through the episode, immediately after Professor Robert Crater fires on Kirk and Spock to frighten them, Spock crawls backwards - in my opinion, it would be physically impossible to do this without having a production assistant pulling on his right leg: I think he was being pulled backwards - have a look and see what you think.] 1.2 - "Charlie X" - September 14, 1966 - Directed by Lawrence Dobkin (Kell in "The Mind's Eye" on "Star Trek: The Next Generation"), Written by - Teleplay: Dorothy C. Fontana (Co-Writer of 5 episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (2)), Story: Gene Roddenberry (2) Featuring Robert Walker (Michael Ely in "Across Walnuts and Wine" on "Route 66" (3) Jack (communist - the very first (and very last) person you see here) in "Easy Rider"), Charles J. Stewart (Clergyman in "Marsha, Queen of Diamonds" and "Marsha's Scheme of Diamonds" on "Batman"), Dallas Mitchell (Chat Hollis in "Even Stones Have Eyes" on "Route 66" (4) Tom Gavin in "Madigan"), Pat McNulty (Computer Technician in "The House of God"), Bob Herron (U.S. Navy boxing champion, Prolific stuntman), Don Eitner (Tony Barrata in "Queen of Blood"), Abraham Sofaer (Dr. Stillman on "The Mighty Casey" on "The Twilight Zone" (5), Arch on "Demon with a Glass Hand" on "The Outer Limits" (2), Haji on "I Dream of Jeannie") [Did you know that "Charlie X" (Charlie is played by Robert Walker) took its inspiration from "It's a Good Life," the infamous "Twilight Zone" episode which featured Bill Mumy as a little boy, terrorizing, and in complete control of, seemingly everything and everybody? If you've seen both episodes, the similarities will become instantly obvious to you, and if you notice the (very brief, but very obvious) actions of Antares Captain Ramart (Charles J. Stewart) and Navigator Tom Nellis (Dallas Mitchell), they're almost *exactly* like those of the townspeople in "It's a Good Life," although if you look at Charlie's face immediately beforehand, they were either willed into, or scared into, saying the nice things they did. About a third of the way through the episode, you'll hear a transmission to the bridge from the ship's galley (it's Thanksgiving), which says, "Sir, I put meat loaf in the ovens; there's turkeys in there now" - that voice is none other than Gene Roddenberry's, making a cameo. When Kirk takes Charlie into the workout area, the burly gentleman (Bob Herron) Kirk picks out to help him demonstrate some judo throws makes the mistake of momentarily laughing at Charlie, and Charlie sends him "to the cornfield," as the folks in "It's a Good Life" might say. Right after that, Kirk calls security, and two crewmen come in to take Charlie to his quarters, where he has now been confined - distrustful and angry, Charlie mentally knocks them down, and makes one of their phasers disappear - this kid is quickly becoming an obvious threat of unfathomable power, all controlled by the glands of an out-or-control, mercurial, 17-year-old who thinks everyone hates him and is "out to get him." Kirk takes enormous risk by standing up to him as a stern, paternal figure, when he knows full well that Charlie could blink him out of existence at any moment. At this moment, the viewer should take note of the brilliant lighting employed on Charlie's eyes (this is done throughout the episode), making him look even more supernatural and threatening. The possibility arises that Charlie is actually a Thasian - legendary "beings" with powers of transmutation, but McCoy swears that this isn't so - Charlie's readings are clearly those of an Earthling. The Navigator on the bridge during this time of crisis is a new, possibly one-time-only actor, played by Don Eitner, instructed by Kirk to lay in a course *away* from Colony Five, Kirk's hypothesis being that Charlie is too dangerous to be there. You know, for someone so uneducated, Charlie sure has a way with making Spock recite passages from William Blake (which Spock pulls off brilliantly). They wrote Kirk's Yeoman, Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney) off the show after several episodes of the first season - a shame, really, because Janice had the perfect combination of "beauty" and "bitch" - and that braided hair! Thankfully, when things are looking really bad, Deus ex Machina cometh to the rescue in the form of The Thasian (Abraham Sofaer)] 1.3 - "Where No Man Has Gone Before" - September 21, 1966 - Directed by James Goldstone (Director of "The Sixth Finger" and "The Inheritors" on "The Outer Limits"), Written by Samuel A. Peeples (Co-Writer of "Walking Tall: Final Chapter") Featuring Gary Lockwood (Frank Poole in "2001: A Space Odyssey," Jim Figg in "The Ring with the Red Velvet Ropes" in "Night Gallery"), Sally Kellerman (Ingrid Larkman in "The Human Factor" and Judith Bellero in "The Bellero Shield" (2) on "The Outer Limits," Sally Benner in "Thou Still Unravished Bride" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (3), as Major Margaret J. "Hot Lips" Hoolihan in MASH), Lloyd Haynes (Pete Dixon on "Room 222"), Paul Carr (Young man in "The Wrong Man"), Paul Fix (Judge Taylor in "To Kill a Mockingbird") [Wow, I cannot imagine how "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was televised after the first two episodes, at least not without a *lot* of explaining - either that, or television audiences in 1966 were so unobservant that they may as well have been staring at a blank screen. There are so many discrepancies between this (which was obviously filmed before the other two, just like "The Cage") and episodes 1 and 2, that it's almost like two different shows. Where do I even begin? There's Mr. Spock, who looks and acts completely different than the Vulcan we all came to know and love, the uniforms, the anomaly at the edge of the galaxy (which we never hear about again) and the equipment (for example, the "phaser rifle," which makes its only appearance in the entire series here), and that's just for starters. There *must* have been some commentary (in TV Guide? in the preview?) about how this was an early, experimental episode that represented Star Trek as it might have been, but isn't. When I was a kid watching reruns, I always wondered why some Star Treks were "different," with a strange-looking Mr. Spock, and just a different overall "feel," but you don't really question things when you're a child. Aside from these enormous differences, there's one blatant discrepancy: the name on Kirk's grave: "James P. Kirk," when his name was actually "James Tiberius Kirk," which I suppose was decided on later, assuming audiences wouldn't be watching episodes fifty-years later on Hulu. Gary Lockwood had a major role in "2001: A Space Odyssey," but then essentially vanished, and Sally Kellerman played "Hot Lips Hoolihan" (who we usually associate with Loretta Swit) in the movie version of "MASH" - this episode almost certainly helped them land both of those roles. The ending of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is perhaps the first time we see the "softer side" of Captain Kirk, as he makes special mentions for both Mitchell (Lockwood) and Denner (Kellerman) in the official log, declaring that they both died in the line of duty (which, in truth, they did).] 1.4 - "The Naked Time" - September 28, 1966 - Directed by: Marc Daniels (2), Written by: John D. F. Black (Co-Writer of "The Naked Now" on "Star Trek - The Next Generation" (3)) Featuring: Bruce Hyde as Lt. Kevin Thomas Riley (Professor of Communication Studies at St. Cloud State University), Stewart Moss as Lt. Joe Tormolen (Dr. John Beck in "The Bat People." Website) [One of the most amusing (and uncharacteristic) lines in the entire series occurred when Sulu appeared on the bridge with his rapier, Spock takes him down with the Vulcan Neck Pinch, and then says, "Get d'Artagnan here to Sick Bay." Another gem was just before that when Sulu says to Uhura, "I'll save you, fair maiden!" and Uhura replies, "Neither." Although Bruce Hyde did a fine job as Lt. Riley, I found his "Irish Ballad" *so* annoying that I have a hard time watching this episode - viewers almost need to filter it out to preserve their sanity. George Takei, in his autobiography, "To the Stars," mentions that "The Naked Time" is his favorite episode. The funniest piece of trivia is near the beginning of the episode, when Spock and Tormolen are on planet Psi 2000 in their red suits, hovering over a frozen woman - in real life, the woman was a mannequin, and the red suits (remember, the show was on a very tight budget) were repurposed 1960s Art Deco-style shower curtains - ponder, for a moment, just how low-rent this is, and how silly the actors must have felt.] 1.5 - "The Enemy Within" - Oct 5, 1966 - Directed by: Leo Penn (Primetime Emmy Award Nominee for Outstanding Director in a Drama Series for "The Mississippi," Father of Sean Penn), Written by: Richard Matheson (Writer of 16 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (6), "Duel," The Big Surprise" and "The Funeral" on "Night Gallery" (2)) Featuring: Jim Goodwin as Farrell (Fakir in "Emperor of the North"), Ed Madden (2) as Fisher [It says a lot about male nature that the first thing Alter-Ego Kirk does is go for the Saurian Brandy (and yet, he *didn't* go for Yeoman Rand; until he had a couple of drinks - then, he does. That was a pretty racy shot of Rand running away from Kirk, btw.). I didn't realize that Ed Madden (the geologist Fisher), who slipped and fell down the rock, covering himself in yellow powder, was also the geologist in "The Cage," having small speaking roles in both episodes. It's odd that, after Scotty showed both Spock and Kirk the dog (who was also beamed up with its fierce alter-ego), that they didn't instantly piece together the possibility of an alter-ego Kirk. Speaking of which, William Shatner is *much* better at portraying the "Gentle Kirk" than the alter-ego Kirk - he has a terrible makeup job, and this is one of the first (of many) examples of his horrific overacting. "The Enemy Within" is the episode with Sulu and the landing party stranded on the planet's surface, which goes down to -120 degrees Farenheit at night (they nearly freeze to death). Why couldn't the Enterprise have shot a phaser down onto the surface and heated up a rock for temporary warmth?] 1.6 - "Mudd's Women" - Oct 13, 1966 - Directed by Harvey Hart (Directed 5 episodes of "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (4)), Written by - Teleplay: Stephen Kandel (Screenplay for "Battle of the Coral Sea"), Story: Gene Roddenberry (3) Featuring Roger C. Carmel as Leo Walsh aka Harcourt Fenton Mudd (Rogel Buell in "The Mothers-in-Law"), Karen Steele as Eve McHuron (Virginia in "Marty"), Susan Denberg as Magda Kovacs (Christina in "Frankenstein Created Woman"), Maggie Thrett as Ruth Bonaventure (Prostitute in "Cover Me Babe"), Gene Dynarski as Ben Childress (Man in Cafe in "Duel" (2)), Jim Goodwin as Lieutenant John Farrell (Fakir in "Emperor of the North") ["Bridge to Transporter Room ..." "It's looking like two, Captain." As harmless as it seems, this is an early example (a late example?) of human trafficking - an exact contemporary to the 1967 Comedy, "Thoroughly Modern Millie," the viewer needs to suspend belief about this portion to be able to flow with the comedic aspects of this episode - for example, when the three lovely ladies beam aboard, Scottie, McCoy, and a couple others are hypnotized by the three ladies' beauty, and the dialog - Mudd (talking about Kirk's directness over the intercomm): "That fellow sounded a mite upset, didn't he?" McCoy (hypnotized, and not fully coherent): "Yes. Yes they are." None of this would be funny (which it is) if you can't suspend your knowledge of human trafficking, although the women in this case are somewhat willing participants, as Mudd gives them a hypnotic "beauty drug" so they can attract husbands - not only are they radiantly beautiful, but they also get what they want more than anything: a husband! Sure, it's somewhat neanderthal, but these are lonely miners on lonely planets without any female companionship, these beautiful women came from crummy situations they were happy to escape from, and this was filmed before human trafficking became exposed as a serious issue in our world (the late 1960s) - well, it's better than being Shanghaied, I suppose - now *that* would have sucked. Although "Mudd's Women" is considered a "comic Star Trek," the ship is in very real danger, and the Enterprise comes dangerously close to perishing - all because they were good-hearted enough to pluck Harry Mudd and his "cargo" out of the asteroid belt, almost completely draining their dilithium crystals in the process. This is a deceptively complex episode, with several storylines running in parallel.] Episode 7: "What Are Little Girls Made Of," October 20, 1966: 1.8 - "Miri," - October 27, 1966 - Director - Vincent McEveety (Director of "Firecreek"), Writer - Adrian Spies (Emmy Award Winner for writing "What's God to Julius" on "Dr. Kildare") Featuring Kim Darby (Mattie Ross in "True Grit"), Jim Goodwin (Survivor in "Ice Station Zebra"), Michael J. Pollard (Shoeshine Boy in "Appointment at Eleven" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominee as C.W. Moss in "Bonnie and Clyde"), David L. Ross (Reporter in "Rocky II"), Keith Taylor (Pizza King Delivery Guy in "Archie is Worried about his Job" on "All in the Family," Mouse in "Dirt Duel" on "Adam-12"), Ed McCready (Crook in "The Penguin Goes Straight" on "Batman"), Kellie Flanagan (Candice Muir on "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir"), Stephen McEveety (Co-Producer of "The Passion of the Christ"), John Megna (Charles Baker "Dill" Harris in "To Kill a Mockingbird") Episode 9: "Dagger Of The Mind," November 3, 1966: Episode 10: "The Corbomite Maneuver," November 10, 1966: Episode 11: "The Menagerie, Part One," November 17, 1966: <--- "Captain Pike, were any record tapes of this type made during your voyage?" <Beep ... Beep.> Episode 12: "The Menagerie, Part Two," November 24, 1966: <--- "Captain Kirk ... Captain Pike, he has an illusion, and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant." Episode 13: "The Conscience Of The King," December 8, 1966: <--- "Are you Kodos?" Directed by Gerd Oswald, Written by Barry Trivers Episode 14: "Balance Of Terror," December 15, 1966: <--- "He's a sorcerer, that one - he reads the thoughts of my mind." Directed by Vincent McEveety (xx), Written by Paul Schneider (Writer of "The Looters") Featuring Mark Lenard (Prosecuting Attorney at Fort Grant in "Hang 'em High," Appeared in 5 Star Trek Films, Sarek in "Sarek" and "Unification" on "Star Trek: The Next Generation") Lawrence Montaigne (Mr. Glee in "The Joker's Last Laugh" and "The Joker's Epitaph" on "Batman") John Warburton (Bob in "Captain Fury") Paul Comi (Modeer in "The Crimson Witness" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (xx), 3 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (xx)) Barbara Baldavin (Nurse Holmby on "Medical Center") Garry Walberg (Colonel in "Where is Everybody" on "The Twilight Zone" (xx) [This is an early version of the film "Das Boot," a quasi-submarine episode which takes its inspiration from the film, "The Enemy Below." Recall also that the cold open features the (almost-)happy wedding between Lieutenants Angela Martine and Robert Tomlinson (Stephen Mines), before crew members are called to battle stations. "Balance of Terror" is also the first episode in which Romulans are ever seen, and prejudice becomes a main sub-plot when it's revealed that they look a lot like Mr. Spock; ironically, Mark Lenard, who plays the Romulan Captain, would famously go on to play Mr. Spock's father, Sarek, in many future Star Trek episodes and movies, without so much as a reference to this episode.] Episode 15: "Shore Leave," December 29, 1966: Episode 16: "The Galileo Seven," January 5, 1967: 1.17 - "The Squire Of Gothos" - January 12, 1967 - <--- "I warn you that anything you might say has already been taken down in evidence against you." Directed by Don McDougall (Director of 42 episodes of "The Virginian"), Written by Paul Schneider (xx) Featuring William Campbell (Brent Reno (the first person to sing on-screen with Elvis Presley) in "Love Me Tender"), Richard Carlyle (Rezin Bowie in "The Iron Mistress") 1.18 - "Arena" - January 19, 1967: <--- Why doesn't the Gorn just bite his neck during this fight? Directed by, Joseph Pevney (Shorty Pulaski in "Body and Soul"), Written by - Teleplay: Gene L. Coon (Screenplay of "The Killers") and Carey Wilber (Producer of Teleplay of "A Question of Rank" on "Gulf Playhouse"), Story: Carey Wilber Featuring Vic Perrin (The "Control Voice" in "The Outer Limits"), Bobby Clark (The 10th Avenue Kid in "Santa Claus and the Tenth Avenue Kid" and Charles in "The West Warlock Time Capsule" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"), Ted Cassidy, Carolyne Barry (Female Engineer in "Home Soil" on "Star Trek: The Next Generation") [Aside from the single worst fight in the history of television, the odds of Captain Kirk being able to roll that huge boulder (which probably weighs 1,000 pounds) *up a hill*, to drop it on the Gorn, are precisely zero. It's incredible that Bobby Clark played *both* "The 10th Avenue Kid" *and* "The Gorn," although The Gorn was voiced by Ted Cassidy - young Bobby certainly grew up a lot between the two roles. Vic Perrin (the voice who "controls the horizontal, controls the vertical, etc." on "The Outer Limits," also had a voice role here: He was the first Metron you hear in this episode - now, if we only knew what he looked like (actually, Perrin was in plenty of roles). People remember "Arena" for the absurd fight, and the impossible lifting of the boulder by Kirk, but if you can put those two things aside, it's really a very good episode. One other thing you need to overlook: Assuming "Warp Factor 1" is equal to the speed of light (which I always assumed), at the end of the show, Mr. Sulu tells Captain Kirk that they're 500 parsecs from where they were, and Kirk tells him to head back at Warp Factor 1 - that would take a good 1,600 years., so they might want to speed it up a little bit.] "Gorn To Be Wild" on startrek.com 1.19 - "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" - January 26, 1967 - Directed by Michael O'Herilhy, Written by Dorothy C. Fontana (xx), Featuring Roger Perry (Dr. James Hayes in "Count Yorga, Vampire"), Hal Lynch (Big Henry in "The Way West"), Episode 20: "Court Martial," February 2, 1967: Episode 21: "The Return Of The Archons," February 9, 1967: Episode 22: "Space Seed," February 16, 1967: Directed by Marc Daniels (xx), Written by - Teleplay: Gene L. Coon (xx, Screenplay of "The Killers") and Carey Wilber (xx, Teleplay of "A Question of Rank" on "Gulf Playhouse"), Story: Carey Wilber Featuring Ricardo Montalbán (Tony "Pepe" Llorca in "Outlaw in Town" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (xx), Khan Noonien Singh in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," Mr. Roarke on "Fantasy Island"), Madlyn Rhue (Ara Rados in "Every Father's Daughter" on "Route 66" (xx), Consuela Sandino in "The Dark Pool" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (xx), Secretary Schwartz in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World") 1.23 - "A Taste Of Armageddon" - February 23, 1967 - Directed by Joseph Pevney (xx), Written by - Teleplay: Gene L. Coon (xx) and Robert Hammer (Director, Producer, and Writer of "Don't Answer the Phone!"), Story: Robert Hammer Featuring David Opatoshu (Dorn in "Valley of the Shadow" on "The Twilight Zone" (xx), Ralph Cashman in "A Feasability Study" on "The Outer Limits" (xx)), Gene Lyons (3 Episodes on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (xx), Psychiatrist in "King Nine Will Not Return" on "The Twilight Zone" (xx)), Barbara Babcock (Flora Alden in "Brenda" on "Night Gallery," Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series as Grace Gardner on "Hill Street Blues," Emmy Award Nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series as Dorothy Jennings on "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman") Episode 24: "This Side Of Paradise," March 2, 1967: 1.25 - "The Devil In The Dark" - March 9, 1967 - Directed by Joseph Pevney (xx), Written by Gene L. Coon (xx) Featuring Ken Lynch (Charlie in "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" on "The Twilight Zone," Bernie Ryan on "Log 43: Hostage" on "Adam-12," Jail Guard Callahan in ") Episode 26: "Errand Of Mercy," March 23, 1967: Episode 27: "The Alternative Factor," March 30, 1967: <--- "This is a parallel universe?" ... "Of course." Directed by Gerd Oswald, Written by Don Ingalls Episode 28: "The City On The Edge Of Forever," April 6, 1967: <--- "You deliberately stopped me, Jim. I could have saved her - do you know what you just did?" "He knows, doctor ... he knows." Episode 29: "Operation Annihilate," April 13, 1967: Episode 99: "The Cage," January 1, 1966: <--- "She has an illusion, and you have reality - may you find your way as pleasant."
  6. 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.]
  7. The Cast of Hill Street Blues, which includes the main ensemble and other recurring characters - these won't be listed under each episode, as there's no point in reinventing the wheel. Here are the credited actors in the pilot: Daniel J. Travanti as Capt. Francis Xavier "Frank" Furillo Michael Conrad as Sgt. Phil Freemason Esterhaus Michael Warren as Ofc. Bobby Hill Bruce Weitz as Det. Mick Belker James B. Sikking as Sgt. (later Lt./Sgt./Lt.) Howard Hunter Joe Spano as Sgt. (later Lt.) Henry Goldblume Barbara Bosson as Fay Furillo Taurean Blacque as Det. Neal Washington Kiel Martin as Det. J.D. LaRue Rene Enriquez as Lt. Ray Calletano (later Capt.) Betty Thomas as Ofc. (later Sgt.) Lucille Bates Charles Haid as Ofc. Andy Renko Veronica Hamel as Joyce Davenport Season One (Jan 15, 1981 - May 26, 1981) 1.1 - "Hill Street Station" - Directed by Robert Butler, Written by Michael Kozoll (Co-Creator of "Hill Street Blues") and Steven Bochco (Co-Creator of "Hill Street Blues") Featuring Panchito Gómez (Young Abraham in "Selena"), Trinidad Silva (Frog in "Colors"), Barbara Babcock (Emmy Nominee for "Outstanding Supporting Acrtress in a Drama Series" as Dorothy Jennings on "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"), Mark Metcalf (Doug Neidermeyer in "Animal House"), Steven Bauer (as Rocky Echevarria) (Manny Riberta in "Scarface"), Charles Seaverns (Real Estate Man in "Frances"), Veronica Redd (Mamie Johnson on "The Young and the Restless"), Eleanor McCoy (Emerald City Citizen and Poppy in "The Wiz," and Bird in Paradise and Najua in "Timbuktu!" on Broadway), Vernon Washington (Rev. Mills Vernon on "Roots: The Next Generations") [My TV days ended with my high school graduation, and I went *decades* without watching any television - for example, I've never seen "Dallas" in my life, and I'd never before seen "Hill Street Blues" either. The sheer number of characters in the ensemble cast is daunting, but the list of pictures above is more than sufficient to get you through this first episode - it will also help to know what the ranks mean within a police department, which are essential to learn (it will also help you during a traffic stop, to be able to address the officer by his or her title). Regarding the characters above, this list is typical of a U.S. Police Department, which has quasi-military ranks: Officer - The formal name of every policeman, even the lowest-ranked - a title of respect - *always* use this term at the minimum. Detective - It's own entity - often the "weird guys" dressed in plain clothes - solitary creatures who roam the night and make drug busts. Sergeant - A non-commissioned officer, sometimes held in higher esteem than a Lieutenant, just like in the U.S. Army. Lieutenant - A commissioned officer, above a Private, Corporal, and Sergeant, and the best time to earn respect (or not). Captain: The officer in charge of an entire precinct - in this case, Frank Furillo, who runs Hill Street station. The above picture doesn't really show anything "special" about this episode (the three big story lines in "Hill Street Station" were 1) the hostage situation in the liquor store, 2) Bobby Hill and Andy Renko getting shot and almost dying, and 3) the President of the United States coming to visit the precinct, but none of these is really picturesque, and so I thought I'd take an "introductory" screen shot of three of the people you're likely to be seeing just about the most. To me, Hill and Renko's surprise shooting was easily the biggest moment in the episode, but that's really hard to capture in a single photo - listening to Hill talk about the living Hell he went through as he didn't lose consciousness was pretty rough going; at least Renko mercifully lapsed into a coma for two weeks, having no memory of horrible things like rats crawling over his face. The policeman's life; 99% tedium, 1% panic - it's enough to drive some cops to suicide, like my best friend in 1993. Please do me a personal favor, and watch "Elegy for a Pig" on "Adam-12," and think of my dear friend Evan when you do - I'm going to watch it again right now, and it's 1:52 AM.]
  8. Rolling Stone called this the best SNL skit ever: "Matt Foley: Motivational Speaker" (1993) Starring Chris Farley So many great skits. So much laughter. So many talented comedians over the decades. I'm still partial to the "Jane You ignorant slut" skit: In fact there is so much more to it than that memorable line: "Point / Counterpoint" (1978) Starring Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd
  9. I thought I'd start this thread to see if anyone is watching Hannibal on NBC. The first season is available on Amazon Prime and we're two episodes into season two, Friday nights at 10 and probably OnDemand. While watching this past week's episode, and seeing Dr. Lecter make an amazing osso bucco (albeit from a human leg) I thought how much this show was about the food and insane appetites of the title character. When I was thinking about starting this thread, Andy Greenwald wrote a fantastic spoiler-free article on Grantland: Night of the Manhunter and the food stylist for the show has created a blog for her work: Feeding Hannibal. Both of these, and just the pure beauty of the show, made me think it was worthy of discussion or even turning other people onto the show. Sure it's bloody and about horrific killings, but Bryan Fuller is truly a television auteur with a unique eye and voice. His other work is worth looking out for as well, Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls were both built around restaurants and a little bit of the supernatural.
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