Monday, May 30, 2005


In a way, Television is like the English language. It can take in outside influences and make them its own. Many adaptations of other sources of Man's creative energies become part of Toobworld.

Novels? 'Frankenstein', 'Earthsea'....

Movies? 'Highlander', 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'

Theatre? 'You Can't Take It With You', 'The Odd Couple'

Comic Books? 'Batman', 'Superman', 'Sabrina The Teenage Witch'

Comic Strips? 'Blondie', 'Peanuts'

Radio has plenty of adaptations that moved over to the new medium, including 'Duffy's Tavern', 'Ethel And Albert', and 'Rin Tin Tin'.

And even songs were represented with the series of movies based on 'The Gambler'.

Then there are the combos of several categories - 'M*A*S*H', 'The Dead Zone', and 'The Addams Family'.

George Orwell's "1984", a prophetic warning about a dystopian future, falls into that last category - movie, a song, and a TV production with Eddie Albert as Winston Smith. It was presented as an episode of 'Studio One' in September 1953, and the New Yorker cited Mr. Albert for "the depth of his performance".

The themes and message of Mr. Orwell's novel transcend the time in which it was set. The date has come and gone, but now "1984" symbolizes the soul-deadening totalitarian bureacracy more than it stands for the actual period in which it was supposed to take place.

(Terry Gilliam got around the "sell-by date" by naming his movie "Brazil", although he claims never to have known about "1984" before dreaming up his own treatment.)

But with that 1953 TV production starring Eddie Albert, it could be left in 1984... but not in the main TV Universe.
And I don't think there's a better dimension to stick this classic than the evil mirror universe made famous by various 'Star Trek' series.

The beat-down of the human spirit, the oppression of Society as accomplished in "1984" would ultimately serve the purposes of the Powers in Charge and lead to the foundation of the Empire.

I'm going to look for this production at the MT&R, to see mostly the design for the "futuristic look" of their '1984' in 1953. I'd like to see if it might be possible to link it to that famous blipvert for MacIntosh Apple computers. (But I have a feeling the clothing and set design won't be too "out there". It will probably be not that much different from the look of the Fifties. After all, one message in "1984" was that it would be here sooner that the readers of that time expected... especially if they didn't take action to prevent its outcome.)


"It is some men's fate to face great darkness.
We each choose how to react.
If the choice is fear, we become vulnerable to Fear."
Major Garland Briggs
'Twin Peaks'

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