Saturday, April 10, 2010
TELE-QUICKIE: FRONTIER FREUD
This might be a reference to the movies made by Anthony Mann and Budd Boettlicher, among others. Some movies that might fit the bill were "The Left-Handed Gun", "Invitation To A Gunfighter", and modern Westerns like "The Misfits", "Hud", and "Lonely Are The Brave".
All of these have proven to be classics, which shows how out of step Kirsch had become with the times.....
TELE-QUICKIE: "THE BIRDS II: LAND'S END"
MUSEUM PIECE: "A SLOW FADE TO BLACK" BY ROD SERLING
"A Slow Fade To Black" was presented by 'The Chrysler Theater', hosted by Bob Hope. Hope also appeared in the production near the end, a serious variant of his televersion as he emceed a Hollywood awards dinner.
The story was of movie mogul Mike Kirsch (Rod Steiger, playing far older than his years) as he fought to retain control of Globe-Kirsch Studios, which he had built from nothing forty years earlier. (As this production was from 1964, Kirsch had been in the business since the silent flicks.)
Robert Culp played Kirsch's assistant, Peter Furgatch; Oscar winner James Dunn was a company "yes man", Dabney Coleman was a movie director; Sharon Farrell a temperamental movie star, Anna Lee (Lila Quatermaine of 'General Hospital' and god-daughter of Conan Doyle!) as Mike's wife, and "introducing" Sally Kellerman as their daughter Jerrie.
This was originally broadcast in NBC's "Living Color", but the only print that the Paley Center could find is in black and white. Still, considering it was one of Rod Serling's plays about the human condition, that seemed appropriate.
Serling's script was florid at times, but perhaps to be expected from a man who loved words so much:
"You couldn't come up with an honest cry if you stuffed an onion in your mouth."
"I have enough on you to burn you from Hell to breakfast."
"You look like Elmo Lincoln after a hard day on the vines." (By 1964, there were plenty of Tarzans after Elmo Lincoln. The reference by Culp was to highlight how old James Dunn's character was, I think.)
In a way, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley were in the show as well. They could be heard on the TV delivering the news. Whether it was a real news story or fabricated for the piece, I couldn't say. Not enough details were provided in the sound bite to investigate.
If you're a fan of Rod Serling's other tele-plays like "Patterns" and "Requiem For A Heavyweight", I'd suggest checking this out as well.
Toobworld-wise, the Globe-Kirsch Studio may still exist in the TV Universe but by now under a different name.....
(The picture of Robert Culp is a studio portrait. Rod Steiger is seen here in "The Loved One", but it's as close an approximation to Mike Kirsch I could find. He had buzz-cut white hair and glasses with thick black frames. If it wasn't for the weasely little mustache, he might have looked like Spencer Tracy.)
AS SEEN ON TV: DAPHNE DU MAURIER
Dame Daphne du Maurier, Lady Browning DBE (13 May 1907 – 19 April 1989) was an English author and playwright. Many of her works have been adapted into films, including the novels "Rebecca", which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1941, "Jamaica Inn", and her short stories "The Birds" and "Don't Look Now". The first three were directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
DAPHNE DU MAURIER
AS SEEN IN:
AS PLAYED BY:
Based on personal letters and biographies, the film charts the story of Ms. Du Maurier’s unrequited passion for the beautiful and glamorous American heiress, Ellen Doubleday and how the play she wrote about this forbidden desire, led her to a life-changing love affair with the irreverent, fun-loving actress Gertrude Lawrence after an introduction by Noel Coward in New York.
Many of Ms. Du Maurier's works have been adapted for television, with enough versions of "Rebecca" to populate 9 alternate TV dimensions.
These are the TV adaptations of her novels and short stories:
Frenchman's Creek (1998)
L'auberge de la Jamaïque (1995)
The Lifeforce Experiment (1994)
(story "The Breakthrough")
The Birds II: Land's End (1994)
Jamaica Inn (1983)
"My Cousin Rachel"
Une seconde d'éternité (1977)
Rex Harrison Presents Stories of Love (1974)
(segment "Kiss Me Again Stranger")
"Mi amor por ti" (1969)
- Kiss Me Again, Stranger
- Fraction of a Second (1958)
- The Violent Heart (1958)
- September Tide (1956)
"The Ford Television Theatre"
- Panic (1956)
- The Birds (1955)
"Lux Video Theatre"
- September Tide (1954)
"BBC Sunday-Night Theatre"
- Rebecca (1954)
- The Split Second (1953)
- Kiss Me Again Stranger (1953)
"Broadway Television Theatre"
- Rebecca (1952)
"Kraft Television Theatre"
- September Tide (1952)
- September Tide (1950)
"Robert Montgomery Presents"
- Rebecca (1950)
"The Philco Television Playhouse"
- Rebecca (1948)
Friday, April 9, 2010
THE HAT SQUAD: MEINHARDT RAABE
Last year we celebrated his birthday, and I'm glad we got the chance to celebrate rather than memorialize, as we too often do with the Hat Squad.
Good night and may God bless.
(Thanks to Bill Crider for the alert....)
THE CARRINGTON BROTHERS
And it's not a case of Blake's father remarrying or having a son by a mistress. In the show 'Dynasty', Blake blamed Ben for the death of their mother. (Blake was supposed to be caring for her at the time.)
If the age span does mirror the actors' ages, then Mother Carrington gave birth late in her reproductive years. At best, if she married at 16, let's say, then she was nearly 46 at the time.
If Blake was so concerned about Mama, he should have had her moved to Denver where he could have kept an eye on her in her last years......
THE HAT SQUAD: FORSYTHE & CAZENOVE
It's happened again this week, literally within a week's span. John Forsythe passed away at the age of 92 on April 1, and Christopher Cazenove died on Wednesday the 7th. On 'Dynasty' they played the Carrington brothers Blake and Ben.
Good night and may God bless both of them.
DOUBLE VISION: JOHN & LINDA
The only episode they had that was in their new digital collection was "A Crush On Bentley"; all the rest of the ones available are still in tape format and have to be viewed down in the console room.
"A Crush On Bentley" is probably the most famous episode of 'Bachelor Father' now, because of its pop culture resonance. The story concerned a young high school friend of Bentley's niece Kelly, Liz McGavin. Liz fancied herself more sophisticated than the girls her age, and she set her sights on Bentley Gregg as a romantic target.
Liz McGavin was played by Linda Evanstad, who would dye her hair, shorten her last name, and one day would play Krystle, the wife of Blake Carrington - another John Forsythe character - in 'Dynasty'.
No Toobworld connection in that, really. The TV Universe is full of "echoes" in which the dopplegangers of characters find the doppelgangers of character in later TV projects, just as the original characters did. (I know that just sounds confusing.) Here's another example: Felix Unger and Oscar Madison of 'The Odd Couple'. Decades later, there would be two brothers running a garage named Jack and Tony who looked exactly like them. No connection; it's just that the cosmic powers that be must like to see such doppelgangers approximate the lives of the originals. (Tony and Jack appeared in an episode of 'Brother's Keeper', a short-lived sitcom.)
AS SEEN ON TV: GEORGE LINCOLN ROCKWELL
AS SEEN IN:
'Roots: The Next Generations'
AS PLAYED BY:
George Lincoln Rockwell (March 9, 1918 – August 25, 1967) was the founder of the American Nazi Party. Rockwell was a major figure in the neo-Nazi movement in the United States, and his beliefs and writings have continued to be influential among white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
Rockwell once gave an interview to Alex Haley, the author of the novel "Roots: The Saga of an American Family". The interview was published in Playboy magazine in the April 1966 issue. The interview was dramatized in the TV miniseries 'Roots: The Next Generations', with Marlon Brando portraying Rockwell in an Emmy Award-winning performance and James Earl Jones portraying Haley.
On August 25, 1967, Rockwell was killed by gunshots while leaving the Econowash laundromat at the Dominion Hills Shopping Center in the 6000 block of Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia. Two bullets crashed through his 1958 Chevrolet’s windshield, and it slowly rolled backwards to a stop. Rockwell staggered out of the front passenger side door of the car, pointed towards the shopping center roof, and then collapsed face up on the pavement.
The gunman ran along the shopping center roof and jumped to the ground in the rear. A shop owner and a customer briefly gave chase, but were unable to get a clear look at the fleeing figure. Other customers called the Arlington County police and checked Rockwell for a pulse. He had none; the one bullet that struck him had ripped through several major arteries just above his heart. The internal bleeding was so heavy that Rockwell died in two minutes.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
TELE-QUICKIE: ANATOLY DOBRYNIN
He was featured in the "As Seen On TV" showcase during the anniversary of the October Missile Crisis last year.
MR. TOBE'S WILD SLIDES
This could mean that this particular alternate dimension was the same as that found in the two-part 'Doctor Who' story "The Age Of Steel" and "The Rise Of The Cybermen".
As we know from 'Sliders', there are an infinite number of parallel worlds, but Dr. Bishop operates as though there is only the one other one. The breakthroughs made by Quinn Mallory would not happen for another few years after Walter made his historic crossing over into that other world. Walter had his dimensional mirror attuned to only that one interdimensional frequency and may not have thought to explore any others.
The way that Walter crossed over caused a crack in the wall between worlds, which the Doctor warned would happen if this method was utilized to cross over to another dimension. And that has been weakening the barrier with every crossing, by FBI Agent Olivia Dunham, Dr. Bell, super-soldiers from the other side, as well as by the Cybermen and Rose Tyler and Mickey Smith.
But that didn't happen when the Gallifreyan Time Lords traveled between dimensions, utilizing the feature of the TARDIS that allowed passage through the "relative dimensions of space". And it was this capability which Quinn Mallory, "Q-Ball", was able to tap into with his hand-held device on 'Sliders'.
In the futile hope to prevent Rose from ever trying to cross over back and forth between the dimensions, the Doctor once again lied, this time saying that such travel could never be attempted again. But that warning really only applies to the parallel world of John Lumic's Cybermen, and now 'Fringe' is showing the truth in that declaration.....
Presented as a birthday present to one of my best friends, Michael Cleary.
AS SEEN ON TV: JESSE MARCEL
AS SEEN IN:
AS PLAYED BY:
Major Jesse Marcel was the head intelligence officer, or A-2, at Roswell Army Air Field during the famous Roswell events of July 1947. He was the first to investigate the crash material found by rancher Mac Brazel on his ranch 75 miles northwest of Roswell.
Jesse Marcel was approached by researchers in 1978 and he recounted details suggesting the debris Brazel had led him to was exotic. He believed the true nature of the debris was being suppressed by the military. His accounts were featured in the 1979 documentary UFOs are Real, and in a 1980 National Enquirer article, which are largely responsible for making the Roswell incident famous by sparking renewed interest.
"There was all kinds of stuff — small beams about three eighths or a half inch square with some sort of hieroglyphics on them that nobody could decipher. These looked something like balsa wood, and were about the same weight, except that they were not wood at all. They were very hard, although flexible, and would not burn…. One thing that impressed me about the debris was the fact that a lot of it looked like parchment. It had little numbers with symbols that we had to call hieroglyphics because I could not understand them. They could not be read, they were just like symbols, something that meant something, and they were not all the same, but the same general pattern, I would say. They were pink and purple. They looked like they were painted on. These little numbers could not be broken, could not be burned. I even took my cigarette lighter and tried to burn the material we found that resembled parchment and balsa, but it would not burn - wouldn't even smoke. But something that is even more astonishing is that the pieces of metal that we brought back were so thin, just like tinfoil in a pack of cigarettes. I didn't pay too much attention to that at first, until one of the boys came to me and said: 'You know that metal that was in there? I tried to bend the stuff and it won't bend. I even tried it with a sledgehammer. You can't make a dent on it,'" Marcel said.
*This refers to the TV movie, not the TV series.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
ROBERT CULP, DOGGIE-STYLE
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
'Conan' was one of many TV series over the years that just slipped past my notice. As big a fan of fantasy literature as I am, I was never that interested in the sword and sorcery, thud and blunder, variant made most popular by this hulking He-Man creation of Robert E. Howard. (I think the closest I came to the style would be Fritz Lieber's stories about Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser and the comic book series about Cerebus the Earth-Pig.)
As a TV series, 'Conan' seems to hold more to the spirit of the Schwarzenegger films than to Howard's stories, which would be even more of a reason for me to skip the show.
But via Hulu, I just watched an episode which featured the distaff version of Conan, "Red Sonja". And that's only because the guest villain that episode was Robert Culp as King Vog of Harta.*
Vog kidnapped a young but powerful wizard named Lutai so that he could produce a magic spell that would make the aged king young again. The evil Vog wanted his reign over the Hartans to continue far longer than a normal man's life span, and that would only mean decades more of death and destruction for the Hartan people; perhaps even an eternity if the spell could be perpetuated.
Eventually Lutai agreed to do what Vog requested. Using strangely named plants, he concocted a paste which Vog only had to taste and he would be made young again. Suspecting it might be poison, the king tested it on a dog (on the suggestion of Lutai). The dog transformed into a smaller, younger, version of its former self. Vog then dipped two fingers into the mixture and tasted it. The results were almost instantaneous as Vog clutched at his chest and fell to his knees; with a golden flash of light, he was transformed into... a puppy.
"I never promised I would turn him into a young man," Lutai smirked. (That must have been some magic, to make his robes and crown disappear like that!)
In a way, that felt like an episode of 'The Twilight Zone', especially "What You Need". And even back then, in the age between the fall of Atlantis and the first recording of History (as mentioned in the opening narration), ages before the birth of Rod Serling even, the Twilight Zone would hold sway over Toobworld.
I believe that had Vog tasted the paste first, without letting the dog contaminate the mixture with its slobber, then he may have transformed into a much younger man, even a child. And then had the dog tasted the paste, then it too would have transformed into a young human. I think the paste needed DNA as its catalyst; and whichever DNA first made contact, that would be the form taken by any who tasted it.
So Vog became a dog - but in body only, I'm thinking. I believe his human intelligence would remain intact and perhaps it might even have been handed down to future generations of his new breed. Toobworld Central believes the same thing happened to Red the red squirrel, mistakenly transformed into a human by Martian technology in 'My Favorite Martian'. When he became a squirrel again, he retained that intelligence to be passed down through his lineage. (And even crossed over to the population of grey squirrels through cross-breeding.)
Lutai's transformation paste, although looked upon as a "magic potion", would be nothing more than an application of chemistry and biology. The technology that duplicated these efforts, used by the Martian Exigius 12 1/2 (aka "Uncle Martin O'Hara") was just an energy variant of the compound.
Even though I believe that Vog retained his human intelligence and passed it down to his doggy descendents, this doesn't mean I think all dogs who can think and/or talk are related to Vog. Too many specific species involved when he was transformed into a cute little mutt.
With those other dogs, we look to the unsold pilot of 'Poochinski' for inspiration: when a human dies, their first reincarnationi is into dogs - unless the cosmic powers that be dictate special circumstances, like into an antique car or a toaster or a shopping cart. (Connecticut readers may understand that one....)BCnU!
*I'm still not convinced that 'Conan' should be considered part of Earth Prime-Time. Oh, it belongs in the main TV dimension, but over on Earth's twin, Mondas, on the far side of Earth's orbit around the sun. Just because the narration says that it takes place in the time between the fall of Atlantis and the recording of History, that could just be a Terran frame of reference for us about when it was taking place on that other planet.
One other note, a rare critique: as much a fan of Robert Culp as I am, this was one of his lesser acting jobs. No matter how old he was in real life when he made this, I think he was incapable of acting old. This was almost an exaggerated shadow of how Dick Van Dyke might have played the role.......
This is because the families, while sharing the same structural dynamic, have different last names; many of the characters have different first names as well.. They are not the same people. In 1989, Ed Begley, Jr. was the de facto head of the Buchman family (just like in the movie). Today, the family in the Toobworld spotlight is named Braverman. (I can't be certain of this, but I wonder if the powers that be wanted to avoid any connection made to Paul and Jamie Buchman of 'Mad About You'.) I'm not sure if the same plots have resurfaced in the new series, recycled from the 1989 version, but that wouldn't matter either. Characters from one show reliving events that happened in other shows happens all the time in Toobworld. The American version of 'The Office' followed the same plots of the British original until they finally ran out and found their own voice. It even happens within the same show - Captain Amos Burke twice had a murder case in which a magician was shot dead while in a coffin that had been at the bottom of a pool. And that crime was even committed on another series, 'Blacke's Magic'. (The reason why Captain Burke couldn't remember the first case when it happened again was because he was in the early stages of Alzheimer's.....)
So the two versions of 'Parenthood' can remain in Earth Prime-Time, in much the same way as all the variants of 'Ugly Betty' can share the same world....
Γειά σου νοσοκόμα (HELLOOOOO, NURSE!)
This TV dimension would have entries dating back to the ancient plays of Greece, which were also produced on TV. One of these was Eurypides' "Medea", from 431 BC, and another would be "Antigone", one of Sophocles' most famous plays, which was completed around 442 BC.
In the timeline of this TV Theater World, those two plays are in the same order, but "Antigone" was a few more years later than "Medea". I'm basing that claim on two specific performances - "Medea" produced in 1959 on 'The Play Of The Week', and "Antigone" which was shown as part of 'Great Performances' in 1974.
Why did I choose these two productions from any others of the same plays? Because they can be linked by a single performance.
Aline McMahon, perhaps most famous nowadays as Trixie Lorraine in "Gold-Diggers of 1933", played the character of "Nurse" in both productions. So Toobworld Central is making the claim that both roles were the same woman, and that after the tragedy in the household of Jason and Medea, she sought new employment in the royal household of Creon.
Not that it was any better there......
The picture here of Aline McMahon is from "Gold-Diggers Of 1933", but 'twill serve.....
AS SEEN ON TV: AMBASSADOR HOUGHTON
AS SEEN IN:
'The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries'
("Clouds Of Witness")
AS PLAYED BY:
Alanson Bigelow Houghton (October 10, 1863– September 15, 1941) was an American businessman, politician, and diplomat who served as a Congressman and Ambassador. He was a member of the Republican Party.
On February 24, 1925, President Calvin Coolidge appointed Houghton as the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain. Houghton assumed the post on April 6, 1925 and served until April 27, 1929. Houghton’s service in both Germany and England gave him a unique ability to address the issue of the war reparations Germany owed to its World War I opponents, England being one of them. Houghton laid some of the ground work for the Dawes Plan, named after then U.S. Vice President Charles G. Dawes, who would be Houghton’s successor as Ambassador to Great Britain.
Houghton became the American Ambassador to Great Britain 85 years ago yesterday. He was not identified by name in the Wimsey mystery......
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
BIG SCREEN CHARLIE
As such, Charles Townsed could conceivably gain entry to the TV Crossover Hall of Fame on the Birthday Honors list. (Plus there's that 'Angels '89' spin-off as well as those crossover episodes with 'The Love Boat' and 'Vega$'. If Charlie was heard on those as well......?) BCnU!
ROBERT CULP IN "THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES"
AS SEEN ON TV: GEORGE V
Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I
By Miranda Carter
Illustrated. 498 pages. Alfred A. Knopf. $30.
AS SEEN IN:
'Edward & Mrs. Simpson'
AS PLAYED BY:
AS SEEN IN:
"Clouds Of Witness" - a 'Lord Peter Wimsey' mystery
AS PLAYED BY:
From the New York Times review of that book, by Dwight Garner:
George was a dull mediocrity — he feared clever people and intellectuals, calling them “eyebrows” — who spent much of his time as an adult collecting stamps and shooting. He didn’t mix with interesting people, spoke no foreign languages and had what Ms. Carter calls a “barking temper.” He sulked if he was not allowed to win at tennis.
He remained standing far enough in the background in his "Clouds Of Witness" cameo so that we could claim that he was the same man seen in 'Edward & Mrs. Simpson'.
In the Wimsey mystery he was only identified as "The Royal Personage", but who else could he be?
Two for Tuesday!
Monday, April 5, 2010
TVXOHOF, APRIL, 2010: RADAR O'REILLY
For his qualifications you can't argue with the following tally:
181 episodes of "M*A*S*H" (with mentions in three more)
Corporal “Radar” O’Reilly is a fictional character in the M*A*S*H novels, the film, the television series, the television pilot, W*A*L*T*E*R, and two episodes of the series, After MASH. The character was portrayed by Gary Burghoff in both the film and on television — the only actor from the film to reprise his role on television, aside from G. Wood as General Hammond.
While Radar's full name is never given in the original novel or film, on the TV series it is Walter Eugene O'Reilly. The later novels by Richard Hooker and W.E.B. Griffin give his full name as J. Robespierre O'Reilly.
On television, Radar's character started off worldly and sneaky, a clerk who carried with him at all times a pocketful of passes for any potential scam that might arise. At one point, he tried to mail home a Jeep, piece by piece. (Hawkeye commented that once Radar's mailman found out, he'd have a retroactive hernia.) He was known for his tremendous appetite for heaping portions of food. He was also not averse to drinking Col. Blake's brandy and smoking his cigars when the colonel was off-duty, and he occasionally drank the moonshine liquor that Hawkeye and Capt. Trapper John McIntyre made in their still.
The producers originally planned to end season 7 with Radar leaving, but CBS didn't want to do that. Instead they persuaded Burghoff to come back during season 8 to do a special two-part farewell episode titled "Good-Bye, Radar".
In the episode, Radar was given a hardship discharge after his Uncle Ed died so that he could go home and help out on the farm. When the unit is in dire straits because they have no working generators, Radar decides that the 4077th needs him more than his mother does. Potter unsuccessfully tries to talk him out of staying, and Pierce becomes verbally abusive when he can't convince Radar to leave (he did everything from calling him a jackass to saying he didn't care about his mother). But it takes Corporal Klinger's swindling a generator from supply to convince him that the 4077th will survive without him. Just as a farewell party for Radar is about to start, a helicopter of wounded soldiers arrives, immediately cancelling the party. The unit has no time to waste, but they manage to say their goodbyes to Radar. Among the sendoffs, Colonel Potter wishes him a choked-up "Godspeed, son," and Charles addresses him by his given name, Walter. The only principal colleague he does not get to say goodbye to in person is Hawkeye, who was caught up in the flurry of triaged patients. As Radar looks inside the OR from the window, Hawkeye looks up at him and gives him a farewell salute (a rare military formality from Hawkeye). Radar salutes back, then boards a jeep and leaves the M*A*S*H 4077th for the last time.
As a way of saying that Radar came to Korea as a boy and went home a man, he leaves his teddy bear behind, (as Dr. Sidney Freedman predicted he would in the episode "War of Nerves"), leaving it with Hawkeye. Radar would be mentioned after his departure from the camp in three later episodes. In "Period of Adjustment" (the first episode to air after "Good-Bye, Radar"), it is revealed that Radar met B.J. Hunnicutt's wife and young daughter in San Francisco on his way back home, and that the youngster had mistaken Radar for her father (a revelation that sends Hunnicutt into a bitter depression).
In "The Foresight Saga", the camp gets a letter from Radar describing how well things are going on his Iowa farm; when his mother admits, during a subsequent phone call, that they are suffering hard times and are shorthanded, Col. Potter arranges for an abandoned Korean farm boy to be sent to the States, where Radar and his family will sponsor him as a farmhand.
In the penultimate episode of the series, "As Time Goes By", the 4077th staff includes Radar's teddy bear in a time capsule they're burying, to symbolize those who came of age during the war. Gary Burghoff reprised the Radar character in two 1984 episodes of the M*A*S*H spinoff series, AfterMASH. In the first, he responds to a letter from Klinger concerning the latter's experiences at a stateside VA hospital; in the second, two-part episode, Radar is due to be married but develops cold feet when he suspects his intended of infidelity. In the 1984 television movie W*A*L*T*E*R, which was intended as a pilot for another prospective spinoff show, Radar - having sold the family farm and sent his mother to live with an aunt - moves to St. Louis, Missouri, leaving Iowa and the "Radar" nickname behind (now just being known as Walter O'Reilly), and joins the police department. In St. Louis, his gentle manner and resourcefulness make him good at dealing with the public. W*A*L*T*E*R was never picked up as a series, however, and the movie proved to be the character's final appearance.
Welcome aboard, Radar!