Can anyone help me remember...

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by David Grove, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. David Grove

    David Grove Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm trying to identify faint recollections of two tv episodes from the 60's. Can't remember what the shows were-- that's the issue. I think they might have been "Twilight Zone" or one of the Alfred Hitchcock shows, but I am very uncertain. Trying to identify, and buy DVD if available.

    1) Bartleby the Scrivener. The main character constantly repeated, "I'd prefer not to," in response to every attempt by all the other characters to interact with him. This predated the more modern movie (of the 80's maybe). All I can remember is that phrase, and that I saw it in the 60's. Don't know if it was an earlier production, or not.

    2) A guy with a cigarette lighter. The show involved a character wagering his little finger that the lighter would light successfully some number of times in a row (50, maybe, or 100). I think he won the bet, and then tried to light a cigarette to relax, but the lighter then failed... I think.

    Anyone remember anything like these vague descriptions?

    DG
     
  2. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    The first one you describe is a work based on the 1856 Herman Melville short story, Bartleby the Scrivener. According to IMDb, it has been filmed at least four times (twice in France). The English versions are both titled Bartleby: 1970 version is British, and starred Paul Scofield; 2001 film starred Crispin Glover (web site is here). Both are available on DVD. It could be that it was also adapted for TV, but I'm not aware of that (and IMDb doesn't list it).

    I remember the second description as the "Man from the South" episode of the 1985 TV movie, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which starred John Huston:
    You probably recall the original version, which aired on 1/3/60, according to this site. I don't believe either version has been released on DVD.
     
  3. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

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    I can't really help you out, but it's worth mentioning the the new Crispin Glover version of Bartleby is excellent and worth checking out.

    and on #2, wasn't the last segment of Four Rooms similar to this scenario?
     
  4. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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  5. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    Well, David now I'll be going nuts trying to pinpoint where that cigarette lighter story comes from - I've seen it recently and can't for my life remember which series it came from. A rather cursory flip through the ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS episode guide for seven seasons does not seem to contain it (but this was my first guess, and it may still come from that). It is not an original series TWILIGHT ZONE episode - I have those pretty well memorized. So, perhaps it is from either the newer ZONE or HITCHCOCK series? It is almost certainly a half-hour program as opposed to an hour (the premise just wouldn't sustain itself for a full hour). It feels like it's on the tip of my tongue...
     
  6. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Perhaps I am misunderstanding your post, but I'm unsure what confusion you are having Dick. As Brian mentioned above - Man from the South aired on January 3rd, 1960 during season 5 of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. BTW, The original short story was written by Roald Dahl.

    - Walter.
     
  7. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

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  8. David Grove

    David Grove Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you. #2 ("The Man from the South") is definitely nailed.

    I have no idea why that stuck in my mind, but I've been trying to place it for months.

    Now, regarding #1 ("Bartleby"). I had done some research first, before posting, so I had found the the references mentioned in the above posts.

    But, I definitely know it was something I watched on television in the 60's. Although it is obviously based on the literary work, I'm not 100% certain that it was actually titled "Bartleby" (although, in retrospect it almost seems it must). I discovered the Bartleby reference by googling on the thing I absolutely remember for sure, and that was the repeated line, "I'd prefer not to." The character wound up either actually or imminently going to jail for his continuing refusal to do anything but say, "I'd prefer not to." (Actually, I think at the very end, he may have uttered something else, but I'm highly uncertain of that.)

    The confounding thing to me is that I can find no reference to anything from the 60's. I'm 99% certain that it was not a movie. I believe it almost certainly was a half hour show. Even more certainly, it did not exceed an hour. Alfred Hitchcock keeps bubbling up in my mind when I try to remember more details. But, that's it-- can't remember any more.

    Still wondering if this rings any bells with anyone.

    Thanks for your wonderful help.

    DG
     

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