What did you watch this week in classic TV on DVD(or Blu)?

Jack P

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Long time since I last listed any kind of actress marathon. This one is not the usual one as I charted the transitional career of Veronica Cartwright from child actress to young adult over the course of the 1960s.

One Step Beyond S2-"The Haunting"
Alfred Hitchcock Presents S6-"Summer Shade"
The Twilight Zone S3-"I Sing The Body Electric"
The Eleventh Hour S1-"My Name Is Judith, I'm Lost, You See"
Dr. Kildare S4-"Take Care Of My Little Girl"

At this point, Veronica became a regular on "Daniel Boone" as daughter Jemima. I decided to do two episodes from the first season, the first one and then the one episode where she had a large spotlight.

Daniel Boone S1-"Ken-Tuck-E"
-The episode that introduces us to Daniel Boone in the pre-Revolutionary 1770s preparing to establish a new fort/community in the Kentucky territory to hopefully prevent the British from establishing alliances with the Indian tribes. We get the first of what would be multiple versions of Daniel meeting "Mingo" (Ed Ames) for the first time (it would be pointless to try and keep track of this show's jumps in chronology, lack of continuity since within a couple years this show initially set in the mid-1770s would have episodes taking place in the early 1800s!) But these early B/W shows are much better than what would follow though Albert Salmi is really wasted in the supporting role of "Yadkin" and its easy to see why he didn't last.

Daniel Boone S1-"The Choosing"
-This episode was Veronica's biggest spotlight probably that I can recall. She and her father are out exploring when he accidentally wounds himself in the leg with his axe. Jemima must first try to shoot a bear for the first time to get bear fat to treat the wound but as infection deepens she must then cut his wound open to get the infection to drain. It's a great moment for her in which her trepidation at doing this is greater than when she had to shoot a bear. Soon, a British spy working with the Indians and an unscrupulous translator/scout who was kicked out of Boonesborough arrives and Jemima is kidnapped and Boone left for dead. The remaining segment is Boone's effort to rescue her.

-From just these two episodes it is amazing to see the high level of casualties that mount. But that helps make these earlier Boone episodes much better than what it became and I've mentioned before that the first two seasons are also helped because of Veronica's presence in the overall family unit. But suddenly she was dropped from the show after S2 with no on-camera explanation of whatever became of Jemima. Veronica said years later that the reason she was fired from the show was due entirely to Patricia Blair's vanity over not wanting to play the mother of a maturing teen who by this point would have been ready for stories involving potential romances.

The post-Boone guest shots are not particularly substantive and don't yet hint at what she would do in feature film roles like "Alien" and "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers".

Family Affair S3-"Flower Power"
-In this episode, Cissy's seemingly strait-laced date Rick Gates (Veronica's then-husband) takes her to an East Side hippie pad where he can cut loose and introduce Cissy to the hippie lifestyle enjoyed by Veronica and roommate Diane Roter (formerly of "The Virginian" in her last credited acting role).

Mod Squad S2-"The Girl In Chair Nine"
-Veronica doesn't appear on-screen until 40 minutes in because she's a kidnap victim. And I won't say anything more because I hated this episode for a lot of reasons I won't go into.

Dragnet S4-"Personnel: The Shooting"
-She plays the young wife of a police officer critically wounded in a shootout. As she waits for word on her husband's condition she rails indignantly about the meaninglessness of being a cop while Virginia Gregg, the wife of her husband's partner who was more critically wounded is offering the reassurance.

This career chart shows how a talented child actress as Veronica was, able to get a choice part like her "Eleventh Hour" guest shot as a mentally disturbed child then has to go through the adjustment period of trying to stay in the business as an adult and settle for lesser roles at first. She was among the fortunate who were able to persevere and have success as an adult performer too.
 

Rustifer

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Maude
"Walter's Holiday" (S2E3)

Maude is a series that by choice falls a bit outside my time frame for what I consider as "classic" TV--proof positive of my Baby Boomer genes and Rin Tin Tin heritage. However, I found the show interesting enough as it was one of the forerunners of the topical humor sitcoms that was pushing the envelope in the 1970's on previously verboten subjects as pregnancy, divorce, sex, drugs and racial issues--mostly Norman Lear's "woke" stuff of that era. It was intended to "enlighten" our society by rendering such situations as comical interdicts worthy of hearty laughter. But the main reason for tuning in was not for sternly mannish Bea Arthur's amusing portrayal of Maude and her incessant brow-beating of husband Walter (Bill Macy)-- no sir. It was to ogle the freshly minted, eye-popping figure of Adrienne Barbeau of which 10 million males watched eagerly every week to see her severely test the corporeal limits on the seams of her blouse. Pretty sure that's why I was watching.

Walter wakes up one morning and giddily declares it "I Love You" day, which one hopes was fueled by accidentally catching a glimpse of stepdaughter Carol (Adrienne Barbeau) gingerly stepping out of the shower. That's inspiration enough to incite all manners of passionate warmth.
Walter impishly asks Maude "Do you know what I was doing at 3:00 this morning?" She wisely declines to probe for fear he may have delved into his well worn issue of Cowgirls and Leather again. Nevertheless, Walter plans a romantic day with Maude, even going so far as to buy her a...gulp...see-through nighty. Most people would rather behold helpless puppies being swooped away by ravenous hawks than witness Maude in a diaphanous teddy.

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A couple of reasons to tune in; Discussion as to who's man of the house; Ample reason why 70's couture hasn't made a comeback

But before amorous activities can commence, friend Vivian (Rue McClanahan) interrupts to carp about her pending divorce. She's generally about as welcome as an impacted bunion and is so determined to spend the day weeping out her grief to Maude that Walter is sure he'll need to burn rags in the fireplace to get rid of her. The two garrulous senescents get caught up in airing their troubles to one another, putting an end to Walter's aspirations of a love day faster than an igloo shower. In disgust, he decides to hit the gym as if somehow being surrounded by sweaty, overweight guys is an agreeable substitution. The laugh track is dialed up to peak decibel level. Back then, the mechanical sophistication of 70's gym equipment was a tad less than that of a tot's tricycle, so I guess that can be funny.

Walter eventually realizes Maude--with or without Vivian--is his best option and he rushes home to her...ostensibly because a wife is supposed to be the best half of a marriage. And then there's Maude.
 
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Rustifer

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Long time since I last listed any kind of actress marathon. This one is not the usual one as I charted the transitional career of Veronica Cartwright from child actress to young adult over the course of the 1960s.
In a 2014 interview, Veronica reveals that she gave Jerry Mathers his first screen kiss in Leave it to Beaver. That innocent scene is later recut into the updated movie version of the serial--where as a grown-up she plays a real estate agent with a side occupation as a dominatrix. I remember June Cleaver once complaining to husband Ward, "I think you were a little hard on the Beaver last night." How prophetic.
 

BobO'Link

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Episode Commentary
Maude
"Walter's Holiday" (S2E3)

Maude is a series that by choice falls a bit outside my time frame for what I consider as "classic" TV--proof positive of my Baby Boomer genes and Rin Tin Tin heritage. However, I found the show interesting enough as it was one of the forerunners of the topical humor sitcoms that was pushing the envelope in the 1970's on previously verboten subjects as pregnancy, divorce, sex, drugs and racial issues--mostly Norman Lear's "woke" stuff of that era. It was intended to "enlighten" our society by rendering such situations as comical interdicts worthy of hearty laughter. But the main reason for tuning in was not for sternly mannish Bea Arthur's amusing portrayal of Maude and her incessant brow-beating of husband Walter (Bill Macy)-- no sir. It was to ogle the freshly minted, eye-popping figure of Adrienne Barbeau of which 10 million males watched eagerly every week to see her severely test the corporeal limits on the seams of her blouse. Pretty sure that's why I was watching.

Walter wakes up one morning and giddily declares it "I Love You" day, which one hopes was fueled by accidentally catching a glimpse of stepdaughter Carol (Adrienne Barbeau) gingerly stepping out of the shower. That's inspiration enough to incite all manners of passionate warmth.
Walter impishly asks Maude "Do you know what I was doing at 3:00 this morning?" She wisely declines to probe for fear he may have delved into his well worn issue of Cowgirls and Leather again. Nevertheless, Walter plans a romantic day with Maude, even going so far as to buy her a...gulp...see-through nighty. Most people would rather behold helpless puppies being swooped away by ravenous hawks than witness Maude in a diaphanous teddy.

View attachment 80531 View attachment 80532 View attachment 80533
A couple of reasons to tune in; Discussion as to who's man of the house; Ample reason why 70's couture hasn't made a comeback

But before amorous activities can commence, friend Vivian (Rue McClanahan) interrupts to carp about her pending divorce. She's generally about as welcome as an impacted bunion and is so determined to spend the day weeping out her grief to Maude that Walter is sure he'll need to burn rags in the fireplace to get rid of her. The two garrulous senescents get caught up in airing their troubles to one another, putting an end to Walter's aspirations of a love day faster than an igloo shower. In disgust, he decides to hit the gym as if somehow being surrounded by sweaty, overweight guys is an agreeable substitution. The laugh track is dialed up to peak decibel level. Back then, the mechanical sophistication of 70's gym equipment was a tad less than that of a tot's tricycle, so I guess that can be funny.

Walter eventually realizes Maude--with or without Vivian--is his best option and he rushes home to her...ostensibly because a wife is the best half of a marriage. And then there's Maude.
Well, Russ... you did something few manage to do. You sent me off to actually look up a word. Senescents to be exact. Based on the roots and its positioning in the sentence I had a pretty good idea what it meant but had to resort to a dictionary to see if I was right. Yep - close enough with my "old farts" generalization of it. It's not often a word comes up and I don't know what it means.

I watched Maude 90% for the attributes of Ms. Barbeau. I also like it better than All in the Family but a little bit of Maude goes a loooooooooooooooooooooooong way. Hmm... could that be why Walter was an alcoholic?
 

Jack P

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In a 2014 interview, Veronica reveals that she gave Jerry Mathers his first screen kiss in Leave it to Beaver. That innocent scene is later recut into the updated movie version of the serial--where as a grown-up she plays a real estate agent with a side occupation as a dominatrix. I remember June Cleaver once complaining to husband Ward, "I think you were a little hard on the Beaver last night." How prophetic.
I was never a LITB fan (don't have it) which is why that wasn't part of the marathon but I just found the "Still The Beaver" appearance of hers and there is certainly no reference to her being a dominatrix in it (since this was a Disney Channel show they couldn't possibly have done that).

 

Rustifer

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I was never a LITB fan (don't have it) which is why that wasn't part of the marathon but I just found the "Still The Beaver" appearance of hers and there is certainly no reference to her being a dominatrix in it (since this was a Disney Channel show they couldn't possibly have done that).
From the Classic TV and Film Blog, dated Feb. 24, 2014:

Café: Having also appeared on other family sitcoms, such as Family Affair and My Three Sons, why do you think Leave It to Beaver has maintained its enduring popularity? And what was it like to play Violet Rutherford as an adult in 1985 on The New Leave It to Beaver?

VC: I think just everybody could identify with the Beaver and his older brother. It was a clean, family show. I gave Beaver his first kiss at 9 years old. In the 1985 version, they intercut it with the kissing episode. In the movie, Violet poses as a real estate woman who has a side business of being a dominatrix. It was very funny.
 

Jack P

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I've seen that interview because that's where she also mentions Patricia Blair being responsible for her firing from "Daniel Boone" but I've also seen the whole episode and while there is intercutting to the original LITB episode there's no reference to her being a dominatrix whatsoever. It sounds like she might be projecting what would be her own "back story" for the character by then. She certainly comes on strong and tries to *dominate* Beaver in a new dating relationship by giving him a whole wardrobe makeover and redoing his office etc. but again, nothing at all like what the interview implies.
 
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Rustifer

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I've seen that interview because that's where she also mentions Patricia Blair being responsible for her firing from "Daniel Boone" but I've also seen the whole episode and while there is intercutting to the original LITB episode there's no reference to her being a dominatrix whatsoever. It sounds like she might be projecting what would be her own "back story" for the character by then. She certainly comes on strong and tries to *dominate* Beaver in a new dating relationship by giving him a whole wardrobe makeover and redoing his office etc. but again, nothing at all like what the interview implies.
Let's give her a call and straighten the whole thing out.
 

Purple Wig

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City Of Angels - House On Orange Grove Avenue. Wayne Rogers as a private detective in 1930s LA, from the creators of Rockford/Fugitive/Bold Ones:Lawyers/Outsider/etc. Have long wanted to see this show, wasn’t disappointed. Rogers gets involved with drunks and women in the course of his case, gets beat up and hit on.

Quincy M. E. - Sullied Be Thy Name. John Saxon as a sleazy magazine publisher involved with smearing the reputation of a deceased priest. Young woman is charmed by Quince when he pays a visit to the publisher’s office to get a fiber sample of an orange carpet.

Match Game (Syndicated) - episode 302. Charles Nelson Reilly accidentally hits Gene Rayburn in the face, and McLean Stevenson assumes host duties for a round.

afterMASH - Klinger Vs Klinger, Snap Crackle Pop. Better than I remembered, but not as good as it could/should have been.

Pete and Gladys - The Mannequin Story

the Interns - Some Things Don’t Change. The clinic may close, a man wants his girlfriend to have an abortion as he may carry the gene for a rare disease, Mike Farrell dispenses humorous advice to bickering parents to be via a 4 am phone call.

The Groovie Goolies & Friends
 

Doug Wallen

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Cannon - Complete Series
Triangle Of Terror (3.23) Dana Wynter, Lloyd Bochner, Thalmus Rasulala, Don Knight. Murder in the Bermuda Triangle with the smarmiest of guest stars (Lloyd Bochner). Easy to figure out but a fun watch, especially between Cannon and a local Juju woman.

The Stalker (3.24) Luke Askew, Cindy Williams. Cannon is stalked by a serial killer he put away years ago. The killer has escaped jail and is chasing Cannon on vacation. A very good episode to close out season 3.

Hawaii Five-O -Seasons 1-4
Killer Bee (2.18) David Arkin, Jeff Pomerantz, Doreen Lang. Two veterans who have had difficulty reintegrating into society are the focus of this story. One thinks he is losing his mind, the other is helping him or is he? A sideline involves kidnapping children.

The One With The Gun (2.19) John Colicos, Julie Gregg, Jack Soo, Arthur Franz. A tourist is taken at a rigged poker game and is murdered after he uncovers the con. His brother arrives from the mainland looking for revenge. McGarrett is also on the trail of the criminals.

Cry, Lie (2.20) Martin Sheen, George Petrie. Chin Ho is set up as a cop on the take in a bid to take down McGarrett and Five-O. Steve practices some subterfuge to turn the criminals after each other.

Most Likely To Murder (2.21) Tom Skerrit, Sam Melville, Jennifer Billingsley. A buddy of Danno's loses his wife. The investigation raises doubts in Steve's mind as to the innocence of Danno's cop friend.

The Big Valley - Complete Season 2
The Great Safe Robbery (2.10) Warren Oates, Christopher Cary, John Harmon, Bill Quinn. A comic episode. Victoria and Audra are held hostage by a trio of inept robbers who are stymied by a very well-built and tough safe. Didn't work for me as a comedy.

The Iron Box (2.11) David Sheiner, Frank Marth, Yaphet Kotto, Walter Burke, Paul Picerni. Heath and Nick ar "shanghied" into a prison work camp by a crooked cattle owner and an unscrupulous warden. Standard prison tropes are used to tell an interesting story.

Last Stage To Salt Flats (2.12) Norma Crane, Lamont Johnson, Kevin Hagen, Rex Holman. Robbers trick the stage to taking a desolate path. Once they have robbed everyone, the survivors are not killed, they are left to wander the desert until they die. Good survival story.

And just for Halloween:
Wild Wild West - Complete Season 4
The Night Of The Greusome Games (4.5) William Schallert, Sherry Jackson, Robert Ellenstein, Helen Page Camp, Lee Kolima. Surreal episode involving party games. Racing the clock to recover a stolen vial of deadly germs, Jim and Artie stumble upon a party hosted by an eccentric millionaire who delights in playing lethal parlor games.

The Night Of The Fugitives (4.7) Simon Oakland, Charles McGraw, Mickey Hargitay, J.S. Johnson, Douglas Henderson. To break a powerful crime syndicate, Jim and Arte must capture its wily bookkeeper before Diamond Dave gets him first.

The Night Of The Egyptian Queen (4.8) Penny Gaston, Sorrell Booke, William Marshall, Tom Troupe. A priceless ruby is stolen from an Egyptian exhibit at the San Franciso Museum. When West and Gordon are commissioned to recover the jewel, they led to a waterfront bar where they notice the ruby on the toe of a beautiful young woman dancing on the table. Gordon, disguised as a sea captain, chases the dancer but fails to capture her or the ruby.

Gunsmoke - Seasons 10-12
Seven Hours To Dawn (11.1) John Drew Barrymore, Morgan Woodward, Johnny Seven. A dangerous criminal rides into town and takes over by blackmailing Matt and the citizens for all of their valuables. The criminal's pattern is to leave before dawn. Matt has a plan that will require everyone working together.

The Storm (11.2) Forest Tucker, Willard Sage, Stuart Margolin, Shug Fisher. A man is convicted of robbing and murdering his partner, but the sons of Matt's old friend are responsible. Matt must arrest the remaining son after the other's dying declaration and make it to Hays City in time to stop the hanging.

Clayton Thaddeus Greenwood (11.3) Roger Ewing (joins the cast), Paul Fix, Jack Elam, Robert Sorrells. Thad, son of and deputy to an Oklahoma sheriff, arrives in Dodge pursuing vandals on his father's warrant, not realizing the Oklahoma warrant isn't executable in Dodge.

Ten Little Indians (11.4) Nehemiah Persoff, Zalman King, Rafael Campos, John Marley, Warren Oates, Bruce Dern. Someone has placed a fabulous price on Matt's head, and there are many competing to earn it.

All four episodes had strong stories and great casts. I like the change in the opening theme, more dramatic sounding with the pumped up theme.

WKRP In Cincinnati - Complete Series
The Americanization Of Ivan (2.17) Michael Pataki, Sam Anderson. Despite Andy's directive to the contrary, Les continues to broadcast editorials of his own unique views under the guise of they being the station's views. He also wants to use his news credentials to further those views. At the sparsely attended press conference, Bailey, through a note slipped to her, learns that one of the Russians, Ivan Popasonaviski, wants to defect to the US. Bailey is able to sneak Ivan to the station where Ivan hopes to seek political asylum.

Les' Groupie (2.18) Kristina Callahan. Les has a fan and really feeds his ego. Les then has a roommate that he wants to be rid of. Interesting fish out of water story (Les with personal problems).

In Concert (2.19) WKRP promotes the upcoming Who concert. The staff find themselves consumed with guilt for promoting a Who concert at Riverfront Coliseum when its general admission policy causes a terrible tragedy. 11 teens were crushed to death when the arena doors opened. True story.

The Avengers - Complete Emma Peel Megaset
The Murder Market (4.7) Patrick Cargill, Suzanne Lloyd, John Woodvine. Steed and Mrs. Peel investigate a murder-for-hire organization fronting as a matchmaking bureau.

A Surfeit Of H2O (4.8) Noel Purcell, Albert Lieven. After a village poacher drowns in the middle of an open field, The Avengers are soon on the trail of a mad scientist able to control the weather.

The Hour That Never Was (4.9) Gerald Harper, Dudley Foster, Roy Kinnear, David Morell. On their way to a closing down party at an air base the Avengers' car crashes when they swerve to avoid hitting a dog. The air base proves to be deserted and Steed is knocked out. When he recovers he is back at the car but minus Mrs. Peel and the party, when he gets there, is in full swing. It would seem that he has gone back an hour in time.

Dial A Deadly Number (4.10) Clifford Evans, Jan Holden, Anthony Newlands. Company chairmen across the city are dropping dead, apparently through natural causes. Can Steed and Mrs Peel discover who is making a killing? First appearance of a "pager"?

Man-Eater of Surrey Green (4.11) Derek Farr, Athene Seyler. A man-eating plant from outer space lands in Middle England and takes several top horticulturists as its prisoners in an effort to germinate the Earth. Fortunately for the Earth, Steed just happens to be a herbicidal maniac.

Two's A Crowd (4.12) Julian Glover, Warren Mitchell, Maria Machado, Alec Mango, Wolfe Morris. A mysterious Russian called Psev is arriving for a conference at which Steed and Mrs. Peel have been hired to act as the security guards. However, a man called Gordon Webster who is an exact double for Steed turns up and offers his services to Psev's entourage of four people, fooling Mrs. Peel in the process and agreeing to kill Steed. Though he is thwarted it turns out that Psev is also not exactly the man that everybody had expected him to be.

Too Many Christmas Trees ( 4.13) Mervyn Johns, Edwin Richfield, Jeanette Sterke, Alex Scott. Steed has been having bad dreams involving Christmas trees and a man dressed as Santa Claus. At a party given by publisher and Dickens fan Brandon Storey, two telepathic spies attempt to read Steed's mind and make sense of the dream. However, the dream is echoed exactly by the events of the party, enabling Steed to spot the villains in advance and identify the dangerous Santa.

Fun getting back to these olders series.


 

JohnHopper

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Wild Wild West - Complete Season 4
The Night Of The Greusome Games (4.5) William Schallert, Sherry Jackson, Robert Ellenstein, Helen Page Camp, Lee Kolima. Surreal episode involving party games. Racing the clock to recover a stolen vial of deadly germs, Jim and Artie stumble upon a party hosted by an eccentric millionaire who delights in playing lethal parlor games.

The Night Of The Fugitives (4.7) Simon Oakland, Charles McGraw, Mickey Hargitay, J.S. Johnson, Douglas Henderson. To break a powerful crime syndicate, Jim and Arte must capture its wily bookkeeper before Diamond Dave gets him first.

The Night Of The Egyptian Queen (4.8) Penny Gaston, Sorrell Booke, William Marshall, Tom Troupe. A priceless ruby is stolen from an Egyptian exhibit at the San Franciso Museum. When West and Gordon are commissioned to recover the jewel, they led to a waterfront bar where they notice the ruby on the toe of a beautiful young woman dancing on the table. Gordon, disguised as a sea captain, chases the dancer but fails to capture her or the ruby.
The best of the three episodes remains “The Night Of The Fugitives” which was produced at the end of season 3 and resembles “The Night of the Death-Maker” in terms of style.
Two characters to notice: the foe (Syndicate boss Diamond Dave Desmond) and Artie (as Con artist preacher Hallelujah Harry).
One gadget to notice: Jim's drugged ring used to knock unconscious the bookie on the run—it's almost a Mission: Impossible trick that foreshadows the slap needle of the Lansbury's era.

Gunsmoke - Seasons 10-12
Seven Hours To Dawn (11.1) John Drew Barrymore, Morgan Woodward, Johnny Seven. A dangerous criminal rides into town and takes over by blackmailing Matt and the citizens for all of their valuables. The criminal's pattern is to leave before dawn. Matt has a plan that will require everyone working together.

The Storm (11.2) Forest Tucker, Willard Sage, Stuart Margolin, Shug Fisher. A man is convicted of robbing and murdering his partner, but the sons of Matt's old friend are responsible. Matt must arrest the remaining son after the other's dying declaration and make it to Hays City in time to stop the hanging.

Clayton Thaddeus Greenwood (11.3) Roger Ewing (joins the cast), Paul Fix, Jack Elam, Robert Sorrells. Thad, son of and deputy to an Oklahoma sheriff, arrives in Dodge pursuing vandals on his father's warrant, not realizing the Oklahoma warrant isn't executable in Dodge.

Ten Little Indians (11.4) Nehemiah Persoff, Zalman King, Rafael Campos, John Marley, Warren Oates, Bruce Dern. Someone has placed a fabulous price on Matt's head, and there are many competing to earn it.

All four episodes had strong stories and great casts. I like the change in the opening theme, more dramatic sounding with the pumped up theme.

Featuring the masterpiece of season 11 (“Seven Hours to Dawn”) and the great Agatha Christie's oriented “Ten Little Indians”.
As you stated, on the whole, it's a fine disc. See the individual reviews in my Gunsmoke thread.


The Avengers - Complete Emma Peel Megaset
The Murder Market (4.7) Patrick Cargill, Suzanne Lloyd, John Woodvine. Steed and Mrs. Peel investigate a murder-for-hire organization fronting as a matchmaking bureau.

A Surfeit Of H2O (4.8) Noel Purcell, Albert Lieven. After a village poacher drowns in the middle of an open field, The Avengers are soon on the trail of a mad scientist able to control the weather.

The Hour That Never Was (4.9) Gerald Harper, Dudley Foster, Roy Kinnear, David Morell. On their way to a closing down party at an air base the Avengers' car crashes when they swerve to avoid hitting a dog. The air base proves to be deserted and Steed is knocked out. When he recovers he is back at the car but minus Mrs. Peel and the party, when he gets there, is in full swing. It would seem that he has gone back an hour in time.

Dial A Deadly Number (4.10) Clifford Evans, Jan Holden, Anthony Newlands. Company chairmen across the city are dropping dead, apparently through natural causes. Can Steed and Mrs Peel discover who is making a killing? First appearance of a "pager"?

Man-Eater of Surrey Green (4.11) Derek Farr, Athene Seyler. A man-eating plant from outer space lands in Middle England and takes several top horticulturists as its prisoners in an effort to germinate the Earth. Fortunately for the Earth, Steed just happens to be a herbicidal maniac.

Two's A Crowd (4.12) Julian Glover, Warren Mitchell, Maria Machado, Alec Mango, Wolfe Morris. A mysterious Russian called Psev is arriving for a conference at which Steed and Mrs. Peel have been hired to act as the security guards. However, a man called Gordon Webster who is an exact double for Steed turns up and offers his services to Psev's entourage of four people, fooling Mrs. Peel in the process and agreeing to kill Steed. Though he is thwarted it turns out that Psev is also not exactly the man that everybody had expected him to be.

Too Many Christmas Trees ( 4.13) Mervyn Johns, Edwin Richfield, Jeanette Sterke, Alex Scott. Steed has been having bad dreams involving Christmas trees and a man dressed as Santa Claus. At a party given by publisher and Dickens fan Brandon Storey, two telepathic spies attempt to read Steed's mind and make sense of the dream. However, the dream is echoed exactly by the events of the party, enabling Steed to spot the villains in advance and identify the dangerous Santa.

Fun getting back to these olders series.
Find the cream of the crop:

“The Hour That Never Was”
It is a great entry and amongst my favorite ones. It’s again written by Roger Marshall and the drama now functions. Like I said HOUR is amongst my favorite ones and I rank it n° 2 on my top ten list. HOUR like “The Town of No Return” exploits the existential void of a place: here, a defunct RAF base. Have you noticed the many scenes throughtout the place: for instance, Mrs Peel making a formal political speech inside a vast hangar or Mrs Peel finding a rabbit under a plane, the sound attack that leads Steed to a shelter and the look of the hanged and shaken metal chains. This episode plays almost like a science-fiction entry at first because you believe the characters are stuck in a time distortion. Anyway, the episode starts with a fantastic car accident that is very well staged and sets the mood to come. The intercourses between the two leads on the way to the base is a joy: they even foreshadow the album cover of a famous Beatles LP when they walk on the zebra crossing. For the anecdote, the shot to death milkman is stuntman Ray Austin. But the sherry on top of the cake is the unsual appearance of an intruder character: a hobo whose dog is responsible for the car accident of good ole Steed! I like the link between people. In the end, Steed finds him dead in a back alley: that’s the grim reality! HOUR is the third military sedition of its kind after TOWN and MASTER MINDS—which has a RAF-flavored too. HOUR tackles mind control because of the untrasound brainwashing plot fashioned by the base dentist. The final fight is amusing because it ends with laughing gas coming from the dentist’s drill.
The surreal details to notice:
  1. the existential void of a air force base
  2. the tilted sound attack of Steed and Mrs. Peel

“The Murder Market”
It is an enjoyable swindler organization episode. What is interesting is that Steed infiltrates the outfit first as a customer and then makes a devious deal with them and become a new employee, very competent. He is ordered to gun down his own partner Emma Peel. “Togetherness” is a cynical structure whose main hired-killer is a woman. Steed share his passion for horse ridding with her. Guess who is the mysterious boss: another woman. The peak of the episode is Steed compeled to attend the funeral of Mrs Peel. Steed seems worried and looses his wittiness. The long journey to the cemetery is edited in slow motion: amazing, isn’t it?

“Man-Eater of Surrey Green”
It is the second ecologist entry after “A Surfeit Of H2O”: from rain to plant, we see the threat of a natural element channeled by Mankind. The episode clearly tackles the theme of mind control to the extreme: possession. Furthermore, it highlights the theme of invasion that we first notice in “The Town of No Return”. Besides, we can witness again the British folklore. As an analogy, you refer to both Doctor Who and The Day of the Triffids which are partly correct but to go deeper, you must add The Quatermass Experiment and, above all, Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers because some people are possessed and spread the disease to overthrow the planet. Remember how they make it grow as jealous gardeners and protect it from intruders. Two scientists are immune to the hypnotic effects of the plant because of a deaf aid. The only solution is to pour some chemical product (herbicide) to destroy it which anticipates the next ecologic entry: “Silent Dust”. What I like the best about this story is the atmosphere inside the hallway of Sir Lyle Peterson which is populated with nude mannequins: a good image to suggest mind control, i.e., people stripped away from their wills and personalities. Note it’s one of the rare dead serious episode. Two men try to sneak into the plant growing estate and are eliminated: one (the truck driver) by sheer curiosity and the other (Dr Carter) to get back his wife. The aide of Sir Lyle Peterson is fierce and masters a shotgun! The outcome is shocking: Steed pours some herbicide on the back of Mrs Peel and lets her be taken by the plant to be eaten and suffers from indigestion. I enjoy it thoroughly for those reasons.

“A Surfeit of H2O”
It is part of an ecology trilogy and it is a good entry that dives into British folklore (Jonah and Elie) combined with the figure of the mad scientist: rain maker Dr. Sturm. Steed poses as a merchant tasting the wines of Dr. Sturm’s factory while seducing secretary Joyce Jason dressed in full Chanel outfit and Steed previously shows his gourmet side in “Dial a Deadly Number”. Notice the name of the factory: “Grannie Gregson’s Glorious Grogs Inc.” When Mrs Peel goes to Eli’s apointment, she wears a full latex outfit including blue jeans, blouson jacket, hat. As in “The Town of No Return”, Steed travels through a sewer network. The question of science without moral is the center of this story and there is a Biblical reference as a reminder to denounce the insanity of cynism, hyper rationality and positivism: Sturm’s purpose is to sell his invention to a foreign power. This is another science fiction entry after “The Cybernauts” and its mad scientist Dr. Armstrong.

“Dial A Deadly Number”
It is the most beautiful episode of season 4 thanks to Gerry Turpin’s Film Noir photography and two scenes exemplify that: the diner at the Boardman’s with the darkly lit round table the ambush of Steed by two motorcycle killers in the garage—note that Steed uses a handgun which is absolutely rare. Steed is not versed into violence of that nature. Anyway, the finance background turns this episode into a very serious entry. But you omit to mention a key character that remains in the shadow: Fitch, the sadist who plants pens into financiers and even tortures a bit Mrs. Peel.
The surreal details to notice:
  1. the quick cuts on a fish in the broker’s office
  2. the Film Noir assassination attempt on Steed by two motorcycle drivers
  3. Fitch vicious arrest of Mrs Peel by unzipping her outfit
  4. the martial wine cellar tasting showdown and the killing of broker John Harvey with a cork bottle
 

Jeff Flugel

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Heading into the last week of October, so a few more creepy episodes watched recently:

The X-Files
2.24 "Our Town"
3.13 "Syzygy"
3.14 "Grotesque"
5.9 "Schizogeny"
Don't have much time for the "mythology" episodes of this show these days, but still love the "Monster of the Week" episodes. These ones fit the bill perfectly, and I don't recall having seen any of them before. I really enjoyed dipping back into this series. I highly recommend the Blu-Ray sets, by the way, which look and sound fabulous. The only caveat is that I find the menus clunky.

In "Our Town," Mulder and Scully investigate a missing persons case in a small town built around a chicken processing plant and uncover a cannibal cult lurking behind the seemingly benign facade. Fun episode, enjoyed this one a lot. Some nice dark humor mixed in with the beheadings and autopsies. Especially liked this little exchange:

Scully: I just came up with a sick theory, Mulder.
Mulder: Ooh, I’m listening.

In "Syzygy" (don't you just love these opaque episode titles Chris Carter and Co. came up with?), strange events, including the murders of several local teen boys, bring Mulder and Scully to a small town in the grip of "Satanic panic." Everyone's begins acting weird and out-of-character, especially Scully, who is a raging beyotch throughout this episode. At first I was put off by her demeanor, but eventually it all fits in with the story's premise, that a rare cosmic alignment has set people off...particularly two teen girls who share the same birthday, and are now manifesting Carrie-like telekinetic powers. Pretty fun episode, with some gruesome kills (an X-Files specialty) and good banter between the leads. Mulder's panicked reaction when the hot local detective (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) hornily pounces on him in his hotel room is very funny, as is his comeback to Scully in the following exchange:

Scully: I'm driving. Why do you always have to drive? Because you're the guy?
Because you're the big, macho man?
Mulder: No. I was just never sure your little feet could reach the pedals.




Scully is back to her normal self in the dark and stylish "Grotesque." After an immigrant artist is arrested for brutally disfiguring and dismembering several young men, claiming that a "demon" possessed him, Mulder and Scully are called in when a new series of copycat murders begins. Scully grows increasingly concerned for Mulder's sanity as he becomes obsessed with getting into the murderer's mindset. Are the murders being committed by some gargoyle-like creature...or is there a more prosaic answer? It's fairly obvious what's going on, but in the usual X-Files vein, the show layers on the ambiguity. This one plays like a dry run for Chris Carter's sister show, Millennium, with it's very grim, grisly serial killer mystery plot - not that that's a bad thing. Kurtwood Smith is typically good as a famed FBI profiler who doesn't like Mulder but respects his abilities.



An apt description of most X-Files episodes can be boiled down to: lots of weird shit going down. That's exactly what happens in "Schizogeny," which involves cycles of abuse from parents to children, killer trees, split personalities and psychic possession, amidst other themes. Not an outstanding episode by any means, a bit of a murky mess, really, but plenty watchable. Not for the first time, our heroes are a bit slow on the uptake here, and sometimes I found myself shouting at the screen for Mulder and Scully to get a move on before more bodies pile up.

I know the prime time TV landscape was a vastly different place over 20 years ago than it is now, but it still boggles my mind that this middle-tier episode of the show was watched by more than 21 million people. Shows these days would kill for those numbers. Reminds me of just what a huge pop culture phenomenon The X-Files was back then.




Orson Welles Great Mysteries - 1.2 "The Leather Funnel"
A little-known ITV anthology series from 1973-1974, featuring adaptations of classic horror and suspense stories, with a cigar-chomping Orson Welles hosting wraparound segments, and groovy theme music by John Barry. The stories themselves are basically filmed plays, as was common for British television in this period. The cast lists are uniformly impressive; this one has Simon Ward, Jane Seymour and the great Christopher Lee, in an expansion and updating of Arthur Conan Doyle's short story.

When a young man (Ward) makes a surprise visit to the Parisian estate of the woman (Seymour) he intends to marry, the woman's uncle (Lee) decides to warn the suitor off in a very peculiar way: through a dream...or more appropriately, a nightmare. The leather funnel of the title is an old torture device used on one of Seymour's ancestors, a convicted murderess. There's a ghostly possession subplot that doesn't exist in the short story, but adds a welcome dramatic element at the finale. Lee is - no surprise - superb, and Seymour is stunningly beautiful - also no surprise to those who have seen her in the same time frame's Live and Let Die.


 
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BobO'Link

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I know the prime time TV landscape was a vastly different place over 20 years ago than it is now, but it still boggles my mind that this middle-tier episode of the show was watched by more than 21 million people. Shows these days would kill for those numbers. Reminds me of just what a huge pop culture phenomenon The X-Files was back then.
One of the many things about current TV that turns me off can be attributed to just that - the vastly different TV landscape as compared to even as short a time as 20 years ago. Even in the "Time Shifting" years there was a far more communal aspect to TV than there is today as most new shows still appeared on one of the networks. Many people talked about them and you still had your TV connected to cable or antenna. While you still had some of the "stumble upon" aspect, due to fragmentation being caused by all the cable channels, you'd still tend to check out what "The Networks" had to offer during prime time. Those shows produced for syndication, cable, or "Premium" distribution tended to be more "cult TV" oriented.

I'd like to say shows were given more of a chance at success during the years The X-Files was on but they were not. That, too, has hurt the networks as they constantly hunt for that show which will be a hit right out of the gate (they need to do more research as that's quite rare, even for shows from the "Golden Years" of TV). They've lost sight of the simple fact that the majority of shows need time to develop and "find" an audience.

Streaming plus the explosion in genre based cable channels has fragmented the audience to a point that "communal TV" is practically dead. I can't tell you how long it's been since I've heard co-workers talking about a network TV show, or any TV show for that matter. The last "communal" show where almost my entire department (9 - with 7 of us watching by the end) were discussing episodes was Game of Thrones - and that wasn't on broadcast TV. As soon as that ended, so did our conversations about TV shows.

I can't tell you the last time I actually watched a TV show which was aired one of the "Big Three" as it aired. There are precious few I actively collect and none of them are watched by anyone else I know (outside some of you here). Even the shows my grandkids occasionally talk about are streaming or cable channel products - nothing on any of the "Big Three" networks (I've always considered "networks" like FOX and "The CW" to be more niche product but it seems that more and more often they get numbers to make the "Big Three" jealous).

I just looked at the 2019/20 TV schedule. How do the networks stay alive? The complete hodgepodge of shows with many time slots looking like a game of "whack a mole" makes it look like they're not even trying! Some of the "regular" shows are the same group of half baked reality type things which caused me to give up on the networks in the early 2000s! I'm totally shocked at what I saw... If that's the future of network TV then they may as well throw in the towel right now as it won't be long before they're out of business.

Wow... seeing that just makes me even more happy I have the collection of "classic" TV I've built over the past 15 or so years.
 

JohnHopper

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Orson Welles Great Mysteries - 1.2 "The Leather Funnel"
A little-known ITV anthology series from 1973-1974, featuring adaptations of classic horror and suspense stories, with a cigar-chomping Orson Welles hosting wraparound segments, and groovy theme music by John Barry. The stories themselves are basically filmed plays, as was common for British television in this period. The cast lists are uniformly impressive; this one has Simon Ward, Jane Seymour and the great Christopher Lee, in an expansion and updating of Arthur Conan Doyle's short story.

When a young man (Ward) makes a surprise visit to the Parisian estate of the woman (Seymour) he intends to marry, the woman's uncle (Lee) decides to warn the suitor off in a very peculiar way: through a dream...or more appropriately, a nightmare. The leather funnel of the title is an old torture device used on one of Seymour's ancestors, a convicted murderess. There's a ghostly possession subplot that doesn't exist in the short story, but adds a welcome dramatic element at the finale. Lee is - no surprise - superb, and Seymour is stunningly beautiful - also no surprise to those who have seen her in the same time frame's Live and Let Die.
I enjoy that one and what a fine cast!
 
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ScottRE

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One of the many things about current TV that turns me off can be attributed to just that - the vastly different TV landscape as compared to even as short a time as 20 years ago. Even in the "Time Shifting" years there was a far more communal aspect to TV than there is today as most new shows still appeared on one of the networks. Many people talked about them and you still had your TV connected to cable or antenna. While you still had some of the "stumble upon" aspect, due to fragmentation being caused by all the cable channels, you'd still tend to check out what "The Networks" had to offer during prime time. Those shows produced for syndication, cable, or "Premium" distribution tended to be more "cult TV" oriented.

I'd like to say shows were given more of a chance at success during the years The X-Files was on but they were not. That, too, has hurt the networks as they constantly hunt for that show which will be a hit right out of the gate (they need to do more research as that's quite rare, even for shows from the "Golden Years" of TV). They've lost sight of the simple fact that the majority of shows need time to develop and "find" an audience.

Streaming plus the explosion in genre based cable channels has fragmented the audience to a point that "communal TV" is practically dead. I can't tell you how long it's been since I've heard co-workers talking about a network TV show, or any TV show for that matter. The last "communal" show where almost my entire department (9 - with 7 of us watching by the end) were discussing episodes was Game of Thrones - and that wasn't on broadcast TV. As soon as that ended, so did our conversations about TV shows.

I can't tell you the last time I actually watched a TV show which was aired one of the "Big Three" as it aired. There are precious few I actively collect and none of them are watched by anyone else I know (outside some of you here). Even the shows my grandkids occasionally talk about are streaming or cable channel products - nothing on any of the "Big Three" networks (I've always considered "networks" like FOX and "The CW" to be more niche product but it seems that more and more often they get numbers to make the "Big Three" jealous).

I just looked at the 2019/20 TV schedule. How do the networks stay alive? The complete hodgepodge of shows with many time slots looking like a game of "whack a mole" makes it look like they're not even trying! Some of the "regular" shows are the same group of half baked reality type things which caused me to give up on the networks in the early 2000s! I'm totally shocked at what I saw... If that's the future of network TV then they may as well throw in the towel right now as it won't be long before they're out of business.

Wow... seeing that just makes me even more happy I have the collection of "classic" TV I've built over the past 15 or so years.
That "communal" feeling was one of the things I used to love about TV. Not even just the discussions but the actual feeling that I was watching a TV show with thousands of other people. Maybe we're all watching Dallas, or MASH or V. We were all seeing the same stories and commercials, hearing the same news anchors and having the same experiences at the same time. Even when VCRs came into the homes, we would tape to keep them, so we'd be watching them live as well (sometimes trying to remove commercials on the fly).

Now it's no different than pulling a personal copy of a show or movie off your shelf (or video file) and watching it whenever. The feeling of community is gone. TV isn't the event it used to be. I sometimes recreate a broadcast version of something just to get some of that feeling back. I have It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown ready to run this week with CBS commercials and the end credit announcer added back in.
 

BobO'Link

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Didn't those air on ABC the past 20 or so years? I really haven't paid much attention as I didn't watch them after my kids outgrew them and by the time my grandkids came along I'd purchased them on DVD so we could watch them whenever we wanted as often as we wanted.

I do know my sister and I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown every year beginning with the first year they aired (*that* was communal/event TV!) until we moved away from home (and I did myself for a few more years after that). We watched all the others, it was Charlie Brown after all, but didn't care as much for them.
 
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