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

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Bryan^H, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Heh. Well, Russ, The Liver Birds is definitely similar in some respects to Laverne & Shirley...though of course, the former has no Lennie and Squiggy analogue, and is set in the early 70s rather than the 50s. For those reasons, I'm guessing that L & S wasn't inspired by The Liver Birds, unlike many other Britcoms that inspired American versions (such as All in the Family being modeled on Till Death Us Do Part, Sanford and Son on Steptoe and Son, Three's Company on Man About the House, etc.)
     
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  2. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Nice research job, Howie! Here's the opening credit sequence to The Liver Birds, which includes a quick shot of the "Liver Bird" statue referenced in that Wikipedia article:



    It's a fun show. There's a reasonably priced Series 2 & 3 DVD set available on Amazon UK...though YouTube also has many episodes free to view.

    Well, it is very possible that you did indeed see May to December on PBS...that's how I originally caught it back when I was in college in the late 80s / early 90s. It played every week, fairly late on either Saturday or Sunday night (if I remember correctly), on the local PBS affiliate.
     
  3. Message #1963 of 2351 May 27, 2019
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Good stuff, Howie! Some esoteric, little known British sitcoms above. I've heard of Odd Man Out, and am of course familiar with Dad's Army and, to a lesser extent, Last of the Summer Wine. The others I've not heard of nor seen before. Always glad to find out more info on new-to-me shows, especially comedies, which are something of a blindspot for me that I've only recently begun rectifying.
     
  4. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    I purchased all of those lesser known titles solely based on the star/costar or prior series.

    Odd Man Out was purchased because Inman stars. I'd only seen him in Are You Being Served? and was curious if that was representative of his work. The character he plays in Odd Man Out may as well be Mr. Humphreys in a different job.

    Slinger's Day
    was purchased because it continues from Tripper's Day even though I've never seen Tripper's Day, which looks to have gone OOP while I waffled, but had it on my list due to Leonard Lassiter who I know from Rising Damp, a series I first saw on A&E in the 90s.

    I first saw Clunes in British Men Behaving Badly which I discovered and sampled after watching the US remake attempt. I liked the British version much better and purchased the entire series. That lead to the purchase of other comedy series in which Clunes either stars or is a regular. I have several in the wings, all of which are blind buys.

    And, as I posted, The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs because of David Jason. After watching Only Fools and Horses, which was a blind buy based on that BBC Top 100 Sitcom poll, I purchased Open all Hours, which I liked and is also on that list, and A Bit of a Do, which I found to be "just OK." The more episodes I see of The Top Secret Life... I watch the more I like the series. It helps that it reminds me so much of Danger Mouse, which I also like, and that it's an entry in the "Spy Spoof" genre.
     
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  5. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    I never think to check YouTube for these series. I'd save myself a bit of cash if I did as I could possibly weed out those which turn out to be not-to-my-taste. While that's rare with a comedy series it does happen on occasion partially because some British series labeled as "comedy" more "dramedy" and you don't really know until you've seen an episode. I've become more sensitive to certain keywords that frequently indicate that - bittersweet being one.
    That's quite likely it. My wife and I frequently watched PBS "late night," weekdays and weekends, where many of the British comedy programs aired. I'd first seen Monty Python's Flying Circus on a PBS affiliate in the late 70s. I loved it. Thanks to PBS we discovered Keeping Up Appearances, Are You Being Served?, Last of the Summer Wine, Fawlty Towers (one I love - my wife hates), 'Allo 'Allo, The Vicar of Dibley, The Good Life, To the Manor Born, As Life Goes By (a favorite of my wife), Waiting for God, The Brittas Empire, and a few others.

    When A&E came along they ran some British series in their early years. From them we discovered Rising Damp, Two's Company, Lovejoy, Yes Minister/Prime Minister, French & Saunders, and a few others.

    I saw The Young Ones, Whose Line is it Anyway?, and Absolutely Fabulous on Comedy Central.

    All those lead to blind buys of many other British series and then came that BBC Top 100 Sitcom list. Many purchases are solely due to that list. Many have been good with only a few I don't much care for.

    Somewhere along the line I discovered Norman Lear, along with others, wasn't so original but borrowed ideas from British series, remaking them for the US. I started seeking out those originals and frequently found I prefer the British version.

    Give me 'Till Death Do Us Part, Man About the House, Men Behaving Badly, One Foot in the Grave, On the Buses, and Whose Line is it Anyway? over the US counterparts All in the Family, Three's Company, Men Behaving Badly, Cosby, Lotsa Luck, and Whose Line is it Anyway?. I own a copy of Steptoe and Son but haven't yet watched it. It's one where I mostly enjoy the US version Sanford and Son. In one odd-man-out situation I like the US version of The Office better than the British original.

    At first I thought it odd that the British have series (seasons) of generally 6-12 episodes. That some of these short series ran for years, if not decades, was also somewhat odd. We're now seeing that in some series, mostly from premium services, and I find it rather refreshing. Often these British series don't overstay their welcome as do many US series. Even US series I love often go on for more seasons than needed, becoming pale imitations of the goodness of the early years.

    I'm coming more and more to better appreciate those US series that went out on top after 3-5 seasons rather than drag on another 4-8. When rewatching a US series, even a high in the list favorite, I'll often stop after season 4 or 5.

    I once wanted more episodes of Fawlty Towers, one of my favorite British series of all time, until I watched an interview with John Cleese in which said they'd done all that needed to be done and doing more would just not be as good. He's right. I could easily list a dozen US series that went on far too long. Series that saw excellent ratings their entire life but just weren't as good in those later years.
     
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  6. Message #1966 of 2351 May 28, 2019
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Yes, YouTube is a real dollar saver (or loser, depending on how you look at it) for various series that would otherwise be a blind buy. Of course, there are a lot of shows that don't have any episodes available complete on YT, but there are a good deal of them, ranging from a handful of episodes to nearly the entire run. For example, I only found one episode of the Sally Field Gidget series, but it was enough for me to get a taste of the show and decide to buy the DVD set (it didn't hurt that it was very cheap). It's been the same for various British series...to take a recent example, I'd been curious about The Gold Robbers and was able to catch 3 episodes of the series before it was removed from YT. I liked the show so much that I'll be picking it up from Amazon UK shortly.

    The above example definitely shows the difference in our preferences for comedies vs. dramas (me definitely being far more of a drama than a comedy sort of guy). I had heard about Only Fools and Horses, of course, but my first exposure to David Jason was in the drama, or comedy-drama, vein in the '90s: the police procedural A Touch of Frost and The Darling Buds of May (which, incidentally, introduced Catherine Zeta-Jones to the world at large...and my, was her impact immediate!)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ditto Martin Clunes. I'd seen him in several things off and on, but he didn't really register for me as a performer until I started to watch Doc Martin. I'm with you for sure in preferring the U.K. Men Behaving Badly.
     
  7. Mysto

    Mysto Screenwriter

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    One of our current Brit favs is Death in Paradise. We had a hard time with the first cast change but now we are addicted. Tough to watch a series with only 6 eps per season though.

    ADDED: Has this been on long enough to be classic?
     
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  8. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    I think it's pretty new, Marv...started in 2011. But it's a really fun series no matter how you slice it. Have you seen series 7 and 8 with Ardahl O'Hanlon (of Father Ted fame) taking over as lead detective? The show still works, despite every one of the detective team having been replaced (even Danny John-Jules Dwayne departed after series 7) at least once.
     
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  9. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    I've heard of Doc Martin but haven't seen it... yet... I'm probably going to try Youtube and if that's a bust will order a cheap copy of S1 to test the waters. I get the impression it's more of a dramedy type series so... Those are a tough sell for me. My wife loves As Time Goes By and I find it somewhat dreary and maudlin at times although it does have its moments. It's not bad but it's also not one I'd pick myself.
     
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  10. Message #1970 of 2351 May 28, 2019
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    I think you'll find Doc Martin a lot less maudlin than As Time Goes By (which barely qualifies as a sitcom, frankly, though I quite like the leads, esp. Geoffrey Palmer). It's not a favorite of mine, but the early series are quite good and Clunes gets a really interesting character to play: a grumpy doctor with no bedside manner with an aversion to blood. I found the woman playing his one-again, off-again love interest, Caroline Catz (one of the leads of Murder in Suburbia), very attractive and appealing, and thought they shared good chemistry. Be curious to see what you think. There were two TV movie pilots which are also pretty good but quite a bit different than the more raucous series that followed.
     
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  11. Purple Wig

    Purple Wig Agent

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    A friend recommended this to me several years back, and as someone who is probably over skeptical about newer programs, I liked it a lot, even the later seasons. A lot of the supporting cast are great.
     
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  12. Doug Wallen

    Doug Wallen Lead Actor
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    Been trying to catch up this past week.

    Have Gun - Will Travel - Complete Series

    Three Sons (1.34) Parker Fennelly, Paul Jasmin, Warren Oates, Kevin Hagen, Jacqueline Mayo, S. John Launer, Jon Lormer. Paladin is drwn into this story when he offers his room to newlyweds who find San Francisco booked up. The grooms dad is being called senile by two half brothers who wish all of the od mans inheritance. Paladin acts as an attorney in this one.

    The Return of Dr. Thackeray (1.35) June Lockhart, Grant Withers, Charles Aidman, John Anderson. Smallpox invades a ranch. Dr. Thackeray is called in. Quarantine is imposed and the nonviolent son is having trouble maintaining order on the ranch. Enter Paladin. Sure do enjoy seeing June Lockhart show up.

    Twenty-Four Hours at North Fork (1.36) Morris Ankrum, Jacqueline Scott, Harry Shannon, Brad Dexter, Karl Swenson. Religious persecution/predjudice against Mennonites primarily by the towns store owner. No evidence of Lucas McCain ;).

    Silver Convoy (1.37) Nico Minardos, Barbara Luna, George Kaymas, Rodolfo Hoyos Jr. Searching for a missing man leads to enforced slavery in an illegal prison. Paladin helps out.

    Deliver The Body (1.38) R. G. Armstrong, James Franciscus, Madlyn Rhue, Robert Grist. A bully Mayor and an idealistic lawyer encounter Paladin as he is chasing a criminal wrongly accused of murder.

    The Statue of San Sebastian (1.39) John Carradine, Simon Oakland, Judson Pratt, Bart Braverman. Paladin is cooling his heels waiting for the stage (which never arrives). He takes on a job for the local church, to find a criminal in order to ransom a holy statue.

    Mission: Impossible - Season 4
    Gitano (4.18) Barry Williams, Peter Mark Richman, Rudy Solari, Barry Atwater. Greg Brady as a boy king being fought over by a crooked General and his distant Uncle. Interesting cast, lackluster story.

    Phantoms (4.19) Antionette Bower, Luther Adler, Jeff Pomerants, Ivor Francis, Gregory Sierra. A dictator who envisions himself as benevolent is made to have "visions" and begins to regret his past actions (killing a lover and possibly abandoning his own son).

    Terror (4.20) Arlene Martel, Michael Tolan, David Opatoshu, Joe DeSantis. Prison break episode with a twist. The escapee is supposed to be caught.

    Gunsmoke - Season 7
    Nina's Revenge (7.12) Lois Nettleton, William Windom, Ron Foster, Johnny Seven. Marital mishap. Abusive husband plots elaborate plan to disgrace wife and blackmail her father for money. Plan falls through and husband then hires a gunslinger to finish the job. Excellent episode that doesn't work out for anyone.

    Marry Me (7.13) Don Dubbins, Warren Oates, Cactus Mack. Kitty is approached by a mountain man who tells her she will be his wife. Being tossed out of the Longbranch does not change his mind. He kidnaps her and then plans to "learn" her how to enjoy her marriage.

    A Man A Day (1.14) Fay Spain, Val DuFour, Leonard Nimoy, Roy Wright. Criminals try their hand at terrorism to keep Matt away as they wish to rob the Dodge City bank. Unknown to the townspeople, the gang has an inside "man" relaying information.

    Lost In Space - Complete Series - Widescreen
    Having to revise my opinion of this season. Smith has been an irritant, but has mostly been true to his purpose (single minded on returning to Earth and avoiding work while feeding his body). I guess campy Smith arrives with color!

    The Magic Mirror (1.21) Michael J. Pollard. A Penny story that feeds on the same fears as My Friend Mr. Nobody. Penny feels alone and enjoys interacting with The Boy. Michael J. Pollard does his best to entice Penny, but he fails. Smith never believes in him. Penny finally does show some growth in this episode. This is another episode that I do have memories of back in 1966.

    The Challenge (1.22) Michael Ansara, Kurt Russell. A royal child on a manhood test. 60's sexism on full display in this one. Even so, I enjoy this story for the demonstration by both men of their love for their sons. Another favorite.

    The Space Trader (1.23) Torin Thatcher. A galactic trader with a penchant for a human, ensnares Dr. Smith. The hysterics are starting.

    His Majesty Smith (1.24) Liam Sullivan,Kevin Hagen. Jonathan Harris in a double role. I didn't pay much attention to this one.

    The Space Croppers (1.25) Sherry Jackson, Mercedes Mc Cambridge. Werewolves, giant pod plants and witchery. This one is only saved by Ms. Jackson in her hillbilly outfits.

    The High Chapparal - Season 3
    To Stand For Something More (3.6) Don Diamond, Gino Conforti. Blue has a chance to prove his leadership when Big John leaves to deliver livestock to the Army. Nothing goes right and a prize stallion is stolen. Blue searches for a way to correct his error.





     
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  13. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Supporting Actor

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    Comments:
    After "The Heir Apparent", Rudy Solari returns in another monarchic role and, after "The Play", Atwater is again a peaceful political leader figure. As in "The Spy", the IMF convinces a high official that his right-hand man is a traitor. The episode is filled with Spanish-like Gellerese idioms: "Petroleo Nacional" for National petrol, "Transporte Militare" for the military garage, "Lubrosa Almacen" for the Lubrosa warehouse, "Se Renta Completo". There are imaginary locations as the town of Tortino, the kingdom of Sardia and Montenego and it could be countries around the Adriatic sea: Albania, Montenegro, Republic of Mecedonia.

    Review:
    Another Southern monarchic plot produced by Stanley Kallis and the ideal companion to "The Falcon" (a military regent planning to kill a royal figure) that I find enjoyable because of the folklore and the IMF poses as a traveling gypsy company! The episode has a strong Spanish flavor and it is filled with too many telephone shots. As in "The Falcon", Paris has a curly hairstyle. Two scenes are noteworthy: the kidnapping of King Victor by the IMF and the assassination of King Victor by General Aragas in the warehouse (King Victor runs towards his idole and Aragas shoots at point blank range and we see holes in a large glass shield like a cobweb).



    Comments:
    Find some Eastern Europe Gellerese idioms: "Klos Vad Altren" for a closed down theatre, "Czentrel Mikrosfylm" for the microfilm room, "Arivol - Flyt 23" for arrival - flight 23, "Telefön". And there are some mentions of imaginary locations: Talma, Talmakavo, Yaluk, Birak, the Stonenitz prison, Sedmoy and Pyatiy streets. For your information, "partisan" means paramilitary communist party member.

    Review:
    The name Vorka is an outgrowth of Vorda from "The Amnesiac". Despite the Grand Guignol side with ghosts of the late Lisa Ruger and her son who points an accusing finger at Vorka, this anti-Joseph Stalin episode has the Eastern Europe look I enjoy: on the whole, a good Stanley Kallis entry. Writer Laurence Heath uses the metaphor of the weak heart for poet Zara. It is also a variation of the supernatural genre as the season 3 "The Bargain" where the IMF makes the foe believe he has hallucinations via a light show. Actor's Studio Luther Adler interprets a convincing paranoid politician, especially during the first encounter with Lisa's ghost: "Lisa, leave me alone! Leave me alone! Lisa! Lisa! Help! Leave me alone! Leave me alone!"


    Comments:
    Featuring no dossier scene and it is another episode with no guest female IMFer.

    Review:
    The topic may still be contemporary and related to the events of the Gulf War but the episode is cheap and average in the film-making, predictable and simplistic in the writing and a flat remake of "Nitro" and the weakest of the two Middle East episodes. The guest cast is wasted because they play one dimension and second-rate characters: see the cardboard Arab terrorists which rather look like Greek gypsies.
     
  14. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    Recently completed the sixth and final season of Have Gun, Will Travel from CBS' condensed all-in-one; the series is not necessarily finished, however, as I still am yet to fill in the remainders of the third, fourth and fifth gos (I saw the sixth and final one first from my copy, because it's been said [IINM] that Richard Boone wanted to move on to other projects, and as such, the last go was lower-rated than the others [episodes not so good]).
     
  15. Rustifer

    Rustifer Screenwriter
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    I got fairly addicted to the first three seasons until DCI Ben Miller got killed off. Replaced by Kris Marshall, the show began to lose my interest--not so much from the character change but rather the fact that each episode was becoming too formulaic. Besides, how many murders can occur in tiny Saint Marie before tourists begin to look for less murderous venues in the Caribbean?
    At the end of the day, the real star of the series is the scenery. The pet lizard was a nice touch, too. They had to schedule him around his GEICO commercials...
     
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  16. Message #1976 of 2351 May 30, 2019
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
    Rustifer

    Rustifer Screenwriter
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    Episode Commentary
    Have Gun Will Travel
    "Shadow of a Man" (S4E20)

    Since Doug and Ben just brought up this series, I thought I'd toss in my own two cents on an episode. I always liked the show, so it didn't take much urging for me to go back an watch a story or two.

    Paladin, as per usual in the opening, is descending the staircase in the posh Carlton Hotel with a lovely lady attached to his arm. We are to presume this follows a blissful evening of sheet friction fun in his suite. Lobby rat Hey Girl hands him a note containing a fake brooch and a furtive appeal for him to come to Patchwork Junction. Let's assume this is akin to being asked to visit Buttcrack, Arkansas--not exactly a destination delight--yet Paladin jumps on his horse and heads out with no particular strategy in mind.

    We meet Logan Adcock (Mike Kellin), the Ben Cartwright of Patchwork Junction--who is in the process of bullying John Sutton (Kent Smith), a newly transplanted cotton farmer to the territory. Sutton is a Southerner, and therefore a sworn enemy of abolitionist Adcock. Paladin gets between the two with his black hat, black shirt and terrorizing moustache, causing both men to sheepishly back down.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] upload_2019-5-30_11-3-35.
    Kent Smith, Mike Kellin, Dianne Foster

    Enter Sutton's wife, gorgeous Marion (Dianne Foster), who turns out to be the one who has summoned Paladin to this hellhole of a town.
    One look at Paladin, and she immediately decides to dump her milquetoast of a husband. She desperately wants to see what's under the famous gunfighter's moustache. He demurs, instead offering himself as a farm hand to Sutton. Just in time, too, as Adcock and his men show up to burn the place down. There's some fancy gunplay by Paladin which quickly weeds out any advantage in numbers on Adcock's side.

    To add to the fray, a jealous Sutton confronts Paladin for inflaming his wife's desire.
    "There's nothing between your wife and me other than her need for a man", explains Paladin. Well, them there's fightin' words to a hubby.
    Before Sutton can draw his gun, Paladin calmly puts a .44 caliber round smack dab in the fleshing portion of the man's heart.
    "Whether in peace or war, men die", intones Paladin in his world-weary way. Exit stage left.

    Randoms
    For a while in the 60's, Mike Kellin seemed to be everywhere on TV. I think he must have had some kind of congenital sinus affliction, as he always sounded to me like his nose was filled with guacamole.

    Canadian Dianne Foster married screenwriter Joel Murdock in 1954. She was 24, he's nearly 40. She files for divorce in 1957, claiming he beat the crap out of her on a daily basis. They reconcile later, only to divorce again in 1959. They reunite, then divorce again another year later. Do you see a pattern? Ms. Foster eventually married a dentist and now lives a quiet life with free dental work and her 5 grandchildren somewhere in California.
     
  17. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    Went back into season 3 on Have Gun for the first time in a long while, and I'm having to go through quite a few episodes to find out where I left off-- should have kept better track.
     
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  18. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    I use a sticky note and indicate disc number with hash marks to indicate the episodes I've watched. That's put on the outside of the case - inside if it might be some time before I come back to a series. Works great and I can come back months later, if necessary, and pick up where I left off.
     
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  19. Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    Another fine and funny review, Russ! I'm a big, big fan of hangdog Mike Kellin...when given the chance and a meaty role, he was often brilliant. He's the guest star of one of my favorite episodes of Combat!, Losers Cry Deal, indeed, this is one of my absolute favorite episodes all time from 1960s television drama! He delivers a supremely powerful performance in the recently released season one of Mr. Novak, Sparrow on the Wire too. And another that comes to mind is Route 66's Hey Moth, Come Eat the Flame and Naked City's Golden Lads and Girls...Twilight Zone's The Thirty Fathom Grave and Dr. Kildare's The Mask Makers...and his work in feature films like The Incident (with fellow hangdog Gary Merrill), Fool's Parade and Midnight Express...

    Mike Kellin in Combat! season three's Losers Cry Deal, directed by the great Vic Morrow...Mike Kellin plays a conniving Sergeant, an "operator", avoiding danger and shirking his duties while leaving others in jeopardy...he discovers that his ill gotten gains have come at the cost of the ultimate sacrifice of a buddy who idolized him...a debt he can never repay as a now broken man, the literal dead man walking... if you love great vintage TV drama, you see Mike Kellin in this, and it will stay with you...screen caps from Image DVD...last time I checked, the whole series was still available for viewing on Youtube...
    Losers 22.JPG
    Losers 17.JPG
    Losers 29.JPG
    Losers 31.JPG
    Losers 37.JPG
    Losers 11.JPG
    Losers 15.JPG
    Losers 16.JPG
    Losers 6.JPG
    Losers 8.JPG

    And so powerful in Mr. Novak, Sparrow on the Wire, directed by Mark Rydell...Kellin plays a gentle, intellectual teacher...a humble peacemaker, subject to indignity, strongly implied threats and humiliation...anger on a slow burn in the face of anti-Semitic hatred, until he explodes...screen caps from homemade DVD, not the recent Warner release...
    Sparrow 14.JPG
    Sparrow 24.JPG
    Sparrow 22.JPG
     
  20. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    Ben Masters
    That's just what I might do, once I've found where I left off-- a very helpful suggestion!
     
    BobO'Link and Jeff Flugel like this.

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