Monday, October 31, 2016
I'm on a bunch of super fun Halloween-related podcasts this year.
Dan's Drive-In Double Feature #4
Amanda Reyes of Made For TV Mayhem and I talk two great 1980 slasher films: PROM NIGHT & HE KNOWS YOU'RE ALONE. It's a very in-depth chat. Amanda knows her stuff and we cover every nook and cranny of these films that we can think of. Get comfortable and enjoy.
This is a good time, free-for-all horror-related podcast, hosted by Charlie Brown from Medicine Hat and featuring a gaggle of good people (including Amanda). The latest episode involved us chatting about the awesome COLD PREY. It's not up yet but... follow that link and listen to some great stuff while you're waiting for the new one.
The Made For TV Mayhem Show
This is a show featuring Amanda, Nathan Johnson (from the seminal The Hysteria Continues) discussing Made For TV movies of all variety. In the latest episode, we discuss THE HALLOWEEN THAT ALMOST WASN'T and THE PAUL LYNDE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL. Before that episode, we cover two Patty Duke horror films. And... last year, we discussed THE MIDNIGHT HOUR. Immerse Yourself!
The Film and Water Podcast
This one was from a few months ago. But, to keep the TV Movie theme going, the All-Powerful, All-Seeing Rob Kelly and I discuss ANTS! AKA IT HAPPENED AT LAKEWOOD MANOR. It's a good discussion filled with ants on breasts talk.
The Zero Plus Zero Show
This is the my friend Rustingwillpower's podcast and it is a great one. For the last 5 episodes, I have had a segment called Digging With Dan where I discuss a (Semi-) obscure movie. On this Halloween episode, I talk THE VARROW MISSION. Plus, my wife and I chat trick or treating throughout the ages.
Well, the October episodes weren't specifically Halloween-related. But, each of the episodes (8 & 9) begin and end with fun, scary tunes. And, of course, Cliff Hangers! does contain The Curse of Dracula. Enjoy.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Saturday, October 29, 2016
It's the Super Halloween episode!
Amanda Reyes (Made-For-TV Mayhem Mogul) joins me to discuss PROM NIGHT and HE KNOWS YOU'RE ALONE.
Follow the link! Happy Halloween!
This post is part of the Terror TV Blogathon hosted by the Classic TV Blog Association. You can click here to read the other scary entries.
"She's ugly as sin.
By golly, by golly.
By golly, by golly,
She's ugly as sin."
Molly Turgiss is a legendary (ex) resident of Hooterville. The locals call her "You Know Who." If you say her name, something will fall off the wall, something will shatter or something will fly across the room and hit you in the behind. She's a poltergeist who can manifest herself in mirrors, a supernatural phenomenon. Or, as Lisa says, "a stupid unnatural phenomenon." Molly was an ugly girl who grew up to be an ugly woman. The townsfolk taunted her out of town. Now, her spirit punishes the people of Hooterville through random annoyances whenever her name is invoked (or just casually spoken). My favorite thing she does is driving people's cars away and parking them illegally in adjacent towns. (She may be ugly but that's a good sense of humor. I like a gal with a good sense of humor.)
Eb singing a Solk Fong
Don't put a man's solk fongs in the washing machine
This is, officially, the point in Green Acres history where Jay Sommers & Dick Chevillat (the men who wrote almost every episode) teeter the show into Looney Town. But, luckily, they never forget to include the laughs. (I laughed out loud 23 times during my most recent viewing of this episode. I even laughed at numerous asides from Oliver that the laugh track didn't acknowledge.*) The yuks start early with Eb singing the goofy, but tragic, "Shed a Tear for Gertrude" pass by Lisa's "all-electrical breakfast" through Sam Drucker's confusion over Lisa's shopping list (all exotic foods, no hominy or the like) through, well, everything. Mr. Ziffel falling asleep during Oliver's solk fong recital after dinner (what did Lisa make them?) is a highlight. Especially when he bursts awake applauding and Lisa says there's still another verse. Fred: Oh, I guess I can sleep through that one too. This show always, truly, makes me laugh. But, to carry on...
There's always time for goofballery
Lisa explains her All-Electrical breakfast
The Ballad of Molly Turgiss is not a hoax. Not an imaginary story. This isn't Molly's daughter doing something. It's Molly. The ghost of a very ugly woman who throws things at people who say her name. I'm glad Jay and Dick followed through and made it a real supernatural thing. Although, should I have expected less? (The only time the show pulled a fast one was in A Square Was A Round. But, even then, they had a trick up their sleeves.) This is, after all, a show where credits appeared on hotcakes. A show where Oliver gives speeches about the American farmer and Yankee Doodle-type music starts playing that Lisa can hear but not Oliver. And, let's not forget the Romeo and Juliet episode where Arnold the pig falls in love with Cynthia the dog, culminating with a subtitled talk between pig and dog. (That pig is a charmer. No wonder the dogs like him.)
Lisa saves the day by applying an inordinate amount of make-up to Molly. Miss Turgiss leaves town and goes somewhere-or-other. Maybe to haunt Crabwell Corners? But, a thought always occurs: The people in Hooterville are good country folk with an odd bend to them. Did they really hound this woman so horribly that she left town and, possibly, killed herself because of it? (They don't say that but that's where these stories generally end.) Could you see Mr. Kimball's dad or grandad laying into Molly? Maybe Mr. Ziffel or his dad but not Mrs. It's a casual bit of legend that adds a touch of darkness to the town. Could Hooterville have been a much more ominous place that changed its ways after the Molly Debacle? I, for one, would be up for seeing "Hooterville: The Early Years." (It could be like "Dallas: The Early Years" but with Dale Midkiff playing a young Fred Ziffel.)
The Hooterville folk dealing with Molly
(Yes, Mrs. Ziffel is getting kicked in the behind)
I can't end this review without discussing one of my favorite running bits in the episode: Solk Fongs! Throughout college, Mr. Douglas collected folk legends and made them into songs. That is awesome! But, for a man who loved the countryside and farming so much, should we have expected anything less? I love everyone's general confusion over why Oliver would do this. It's one of the few times that Oliver is actually completely right. Those legends should be preserved. Maybe Oliver's songs aren't the best but he's trying. I love the thought that he's planning on doing a small impromptu concert of his solk fongs for the folks over for dinner, including his song for Molly. Which isn't very good but not without its charms. (The way everybody ducks in their chairs when Lisa says Molly's name in the end is pretty hilarious.)
This episode may be fudging it a bit for "Halloween" entertainment. But, it's a scary as Green Acres got. Most of it is gloriously silly, with each member of our ensemble (although no Alf & Ralph) getting to do their pieces. It does have some semi-creepy moments. The eerie music that plays whenever someone is looking in the mirror and saying Molly's name is great. Molly's first appearance in the mirror while Oliver is shaving is rather unnerving. ("Molly's a great shaving watcher.") Molly's ghostly arm beckoning from around the door is well handled. Not a lot of "scares" but a lot of laughs and, in the end, Lisa helps an ugly woman become beautiful. Plus, Oliver gets his guitar smashed over his head by a ghost. You can't beat that.
A Whole Lotta Molly
*In The Hooterville Handbook by Stephen Cox, it is mentioned that Jay Sommers (producer/ creator/ writer) used to be in charge of the laugh track. He was a smart and shrewd man. I can imagine him Not punctuating certain funny moments and allowing the audience to catch them. That sounds like crazy talk but watch the opening kitchen scene, especially when Lisa and Oliver are around the outlets. Lisa says something funny. The laugh track clicks on. Oliver makes a funny face in response. No laugh track.
Which, of course, begs the question: On a show with a laugh track, is a funny moment that doesn't get canned laughter a joke or some sort of mistake? Of course, then you could ask "What are all those things the laugh track is laughing at in a show like Small Wonder or The Munsters Today? Because they sure aren't jokes."
Is this the Young Mr. Ziffel?
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Originally aired on November 17, 1979
Directed by Frank P. Beascoechea
Teleplay by Jimmy Sangster and Sidney Ellis and Michael Sloan
Story by Jimmy Sangster
Finally! The episode with the elephant... and Abe Vigoda. I'm surprised it only took them 18 episodes.
The elephant... and Abe Vigoda
I jest (somewhat) but this is the Elephant (named Mary Ellen) and Abe Vigoda episode. Abe plays a carny guy travelling with his granddaughter and their elephant. They enter, with B.J.'s help, the county overseen by Wiley and the Fox. Trouble ensues. Everyone ends up in jail. We learn that Wiley once fed Mary Ellen spicy food and Mary Ellen ran riot. We learn that elephants never forget because Mary Ellen remembers Wiley. And we learn that redneck posses can, literally, be formed at a moment's notice to hunt down and shoot an elephant... reasons be damned!
This man and this chimp simply have fun
First, I want to say goodbye to Wiley and the Fox. I so wish that they had showed up more often. No, I don't want another spinoff. And yes, I haven't watched Lobo (apart from the two crossover episodes) so if they show up there, that will be something I can look forward to. The concept of two very crooked cops who don't like each other but have to work together to be crooked... this episode has lots of 'shine in it... is a fun one. Maybe a feature film? Wiley and the Fox! I would have gone to see that in the theater... and been the only person there.
Adios, Wiley & the Fox! You shall be missed
Second, whenever I start watching this episode, it makes me very tired at the start. Abe Vigoda and an elephant doesn't spark my imagination the way it should. The secondary plot of the granddaughter wanting to stay with granddad but he wanting her to go to college is a nice bit of extra character stuff. But, there probably should be that extra character stuff because it took three people to write this. I wonder about that. Jimmy Sangster is a very competent writer. The "and" in the Teleplay credit implies that Jimmy wrote a draft, Sidney re-wrote it and then Michael re-wrote it. I'm wondering if Jimmy's original had more elephant stuff in it? As the episode goes along, it becomes more of a standard B.J. and the Bear with redneck posses and jerky cops... Plus, B.J. in prison. Or maybe Jimmy's original script was exactly like this. Maybe at this point, no matter how much one might want to stretch the formula, it's just going to snap right back. Who knows?
Did they release an Original Scripts of B.J. and the Bear set back in the day?
Huh... jail. Again. It happens.
At the time of airing, we didn't know this would be the last appearance of Wiley and the Fox. And, we've got several episodes in a row with zero Country Comfort. Will they return? (Answer: They will return.) If they're using Comfort as a base for B.J. to return to every few episodes, that's fun to me. Presumably, if he's travelling the country, he goes to CC when he's in the area of wherever it's located. (Outside Los Angeles?) Mixed in with these episodes are the ones where we meet new folks out in the world... although somehow we wound up in Wiley and the Fox's jurisdiction...
Hey, an ignorant redneck! They are fun, aren't they?
And I just remembered that Wiley and the Fox's jurisdiction is (per Snow White and the Seven Lady Truckers) in the same area as Country Comfort. Huh... I just realized that as I was typing these sentences. So, B.J. isn't travelling across the country when this episodes happens... he's near Country Comfort again. This is becoming a very insular world for a trucker. Is this financially feasible? Sure, B.J. can get all the kissing and adventure he needs here but where's the wanderlust. How long was he trucking prior to when we see him at the start of the series? He will settle down but not yet. Hmm, so many questions.
Did they release a B.J. and the Bear Concordance?
Abe has great legs
Mary Ellen is an average episode of B.J. and the Bear, which means that if you love the show, you'll love the episode. Especially if you love Abe Vigoda, elephants, Wiley/ Fox interaction and crazy redneck posses. I love all of these things. The show brings them on in spades with Greg Evigan and his Charm To Spare (tm).
I feel like there's a topical "polling place" joke that should go here.
But, I'll let it ride.