The Haunted House
The Andy Griffith Show

There is a question at the opening whether or not a dipsy-doodle could be hit by Mickey Mantle. This is put to the test by Opie and his friend. Opie hits the ball into the old Rimshaw place.

Rimshaw is reputed to have bound his hired man in chains, then killed him with an axe. The house is now said to be haunted, and indeed, strange noises and the like are to be met with inside and outside the place.

Otis and his moonshiner pal have a still there, and devote themselves to these shenanigans when called for by prying eyes. Sheriff Taylor flushes them out with their own hokum.

Harvey Bullock’s pointed script is matched by Bellamy’s placid, accurate direction.


My Fair Ernest T. Bass
The Andy Griffith Show

A variant of Pygmalion, in which rock-throwing hectic Ernest T. Bass returns to town “looking for a girl”. He disrupts a society matron’s party and locks himself in a jail cell.

It’s all a matter of learning how to behave properly. Ernest T. is taught the rudiments of etiquette by rote. Deputy Fife mimes a correct entrance, and his pupil complains, “I cain’t hear him!”

A slight at the party sends Ernest T. into orbit, spoiling Sheriff Taylor’s lessons, but a charming girl as adroitly coached as he is finds him pleasant company, and they go off together into the evening, leaping and skipping.

Everett Greenbaum & Jim Fritzell have a beautiful passage for Deputy Fife in the first scene, as he explains to witnesses how the nonexistent lab will assess the rock.


The Ghosts of 73
McHale’s Navy

The crew have a spate of bad luck on Friday the 13th. Binghamton overhears, conceives a plan, has the boat renumbered 13 with a history of lost crews. McHale will have no “jinxes or Jonahs”, he’s sent to ComFleet as a special courier. Binghamton haunts the boat.

The men apply for transfers. McHale returns, they retaliate. Sunk in battle, they appear as ghosts to haunt the bejeezus out of Capt. Binghamton, who gives up their transfer requests.

The sinking is accomplished on the boat at dock, sipping drinks or beer with gunbursts and firecrackers and Fuji shouting banzai, all piped over the radio to Binghamton for his sabotage.



A sheriff, a deputy, train robbers, a gambling den in New Mexico, the girl who sings there, the sheriff’s whole life in the pursuit through Apache country, a fact not noted in reviews.

The picturesque settings are lyrically realized in the grand centerpiece, ruggedly in the finale among the rocks.

The lovely song is “Far Away”, music by Hans J. Salter, cinematography by William Margulies.


Munster, Go Home!

Lord Munster, 4th Earl of Shroudshire, has a presentiment and wills Munster Hall to Herman, a Munster by adoption (he was “made in Germany”).

Lord Munster, 5th Earl of Shroudshire, takes possession with his immediate family, reveals a dastardly counterfeiting scheme (prettily masterminded by the village barmaid) and wins the Shroudshire Road Race in his custom-built Dragula.

A thing of genius.

The New York Times reviewer dozed and missed it.


One of Our Bombs Is Missing
I Spy

The Communist mayor of San Luigi della Valencia, Comrade Garibaldi, has democratically overseen the distribution of parts from a crashed USAF plane, one to a citizen, when Scott and Robinson arrive as a meteorological team after a weather device gone astray in the wreck, Father Bellini (“The Hoboken Hurricane”) with 47% of the vote also has a hand in it by proportion, there you have a metaphor of something vital if excruciated, if you like.

“An atom what?”

Question of a bridegroom for a daughter of the village outside Genoa, question of class ties, question of the bomb itself, all the bombs.

Kid Bellini’s manager takes on party fanatics, no contest, “Kelly and Scott” are bound over to the hospitality of the place, spaghetti and amity.

Time off in Italia gives the sublime opening.


The Medarra Block
I Spy

The key to a sixteenth-century marrano’s hiding-place for a parchment signed by the Prophet, sought by radical groups in Morocco for a united overthrow of the government.

Fine, fresh location filming in Marrakesh.


Now You See Her Now You Don’t
I Spy

A variant by Jerry Ludwig of Fritz Lang’s Cloak and Dagger to which the supplied key is “M-O-N-E-Y”.

Bellamy’s extraordinary filming descends from the Acropolis to a native and homely Athens, thence to Mikonos and finally Delos amidst the ruins of Greek civilization.

Cacoyannis is reflected in his early films (Eroica), the latter chase rather evokes The Day the Fish Came Out, Jimmy Mitchell’s striking coat anticipates The Story of Jacob and Joseph.


I Spy

Scott the villain of the piece and scold of Robinson but careless himself takes a new job in aerospace PR and something more to pay a hireling ex-wife whose time is money, interesting tidbits abound, “24 instruments, 566 switches, 40 event indicators, 71 light switches and 27 different means of communication” in the command module alone, cf. Huston’s Across the Pacific.

Locked in a refrigerator car on an outbound freight, the performer and the agent, cf. Rosenberg’s The Drowning Pool. A Harold Lloyd exploit for Robinson up a test stand for the Saturn second stage (“1,000,000 pounds of thrust”) against saboteurs, perhaps remembered by Robert Wise in The Andromeda Strain.

Ernest Frankel on the milieu of Altman’s Countdown, with Pippa Scott as the “congresswoman”, Nancy Kovack a devoted constituent, H.M. Wynant “the undersecretary of something-or-other.”


Tag, You’re It
I Spy

A trip to the Haight with eight guys and a girl. Intelligence training center exercise, get the head man. Question of two agents gone bad, or a leak at the center.

The evident inspiration is From Russia with Love (dir. Terence Young).


Turnabout for Traitors
I Spy

A little vacation in Acapulco that gets a British agent killed and swamps a network, proving Robinson a Soviet spy for cash. Bellamy works from “photos” snapped surreptitiously, it seems there are transcripts of phone calls but no tape, nice work if you can get it. Washington buys this, question of a girl and a very determined assailant, muy celoso even to the knife.

The great Jose Chavez as a very light-fingered ladrón who knows how the other half lives, “and at six in the morning she still sleeps.”

A sublimely-conceived joke, anyway the author (Ernest Frankel without Orville H. Hampton) knows his English and keeps his eye on the ball.


Happy Birthday Everybody
I Spy

Diverting Rose tells the story of Pipila, hero of the Mexican Revolution.

A variation by Fine & Friedkin on Agee’s The Night of the Hunter (dir. Charles Laughton), certifiably.

The essential shift of material here is from a munitions shipment bound for Vietnam to a piñata full of nitroglycerine.


Echo of a Distant Scream
The Sixth Sense

A horsewoman demands that her lover marry her. He kills her and her horse, lest the affair be made known. He stuffs her body in a tree and cements the opening. The groom who taught her the ring of fire act toys with a horse’s skull and eventually recognizes it. A rifle shot eliminates him. Visions of the murder bring in Dr. Rhodes. His discovery of the tree places him in jeopardy, there is a fight and a pursuit. The murderer dies of fright when he sees the apparition of his dead mistress beckoning to him from the tree. The various images (horse and fiery hoop, hollow tree, skull) make up the strangeness of this little tragedy.