The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds

Paul Zindel’s great cloud chamber play on the sins of the fathers, reduced for television with a great cast (Heckart, Dana, Berger), setting up the lines of Newman’s film and the subsequent analysis in Harry and Son.


I Can’t Imagine Tomorrow

Richard Matheson’s “Night Call” (The Twilight Zone) is a sufficient analysis before the fact, bearing in mind The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (Losey’s Boom!), and still the critics are perplexed.

William Redfield (Man), Kim Stanley (Woman).


Aftermath—A Test of Love

Thieves ransack a hi-fi store, tie up the customers and staff, force them to drink drain cleaner, and shoot them in the head.

One survives, very badly injured, but his mother does not.

The family is abstracted to supply or discover in a single moment the truth of this.

The representation is stylistically anodyne to the point of caricature, as if to say that nothing else really matters.


Jake’s Women

Neil Simon’s masterpiece on a bestselling novelist whose wife is leaving him for the corporate world and a man who listens. “For a living?”, asks the husband.

The title characters are imaginary projections and not, they people his days and nights, the dead first wife, the daughter at Brown (“I said Bennington,” the first wife’s ghost remembers), the sister, the analyst, and a girlfriend.

Out of these compositions Simon makes a dialogue of the ages, all dispensed with to save the day.


A Christmas Memory

The child is an artist, Picasso says with classical modesty, most adults forget.

The Rimbaud moment, before forgetting. The mise en scène helps this along, the angle of a lady’s hat, the intonations of Southern speech, yielded through anachronism to give the effect of memory.

The joke about Ha-Ha and the dead drunk comes along a course from Twain’s Injun Joe, Hathaway’s How the West Was Won (“The River”) and Bruckman’s The Fatal Glass of Beer.