The Andy Griffith Show
Little George Foley is artfully persuaded not to take up a new life as Tex of the Lone Star State, it’s a long walk for one thing.
Confidences are to be kept and all, but in such a case Opie, too, is persuaded that the boy’s parents ought to be called.
The sheriff talks his way out of a parking ticket after the boys move his patrol car in front of a fire hydrant as a prank, Acting Justice of the Peace Barney Fife presiding.
The Pearl Necklace
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
A woman marries a dying millionaire for his fortune. He dies a quarter-century later, a very happy man, at the age of 90.
She, now 50, marries the grown son of the lover who bade her accept the old man’s proposal, and who after five years kept a mistress, then married and divorced.
Weis and the makeup artists take this well in hand on the technical side. The burden is borne by Hazel Court and Ernest Truex, with Jack Cassidy as the hapless shoe salesman. It prefigures Indecent Proposal along a somewhat more roundabout line.
The title comes from the millionaire’s penchant for shooting a pearl to his wife across the long dining room table each year, in celebration of their “perfect bliss”.
A Secret Life
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
The bored husband leaves his wife for Acapulco and a mistress, but can’t obtain a divorce. His private detective uncovers such goings-on the husband is inflamed with jealousy, the couple are reconciled.
The objectification of the wife’s separated status is the main joke, and then Hitchcock nearly deep-sixes his sponsor (cf. “The Man Who Found The Money”, dir. Alan Crosland, Jr.).
The Twilight Zone
A drama of the greatest significance for humanity takes place in the middle of nowhere in particular. All of the facts are fearlessly presented by the calm narrator, Rod Serling, then left to be enacted in the space of half an hour.
Androids do the prizefighting by law, Weis shows this future in the word BOXING painted vertically on glass to either side of a door, seen in reverse from inside.
The B-9 is soon to be unveiled, Steel Kelly and his mechanic Pole have a B-2 up against a B-7. They can’t afford spare parts, which no longer exist anyway.
The dingus blows a gasket, $500 is the fee for “putting on a fight.” Kelly got his moniker as a heavyweight “before the law was passed”. He takes on the android and is beaten to a pulp.
It lasts 2:20 in the first round. A one-rounder pays half. Pole collects the money, Kelly on the floor of the locker room envisions new plans for their fighter, known as Battling Maxo.
The name of John Henry is never mentioned.
The Case of the Floating
A merchant undertakes to sell his compatriots’ jewelry sent from Red China, though his American factor skims the proceeds. A large shipment of diamonds is missing after the merchant’s death.
In Hong Kong, the factor hastily engages a professional smuggler watched aboard ship by a freelance Interpol snoop. The gems are evidently lost in San Francisco Bay by a combination of amateurishness and misadventure.
The factor’s wife, who got a good look at the diamonds in his stateroom, kills him at his office lest he leave her. The merchant’s granddaughter, who works in the shop, is accused.
Go Go is sent to Earth to prepare a Martian invasion.
Aunt Wendy is a friend to kids, she takes him in. Her nephew is Big Lunk (Lunkhead), a volleyball enthusiast.
Connie can’t win Lunkhead’s interest, Aunt Wendy introduces her to Go Go, whom she has christened George.
J. Sinister Hulk wants Aunt Wendy’s fortune. His instruments are Chief Rotten Eagle and Helga, bait for Lunkhead.
Eric Von Zipper and his motorcycle gang, the RATZ, want a beach devoid of footprints.
These are the essential elements of the comedy, a furious work of genius under the auspices of Buster Keaton, who plays the Chief.
Minor characters include Hulk’s right-hand man Fleegle, and the manager of Aunt Wendy’s fashion boutique, played by Dorothy Lamour.
The complications are beyond enumeration, the material is so tightly-packed that a chase scene is filmed in fast-motion.
Von Zipper and the RATZ are tossed in the pool, Hulk and his henchmen are teleported to Mars (“they’re invading us?”, says Big Bang). The lovers (Connie and George, Lunkhead and Helga) are happily entwined.
A remarkably ingenious film in which the pettifogging mayoral candidate (Jim Backus) can’t face the fact that he and his wife (Jane Greer) have two daughters. The most pronounced effect is on the younger girl, the title character (Patty Duke), who is hurt by his wish that she were a boy, but the older girl (Susan Seaforth) can’t even tell him she’s married and pregnant and leaving college.
Billy De Wolfe is the incumbent mayor, Ted Bessell the son-in-law, Warren Berlinger a rival and admirer of Billie’s on the boys’ track team at Harding High School, where the coach is Charles Lane and the principal Richard Deacon, with Dick Sargent as the campaign manager and Georgia Simmons as Mrs. Hosenwacker.
A musical entertainment of a rare sort that fooled the New York Times and later on TV Guide as well, each in its own way.
Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady?
And the farmer’s son, “I didn’t, either,” she says.
Omar of Omaha is credited with “Miss Diller’s costumes”, Si Rose is the producer, Edward J. Montagne the executive producer, score by Vic Mizzy. The scene is laid in Primrose Junction, Missouri, a farming town (population 1512), 1910.
She sells the Duckworth Player Piano. He builds inventions that blow up or otherwise fail. Her sample malfunctions, he tries to fix it with his “little screwdriver”, a total loss.
Loss and damage are a constant theme. Her player piano might combine with his steam automobile (“The Woodburner”) to win a prize in the auto race. The town is somewhat constricting.
“Snookums? Hubie pie? Well, I never!”
“Well, you ought to give it a try, sweetie. It’s kicks!”
From Fritzell and Greenbaum to Murray, the real Phyllis Diller. “You just happen to be looking at the world’s greatest hog-slopper.”
The decisive factor behind the camera is Weis, who had become a formidable director with no end of skill and command, invaluable for this sort of fast, continuous comedy.
A milking machine gets the wind up and fails, but an “experimental love potion” provides the gag finish.
It was lost on critics. “Cornbelt comedy vehicle for an unappealing star,” says Halliwell’s Film Guide.
The date is precise, Taft after Teddy, a range of gags from that day to this, rarely prepared or resolved comme il faut but perfectly rendered as quick as a wink in an utterly knowledgeable technique that makes a mock of reviewers (Weis pays back richly on his debt to The Great Race, Blake Edwards is vindicated and then some) by leaving them behind.
The cast are everyone a study, Diller’s enigmatic creation, whose lifted skirt scares the horses, is a great dream of femininity and the genius of the thing (one of its avatars is Robert Clampett’s Medusa, animated by Charles M. Jones in Porky’s Hero Agency).
A Sour Note
It Takes a Thief
An operatic diva (Suzanne Pleshette), a vault only Caruso can open, her world-renowned hairdresser (Harvey Lembeck), the security man (Anthony Caruso), il padrone (Gino Conforti).
A spectacular costume design for the diva in mufti impersonates the dinner ensemble in Losey’s Boom.
The Bill Is in Committee
It Takes a Thief
A poem by Elroy Schwartz on a Latin American regime (Roger C. Carmel the premier, John Van Dreelen his military chief) blackmailing the U.S. ambassador with a “frame job”.
Thad the Great gives a command performance on short notice, the premier is an enthusiast of magic acts.
The pink and green vault is a treat.
An Irish priest in the islands to tend children is actually no priest at all but a terrorist after a new plastic explosive, which he purloins from the military by snorkeling ashore with a gang and gassing some soldiers into unconsciousness.
The boat is rented, the owner becomes nervous during the investigation and is assassinated. A middleman learns of this and demands more money for the shipment (round the Horn to West Africa, then by chartered plane). He is blown up.
The daughter of a Boston industrialist and “Irish sentimentalist”, as she describes him, tags along. Her father is a financial supporter, she tended the wounded at Wounded Knee, or anyway brought food. Father Costigan (whose real name is Rourke) denies the first murder and explains the second, when she has witnessed it, thusly, “Whenever someone becomes a danger to the cause, he must be eliminated. There’s no room for questions, or conscience.”
No room for her, either. Her romantic involvement is familiar to him, but “there are no more heroes in Ireland, only dead fools and despairing men.” She bids to go with him, he puts her off with a stratagem.
McGarrett confronts her with newspaper photos of a Belfast school bus blown to bits. “Tactical necessity,” she blusters, then points to the tugboat steaming down the channel.
McGarrett leaps from a closed drawbridge onto the deck of this craft, the Halls of Tara, and subdues the fellow, or anyway arrests him, to arresting music by Morton Stevens.
Howard Berk deployed extensive resources in his consideration of the story as “The Conspirators” for Columbo.
Weis’s pictures can hardly be improved on. “I like dealing with professionals,” says Costigan to his second victim, “they have no ethics and no moral scruples, so you always know what to expect from them. Up the rebels.”
It will be seen that the teleplay achieves an exact congruence of the ruthless businessman and the ruthless terrorist, out of Sabotage and The Third Man.
The Year Of The Horse
The Honolulu Connection, out of Indonesia by way of Singapore.
The Raffles Hotel, the Mandarin (courtesy of).
An Annapolis graduate shot down in Laos lingers as dead to wield a heroin racket that implicates the Governor of Hawaii.
The British colleague sets up a courier who dies on the plane, the boss’s daughter.
McGarrett flies to Singapore undercover, followed by the grad’s wife on the Pentagon grapevine.
Bostwick, Lazenby (diametrically opposed to his athletic Bond), Principal, Dobkin, Tupou (brilliantly reflecting the facets of a Singapore police inspector).