April 7, 2017

Around the dial

It's beginning to feel like the start of a beautiful spring here in Minneapolis, but that doesn't mean you can't think about Christmas, and at Christmas TV History Joanna looks at the 1974 animated Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. When I saw the ad for the cartoon, I though to myself that the drawings were very much in the spirit of Charles Schulz, and what do you know - it was produced and directed by Bill Melendez!

From last month, Once Upon a Screen revisits a classic Columbo, "By Dawn's Early Light," from 1974. I take the time to come back to this not just because of Peter Falk, but because the villain du jour is none other than the great Patrick McGoohan, in some ways just as quirky as he was in The Prisoner. Hard to go wrong there.

Speaking of favorites, Classic Film and TV Café presents us with Seven Things We Need to Know About Raymond Burr. I didn't know he'd appeared on a Canadian postage stamp, for instance, and I didn't know his Rear Window character had been made up to look like movie producer David O. Selznick - someone with whom the film's director, Alfred Hitchcock, had frequently clashed.

Cult TV Blog goes back in time to the early Doctor Who adventure "The Gunfighters," which goes back in time to the Gunfight at the OK Corral. When you're known simply as The Doctor, of course, you're bound to be confused with that "other" doctor in Tombstone, Doc Holliday. This has long been considered one of the worst Doctor Who stories, and it's not great - but not nearly as bad as you're led to believe. (Although those American accents...)

Not TV related, but when I was a kid, for some reason I was fascinated by the D.C. Comics series "The Haunted Tank," in which a World War II M3 Stuart tank is haunted by the spirit of Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart. I think there was something about the combination of ghost story and war drama that really appealed to me, and I greatly enjoyed those stories, which appeared in the G.I. Combat issues. So when I saw that Peter and Jack were talking about it at bare-bones e-zine, well - there was no doubt I'd be linking to it!

If you think that sounds a lot like an episode of The Twilight Zone, there was an story about a trio of National Guardsmen who drove a Sherman tank into the middle of the Little Big Horn. You'll have to read on to find out if that was one of the 20 best TZ twist endings, which I mentioned last week and which concludes here with episodes #5 through #1. This is a very fun list, since so many of the episodes on it are so well remembered. Who could forget #5, "Time Enough at Last," where Burgess Meredith's bookworm survives a nuclear explosion only to - no, if you haven't seen it yet, I'm not going to spoil the twist. I remember being stunned by #2, "The Invaders," really enjoyed the bold visual style of #9, "Third from the Sun," and was really impressed by #15, "Escape Clause." It's up to you as to whether or not you quibble about the order in which the episodes are ranked, but there's no questioning the twists involved. If you haven't really sat down to watch The Twilight Zone (and if that's the case, why haven't you?), I'd suggest partaking in a broader sample because some of the subtle character studies are really wonderful, but if you've watched the series before and loved it, I think you'd really enjoy doing a weekend binge with these episodes. Great job, guys!

I hope this has whetted your appetite for more - check out the blogs on the sidebar, and be back here tomorrow for another TV Guide! TV  


  1. Thanks for the plug, Mitchell. I'm glad you enjoy our DC War Comics posts!

  2. Thank you for another mention. I knew I was right about the accents!

  3. Thanks for the positive response, Mitchell! I had a lot of fun putting the twist ending list together and it was really tough to narrow it down to only 20.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!