December 21, 2018

Around the dial

Well, we're just four days from Christmas, so here's an early Christmas present: this week's look around the dial.

I've always appreciated the concept of Robert Lansing's spy series The Man Who Never Was; because it's premise is bound in the question of identity, it makes a small appearance in my novel The Car. As Rick points out in his article at Classic Film and TV Café, precious little of the one-season series is out there, and that's too bad, because Lansing is very good in almost everything he's in, and Dana Wynter isn't bad either. But unless it makes a miraculous appearance on DVD, we'll have to be content with the bit of it on YouTube.

"Out There—Darkness" is a fourth-season episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and the subject of Jack's latest at bare-bones e-zine. I'm in this season of Hitchcock right now myself (although we're off for the all-Christmas TV show break), so because I didn't recognize the title right away I wondered if I'd seen it yet. As it turns out, I have seen it, and Jack's writeup certainly does it justice. But then, that's always the case with his pieces.

At Garroway at Large, Jodie tells of the time Dave Garroway played Santa, in NBC's adaptation of the Victor Herbert operetta "Babes in Toyland," also starring Wally Cox, Jack E. Leonard, Dennis Day, and the Baird Marionettes. So successful was it that it was shown, live, twice—in 1954 and 1955. Thankfully, both versions are available on DVD.

Television Obscurities looks back at "Man on a Mountaintop," a 1961 episode of The United States Steel Hour, one of the great (and last) anthologies of the Golden Age. "Man on a Mountaintop" stars future Oscar winner Cliff Robertson and Salome Jens, and can be seen on UCLA's Film and TV Archive at YouTube.

I've come to appreciate A Shroud of Thoughts as a go-to site for thoughtful obituaries; thus, I wasn't at all surprised to find one this week on the late, great Penny Marshall. Ah, the end of another era, isn't it?

And that's all I have time for today, but I do promise there will be more tomorrow. TV  


  1. Thanks very much, Mitchell, and Happy Christmas to you and your charming wife!


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!