October 13, 2023

Around the dial

Ah, Halloween is just around the corner, so I expect we'll see some seasonal fare over the next couple of weeks, starting at Comfort TV, where David looks at the haunted houses of classic TV. When you think about it, all the houses from classic television shows are haunted, in a way—haunted by the ghosts of the past, the ghosts of our own memories.

In that spirit, we'll continue to The Last Drive In and a look at the 1960 horror classic The Leech Woman, starring Grant Williams, Coleen Gray, and Phillip Terry. It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that this movie was featured on MST3K, so expect to see it in a TV Guide one of these days.

At Silver Scenes, the Metzingers visit the 1959-61 series Riverboat, starring Darren McGavin and Burt Reynolds. It's notable for three things: an early appearance of Reynolds in a prominent role; the fact that McGavin appeared in this series at the same time as he was in the syndicated Mike Hammer; and an epic quote from Reynolds (who did not get along with McGavin) that McGavin "is going to be a very"T disappointed man on the first Easter after his death."

John continues his look at Seventies TV at Cult TV Blog with (apparently) the only existing episode of Barlow, a 1971-75 police drama that captures the evolution of television portrayals of police; it's also notable in that, per Darren McGavin, series star Stratford Johns played the character Barlow in two different shows being broadcast at the same time.

Let's stay in the UK and jump over to The View from the Junkyard, where Roger and Mike exchange quips and opinions on the Avengers episode "The Winged Avenger," a Steed/Mrs. Peel adventure involving the murders of wicked businessmen "who don't deserve to live." A sticky one there, isn't it? And yet the law must prevail! See what they think, and what you think.

Remember our discussion of Captains and the Kings, the first story of NBC's 1976 series Best Sellers? Well, at Drunk TV Paul reviews the second installment, Once an Eagle, based on the bestseller by Anton Myrer, starring Sam Elliott, Cliff Potts, Darleen Carr, Amy Irving, and Glenn Ford. I remember watching this as well when it was originally on, and Paul's review does it thorough justice.

At Travalanche, it's a feature on Harvey Comics, home of comic books starring cartoon characters such as Casper the Friendly Ghost and Wendy the Good Little Witch, Baby Huey, Richie Rich, Little Audrey, Hermin and Katnip, and others. I read all these comics in the day, and watched their adventures on television. Good memories.

Terence celebrates the 65th anniversary of 77 Sunset Strip over at A Shroud of Thoughts. This is one of the gems of the WB production line of detective shows, a series that has likable characters, interesting storylines, and (at least until the final, lousy season) simply fun to watch. By all means watch the others in the stable: Hawaiian Eye, Bourbon Street Beat, and Surfside 6, but don't miss this one.

At Shadow & Substance, Paul looks at the "unofficial" pilot for The Twilight Zone, "The Time Element," which aired on Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse in 1958, a year before TZ itself premiered. It doesn't carry the brand name, but nobody could possibly mistake Rod Serling's story as anything other than being from the fifth dimension.

It can be hard to envision Jack Webb as anyone other than Joe Friday, but the Dragnet star could be found on old-time radio in other roles; this week, Martin Grams looks at one of them, Pete Kelly's Blues, in which Webb plays a jazz musician who solves crimes on the sleazy side of the street. The scripts of the 13 programs in the series have now been collected into a book—read all about it.

Finally, at the Comfort TV link at the top of the page, David offered a prayer for peace for those in the Middle East, and I'd like to add one of my own: Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God. —Matthew 5:9. May it be so. TV  

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