Monday, February 21, 2011

Cold Hands, Warm Heart



Production Order #01
Broadcast Order #02
Original Airdate: 09/26/64
Starring William Shatner, Geraldine Brooks, Lloyd Gough.
Written by Charles F. Haas.
Directed by Daniel B. Ullman.


Colonel Jeff Barton (Shatner) returns from an apparent one-man trip to Venus and finds he can't get warm. He's also haunted by visions of a dancing creature with long hair. Well, I think that about covers it.

PE: It's...William Shatner... and later on this season I have to deal with Adam West... this is gonna be a looooong season.

JS: So we enter Season Two with new theme music (which certainly sings out, "This IS Sci-Fi!"). I know you've got a disposition to dislike Shatner, but let's face it, this is a dud despite him, not because of him. Whereas I find most of the things he did in this period entertaining, this episode only had one redeeming quality, and it wasn't him.

PE: Well, this one sure opens well, with a classic bit of Control Voice, capped by: It was not thought possible for man to reach Venus and come back. Until one day somebody did it. But I don't like the speeded-up "We are controlling transmission..." speech. Were they in a hurry to get back to Bill Shatner?

JS: Perhaps they started out thinking they were cutting to 30 minute episodes for this season. I wouldn't mind 30 of those minutes back...

PE: When The Shat holds his steak over the barbecue and gives Geraldine Page some incredibly phony kisses, I thought maybe they should have called this "Warm Hands, Cold Heart."

JS: Allow me to show my bias of being a native Californian, where our idea of bad weather is the low 50s... but I couldn't quite get a handle on the whole barbecue in the fireplace deal. Of course he's gonna pass out—if he keeps it up they'll both be dead of asphyxiation!

PE: Whenever Shatner is going to feel cold, we'll know it not by his cheesy cardigan, but by the cheesy harp.

JS: I want to know how many folks watching the episode for the first time (and having seen Star Trek) immediately thought of Leonard Nimoy when they mentioned Project Vulcan.

PE: That is one hell of a fast little rocket ship Barton is flying to Venus in. Where's the refrigerator? Can he eat with that suit on? Um, where's the potty? Can one guy stay awake that long to pilot a spaceship? How does a rocketship drop sideways? Should I just give in and enjoy the nuances?

JS: I wasn't too worried about those details because we got a little more time with our muppet friend. While cool looking and certainly the high point of the show, it comes from the school of warm fuzzy creatures and less so from potentially menacing aliens.

PE: Okay, so say I buy the weird premise: guy comes back from Venus, can't get warm. So that affects his insides, right? Why doesn't the scalding hot coffee burn his tongue? Why doesn't the steam bath turn his skin red? Why don't his eyeballs fry like eggs in the 205 degrees of the capsule sauna? Should I just give in and enjoy the nuances?

JS: I'm not a _____-ologist (take your pick from the list read off over the phone as the credits roll), but I too would think a 100 degree swing in temperature is going to cause some problems beyond that which a nice warm coat and cup of coffee will solve.

PE: As usual, William Shatner does the best with what limited gifts God gave him. He's no stunt man (witness his "tumble" in front of the fire place). He's no lover (witness the "kisses" he plants on Geraldine). He sure ain't no actor (witness just about any scene he's in but a classic would have to be his tantrum after catching his arm on fire).

JS: He has a couple of classic  Shatner moments, to be sure, but overall I just didn't think he was given much to work with,

PE: The usual display of Shatner emotion is displayed when prompted by a reporter:
Reporter (after asking if Venus can support life): Isn't that why you made the trip?
Barton: Not entirely although Venus is close to Earth it has always been a mystery to us and you can't take chances with mysteries when you're planning something like the colonization of Mars.
No breaks, commas, or breaths. Just a drone.

JS: I love how his access badge is pinned to his lapel like a note from his wife or mother. When we get TOL on Blu Ray, maybe we'll see a grocery list, "On your way back from Venus, can you stop off at the store and pick up eggs, milk and a loaf of bread."

PE: I don't know why I keep hearing that the budget for the second season was even lower than the first. Check out that massive parade that opens the show. They ain't cheap. Nor is the cashmere sweater The Shat wears in his deliriously over-the-top "is it cold in here" scenes.

JS: I'd say the rod puppet was probably a lot cheaper than the mask, hands and feet of his S1 counterparts.

PE: If nothing else, "Warm Hands, Cold Heart" is good for several laughs: in an almost Saturday Night Live-esque set of scenes, we see the escalation of The Shat's shivers: cashmere sweater, bombadier jacket, Milton Berle checkered smoking jacket, scarves, heated blanket, bison pelts (Don't forget the Snuggie! -JS). It wouldn't be so funny if it wasn't for the fact that he continually puts this stuff on in layers. The show is nothing more than an excuse to dress The Shat up and have him play with dials (in this case, the heating dials).

JS: Another finely labeled instrument from your friends at Projects Unlimited! Although I would imagine the fanciest tech on display in the episode was the TV remote. High-rollers, this astronaut and trophy wife...

PE: L-OL scene: Barton is entertaining a batch of bigwigs with General Claiborne (Gough), while Ann (Brooks) waits with friends in a lobby. Claiborne exits the room just as there's a roar of laughter. He shuts the door and faces Ann.
Claiborne: Did you hear them laughing?
Ann: Why?
Claiborne: He held up his...his hands for everybody to see. He asked them if they were wondering why he was wearing gloves. He said that he'd been all these years flying airplanes, spaceships, taking all kinds of risks. And the first night he's home safe on earth, he spills a whole pot of boiling hot soup on his hands.
(more laughter and clapping from the room)
Hil-a-rious!

JS: I didn't quite get the point of starting the scene on Shatner, closing the door, dealing with nothing important outside, only to have the General come out and describe the scene we just missed. Wouldn't it have been easier to just film the scene in that room instead? The writers from Season One would have had a field day coming up with mouthfuls of scientific mumbo-jumbo for Shatner to spew.

PE: I never knew Geraldine Brooks was young once. And did James B. Sikking age one day in the 17 years between this and Hill Street Blues? Malachi Throne (Doctor Mike) went on to become a respected TV veteran, best known for his two year stint as Noah Bain on It Takes a Thief, co-starring Robert Wagner. Sharp genre fans know that Throne also appeared unbilled (and always under heavy make-up) as False Face on the Adam West Batman. Throne gets one gem of a line this show: "Where's the nearest steam bath?"

JS: Perhaps I'm crazy, but I kept getting a "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" vibe from this episode, particularly in that we kept seeing Shatner through windows. And the '20,000 feet' reference in the script can't just be a coincidence, can it? Of course  I personally find the Venusian (or Geraldine Brooks for that matter) more terrifying than the Gremlin from The Twilight Zone.

PE: This crap gets exactly one-half Zanti from me and that one-half Zanti is for the creepy floaty Venusian pineapple head with hair. It doesn't seem to have much range of movement but it's still a great Bear. I'm not sure what function it served though. Just a "bear" for the network brass?

JS: For me the real giveaway that we had a regime change was The Shat's fate. No way does a guy turned half Venutian get rolled back to full human on Stefano's watch.

JS RATING:
PE RATING:







David J. Schow on "Cold Hands, Warm Heart":


 
From The Outer Limits Companion, Copyright © David J. Schow, 1986, 1998.  All Rights Reserved.  Used by permission and by special arrangement with the author.

Be sure to check back later today for Peter Farris' Spotlight on "Cold Hands, Warm Heart."

Next Up...

37 comments:

  1. I could swear when when they started to list the ___ologist, I heard them say stoogeologist also.

    I know how Peter loves William Shatner, so he should get the book, THE ENCYCLOPEDIA SHATNERICA: AN A TO Z GUIDE TO THE MAN AND HIS UNIVERSE. This book actually exists! Amazon has it for only $13.00.

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  2. Nice job, guys, on hitting the "finer points" of this classic. Ever since watching this one I've used the old "gloves and hot soup" gag at every meeting I attend, and I'll tell you, it brings the house down every time. What a great ice-breaker!

    Matching that funny (and dramatically inexplicable) final scene for hilarity is the sight of Shatner's Puppet Fear; somehow the cutting back and forth between his sheer stark terror and the dancing puppet gets me every time. I think you guys are pretty generous to this bear.

    There are levels within S2 for Kenneth Peach's cinematography, perhaps depending on which director he worked with. This is at the lowest, flattest level--utterly bland and washed out, which will be followed by one that looks considerably better (though still shy of his S1 work).

    Even as a kid the new theme music sounded just like Lubin's ONE STEP BEYOND to me; fine music in itself, just not right for this series. There's something about it that seems to set the show back about ten years, something dated. For the S2 episodes in that 50s B-movie category (perhaps in a "guilty pleasure" way) that's fine I suppose. But I think it does hurt some of the better ones. And that haunting recurring theme will always say ghosts and premonitions to me.

    For "Warm Hands", I find the entertainment value is its unintentional hilarity, which gets it half a Zanti.

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    1. Wouldn't it have been easier to just film the scene in that room instead?

      More Actors = More Money.


      There's something about it (Lubin's theme music) that seems to set the show back about ten years

      The theramin was at it's zenith in 1964, so I think it's very contemporaneous, vis-a-vis the Tom-Swift-Tommorowland space age zeitgeist of that year.

      Delete
  3. Larry-

    Gotta agree with you on the "unintentional hilarity" value. I'll never watch some of these things again, but next time I have one of my wild swingin' parties, I'll pop in "Warm Syrup, Cold Pancakes" for my guests.

    When The Shat's looking lustily at that boiling hot pot of coffee and he pops the top, you just know he's gonna do the unthinkable: go cupless!!

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  4. Right on, Peter--for TOL this just may be THE party episode!

    BTW, I also thought it was pretty funny the lame effort Jeff's doctor made to alert the space program people to his, oh I dunno...monster hand problem?

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  5. No awe, no mystery. And implausible: Ham actually cooks up pretty quick.

    Maybe this one would've been more fun if Shatner had referred to himself in the third person the whole time, instead of just in that "you married a man, not a headline" speech.

    Props for the shortie jumpsuit thing Geraldine Brooks has on in the nail-biting air conditioner vs. heater scene.

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  6. You're right, Larry; the show looks more primitive and (obviously) less expensive than anything previously produced. This backward slide is ironic, because ABC promised "real" science fiction for S2, not cobwebby scary tales, carefully removing all over-the-top gothic elements (guess they came with the PSYCHO house), and what they considered to be heavy, arty, distracting camerawork that did indeed appeal to the college crowd, but seemed pretentious and indulgent to everyone else (shades of THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER!). Remember folks, Ken Peach, like all cinematographers, was in the service of his creative masters, and the tone of any show is determined by the producer working in tandem with the network. It's quite obvious that Mr. Peach was told to tone down the wild visuals because "we're not doing art films and German expressionism this year, just American television." But the ironies never end. S2 OL wound up doing monster stories anyway (granted, they were way cheaper monsters)... and what could be more "arty" than the French New Wave sensibilities that inform "Demon with a Glass Hand" -- you almost expect Lemmy Caution to make a cameo! So S2 is a bizarre hybrid of an ABC-produced show (Lubin's music locks this in) that is trying to reverse the flavors of S1 while sorta embracing them half-way. At least this schizoid approach did result in some classic episodes. Clearly, "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" is not one of them.

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  7. Poor Geraldine Brook lost her first husband to a short straw, alien conversion and a duck hunter. She rolls the dice, marries the Shat, and starts losing him to a reverse hot flash Muppet infection. But wait, there's a happy ending! Say it ain't so, Joe.

    Oh, well, it's serviceable science fiction, which is par for the course for the early 60s. Uninspired, and unlikely to get my dad changing the channel from Crazy Guggenheim and Joe the Bartender. I think this is the point I had to catch the show in reruns. And absence may have made the heart grow fonder, if not warmer.

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  8. I miss Season 1 already. It seems like somebody put a pod next to this show and it woke up in Season 2 with its heart and soul missing. It's just an empty shell. I don't ever want to see this episode again. Not even Shatner could redeem it. There are no Zantis available to rate this episode. The Zantis have fled. Zero Zantis.

    I need a hug. Where's my Flat Zanti when I need him?

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  9. Good points about Peach, Gary; worth noting that, despite any network prime directive, his work is allowed to improve under someone like Oswald (though still shy of the S1 care and handling).

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  10. Ummm... I need a distraction. Yep, I was one of those enjoining tolerance and open-mindedness for the Second Season. Just...not here. So in a master stroke of misdirection, which will mainly benefit only John Scoleri, I submit the following installment of "Adventures with The Shat"---

    In the '70s I saw the Kenley Players here in Ohio mount a zippy production of the comedy theater perennial ARSENIC AND OLD LACE. It starred Sylvia Sidney, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE's Peter Lupus, and, of course, The Shat as The Beaver...er, "Mortimer."

    You think you've seen The Shat declaim in every conceivable over-the-top cadence of bated breath and pregnant pause in the actor's arsenal? Not quite. You haven't seen him try to make an audience forget one of Cary Grant's more memorable roles.

    I set the stage for you: The Shat, scaling the prop furniture, performing the climactic revelation in the final act, unencumbered by the Hays Office's dictum that Cary Grant must utter Joseph Kesselring's famous show-stopping line as "I'm illegitimate."

    The Shat---posed atop a sofa---those articulate hands groping for additional emotional oomph---bellowing in his command voice for the cheap seats:

    "I'M A BASTARD!!!"

    Does that get me off the hook? *sigh* All right...I'll be back to apologize.

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  11. >>The Shat---posed atop a sofa---those articulate hands groping for additional emotional oomph---bellowing in his command voice for the cheap seats:

    "I'M A BASTARD!!!"

    Why, oh why, can't I find this on youtube?

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  12. BTW, Peter, you mentioned Adam West and some years back a friend of mine made an astute observation about the two; their deliveries are exact opposites. Shatner starts...a sentence...slowly...and then speeds up. West starts speaking quickly but then...gets...very...slow...

    There's an acting lesson here somewhere. I just haven't figured it out yet.

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  13. Put Adam and The Shat together and you've got enough ham to feed the WACT crew for a month.

    Good observation, Larry, about their speech impediments.

    I once observed West (at the Famous MOnsters Con in L.A.) treat a little boy very rudely and can't keep that from coloring my estimation of the guy.

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  14. Ted, is there any way I can "unhear" that story? Wow...

    Yeah, tolerance. I think with this one none of that S2-uphill-battle baggage applies.

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  15. My estimation of the guy is that he regularly treated boys ... 'rudely.'

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  16. OOF!--- I could use a good garbage-eater right now. Gary Gerani nails it: "American TV" indeed. Hang in there, gang. We sweep a lot of second-season detritus under the carpet with this one.

    Harry Lubin's ONE STEP BEYOND, thing-in-the-cellar cue immediately reminds us that the First Season lover we took on came fraught with in-law baggage: meet your goofy brother-in-law.

    From Geraldine Brooks' classic '60s-type devoted wife, with her silly mockery-of-the-heavens speech; to the BBQ in the fireplace---one meaty foreshadowing, that; to TOL's first slide-rule sighting that I can recall, we're put on notice that we're in the hands of astronaut junkies: Don't worry, kids---we're gonna give you science-fiction what IS science-fiction, this season.

    But Houston, we have a problem...

    This '50s throwback---they frankly gave us more to embrace by promising less---is vaguely reminiscent of things like FIRST MAN INTO SPACE, minus the thrills. Even Barton's spacecraft looks retro B-pic model-grade. When Andro piloted his prop, you didn't quibble: there were high stakes and characters with charisma. Here we have a scarcely articulated agenda (virtually a one-man Venusian crusade) and leads whose first-act high point is a stirring thermostat argument that might be heard in any workplace.

    Some friendly TV faces pop up to fence with The Shat: Malachi Throne, James B. Sikking, and in a prescient buttress to the ongoing "Vulcan" theme, Lawrence Montaigne, Spock's rival in "Amok Time."

    The bear puppet has nothing to do but provide juvenile-sized, overexposed scares. In the first season such obvious puppets were carefully incorporated as menaces with far-reaching consequences: the Zantis, the Grippians. Here it's waved as an amusement against boredom.

    Ullman's inert story takes forever to present, and then flatly resolve, its conflict. And Haas and Peach inject nothing between the flashback scenes to court our interest or imagination. The ANGRY WEIRD PUPPET porthole gag, done better elsewhere by Ib Melchior, is the best eerie scene in evidence here. But it goes on too long to maintain the illusion, and as TOL frights go, it's a fuzzy little teddy bear among grizzlies.

    The Shat's-on-fire! scene features some of the worst acting in the entire TOL oeuvre. And Barton's scaly webbed hands can only wistfully remind us of Geraldine Brooks' LAST TOL husband's tragic circumstances. A bizarre, maudlin theme frets over Brooks' weak encouragement soliloquy while Shatner huffs and puffs in the chamber. (The Ebonites will show you what to do with a "Chamber.") Then this entire scene---the climax of the piece---falls flatter than Flat Zanti under a road-grader. There's no drama. And suddenly, a snappy string cue tells us that Barton is cured---Eureka! Feel that flooding of relief?

    The last scene with the military, related to us as an off-screen screamer of a gag---you hadda be there---plays foolishly, pure padding. The music cue reeks at that point---shred the sheet music. And what's Barton's triumph, exactly (besides learning how to sweat again)---appropriations to go back to Venus and get more shivers?

    I'm shivering right now. Dull, deadly dull. COLD HAMS, WEAK PARTS.

    As "Chameleon" transformation plots go, this one is the tail of the lizard. The good news is that, although we'll taking some pretty steep bungee jumps in Brady land, I think we pretty much bottom out with this one. I say, I THINK...

    To paraphrase Sam Wanamaker, "Will somebody take my hand?"

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  17. Larry B--- Consider The Shat anecdote...untold! Just gaze into a mirror, make little circles with a Star Fleet insignia pin, and keep repeating, "He's dead, Jim!"

    Peter--- Alas, we're talking ca. 1973, when YouTubes only emitted cathode rays. I actually hung out after the show and got Shatner and Sidney to sign the program, which I still have, while listening to all the love-struck neo-Trekkies toss soft questions wrapped in bouquets at our Shat. Nothing galactic in import emerged. One woman asked his height, appending that her husband said he'd be real short. Shat modestly declared, "Just about six feet."

    Another adoring female with shining eyes admitted, "I kept waiting for you to say, 'Beam me up, Scottie!'"

    The Shat replied impishly---surely for about the 5000th time, "There were times on stage tonight when I wished he had!"

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  18. Hmm--I don't think we really bottom out until The Probe, all the way at the end, and we'll probably bounce off of Counterweight on the way down there. Still, this one doesn't stand much taller. In the spirit of trying to find something good to say, I'll venture that I thought the first fifteen or twenty minutes were fine enough in terms of setting the situation and building suspense, once you get past the shock of the suburbia setting that DJS warned us would be common in this season. It was interesting to finally see a full-size, realistic laboratory staffed with a large crew of scientific types, as counterpoint to all the one-man, ACME do-it-your-self home labs we ran across before (as charming as those all were), and . . . well, um . . . I always liked Malachi Throne . . . and, um . . . there IS something unsettling about the disease metaphor of feeling your body changing in alien ways, beyond your control (I think more reminiscent of Feasibility Study than Architects, given that in the latter it was intentional). And . . . well, I'm running out of things here. Oh, well I don't mind Lubin's wistful, melancholy theme running over the credits at the end, and even kind of like it, but I admit it doesn't always work well when it pops up during the show.

    Agree with JS that I've never seen anyone barbecue in the fireplace, and I'm originally from New England, so it's not a provincial thing. Your living room would smell like burnt meat for a week (I know some guys who might like that, though!). I can't remember if Patrick O'Neal has an outdoor grill over at his place in Wolf 359, but I think so. We'll have to see . . . .

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  19. The difference is like night versus day, or S1 vs. S2. The sheer ABSENCE of night shots, or simulated night shots, or scenes in darkness or semi-darkness, takes a palpable toll on the viewer accustomed to the murk and shadows of S1. S2 is very brassy (all the way to Lubin's scoring) and brightly-lit; a "daytime" to counter S1's "nighttime." S2's characters are forcibly normalized into the "ordinary people in extraordinary situations" TWILIGHT ZONE charter ... which was the antithesis of S1's decidedly abnormal characters. Even the exceptions are muted. Just watch the prolog to "Expanding Human" in comparison to the rest of the episode to get a sense of the disparity and imbalance. And when an episode chanced to go full-on nighttime — as in "Demon with a Glass Hand" — the difference was amazing.

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  20. Man, this one was a tough episode to sit through. By the end, I wasn't quite sure what was going on, nor did I really give a shit. Real nice impression they made for the beginning season viewers. It's no wonder that The Jackie Gleason Show mopped the floor with them. The Shatmeister may not be much of an actor, however, this smelly turd can't be blamed all on him.

    I have to agree with David Horne that the beginning made this ep. look promising. Instead of trying to be 'cute' creatively, the ep. would have just been better off with an astronaut turning into a martian scenario, then causing mass destruction. Sure, I liked the alien, but I agree with Peter, in that I wasn't sure what the hell it was even doing in the story.

    Zero Zantis. I never thought an OL ep. could both 'suck' and 'blow' at the same time, but here's the proof.

    Hollywood-

    Lol! Thanks for the Adam West laugh!

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  21. To the surprise of absolutely no one, David Schow has once again bull's-eyed one of the keynote distinctions between the TOL seasons: They're as different as "night" and "day."

    All of our darkest fears, our deepest doubts, thrive by night's encroaching shadows. If we're going to examine humankind when confronted by the unknown, what better allegorical framework for such encounters than the night?

    It's practically the mission statement of TOL: What illumination is there in the "inner mind" save what we anxiously bring? And "the outer limits" are only limited by our benighted vision of what lies beyond.

    I think of TOL as an evolutionary step up from TZ, where we hear a similar compact to trace "the pit of man's fears to the summit of his knowledge." The choicest episodes of that wildly uneven show largely unfold at night, also.

    For better or worse, most discoveries are made by overturning rocks, opening foreboding doors, shining a light in dark places, excavating and probing into shadowy realms where light is just a rumor.

    Discoveries are made in literal or figurative darkness; applications are made in daylight. That may be the fundamental difference between horror/noir-fable/gothic fantasy and technological/progressive science-fiction. It's a distinction in perception that allows for both considerable overlap and a fair amount of misunderstanding about animals of similar family but different genus.

    Night and day. Dark and light. The unknown stalked in cold blackness. Discovery pursued in confident enlightenment. Inseparable parts of the same principles.

    It's the reason THE OUTER LIMITS and STAR TREK can both be termed "science-fiction," to the sound of heads scratching. And why a change of approach to different seasons of the same program can appear to mutate it into another species altogether.

    It was a moot point, given the change in commercial intent for the show in the second season, but the Brady regime was dooming itself right out of the gate with its programming shift from the darkness into the light; from the chilling explorations that had made the show noteworthy to the more prosaic playing fields of what they perceived as proper (read: safely bronzed in prose) science-fiction.

    Regrettably, philosophy and hubris quickly combined to empty the house. The resultant white-washed, mis-scheduled series was greeted by the sound of no hands clapping.

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  22. Is "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" truly nothing more than a run-of-the-mill TV melodrama, or is it a brilliant comedic effort featuring hilarious dialogue and skillfully performed physical gags?

    The first time I saw this, I actually wrote a review on a classic TV and film forum and I was very generous to it. I didn't heap praise upon it, but I didn't think it was that bad. Maybe even then I realized "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" is a sci-fi spoof. I mean this isn't just corny, it's ladled on, creamed-corn corny.

    The 'speech to the planets' that Geraldine Brooks yells out her back door is great. I always wonder how she kept a straight face. It's an endless source of enjoyment for me. As is Shatner's 'waving of the steaks' maneuver from his fireplace-mounted Weber. I'm always overcome with panic about the grease he's dripping on the living room carpet. How does Geraldine not fly off the handle about his spraying beef fat all over the place? That's what would happen at my house. Then again, she's probably afraid he's going to smack her around if she says anything about it. Remember when he's drinking the hot coffee? She gives him a little lip and he back hands her and her little one-piece jumper halfway across the room. Later, he starts himself on fire, starts flailing around and knocks her unconscious.

    Seriously, how can anyone watch this and not be endlessly entertained by Shatner's over-the-top facial expressions. Just look at the sheer expressions of pain he relays in that 'man on fire' scene. What an actor! I also remember laughing out loud when Shatner dips his spaceship below 20,000 feet when entering Venus's atmosphere. We know it's a bad thing because the ship does some sort of vertical hiccup and then quickly settles back into it's normal orbit. And then there's Dr. Mike fat-fingering his rotary phone. I don't think he actually manages to make the call before we cut away to a different scene. The dude is obviously shaken that his friend is turning into the Creature From the Black Lagoon.

    I may just have to watch this again.

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  23. Whit-

    Congratulations!

    After much deliberation, you are awarded the L-OL post of the day. Your award is that you are allowed to wear a cashmere sweater, bombadier jacket, silk scarf, and bison pelt for 24 hours without recrimination.

    Well done, sir!

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  24. "Just about six feet"

    Yeah, let's see, that would make Bones about 6'2" and Spock about 6'4".

    UTW: They wisely held this turkey off till later in the season.

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  25. Larry B.-

    Thanks for correcting me. It slipped my mind about the order of viewing by production as opposed to original air dates.

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  26. It's hard to know HOW to comment about this one. It would be easier if we were talking about a different show so we wouldn't have to feel obligated to make comparisons to S1. So assuming we DON'T have to compare... I quite enjoyed watching this one this time. It's like a pre-Star Trek ST. I love Geraldine Brooks; she's as earnest as she can be, and I like the the "he loves me more than you" star scene. William Shatner ( Or is it Kirk?) sometimes pulls out great performances, maybe this isn't his best, but he's fun to watch for sure. Season two has some classics coming up at any rate.

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  27. Face it, folks---

    This is the absolute nadir of the series, the worst they ever turned out. Not worth the space it takes up on the shelf (and barely the space on this blog).

    Re: "Arsenic and Old Lace" -- I had the good fortune to catch the early 90's national tour, starring (get this)-- Jean Stapleton and Marion Ross as the aunts, Jonathan Frid and Larry Storch as the heavies, and James MacArthur as Mortimer. When I performed that role in the dim, dark past, I was interested to find out what actor created it on Broadway---the guy who the author and producers felt embodied the character's quasi-normal, leading-man qualities and his inherent nerdiness. Cary Grant was cast in the film version solely for his box-office appeal, and practically mugged himself to death (a very annoying performance).

    Turns out that the original actor who first played the role of Mortimer on stage was none other than ALAN JOSLYN, one of the truly great character actors of the era. Now THAT's something I wish had been preserved on film!

    LR

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    1. I must disagree. I have always considered this to be one of the best episodes the series put out. "Maybe I'm allergic to planet Earth." This line in the first act sums up the premise of the episode. The concept of someone being BIOFORMED (adapted to the alien environment of a planet) is a concept that has been in SF for many years -- long before this touching episode was broadcast. This is really soft science-fiction -- the story is really personal story. It is about the characters -- not space or technology.

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  28. I think Whitsbrain's entry captures why I also like this episode. It's completely silly (sure, albeit unintentional) fun, on the level of an entertaining 1950s-era B-grade science fiction film, say like "The Alligator People".

    I love a lot of things about this --

    --how the photog on the fire escape waiting for Barton to pass by looks more like an assassin...

    -- the big area where they are constructing the quite un-aerodynamic-looking capsule, and I also like the cadre of NASA-ish guys who Jeff consults with during the episode, including the future Stonn. Very earnest, blase, and playing smart guys doing their jobs. Grown-up guys doing their jobs, like our fathers used to do, not expecting their jobs to be "fun" like everybody does today. I am also sure that NASA would love a cadre (well, two...) of reporters -- astronaut paparazzi! -- lined up to ask them ANYTHING today. You would have thought they were interviewing Tony Curtis or somebody...

    -- the mid-20th Century architectural parade we get to see in this, and all of the 2nd season. It's cool and it looks great in drab B/W.

    -- Shatner. He's the brave All American boy turning all frigid and especially SO petulant, as he goes around dialing up all the thermostats and embracing the layered look. Shatner looks incredibly fresh-faced (so Canadian!) and his transformation into Venusian seems like a mean thing to do to such a nice guy. He gets incredibly snippy, to everybody, and nobody -- but NOBODY -- can do terrorized like Shatner does.

    Here's the key to Geraldine Brooks as Ann -- I think she's a lush. She started drinking when Jeff entered the Space Program and began working incredibly long hours and going on spaceflights. She walks around in shortie outfits -- on the days when she can't get it together to get REALLY dressed, no doubt -- and doesn't get annoyed when Jeff drips the steak juice on the floor, but at least she managed to get a salad made.

    She's a tad shrewish, a little heavy-lidded, not like Geraldine Brooks in "The Architects of Fear" exactly. Different. And how else can you explain that tipsy speech to the heavenly bodies? That's the booze talking. If that isn't an example of drunk-dialing -- or drunk declamation -- I don't know what it is. Ann Barton is a soused suburban housewife who loves Jeff a lot and does manage to get it together when he needs her. She's also sexually frustrated as the episode progresses, Jeff is frigid all right, and then as Shatner gets increasingly hysterical there is kind of a role reversal and she sobers up. When you examine their relationship in those terms, it's more interesting.

    -- the monster is creepy. Even the implausible lens change that puts the creature closer is effective, still. It does go with the music. And Shatner's scream is terrific.

    -- Malachi Throne is great. Lloyd Gough is entertaining. And Geraldine Brooks is really excellent as Ann, as always.

    Maybe it's mostly about Shatner giving another one of his stalwart and always a tad overdone performances, but "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" is a fun episode if you aren't expecting anything like the best of the 1st season. This isn't philosophy, this is pure corn, as whitsbrain said.

    I also don't doubt that having Shatner here might have brought some folks to sample TOL over the years where otherwise the series might have seemed too B/W or dull to them. Sometimes you have to lure them in with a skilled barker, and nobody puts it out there like William Shatner.

    So there. This one amuses me.

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  29. Also, to Larry Rapchak re: "Arsenic and Old Lace" -- what a roadshow you caught on that one!

    Celebrities -- washed-up or otherwise -- can't be bothered to go around doing summer stock anymore! Think of what we are missing! Although, the crop available now isn't nearly as fun as what we had to choose from back then, is it?

    James MacArthur, Marion Ross, Larry Storch, Jean Stapleton, and Jonathan Frid? That's a 1970s independent TV station's dream cast -- all the syndicated hits on one stage! As Edith and Archie used to sing -- "Those were the days..."!

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  30. LISA--

    And my wife and I hung around outside the theater afterwards and spoke with Frid, Marion Ross and Storch--who, apparently, had been in very good "spirits" (ahem....) while on stage for the performance. Very talkative, fun guy.

    Sorry to say that the big disappointment in the show was MacArthur, who performed the role of Mortimer in a very hot-headed, spoiled brat, stilted way. Didn't work at all. Oh, to have seen Alan Joslyn on stage...

    LOVED your write-up on "Cold Hands"; that's exactly the sort of commentary that will make a lot of this stuff "bear"-able from hereon in.

    Keep writing!

    LR

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  31. A good take, Lisa. I think all 60's TV wives pre-liberation were boozehounds or on Valium. At least that was the male teleplay writer perspective. See any episode of "Route 66."

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  32. Thanks, Lisa,--this is why I'm enjoying this blog so much--it's fascinating to be shown different views of things that you don't consider on your own, especially when you think you know these episodes pretty well. Your take on the Brooks character makes total sense, yet it never occurred to me. It gives a whole different shade to this episode. And yeah, I though the photographer was a gunman at first, too--funny how we've all become acclimated to "film logic." Maybe this one isn't too bad after all (well, except for the fizzle-out ending).

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  33. At the very least, Geraldine Brooks gets one good line. When she's fussing over Shatner and he tells her she's acting like his mother, she says in that believably touchy way "I'm not your mother."
    (It's even easy to imagine some unpleasant little back-story between her and her mother-in-law, just from that one line.)

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  34. I can't help noticing amid TREK refs here - one in particular, missing in action.

    Isn't CHWH the episode where - our space-faring hero Jeff Barton explains to his wife how as a young boy, he already realized a sense of his destiny. An almost 5-yr mission-like sounding thing. Approx (by memory):

    "To boldly lead the way, to where no man gone before, to seek out new life, new worlds, new ..." - hm ... I think it was civilization or knowledge. Or something.

    After the fact - weird deja vu. Am I the only one scratching his head? Going, hm? Wondering if Jeff Barton himself might have written that weekly opening line for STAR TREK? As intoned in that iconic Shatneresque voice so familiar from the scene of interest in this legendary TOL?

    Is there something wrong with my television set? Or am I hearing that exact schtick, almost verbatim, as of Sept 1964 - when STAR TREK was barely a twinkle in Gene Roddenberry's eye? Seems velly intelestink, and a bit close for mere - coincidence ???

    Not saying there's anything fishy. Nor ground for suspicion. Especially about anyone. On one hand. On the other - seems that 'boldly going' opening line doesn't go back to early STAR TREK days, pre-Shatner. The first pilot with Jeffrey Hunter as Capt, didn't have anything like that.

    Nor does it figure in Shatner's STAR TREK debut, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" w/ Sally Kellerman (she rates mention here). The line hasn't yet materialized; almost as if it was a fairly late-game idea. Assumably thought up on brilliant stroke of inspiration, by ... someone (logically).

    Which in turn, might raise question - who? And if so, what raw material were they working from, to craft such a dandy little piece o' talk, setting that special STAR TREK mood each week?

    As a diehard Shatner fan I'd defend him ferociously against any calumny. As I would have George Harrison (that "My Sweet Lord" thing). Yet has anyone interviewing the Shat ever broached question, however delicately or innocently - to get at this? Ideally (the better to entrap my dear) without any mention of TOL. Just "hey, that was such a cool reading of a neat line you opened STAR TREK with - and btw, who wrote that?"

    You know, standard routine. Work the witness, maybe get him to bite - claim it as his own (vs "Roddenberry wrote that for me"). Without setting off any possible 'psychological alert' defenses. Don't want deflectors to snap on ... Perfect caper for COLUMBO ...

    Just seems if the Shat owned that opening ST line - it'd be a much shorter distance to connect dots. TOL would have to have been fresh in his memory as of STAR TREK. Only a year or two apart, any fresher they'd have to give it a morning show.

    If that 'boldly going' line was Shatner's idea, it'd become downright difficult to doubt some Jeff Barton influence. Easier to consider his line in CH,WH a proud daddy maybe - of Shat's more famous STAR TREK pre-ramble. Its prodigal son?

    So if the Shat composed that STAR TREK 'pre-ramble' himself - would he freely cop to it, give it up for TOL (for 'borrowing' from it - no, 'paying homage'). Would he, I wonder, acknowledge the inspirational (and literary) source for that line STAR TREK made so famous. Or would he pull a "Reagan in Iran-Contra" routine?

    It must be asked, on recollection from early 1990's - TNT Outer Limits marathon, featuring some interview footage with TOL veterans. Including - the Shat. Asked about his work on, not STAR TREK but TOL (occasion being what it was) - seems he got kina vague. As memory serves, he became less coherent - mumbled something about not remembering his stint on that series so well. Not much to say about it. Almost cagey - or tightlipped as an Aldebaran shellmouth?

    Agh, the ravages of time and taste ... Thanks for this cool tribute to TOL, all and sundry.


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  35. is this is the only time in 49 opening narrations that Vic sez "THAT reaches" instead of "WHICH reaches"...???...

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