Sunday, February 27, 2011

INSIDE THE DARK & STORMY NIGHTS OF JOE STEFANO


By David J. Schow

People must have said “it’s a dark and stormy night” about a double-dozen times during the course of the evening, thanks to the Friday deluge of LA rain I feared would keep people away from the state-of-the-art Billy Wilder Theater, ‘round the back of the world-famous Hammer Museum in Westwood.  No worries.  We filled the 295-seat house nearly to capacity.

The haus begins to fill up…
Historically, this qualifies as the United States “premiere” of The Haunted for an audience (because another 16mm print has screened at film festivals in Japan since 2005), and very probably a world premiere for The Unknown, as well.

It’s official!  We have a podium!  With Kerry.
(To clarify, The Haunted print was the Archive’s own 16mm copy — a bit splicey at first, with some occasional soundtrack buzz, but nothing that was a dealbreaker.  Rumors have swarmed about a 35mm-fine-grain print, but … nothing has surfaced yet.  Inquiry continues.)

The inimitable Gary Gerani.
Where The Haunted offered rarity, The Unknown offered unexpected quality — the 35mm Archive print of this little-seen pilot version of “The Forms of Things Unknown” was nothing short of luminous in its beauty and clarity, which extended to the soundtrack as well — I wish Larry Rapchak could have seen it (or heard it, rather), because this night I could perceive aspects and subtleties of the score that I had literally never heard before.

DJS with Marc Scott Zicree, author of The Twilight Zone Companion.
The “Forms” music, of course, was also ported into most of The Haunted, but for those hunting Dominic Frontiere rarities, about a quarter of his “original” score remains, including a never-before heard flute-heavy title theme (overall, this was the score that Stefano vetoed in favor of re-using The Unknown’s music).

Evil Wilhelm is in da haus.
Some of the Unknown score was also recycled by Dominic Frontiere into the music for another haunted-house opus, the memorably creepy A Name for Evil (aka The Grove, Penthouse Films, 1973, starring Outer Limits stalwart Robert Culp … naked!), and the music for both is found on a LaLa Land disc released in 2006 — but that’s a re-orchestration performed by the Graunke Symphony Orchestra of Munich, and the instrumentation sounds “off” to my ear.

DJS with Tracy & Robin Torme, and Marilyn.
I suspect we may now anticipate a few critical reactions to The Haunted, now, after 46 years.  It’s probably not “the scariest movie ever made,” to quote the dominant hyperbole, but it is beautifully claustrophobic, jittery and laden with the fear of uncertainty.  “The scream” — that “scream” of the ghost noted by many past viewers as unforgettably creepy, is a three-way combo of a looped scream, the “vacuum cleaner noise” used for “The Galaxy Being,” and the eee-ooo-eee-ooo sound that spotlights most of Aabel’s appearances in “The Children of Spider County.”

Michael Schlesinger, producer of many fine Larry Blamire entertainments.
But as one viewer expressed to me after the screening:  “It WAS too scary for TV!  If I had seen that as a kid, it would have scared the shit out of me, and filled me with night terrors for years!”

The Haunted was the only motion picture that Joe Stefano ever directed.

Both The Haunted and The Unknown are steeped in the classicist mode of Stefano’s most memorable Outer Limits episodes — remote, forsaken locations; an almost absolute absence of daylight; small, tightly-controlled casts with a fine coat of near-Shakespearian polish over all the dialogue.

Black Leather Required:  Marilyn Stefano & DJS.
The Haunted also marks a persistent duality between Joe Stefano and Leslie Stevens.  There are two variants of the Outer Limits pilot — Please Stand By and “The Galaxy Being;” likewise two versions of the first season’s closing show — The Unknown and “The Forms of Things Unknown.”  For the ghost effect in The Haunted, Stefano used the negative-reversal process used for ole Spotty himself (the Galaxy Being).  This makes The Haunted an even stronger “companion pilot” to Please Stand By — showing both men operating in their maximum comfort zones.  Like Daystar’s last feature film, Incubus, The Haunted — done within the year after Stefano parted company with The Outer Limits — was doomed to become “lost” by history.  Well, we found Incubus, and now we’ve found The Haunted!

DJS with Dominic and Britt Stefano.
And I only stumbled upon it because I was looking for yet another “lost” Stevens film — Private Property (1960).  Susan Compo (author of the Warren Oates biography A Wild Life) had told me the film was in the UCLA Archive, and when I inquired about viewing it, Archive director Mark Quigley — a fan of The Outer Limits Companion, as it turns out — slyly sent back a note that read, “oh, we have something ELSE here you may be interested in …”

I was off to UCLA faster than birdshot.  The Haunted had only been in the collection since 2007.  (In fact, I watched it before I watched Private Property, so eager was I.)

The haus fills up even more ...that's Oscar-winning film editor Bob Murawski standing lower left ... and, LOOK!  A stealth shot of curator of the screening, Mark Quigley!  (Seated, lower right.)
Mark Quigley and Paul Malcolm, who organized this event on behalf of the UCLA Film & TV Archives, had stressed to me that attendance was key in convincing UCLA to do similar events.  As with many libraries and archives, the “stars” of the collection are frequently feature films, not unsold TV pilots … aha, but we had the Conrad Hall card left to play!

There to keep me honest was this blog’s very own Gary Gerani (of Fantastic Television), Marc Scott Zicree (of The Twilight Zone Companion), and Evil Wilhelm (well, because … he’s evil!).  Joe Stefano protégés Tracy Torme and Charles Sosa were there, in addition to friends and allies like Michael Sloane, Bob Murawski, Mike Schlesinger, and Perry Shields. Jim Barwise, frequently seen on this blog, showed up doggedly drenched, determined not to miss the screening.

The face of the man behind the name “Jim Barwise” on the blog!
Since Marilyn Stefano is my illegitimate mom, that makes Dominic Stefano my illegitimate brother, another longtime friend who got dragged around the Outer Limits set for “Nightmare” when he was five years old.  Dom’s charming wife Britt, and Tracy’s equally charming wife Robin were also there to pick up where we all last left off.
DJS & Marilyn on a really big stage.
Marilyn and I took the stage for a brief Q&A I’m positive was twice as long as the show hosts had intended, but — miracle of miracles! — everybody stayed in place for the second feature.  (Usually at similar film-retrospective deals, the audience starts walking out after the “star feature” while some of its players are still headed for the stage to talk; another groundless fear, in this case.)  This, despite the fact that Martin Landau couldn’t make it (he never got back to us), and Barbara Rush would have come, had it not been the same night as her beloved sister’s birthday to-do.  There were no representative “stars” in attendance, except of course for Marilyn, who had been right there as every inch of these dramas was being dreamed, written, then made.  (She has always been a fount of surprising intel for the Outer Limits devotee.)

Between shows.  Nobody walked out!
I hope this is just a prelude toward getting some form of The Haunted out into the world for general viewership.

And now Mark and Paul are talking about a Leslie Stevens night

The throng decamps…

25 comments:

  1. It was my pleasure to curate this event for UCLA and to provide the podium notes/stage introduction for THE HAUNTED. A little background: I've been doing deep research on THE HAUNTED for over a year, and was very interested in programming a public screening of this rare work for the Archive. But what to show with the only hour-long HAUNTED for a worthy double bill? Searching deeper in the Archive's vaults on a hunch I suspected that a 35mm print we had cataloged as FORM OF THINGS UNKNOWN, could in-fact be THE UNKNOWN. Pulling the print from deep-storage for inspection confirmed that suspicion -- now I had a program! But how to nudge these unusual tele-gems into our very busy cinematheque programming schedule of at the Billy Wilder? In general, we (UCLA) don't program much TV because due to rights issues, it is not possible to charge admission. As a non-profit under frequent budget stress, opening the doors to the venue for any program is expensive and without ticket revenue, the night would have to be subsidized by internal budgets. Luckily, my Archive colleagues Paul Malcolm (Programmer) and Shannon Kelly (Head of Public Programs) supported my idea for the evening, which I pitched as "CREATED BY JOSEPH STEFANO." After a few delays and postponements due to our packed public programs calendar I finally had a date. With the evening locked, we lined up the great Marilyn Stefano as our first guest. I also alerted David J. Schow that the show was coming and together we outlined outreach strategies to complement the Archive's PR in order to fill the house. Of course, this blog and DJS' posts and participation helped to build anticipation for my Stefano Night -- and we had a fantastic turnout with a very appreciative audience. After speaking to the very kind and very knowledgeable Mrs. Stefano a number of times during the planning of the evening, it was my extreme pleasure to finally meet her and her family at the screening. A good time was had by all. Thanks again to Mrs. Stefano and DJS' for their participation in the Archive's program!

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  2. What an amazing experience! I'd been waiting for something like this for decades and decades. As everyone who chatted with me Friday night soon realized, I was extremely ill (that photo speaks volumes), having come to UCLA directly from my doctor -- who, of course, thought I was completely nuts for attending a social gathering on a rainy night when I should have gone directly home to bed. My smooth commentary voice was replaced by a cough-choked whisper ("Croaky" DJS nicknamed me), and I was so far gone I didn't even recognize Marc Zicree and his charming wife sitting in the row directly in front of me -- and I KNOW Marc! But nothing, nothing was going to keep me away from this screening.

    THE HAUNTED and THE UNKNOWN compliment each other beautifully, and represent "noir TV" at a time when such noble experiments were virtually nonexistent. Whereas UNKNOWN is a stylized feverdream of outrageous camera angles and distorted lenses, THE HAUNTED (also shot by Hall) is less "gimmicky" (Connie's term) yet even darker, as if embracing the supernatural proper required the blackest of blacks, with characters inhabiting a subterranean universe of disturbing bleakness and, of course, exquisite dark poetry a la Stefano.

    But THE HAUNTED remains grounded in reality, much more so than either version of THE UNKNOWN. Joe was trying to sell a series with ongoing characters, which is why hero Nelson Orion (Landau) has chemistry-establishing moments with "series regulars" Leonard Stone (down-to-earth guy connected to Orion's architectural world) and Nellie Burt (an eccentric true believer who becomes the ghost tracker's #1 sounding board). After THE UNKNOWN was rejected for being too arty, it's not surprising that a less flamboyant but equally compelling visual/psychological flavor was deemed appropriate.

    Let's talk about the horror content. Marilyn Stefano explained how CBS respected her husband's pilot, but considered it "much too frightening" for network television. That's putting it mildly. The ghost attack sequences hit with an odd wham and unnerve the viewer in a way that's difficult to describe, anticipating the tone and style of Friedkin's THE EXORCIST more than anything else. Putting things in perspective, those much-adored TV-movie chillers from the '70s play like Saturday morning cartoons by comparison. How Stefano EVER thought he was going to sell something like this to 1965 television is beyond me.

    To be continued...

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  3. On a TV historian/geek note, I was amused to discover the "origin point" of a certain Dominic Frontiere cue that I always believed was the only original piece of music composed for THE INVADERS pilot. Those sleek, long notes we hear as David Vincent drifts off before witnessing the saucer landing were actually created for THE HAUNTED, beautifully capturing the frightening and evocative qualities of Old Dark Houses. Speaking of THE INVADERS, it's amazing how many superficial similarities there are between QM's show and both Stefano pilots. David Vincent, like Orion, is an architect, with a very grounded business partner (James Daly, as opposed to Leonard Stone) and an obsession that pushes his real career into the background; the considerable money he earns as a designer pays for an offbeat hobby. In addition to all the distinctive music lifts, the optical "tear" effect devised for THE UNKNOWN was unabashedly reworked as a graphic for THE INVADERS, minus the sound effect.

    I've always been fascinated by various notable efforts to bring an occult investigator to weekly network television. Next up would be Jack Laird's THE BLACK CLOAK (1965), released theatrically as DARK INTRUDER when NBC considered it "too scary for TV" (sound familiar?). To compensate for HAUNTED-style disturbing darkness, however, a humorous element was introduced to Leslie Nielsen's monster-hunter (he masquerades as a carefree rake), with the period setting (turn of the century San Francisco) also providing a little distance and psychological relief. Ultimately, eccentric Carl Kolchak would push this idea to the max, with laughs and horror working hand-in-hand.

    One of the most interesting unsold pilots of this ilk is Universal's mostly-forgotten FEAR NO EVIL (1969), the very first made-for-TV horror film, with Louis Jourdan trying to rescue "guest star" Lynda Day from the perils of a demon-possessed mirror. The film did well enough to inspire a second, less classical pilot, RITUAL OF EVIL... a film Joe Stefano once told me he was offered as producer/director. The Jourdan concept never became a series, partially because it was nudged out by ROD SERLING'S NIGHT GALLERY (also from Universal for NBC). But the concept kind of merged with Anthony Lawrence's TV pilot SWEET, SWEET RACHEL, becoming Universal's THE SIXTH SENSE series over at ABC in 1972 and logically making use of Billy Goldenberg's distinctive music for the EVIL telefilms. Comparing scenes of parapsychologist Gary Collins observing ghostly manifestations, with Nelson Orion doing same in THE HAUNTED, is quite fascinating. Needless to say, Stefano's noir approach is far more disturbing.

    Enough already. I need to take my medicine and lie down for a few hours before the Oscars begin. But folks, Friday night was the best. Take it from old Croaky!

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  4. I'm still heartbroken that I couldn't attend this. Who owns The Outer Limits now? Is it Sony? I'm envisioning a deluxe blu-ray release with all the TNT MonsterVision promos, isolated music tracks, commentaries by Scoleri, Enfantino, Gerani, and Schow... and of course, The Unknown. Who do I have to **** to make this happen???

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  5. David, thanks for this. Killed me not to be there. Killed.

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  6. Were the DayStar facilities (time-sharing with the production of Incubus?) the home base for production of The Haunted? I don't recall seeing the 5-star logo on the end credits.

    DJS: can you paraphrase the "Mike Dann" letter informing Joe of The Haunted's fate? Any hint in it that the imminent onset of widespread color broadcasting played a role in its' rejection (even a network exec can see that The Haunted doesn't work w/o B&W)?

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  7. Clearly a fantastic time was had by all. I chime in with Blamire's lament at not being able to attend. Thanks, David, for sharing all this with us.

    My Mutant-eyed envy, wrapped in the most genuinely affectionate warmth and cheer, to all of you who were able to attend. Congratulations on a night you'll carry with you into the outer limits.

    And here's hoping we can see these things in cleaned up, commercial releases.

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  8. Craig --

    Forget Blu-Ray. Too expensive to create & distribute discs for a dwindling audience (that's getting younger & less tolerant of B&W every year). I'm sick of plastic discs, anyway: even single-sided ones have finite lifetimes (delamination due to temperature cycling / gradients) that piss me off w/ chapter-skipping by year 8 or so.

    The future is in complete digital download (Netflix, Hulu, etc.,), but paid so we can (a) be rid of the Hulu & MGM watermarks, and (b) justify the service provider adding supplements (incl. Please Stand By, The Unknown, The Haunted) to the library. Renting by the episode ($0.50 a pop? sample the whole show for $25) will also provide an interesting kind of ratings system for episodes. Initial views will be informed by printed & online reviews of specific eps from the usual suspects (DJS, Holcombs, Gerani, Rypel). Repeat viewings will be driven by the viewers' own taste. . . . . Then you mother-bitches will find out how great Counterweight really is!

    But seriously, for those who were intimately involved with its' creation (half of the WACT commenters?) have sales of the Thriller package encouraged you that any production entity can be convinced to do the same w/ TOL (Blu-Ray or plain vanilla DVD), keeping in mind that Thriller never had a prior DVD release and I don't believe that it got much exposure on VHS in the previous video era (whereas TOL has been double-dipped on disc and got royal treatment on videotape from 1987-1992), so the supply & demand scales are weighted quite differently for the two shows.

    For those in the business: can you confirm or refute my impression that Blu-Ray sales are somewhat underwhelming industry expectations? Possibly due to consumer's frustration with a seemingly never-ending technology media changes.

    Big DVD packages are also a price barrier to the less well-heeled (the young). And as I recommended in the entry discussing the history of DJS' OLC book(s), the next edition should target the kids. Likewise, future video formats & pricing schemes.

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  9. Thank you to David and everyone involved for getting this screening going. It was really gratifying to see the nearly-packed house; I felt like that first time at a con, when I thought, "You mean, there are more people out there like me?" Really enjoyed Marilyn Stefano's interview. She has great recall. I watched "Forms of Things Unknown" the next day, and was amazed at the differences. Thanks again, and thanks for the mention above! Made my day!

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  10. Before we start singing hallelujah about the wonderfulness of digital download — inevitable whether we actually want it or not — I remain leery of the downside, namely:

    (1) A way will be emplaced to prohibit permanent copies from being made, frustrating collectors and anyone who wishes to maintain a permanent reference library.

    (2) The scheme will doubtlessly mutate into a charge for every download if you wish to see something more than once.

    (3) The stuff some of us really want to see won’t percolate into the system for years.

    It was the same pattern for VHS, laserdisc and DVDs, because the initial market is driven by the most popular mass-market titles.

    Thus, this is our vision of the future for distributors: No packaging. No brick and mortar stores. No shipping costs. The “product,”such as we have become accustomed to it, DOES NOT EXIST except as code. The flipside: Instant access. Most people will bend over for the instant access part. Eventually the system may become content-driven, but don’t expect video rarities on Day One. Hell, half the studios can’t figure out where the rights lie for properties less than 20 years old!

    The beauty of it, though, is that only one copy is needed to supply … well, everybody.

    And if a corrupt version of a program or film finds its way into the general library, that will be the de facto version for years. Witness the triple-dip of the OUTER LIMITS discs, “good enough” for the supermarket. Sure, things may eventually enjoy attentive upgrades, but I wouldn’t count on it, because for the providers, that changes the revenue stream not a bit. Why should they bother?

    The Golden Age of DVDs — and supplements — is long over. (Just last week I heard a studio PA bitching about how he “hates to handle plastic discs.”) Blu-Ray is a stopgap for the well-heeled (I mean, really, how much “def” do you NEED?). So I don’t foresee any kind of glorious rebirth for the OUTER LIMITS material; I’d be happy if there was a single decent DVD iteration.

    And I totally agree with you on Blu-Ray. A costly last-gasp grab at getting people to re-acquire their collections ONE MORE TIME before the downloads render that irrelevant ... along with the buyer's ability to choose an iteration.

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  11. The night of UCLA’s screening of The Unknown and The Haunted started off as if to order with uncharacteristically heavy LA rain. From the airport I went to my hotel then around six to the Billy Wilder Theatre, where in kind of an OL moment, I ran into and introduced myself to none other than David J. himself; a great beginning. Going inside, it was a bit of a wait for the box office to open and then to go in after that. The theatre was smaller than I imagined, but very comfortable; the right kind of intimacy for an event like this one. I had the chance to meet not only David J. and his girlfriend Kerry, but Marilyn Stefano, her son Dominic, and his wife Britt as well. I’d written Joe some letters over the years, and had been touched and inspired how he took the time to answer with kindness and honesty. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to meet him personally, but he nonetheless did, and continues to, have a huge effect on my life. Marilyn and her family were gracious and kind, and very appreciative of my coming. DJS: likewise to you, it was great to see that the Outer Limits guru is really just a down-to-Earth, friendly guy. It was a pretty full house, people with a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm. To Gary Gerani- Dave singled you out in the audience, missing voice not withstanding, and I didn’t get to introduce myself before the night was over; a blip in an otherwise great night. Enough of this boring stuff, what about the films? The Unknown was up first. I don’t want to spill the beans about the details of the story (and truth is I don’t want to get any of the details wrong), but I can say that it has a flavour all it’s own; a little different than an OL, but with the same craftsmanship. Having Martin Landau, Nellie Burt (in a kind of sympathetic role), and Hal Bokar did make it feel like an undiscovered OL, but Dame Judith Anderson, Tom Simcox, and Diane Baker gave it a feel all it’s own. The photography was lovely; the mausolium scenes were claustrophobic and intense. Martin Landau’s house was an open design inside, while the outside DJS described in the Q and A period between films as kind of a cut-in-half version of the James Mason’s house in North By Northwest. As Joe’s first directorial effort, he got a chance to indulge his love of Gothic trappings and offbeat characters; with much memorable dialogue. Marilyn said during the Q and A that Stefano was quite nervous about his directorial debut, and that Judith Anderson instilled some confidence in him by asking Joe to help her “tone down” her theatricality. It would have made an interesting series; an interesting hybrid of anthology with a continuing character (Landau). The basis of The Unknown is familiar –an altered version of OL Forms Of Things Unknown. Making David McCallum a madman instead of a time tilter, and the changes in the dialogue to accomadate this, were fascinating to watch. The credits, with the later “Invaders” music, and the somber commentary (whose voice was that again?) were unsettling and powerful. The 35mm print was astonishing, beautiful. It was amazing how well OL adjusted to the big screen without missing a beat. I would probably pick Forms over The Unknown only because I love the idea of time travelling. Some amazing films, and people-I couldn’t have asked for more.

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  12. Thanks, Davey, for a swell evening...and big thanks to archival cine-geeks everywhere, for finding and caring for (and screening) bits of priceless ephemera like "Unknown" and "Haunted".

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  13. ANOTHER VOTE FOR "SCARY"

    ... from my pal Chris Wheeler, who writes:

    "Too bad THE HAUNTED didn't make it to series even though I'm sure it would have given me a heart attack at that young age; OUTER LIMITS was more than creepy enough. I can see Landau and his housekeeper on the cover of TV GUIDE now. And one of the best series openings I've ever seen with the graveyard dissolve to Los Angeles and then the tsunami wave wipe across the city."

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  14. Mikey, I hope you flinched appropriately when Landau said: "You'd better get down to that door, Mrs. Finch, before MISTER SLOANE breaks it in!"

    Ladies and gents, I give you Mr. Michael Sloane, who has written dialogue that came out of Mr. Landau's mouth, years after THE HAUNTED.

    (Sloane in THE HAUNTED was portrayed by Leonard Stone, another oUTER LIMITS vet.)

    "Sloane," Sloane, and Stone are not all the same guy, however ... although they may be a made-up legal firm.

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  15. Thanks for the report! Sounds like a wonderful event with lots of WACT participants having a great time and generating many waves of jealousy out here!

    How nice to find an appreciative audience for rarities like these!

    I really hope we all will get the opportunity to see THE HAUNTED some day -- it sounds intriguing and scary!

    Congrats to Jim B. for making it out there -- did you get an award for furthest traveled?

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  16. First time in several years my emotions flinched at moving from L.A. Thanks for the vicarious experience reports.

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  17. I have a suspect theory. That is, I suspect it may be a theory: After viewing THE HAUNTED on a huge screen and on a small screen, I sense it may actually play better on a little TV.

    My first viewing was on a carrel at UCLA. Same print as the big screening. And the compositions made more sense, the blacks seemed more absolute, and the whole show seemed more intimate and claustrophobic. Since this was intended for TVs of the era, it's all no accident ... I mean, we're talking Connie Hall, here.

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  18. Hi Lisa. For sure, meeting Marilyn and family, and David, was reward enough indeed. And I had a few adventures exploring L.A. over the weekend. I checked out Westwood's famous graveyard ( where Marilyn Monroe, Don Knotts, Natalie Wood, etc. were buried) and found a few Ol graves (ironically, two were of my favourite season 2 leading men: Steve Ihnat and Ron Randell), and went to see the Bronson Caverns from The Mutant (and the Batcave exit, plus many others). Unfortunately the Bradbury Building was closed on the weekend, and I didn't make it up top Cielo Drive, the former home of the Stefanos. I was on a foot/bus kind of mission!

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  19. Jim --

    No Vasquez Rocks (Zanti landing site)?

    No Chemosphere House (home of Duplicate Man's Capt. Emmet)?

    Shame. Next time.

    And, just to warn you, the last time I was in the Bradbury, they let you wander around the bottom floor, but not up onto the stairs and upper floors (unless you had business there, presumably confirmed with an ID and the correct acknowledgement on the other end of a phone call). Still worth the effort to check out when in LA, especially on a reasonably sunny day when the skylight fills the atrium w/ illumination.

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  20. For more on THE HAUNTED, posted today:

    http://classictvhistory.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/on-the-outer-limits-of-the-outer-limits/

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  21. DAVE--

    Yes, I wish to heck I had been able to join you; would love to hear the soundtrack and discuss with you. Sometime soon, I hope.

    larry

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  22. Thanks so much for this detailed account of the evening. The finding of The Haunted is incredibly exciting and I wish I could've seen it. In fact, with The Unknown, this is my dream night out at the movies. The fact that us Stefano fans may get to see this relatively soon thanks to all you gentlemen's efforts in raising its visibility is hugely appreciated by this fan. Kudos to all of you, sirs.

    Nick Abadzis

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  23. ... and it seems that every showrunner of note at least tried his hand once at an occult adventure pilot. There's a line from Nielsen's character to Culp's, in Roddenberry's SPECTRE....

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  24. Any possibility of a release yet???

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