Friday, March 4, 2011

Cry of Silence



Production Order #10
Broadcast Order #06
Original Airdate 10/24/64
Starring Eddie Albert, June Havoc, Arthur Hunnicutt.
Written by Robert C. Dennis, Story by Louis Charbonneau.
Directed by Charles Haas. 

Andy and Karen Thorne (Albert & Havoc) are searching for their dream farm in the middle of a desert (best place for a farm, by the way) when they hit a boulder. After Karen takes a fall and hurts her leg, they are set upon by intelligent killer tumbleweeds (herewith referred to as T.W.s). Mayhem ensues.

JS: And here we have the lost pilot for Brown Acres...

PE: Well, you can't say that Projects Limited didn't get the most mileage from their props. Thetan Blaster Rays, Martian sand monster, and now tumbleweeds (last seen co-starring in "Corpus Earthling").

JS: Herein lies the beauty of viewing some of these shows for the first time. When the first tumbleweed rolled into frame, I too thought of "CE," and jokingly said to my wife, "Killer tumbleweeds!" Then when they ran into the rock, I said, "Killer rocks!" And the next thing I realize, we are in fact watching a killer tumbleweed episode. Aces!


PE: Another of those episodes that I'd give John's right testicle to be a fly on the wall during the pitch:
Writer: Ya see, there's these two people who break down in their car in the desert and they're attacked...
Suit: I like it so far.
Writer :...by a malevolent force...
Suit: Hey, we still got that big cloudy shit that came out of the vacuum cleaner around here somewhere. Or how about an ape suit? We gotta use something that's already here on the lot. The budget for special effects got eaten up by the Bewitched Halloween Special.
Writer: That's the beauty of it. We're using...
Suit: Yes? Yes?
Writer: The tumbleweeds from "Corpus Earthling."
Suit: Brilliant! Cheap and brilliant! Next week we'll use the floorboards we stole from The Bradbury Building. Haunted wood!
The entire thing could be written off as parody if it weren't so damned serious. The sight of the two stranded lovebirds lighting a fire and watching the T.W.s pull back in fear is a beverage-spewer. Get it all out of you quick because the next scene of a stage hand obviously throwing T.W.s in a pile as if they're jumping up may make you spew again. There are actually close-ups of the T.W.s approaching threateningly as if this were Earth vs. The Spider or Them!
 
JS: How are you leaving out the most obvious progeny? This I Am Legend inspired episode was yet another precursor to Night of the Living Dead. Of course I always joked in that movie how zombies are extremely flammable—whereas here, when their campfire is surrounded by Tee-dubs and they're running out of firewood, that they use to keep them at bay, it doesn't initially dawn on them that there's kindling right in front of them just waiting for a spark?

PE: Neither of the actors really seem to be up to the weight of their roles. Havoc's Karen Thorne is having the mother of bad days but she alternates between calm and quiet and screaming like a banshee within seconds. Albert does the best he can while dancing around, tumbleweeds tied to his legs, thrusting one into his face as if it's attacking him. His big scene (when he's possessed by the alien being and becomes its voice) looks as though the director is off-camera yelling "Push!" The fact that either of them can recite their lines at all without screaming into the camera "I won't say this! I'm an actor" I've done Shakespeare" is a small miracle. The pay was lousy so the catering must have been the ticket.

JS: I'm hoping our WACT Stooges will compile a list of 50s monster movies that rely on the 'hold it to your face like it's attacking you' technique.

PE: So are we to assume the tumbleweeds ate all the birds? Hahahaha, I'm sorry, I just got to the part where Lamont the farmer (Hunnicutt) utters the immortal lines:
Lamont: It seemed there's more tumbleweeds around than usual. But that's all. Then they started gettin' bigger, about the time my wife started missin' some chickens.
Andy: You don't mean they...
Lamont: Maybe. Didn't occur to me at the time. Figgered it was a fox. But a fox couldnt'a made off with a full grown sow.
Andy: Well, didn't you report it or talk it over with your neighbors?
Lamont: No other farms within ten miles of here. Anyway, they wouldn't believe me. I didn't believe it myself until the milk cows disappeared.
Andy: Oh now, come on... (uttered exactly like Oliver Wendell Douglas!)
That last line was what I was trying to shout as I pissed myself laughing. So, do the T.W.s have digestive systems or do they just haul the sow off and rip it to pieces. It's so much fun they decide to take on Elsie.

JS: Lamont's tale of love reminded me of the children's classic "I know an old lady."

It swallowed his wife to catch the cow,
it swallowed his cow to catch the sow,
it swallowed his sow to catch the chickens,
it swallowed his chickens to catch the seed. 
Now I know why, it swallowed his seed, 
'cause it's a killer tumbleweed!

Here comes Frog Squadron!
PE: Boy, it's not just the props that keep getting overused, it's the music too. That "Dark Shadows"-like theme is here, as is my favorite Bernard Herrmann swipe (illustrating yet another spewer as killer frogs leap—read that as are thrown—at Andy and Karen).

JS: One of my favorite over-the-top scenes! I would love to see behind the scenes pics of the PAs chucking rubber frogs at the talent. Somebody got in some good headshots. And I love the shot of them prepped and ready to fight off the frogs.


PE: It is interesting that the "force" begins using other means of destruction: frogs (my first choice of a weapon) and boulders are "possessed" before the end of the show but why wouldn't the "force" just go ahead and take over something more sensible like the tractor Andy's hanging around or the farmhouse they're hiding out in? I know, I know. Nuances.

JS: My wife flinched at the scene when she thought the tractor was coming down on Andy's head. Of course, Eddie Albert did, too.

PE: L-OL dialogue: Andy (Albert) says to his dowdy wife (Havoc): "We get back to town and I'll give up the idea of living on a farm, honey."

JS: My favorite Eddie Albert bit was when he describes the situation, "Other than attacking us, they appear like tumbleweeds." And I'll be damned if you don't believe he's completely serious. Pure brilliance.

JS RATING:

PE RATING


David J. Schow on "Cry of Silence" (Click on pages to enlarge):


 
From The Outer Limits Companion, Copyright © David J. Schow, 1986, 1998.  All Rights Reserved.  Used by permission and by special arrangement with the author.
Eddie Albert in the lead role of Antipholus in the 1938 Broadway smash "The Boys
From Syracuse" by Rodgers and Hart  (submitted by Larry Rapchak).
 CRY OF SILENCE!   By Larry R

THE FORCES OF NATURE COLLUDE
WHEN ANDY AND KAREN INTRUDE.
'TWOULD BE HELPFUL IF ANDY
HAD a GALLON OF BRANDY
TO KEEP HER FROM COMING UNGLUED.

INSTEAD OF DRAMATIC LINE-READINGS,
WE'RE STUCK WITH HYSTERICAL PLEADINGS.
IT'S VERY DISTRACTING
WHEN THE HEROINE'S "ACTING"
WREAKS HAVOC UPON THE PROCEEDINGS.

YES, JUNE IS THE EPISODE'S SHOCKER,
AND IF I WERE ANDY I'D SOCK HER.
BUT WHEN THE DESERT EXPLODES
WITH RUBBERIZED TOADS,
IT'S LAMONT WHO GOES OFF OF HIS ROCKER

THOUGH HE PATIENTLY CALMED AND CONSOLED HER,
ANDY'S WIFE IS STILL FREAKED BY THAT BOULDER.
SO HE'S NOW IN A TRANCE
SEEKING ANSWERS PERCHANCE
WHILE LAMONT IS BEGINNING TO MOULDER.

BY PLUMBING THE DEPTHS OF HIS MIND,
IT SEEMS ANDY'S RESCUED MANKIND.
SO, WITH REGRETS TO BOB NOLAN*
I THINK WE'LL GET ROLLIN'
AND LEAVE THIS DISASTER BEHIND.

*Composer of "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds"




Be sure to check back later today for Gary Gerani's Spotlight on "Cry of Silence."

Next Up...

35 comments:

  1. You guys are mocking this show, aren't you?

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  2. While I don't normally feel the need to defend my review, I do want to confirm that I did really enjoy this one.

    I described it to Peter as my Fatal Impulse of TOL. It was a fun episode that I could definitely watch again and again. If we had been crazy enough to record an OL commentary, I think it would have been for this one.

    For me, I think it appealed to love of siege movies like Night of the Living Dead and its ilk.

    So let the mocking of us begin...

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  3. Reading your comments in the review I was expecting maybe a 1 Zanti rating, so I was surprised to see both of you give it an above average rating. I gave 2 frogs which means ok but nothing special.

    Almost didn't watch this because I hate remakes. I remember this one starring William S. Hart in the silent western, TUMBLEWEEDS, then remade in 1953 starring Audie Murphy in TUMBLEWEED. Come to think of it I don't remember the frogs and rocks in the earlier films. Lucky the end of the OUTER LIMITS One A Day marathon is coming up, otherwise I'd be acting crazier than usual.

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  4. I gotta admit I enjoyed this episode this time around more than any previous viewing. I bought the attacking tumbleweeds far less as a kid than I did here, understanding better the very solid sci-fi idea of an alien consciousness inhabiting inanimate (or slimy) objects in attempt to communicate. I also love siege stories (as JS notes), which were a staple of every 60s series - particularly the Westerns.

    Eddie Albert and June Hysterical are totally game, which you have to respect. But I imagine Havoc partaked from a handy flask to get her through this gig.

    Tippi Hedren supposedly abandoned her entire movie career after the traumatic experience of Hitchcock's P.A.'s tossing starlings and seagulls at her in "The Birds." Meanwhile, Havoc gets belted with behemoth frogs and what does she do? Throws a party for the crew afterward. No doubt divvying out belts from that same flask.

    The hold-something-to-your-face classic has to be Bela Lugosi with the tentacles in "Plan 9 From Outer Space," and the recreation of that scene by Martin Landau in "Ed Wood." But "Corpus Earthing" has its moments (And the "Star Trek" episode with the flying face parasites).

    Lamont coming back from the dead nailed me cold stone scared silly the first time I saw this as a kid. Creepfactor 10. It still plays effectively.

    And it's nice to see the return of a luxury convertible Ford Mercury (even if it isn't a Lincoln). I couldn't tell if there was a barbecue in the back seat.

    Still, I'd love to see the version of this story with Eva Gabor instead of June Havoc.

    "Dahlin,' you simply must remove this tacky tumbleweed from my face before it ruins my foundation."

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  5. David, is this the tumbleweed episode?

    I think I watch this show of two minds:

    1) There's the interesting B movie of alien-possessed things causing a siege in an isolated area (my favorite pre-NOTLD siege is still the climax of the brilliant FIEND WITHOUT A FACE). I think the actual sophisticated SF idea here is not the simple possession of things-animals-people, which had been done to death in the 50s (most amusingly in Corman's BEAST WITH A MILLION EYES), but rather the quite believable premise of something so alien that not only can't it communicate with us, it doesn't even recognize us. This aspect is fascinating, and it's realized here only to some extent.

    I agree with DJS on Haas' indifferent direction. The creepiest scene--Lamont's return from the dead--had real "Monkey's Paw" chill potential, like perhaps if it were set at night, moody lighting, etc., but it's presented rather flatly. What remains is the idea of it that unnerves, just not to full potential.

    2) Is the MST3K-worthy laugh riot (well appreciated by John and Peter and rated accordingly) which is what I can't help but fall into here, no matter how interesting the premise. Much of this has to do with June Havoc in the greatest hysterical wife performance this side of Jeanne Crain in HOT RODS TO HELL. Even her quiet closeups in the car at the beginning--long before she goes off like a shrieking firecracker--display over-the-top reactions. Later, the woman can't even watch handwriting without becoming unhinged.

    As the boys point out: the GREEN (or BROWN, thank you John) ACRES parallels, the self-inflicted monster attacks (we used the same "effect" in TRAIL OF THE SCREAMING FOREHEAD), the ever-mounting list of farm animal victims, the tumblin' tumbleweeds, the Great Frog Toss--it's pretty freakin' hi-larious.

    Then there's that simple recipe for frog tea, Havoc's suspicion of Lamont based on his housekeeping, and on and on.

    And speaking of possessed construction equipment--anyone else fans of the awesome TV movie KILLDOZER? I always expect that to be the next thing taken over in "Cry of Silence" but it's kind of a red herring.

    No matter through which set of goggles I watch this show, the fact is it's more fun than a lot of S2--and more re-watchable.

    Oh--very funny limerick, Larry R.

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  6. Always liked this episode, a real primal scary tale with smarts. I've got a Spotlight coming up later on. Read it... or the tumbleweeds will get ya!

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  7. I admire Bob Dennis' facility for getting the job done with flair no matter what was tossed at him. (The next step in the siege might have been a barrage of lame scripts, thrown at him and Andy and Shrieker by off-camera grips). Purportedly, Bob's first PERRY MASON assignment was one of the three episodes in which Perry actually LOST the case. (Confirm or deny, PM fans.) Zombie Lamont also puts this firmly in the territory of INVISIBLE INVADERS, another model for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

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  8. Larry Blamire mentions KILLDOZER which is an excellent made for TV film base on Theodore Sturgeon's novella in ASTOUNDING, 1944. It's still not officially available on dvd but I have a bootleg copy plus the comic book based on the story. Somehow a berserk bulldozer that wants to kill you is more scary than tumbleweeds or frogs!

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  9. Walker: so true. And you try telling someone, well it's about this bulldozer possessed by an alien force...and they laugh. Until they see actually it!

    Great electronic score by Gil Melle too.

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  10. I still enjoy this as a tight, effective little sci-fi/horror movie, despite John and Peter's on-target mockery and the fact that the fourth act put me to sleep when I watched it last night. (Where's an eardrum-shredding Havoc shriek when you need one?)

    A few things stood out: 1) The stuntwoman who tumbles down the hill in the first act really sells it; her fall made me wince. From the looks of it, though, Karen Thorne would've end up with more than just a twisted ankle. 2) I laughed outloud when Andy introduced Karen to Lamont as "my wife, Mrs. Thorne" -- ah, the early '60s. 3) I get a kick out of Fred Ziffel, I mean Arthur Hunnicutt, but his persona just doesn't jibe with the tone of Lamont's journal. This has been a big disconnect for me from the very first time I saw the episode as a kid. 4) I'm beginning to think Charles Haas is the real albatross of S2. Probably a nice guy, but the key characteristic of every episode he directed is inertia. 5) The scrubby Southern California desert location in the opeing and closing scenes is cool; I'd love to know where these were shot. 6) Finally, I caught a nice visual pun at the end of the CV opener. Just as Vic Perrin says, "And it all began when prehistoric man discovered the art of communication..." the shot picks up on a crude drawing of a curvy woman on the gas station wall, and it looks for all the world like a cave painting.

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  11. -DJS

    It's "The Case of the Terrified Typist" (season one episode 38), the second of twenty one Perry Mason scripts written by Dennis.

    Glenn :)

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  12. Yeah, Universal's KILLDOZER wasn't a bad MOVIE OF THE WEEK, although it's somewhat in the shadow of the same studio's DUEL. And didn't U also give us the big-screen version of this premise, THE CAR, starring James Brolin? Come to think of it, TWILIGHT ZONE probably got the 'vehicle' rolling with "A Thing About Machines" and "You Drive." We won't even talk about MY MOTHER THE CAR and the Herbie flicks... I hope.

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  13. ...and CHRISTINE, and THE TRANSFORMER flicks, and (snore)...

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  14. Looking forward to GARY G's take on this episode later today.

    Not a lot to be said that hasn't already been sharply noted by the Brotherhood of the Bear, but that's never stopped me before.

    JOHN and PETER are rounding into top-notch form with MST-JP. Special note must made of the keenly appropriate adaptation of the kids' classic "There Was an Old Lady," by John. ("I guess she'll die," indeed.)

    Silent scream to WALKER MARTIN for invoking the Wm. S. Hart TUMBLEWEEDS and, along with LARRY BLAMIRE, "bully" for the nerve-jangling KILLDOZER. And to Larry B for additionally shouting out BEAST WITH A MILLION EYES, with genre-cred vet Paul Birch, as a salient example of an alien intellect animating, if not the inanimate, at least lower life forms. In the same vein, we can add THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS; for zombies, besides DJS' NOTLD-influencing INVISIBLE INVADERS, I'll toss in THE CRAWLING EYE.

    Not to mention AWC's PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE's grave-shucking zombies, to go with its slap-me-in-the-face tentacle embrace.

    I would opine (as have others elsewhere) that the literary foreBEAR for the alien animator of lower critters is Fredric Brown's classic novel THE MIND THING, an unforgettable favorite of my youth.

    Very impressive and amusing, epic-length LARRY RAPCHAK limerick.

    "Baby" June Havoc's nervous system does display a jagged edge here. But for me all such histrionic chalkboard-scratching must be measured up against that of Lisa Simpson herself---Yeardley Smith---in the 1986 self-directed Stephen King adaptation of his short story "Trucks": MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE. My memory itself still shrieks, "Curtis! CURTIS!!" Over and over and over...

    Dennis, Haas and Peach's take on Louis Charbonneau's next rock'll-roll sampling doesn't help the cause of the very valid sf question of how vastly different intelligent species might one day communicate. Doomed to look silly by virtue of familiarity with these common objects, the episode does little to dissuade skeptics, who are conditioned to worship youth and sneer at far-fetched sf concepts like this. The result is the blanket reductio ad absurdam that this ep is that one about "old folks" getting a tumbleweed facial and being strafed by flying frog formations.

    It's not a problem stemming from the aliens' methodology. Human astronauts testing another planet's environment would subject apparently inanimate objects to chemical, electrical and pressure tests without bothering to consider that such items might be inhabited by life-as-we-don't-know-it.

    That's the fascinating thing about the communication issue: we can only presently conceive of carbon-based life with synaptic activity and motor response: we think in terms of nervous systems, chemical activity and movement. A cognitive rock that generated no recognizable synaptic activity might be greeted by humans with all the civility of a hammer and chisel.

    And if aliens like these in "Cry of Silence" tried to motivate inanimate objects with jolts of energy, the result probably wouldn't look much more graceful than what Haas stages. It would be frightening to experience, but unfortunately it's laughable to contemplate. That's the concept's bane.

    And it's failing, I think, is the abrupt abandonment of the aliens' inquiry, after a journey of light years and the establishment of the fact that there was indeed intelligent life on Earth (maybe the frogs?). Why would they give up once they acknowledged that "consciousness" was present?

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  15. It's a little known fact that "The Car" was actually the iconic black Lincoln Continental from TOL season 1 after being pumped up and fueled with high grade cheekbone-fender-enhancing CE.

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  16. Great point, MARK HOLCOMB, about the unlikely expressive tone of Lamont's diary entries, which also bothered me, in about the same measure as "Mrs." Thorne's facile apprehension of directed intelligence, in the beginning, and her wild suspicions of Lamont's unmasculine cleanliness later.

    Even better, Mark, is your pointing out the clever overlap of the CV commentary and the "cave painting"! Umm---me like!

    At least we know Arnold Ziffel couldn't have been the missing pig, since it was a sow.

    The rolling rocks that leveled stunt-folk Helen Thurston and Richard Farnsworth always remind me of the most spectacular rock-a-thon ever staged---Keaton's SEVEN CHANCES. Don't miss it.

    The "automatic writing" scene interestingly moves the phenomenon from spiritualism to science-fiction before achieving...nothing. And immediately thereafter, the Thornes are both notably devoid of the instinct to flee. The alien presence is apparently confined to dead Lamont. All thought has been of escape. Andy might be persuaded to ponder the momentous scientific possibilities of the situation...maybe. But now would seem to be the time to at least CONSIDER high-tailin' it, at least for the hysterical Mrs., no?

    What does Andy mean by "Lamont resisted" (possession by the alien)? Is that assumption valid? Supported by anything Lamont said while alive? And the spoon-hypnosis idea is just silly. I suppose a "focusing point" might occur to you, if you were in a curious circumstance that encouraged your becoming a home-schooled hypnotist. But I'd have been more credulous if Andy had produced one of those "hypnotic coins" they used to sell on the back covers of comics for mesmerizing babes.

    Oh, those innocent, values-embracing '50s...

    Credible cast. Solidly worthy sf premise, bowled over by the unavoidable hysterics built into its staging. Sense of tragedy emanating not only from Andy's failure to establish communication but also from the episode's inability to tread the rocky ground it gamely tackled.

    One-and-a-half frogs, gyroscopically rolling by in a tumbleweed.

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  17. Ted, my guess is that they realized the connection couldn't be made with the sentient species they "sensed" on Earth, at least not at the current time... not until that our species evolved to a degree where a common joining of minds was possible. Havoc may have been on to this with her "it can transmit, but not receive" observation. We may have read the Entity's comments in symbol form as dead Lamont wrote them, but It probably had no idea if it was getting through. An awareness of intelligence on both sides, but no actual communication... "What a tragedy," as the Eddie Albert character points out. Still, the valiant efforts of all concerned made me proud of being a human... and an alien, at least from a certain perspective. Thanks to Robert C. Dennis, that's one bit of communication that did get through: curiosity and the visceral need to "find each other" is a universal trait that can span a billion light years. As I'll say very shortly in my Spotlight, Hope ultimately trumps fear... one of the reason "Cry of Silence" rocks (and tumbles, and leaps)...

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  18. I enjoyed in a low key, "we're under siege", way when i forst saw it 30 years ago. But watching it last night, it didn't do it for me. The director was missing in action and as usual allowed his cast to go over the top. June Havoc wrecked many a scene and the diary was too obviously set up to convey information.

    I would have loved a audio download from our hosts.

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  19. As John said, I think my three Zanti rating (very rare for a Season Two ep) comes down to enjoyability and rewatchability. I know I upset you old-timers out there when I tell you that making it all the way through "Demon With a Glass in His Hand" was work that I should have been paid for and I don't foresee watching it ever again. On the other hand, "Cry of Silence" literally made me laugh out loud several times (none louder than the classic Siege of the Frogs --oh, for The Flight of the Valkyrie to be playing on the soundtrack) and I ended up enjoying the hell out of it. Aint that what it's all about? Seriously, if you had your girlfriend over and popped in "Demon," for shits and giggles, how long til she'd be telling you she has to be to work early in the morning?

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  20. First of all my wife would be pissed.

    Were people upset, seriously? I like "Demon" a lot but for me it doesn't have nearly the re-watchability of my S1 faves.

    As for "Cry of Silence", the re-watch factor for me is unfortunately not based on its promising premise/concept but on the fact it's...well...a hoot, i.e. unintentionally hilarious.

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  21. Well, Larry, I don't like to air dirty laundry but I woke up this morning and all my matching gloves and white Keds are missing. Now I've got tumbleweeds in the front yard. Well, I live in Arizona, so I guess I'd have them anyway but that's beside the point.

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  22. I don't know Peter, the last time I had a girlfriend over for shits and giggles, my wife kicked her out of the house and then tried to kick me out also, but I wouldn't leave because of my book and pulp collection.

    I guess your wife is more understanding or perhaps you managed to escape the horror that all collectors fear: marriage to a non-collector!

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  23. I traded the wife in years ago for the Outer Limits box sets. I'd have done it even if the deal didn't include Season One.

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  24. --AWC: Your imaginary Eva Gabor quote had me chortling and guffawing for two minutes straight. Good one.

    --"Cry of Silence" not to be confused with "A Silent Cry", a fine character study-episode from season 2 of COMBAT, starring Richard Anderson and young Robert Crawford.

    ---Uh oh...let's watch our Ed Woodiana, guys; Bela wrestling with the rubbery Octopus was in "Bride of the Monster", not Plan 9. We gotta keep 'em straight: "Bride" was the one where Tor Johnson played the hulking Igor-like LOBO; in "Plan 9", he played the hulking Inspector Clay ("Inspector Clay's dead--Murdered--and somebody's responsible!")

    RE: Eddie Albert. It's a shame he will largely be remembered for "Green Acres" and some miscellania like this OL episode. He was a very talented and appealing actor: check his winning performance as Gregory Peck's photographer pal in 1953's "Roman Holiday".

    ALSO-- Eddie was an excellent song & dance man on Broadway, playing the lead in Rodgers & Hart's 1938 hit "The Boys from Syracuse", prior to his war service in the US Navy.

    Want to hear some damn nice singing? Go to Amazon (MUSIC), check out the original 1949 cast recording of Irving Berlin's "Miss Liberty", and click on track #5 ("Let's Take an Old-Fashioned Walk") and experience 30 seconds of Eddie at his charming, melodious best. You won't believe it.

    LR

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  25. Sorry, Larry---I win the Angora Award. Someone name-dropped poor inoffensive PLAN 9 as the tentacle-twister and I scooped it up with a mind-blocking guffaw and lumbered toward the wrong end zone. Major brain-freeze. Like forgetting MIGHTY JOE YOUNG falling off that Empire State Building, eh?

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  26. It is a pretty interesting concept that maybe we WON'T be up to understanding alien contact if it came. Did anyone ever read a book called How To Contact Space People by Ted Owens? It terrified me as a kid; maybe I'd laugh at it now?

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  27. Mea culpa on the "Plan 9" Bela Lugosi mix up, but in my defense (or probably shame considering the B-sci-fi-movie lovers here), I've never scene "Plan 9" all the way through, just the Tim Burton "Ed Wood" movie where they recreate a scene with Bela (Landau) wrestling the tentacles. I knew Bela was in "Plan 9," so I assumed it was from that movie.

    Hey, I'm lucky I remember where I put my car keys at this point. The mind is like a huge iceberg, where the more it accumulates over age, the larger the portion pulled underwater and inaccessible (except through hypnosis, EST, and the rock star from Mars drug Charlie Sheen).

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  28. No problem, AWC---I've seen both PLAN 9 and BRIDE OF THE MONSTER numerous times and should have immediately caught it. But your reference was too funny, and the humor overwhelmed the precise memory. So I grabbed the image and dragged it into my own comment thread about "grave-shucking zombies," which DO appear in PLAN 9. Yeah, that hilarious business with the rubber octopus in ED WOOD represents the shooting of BRIDE.

    Last I saw them, your car keys were buried under a mass of curiously congregating tumbleweeds.

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  29. I wanted to re-watch this one before I commented, and I still like this one as I did from way back. It's held together by the sane presence of Eddie Albert, always ready with an idea and ready to act, and saddled with a screen wife who comes unglued too frequently and yet is smart and insightful.

    I love Arthur Hunnicutt as Lamont. Sort of funny, sort of crazy, and then just creepy and sad as the reanimated corpse. I always loved the "Thousands of mad frogs!" breakdown he has...a great mad scene for him!

    This episode has both the appeal of an eerie story and the giddy humor when the frogs start cascading into the picture. Frogs are funny in the first place, and the balletic leap en masse across the screen is so great and nutty that you almost can't believe HOW great it is. So in addition to the sheer magnificence of the flying frog brigade, you also get to contemplate Eddie and June's mad dash back to the house, undoubtedly squishing frogs as they go. Also fun to see Lamont clinging to the side of the barn!

    And then it gets scary with the whole possession/automatic writing scene and Eddie going under and channeling the aliens. Their plight is lamentable, June does try to reach out and isn't as freaked out as other wives might be under the same circumstances, and Eddie Albert really sells that scene.

    The episode is full of menace and energetic performances and thousands of mad frogs! Perfect!

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  30. I'll round up to 3 Zantis. The floating tumbleweeds are a pretty good war, I didn't notice any wires, their movement is pretty effective, although its funny when they pull the weeds up to their faces, it reminded me of Bela Lugosi throwing the octopus around his neck in that Ed Wood movie. Its obvious from the start its not photographed by Conrad Hall. I laughed when Eddie Albert said " If we get out of town I'll give up living on a farm". This may be the most unintentionally funny episode I've seen, my vhs box called it quirky. Its a good idea, imperfectly executed. Eddie seems too figure out everything way too quickly, he's just so fascinated by everything that's happening- if his wife got killed, he's say "fascinating, my wife just got killed". Actually, I kind of wish she did. she's just way too hysterical. I didn't notice any mention of what Albert's job is. Whats up with that spoon? The payoff is both satisfying in its consistency and unsatisfying in its lack of resolution.

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  31. I thought Cry Of Silence was one of the wretchedest of the TOL's I'd ever seen the first time around but as time has gone by I've revisited it a coulple of time and those tumblin' tumblewoods don't look so bad now.

    The plot is absurd, but then most sci-fi stories are; and the set-up is cheesey, closer to a 50's era B exploitation quickie than a prime time TV series from 1964, but no matter. I fid the juxtaposition of Albert and Havoc on the one hand, the drive-n fodder plot on the other, plus Arthur Hunnicut's refreshingly rustic character of Lamont, creates a unique sci-fi world of its own.

    This is clearly not a Stefano-Stevens type TOL. It's a second season ep, and with a vengeance. Taken on its own terms, it works. No philosphical ramblings here, just malicious tumbleweeds and leaping frogs. This one was for me at first tough to take as a TOL, spoiled as I was by the first season, but once I got into the spirit of it, yielded to its charms, it worked well on its own terms.

    The aforementioned reminds me once again that TOL, while on the surface one TV series, was in fact two, TOL I and TOL II. The first is, of course, the first season; the second, the revamped second sason. I'm trying to get myself out of the habit of thinking of it as one show that went downhill but rather as, more accuarely, I believe, two different series that just happened to have the same title.

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  32. I agree with everything John Kenrick says.
    In the companion, Schow and Frentzen mention that many people do just the opposite of embellishing when it comes to this one - they remember it as the goofy episode with the killer tumbleweeds, when it really has so much more going for it.

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  33. Thanks, Grant. Season II takes some getting used to. I vastly prefer the first season, but the show just plain changed, and not for the better. They probably wouldn't have done Cry Of Silence in the first season. It's too Saturday Afternoon At the Bijou or like a drive-in feature for the classy first season; but those cheap flicks, especially the ones Roger Corman directed, had charms of their own; nor should we forget the 50 Foot Woman or the Colossal Man or the Astounding She-Monster (just for starters). Good clean fun, each and every one of them.

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  34. Speaking of "beverage spewing" (which Peter does at the beginning), my moment of that kind isn't in the episode itself. Thanks to DJS and Jeffrey Frentsen, it's that behind the scenes story of how they lost the live frogs, not in a dark way but from having them go AWOL when no one was looking. That story always gets to me.

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  35. I originally saw this episode when I was eight years old. It scared the shit out of me. It doesn't now - of course (I can't get Baby June's screeches/whines out of my head) - but even though the years have made it less immediately relatable, I still remember and get a bit of the shivers from those memories...which is a good thing and makes it a classic for me, and a go-to when I'm in the mood for it.

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