Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Inheritors (Parts 1 & 2)




Production Order #12 & 13
Broadcast Order #10 & 11
Original Airdate: 11/21/64 & 11/28/64
Starring Robert Duvall, Steve Ihnat, Ivan Dixon.
Written by Seeleg Lester and Sam Neuman from am idea by Ed Adamson.
Directed by James Goldstone.


Four unrelated soldiers survive gunshot wounds to the head and go on to exhibit amazing abilities.  Adam Ballard (Duvall) investigates and in tracking each man down, he finds that they appear to be working together to create some sort of machine, and are gathering up special children in the process. It's up to Ballard to stop them before they execute their plan.

JS: In this epic two-parter we're treated to what may well be the series' most adult tale. The story unfolds nicely across the two episodes, and despite the absence of a bear to spice things up (and make it less adult), we're treated to fine performances from all of the principles.

PE: Once again, Robert Duvall delivers one of those performances that must have elicited a few "That boy's gonna be a star someday"s back in the day. In the hands of a lesser actor, this character might have been delivered with muscular bravado (just picture Adam West as Adam Ballard for a moment) or somnolent disinterest (remember Robert Lansing from Thriller?). Duvall's just an ordinary Joe with an extraordinary responsibility. At times energetic, but caught up in the fantastical drama around him. As good as Duvall is, my vote for Best Actor of Season Two is going to go to Steve Ihnat. As the mysterious Lt. Minns, Ihnat is both menacing and tortured. In fact, right up to the climax we're not sure if he's here to save Earth or destroy it. He's one of those rare actors who can say lines of dialogue with his eyes.

JS: Once we get past the setup explaining the presence of a common alien brain across the four soldiers shot in the head, things really begin to pick up. As we see each man separately, we believe that while they don't understand what is happening to them, each is compelled to follow the direction they are being given. My favorite shot in the first part was when Ivan Dixon was in the church praying. Nice evocative lighting.


PE: When we're being subjected to the stock battle footage, I (rightly) assumed this was going to be just another lousy Season Two trashcan but I was quickly caught up in the drama. You're right about that church scene but it's only one of several inventive sequences. I liked Robert Duvall's "time-slip," when he confronts Minn about the project and tells him that he intends to shut him down. Minn fixes him with a gaze and Duvall, in the very next scene, is at the Indy 500 two weeks later, with no memory of his lost time. I have to admit a huge grin spread across my face, and for the the first time this season a guffaw didn't follow.

JS: Duvall is great throughout - it's as if he walked right off the set of The Godfather to shoot this. A very different performance than we saw in "The Chameleon."

PE: Funny you mention The Godfather. There are scenes in this episode (a shot where Duvall is standing, hands on hips) where the quirks remind one immediately of Tom Hagen. I never felt that way in "The Chameleon."

JS: The music is also very effective throughout both parts, with one glaring standout. When Ballard meets Minns in the hospital, he finds out that Minns has been reading Morgan's Theoretical Analysis of Comprehensive Finance (or some such thing). The musical cue that accompanies this revelation would make you think they found him reading a terrorist manual.

PE: That was a bit odd and I thought I'd missed something. I knew Ballard was looking for hints of ore-passion or a fetish for mining but not finances. I did think the whole "Minns conquers Wall Street" sequence to be a bit over the top. The stock adviser shut up in a little room with Minns, looking at his tape and exclaiming "Holy Jeezuz, Potatos are selling for $1.47 a share! You've just earned $87! What now, boss?" was L-OL scene of the episode (and frankly, if you think about it, that's saying a lot about this show if I'm stretching to find one).

JS: When Minns' bandages are removed, you half expect to find a third-eye under there, but everything appears to be normal. Or abnormal, since they apparently didn't shave his head to treat his brain-shot. Of course we know something is up when rather than asking for his uniform coat, he requests his blouse...

PE: Post-war trauma. And you probably missed the part where the scientist explained that the four bullet-boys had shown an extraordinary capacity for growing their hair back. It's here in my notes. Pay attention.

JS: Someone needs to teach the FBS agents how to host a less obvious stakeout.

PE: Well, to be fair, everyone dressed like this in the 60s. It's why they all started smoking pot and dropping acid a few years later. Uptight was a suit you wore.


JS: Things take a more interesting turn as we move into part two, where the round up of the children begins, and we slowly understand what's going on.

PE: Right at the beginning of Act Two, I had concerns. Minns' apartment looked bright and badly decorated with cliched feds. I thought for sure that was an omen. Surely, the writers of OL2 couldn't sustain the intensity of Act One. Thankfully, I was wrong. The intrigue continues to build throughout Part Two. What the hell is going on? Are these four guys building some kind of Doomsday Device? Why the hell do they need kids for their plot? And, back to Part One quickly, I loved how they eased us into the recruiting of the kids. That bizarre scene of the boy telepathically knowing the lieutenant without ever having met him. The Powers That Be at OL2 definitely shopped for their kids at a different agency than the one they went to for "I, Robot." No annoying toddlers here. In fact, at least one (Morgan Brittany as the blind girl Minerva) went on to have a honest-to-gosh adult career in film and TV.

JS: I had to laugh at the radio operator when they're in Minn's apartment—it looked as if he was trying to improve reception by holding his cigarette up. As if the 20-foot antenna wasn't sufficient.

PE: God, just look at those curtains. And that chair. Looks like Lucille Ball's set was the only one open that weekend in L.A. And I believe our fed is doing his best Sinatra in this scene.

The Man From A.S.S.
JS: If I had to pick a single favorite L-OL moment from "The Inheritors," it would have to be when they drive their Washington D.C. office through the car wash...

PE: Did you notice that no pedestrians walked near The Capitol Building? No birds flew across the sky? I was worried that the Doomsday Device had already gone off and we were to be the last to know.
JS: While the spaceship leaves something to be desired, it doesn't detract from the powerful climax.

PE: Wow! I'm not embarrassed to admit that I got a bit of a lump in my throat when we get to see the real "plot" devised by the aliens. Ballard has a hell of a decision to make and you can see it written all over Duvall's face. Again, I can't stress enough how good this guy is. I know I'm not telling anyone anything new since we've had the evidence for fifty years. An amazing show. And even more amazing since it comes in Season Two.

JS RATING:

PE RATING: 







David J. Schow on "The Inheritors" (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.


Be sure to check back later today for Gary Gerani's Spotlight on "The Inheritors."

Next Up...

28 comments:

  1. My only L-OL moment in this episode was also unrelated to the actual story or production values. It's when the stock advisor suddenly exclaims, "Bankers don't gamble!" Oh, if ever there was an ironic and nostalgic moment for the solvent sixties, there it was.

    This episode was never a favorite as a kid - where's the 'bear,' and why did they stretch it out for two episodes? But its merits and great acting were appreciated with subsequent viewings.

    Robert Duvall pulls us along and sustains the suspicion for us that makes the story work, but let's take a moment to praise Steve Ihnat. I don't remember if he ever had his own series (hey, if I have to look up something or do research, this becomes work), but he was such an iconoclastic presence as a guest star throughout ever TV series in the sixties. He was on EVERY show. Garth on Star Trek's "Whom Gods Destroy" is a standout. But every time he turned up on "The Virginian," "The Invaders," "Name of the Game," "Mod Squad," or even "Here Come the Brides," I got a bit more excited about the episode. I knew he was going to 'bring it.' But he bought it way too soon. He died at 38. A missed presence, but one who lives on in every one of those sixties series.

    The other thing that strikes me about this episode is how audacious the actual premise is when you think about it. "The Dead Zone" by Stephen King has a remarkably audacious premise - What if Oswald was a hero? What if an assassin killing a beloved president was actually preventing a future apocalyptic event precipitated by that official mentally unraveling and pushing the button? This episode has a similar unlikely audaciousness - What if the stranger cruising by and offering your kid candy to take a ride ... was doing the child a great favor? I mean, when you reduce the story, that's what it comes down to. That's the moral conundrum Ballard ultimately confronts.

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  2. AWC, Oswald was a hero but not for King's loony plot. By far the best book on the Kennedy assassination is James Douglas' 'JFK and the Unspeakable' - about a President who turned away from the Cold War doctrine of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), had private correspondence with Krushev, sold grain to the enemy, had feelers out with Castro and brought about the Test Ban Treaty. On top of which, he had given the orders to withdraw from Vietnam. Oswald, actually admired Kennedy and gave off tip-offs to the FBI, foiling the planned assassination attempts in Chicago and Miami. As Oswald states, he was a "patsy".

    The first part of this episode is just terrific - with a narrative pace and direction and seriousness of purpose that drew me in and kept me on the edge of my seat. The SF concept is sophisticated.

    This may be Harry Lubin finest moment in the show. There were elements in both 'Soldier' and 'Demon with a Glass Hand' where he was sporadically but mightily effective, but here sustains it throughout the wholde episode, and it is relatively quiet - where he usually goes over the top, shrieking and drowning out everything - like a cat on heat getting run over.

    Even Peach is on fine form, the candle lit screen capture, sure, but there's also a clean and fresh look to it.

    Even small things have been thought out. There is a scene with Duvall in his office in a meeting and it's pelting down a real rainstorm outside (reminded of 'Citizen Kane') and then it cuts to the countryside, Wicheta - the contrast with the raining State of the Capital allows for a sharper, hotter feel about the space displacement.

    The first season is full of magnificent intro and closing narrations, the second season falls in banal cliches. But there are odd exceptions; 'Wolf 359', 'Soldier', 'Demon with a Glass Hand' and episode one's conclusion rank at the forefront. It fact, listening to it gave me goose bumps. It had the wisdom of Stefano and encapsulates the TOL credo of both seasons in it's gloriously flowing poetics.

    The performances are magnificent.

    Unfortunately, episode 2 falls apart, for me. The intrigue must now give way to drama and the drama is recast as a misunderstanding, with a mild mawkish melodrama that descends into sentimental heart-string pulling. Nothing in the direction of the photography or the music can do anything to save it or elevate it.

    It reminded me of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' with it's bland, 'let's all get along and try to understand each other'.

    Three zantis for episode one,
    Zero zantis for episode two.

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  3. Definitely one of the high points of S2, with some of the finest performances of the series. In many ways it reminds me of an exceptional episode of Quinn Martin's THE FBI; a compelling procedural peppered with pork pie hats and a sic-fi premise.

    "Inheritors" has the strongest, sleekest direction of any S2 show, matched only by "Demon". I find Part One the more gripping and intriguing, only because I've always been a "mystery" guy, as opposed to a "solution" guy.

    With an episode this good, anything subpar naturally stands out and it's here that I'm afraid I have to disagree with wit youse guys. If In fact if I could adjust any one thing, it would be to replace Lubin's score, or at least the most egregious chunks of it (be interesting actually to track in Frontiere cues and see what effect it has).

    In Part One it's mostly passable, but the biggest offenders are the mind control scenes. That theramin takes me right out of things and pushes it back ten years. It just feels hopelessly dated in a show that's better than that. For one of S2's "B movies" it would be fine, but for a story this sophisticated it's a mistake in tone.

    In Part Two it's the type of deliberate "tug the heartstrings" music that I've always had a problem with, cueing us to all be sad now--sentimental when it should be profoundly moving (see, or rather, hear "Architects of Fear"). There are other musical missteps too, like the really unfortunate moment when the kids enter the warehouse, close up on the little girl's braces as oncoming monster music blares (!). The scoring is the only setback for me in an otherwise excellent show. As I say, it's not throughout, but certainly enough to detract.

    I agree with everyone about Duvall, and particularly Steve Ihnat. I still remember his pal Ed Asner's moving tribute on the Emmy Awards, after Ihnat's tragic death by heart attack at 37, just after embarking on a writing-directing career move.

    Looking forward to Gray's Spotlight.

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    1. Larry, I agree 100% with your comments on the music in "The Inheritors" -- you have a balanced and accurate perspective, and so clearly worded! Steve Ihnat's performance was unique, indescribable. I still remember my dad weeping during Ihnat's long speech near the end. Both Ihnat and my dad come back to life whenever it is shown.

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  4. Good show but I was hoping for a giant BEM to appear and gobble up the kids. Guess I've been reading too many issues of THRILLING WONDER STORIES. I remember being impressed by this back in 1965.

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  5. Even more so, looking forward to Gary's Spotlight. I don't care about Gray's.

    Must type faster...

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  6. That moment where the camera rushes to the close up to emphasize - woo woo - the person is being hypnotized ... Was that a push-in or a zoom? I thought it was push-in because the camera wobbles every time (not to mention the poor A.D. trying to pull focus). I wish they had a different technique to suggest that (and without the theramin as Larry B. points out), but then I also wish they had the budget for a cool space ship ramp ("Day the Earth Stood Still") instead the string and plywood one from the dog circus at Sea World.

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  7. On rewatching this for the first time in a while, it seemed even better to me than I had remembered. Certainly a high point of S2, I think this is also Seeleg Lester's finest moment on the show. The script is masterfully crafted: part one shows us events mostly from Ballard's point of view, to set things up, and is quite compelling, but then part two it flip flops to show us how things look from the point of view of the four guys (especially in the terrific scenes between the Dixon and Frawley characters) and that they're just as confused as the investigators. Next we see Minns rounding up the kids, which starts to get creepy (love that he's crying at one moment, as if he's aware that he's being forced to do something horrible that he can't control), and then the big (and pretty tense) showdown, which resolves in a climax that has been completely uncertain from the beginning until the final moments. This script mostly hums all the way through, and it covers almost all the necessary points, while never revealing its hand until the end.

    Goldstone and Peach do fine as well--I was struck by several well-composed images, as well as things like the recurring low shots of Minns to make him look more . . . different, and the excellent final back tracking shot at the end past all the frozen performers, out of the building, and up to the skies.

    Duvall is just great, as noted (and I also was thinking Tom Hagen, when he did that shifty little eyes to the side and back thing that he did at the end of The Godfather when sending Tessio off to his doom). But as also noted, it's Ihnat's show all the way, and he sells it throughout with those big soulful eyes. But don't stop there--Frawley, Dixon, they're all good. Donald Harron in the "Bill Gannon" role perhaps went a little over the top in some places, but he works well with Duvall in the pivotal scene in the spaceship at the end.

    Alas, it's that spaceship that is the one glaring disappointment here. It's simply a shame that the budget let's them put this great episode together and then forces them to climax with a cardboard/plywood monstrosity that I could have built when I was nine or ten and watching this for the first time. Ah well . . .

    I'm partly with Larry B. on the music--it seemed a bit overblown in places, especially with inappropriate crashing cymbals and all, but on the other hand, I thought it was quite moving in the tear-jerker finale. The theremin just seemed out of place each time it popped up, but I assumed they were just reminding us that it was the Outer Limits.

    Four Zantis from me--I might even watch it again pretty soon.

    (By the way, my LOL is Ballard's title--Assistant Secretary of Science. Looking forward to the further adventures of the ASS in his upcoming TV series. And, given the enormousness of this situation, how come the main Secretary wasn't handling it? Was he busy dealing with Klaatu or something like that?)

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  8. So...the guy that works for him would be...THE MAN FROM ASS? Too funny--thanks for that, David!

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  9. Yoops, I'm out of practice--I forgot that I wanted to give kudos to the gestalt relationship illustrated in this episode, a relatively rare side category in mainstream science fiction concepts and even rarer for TV. The most famous antecedent of course would be Sturgeon's story "Baby Is Three," which he later expanded into novel form as "More Than Human."

    And yes, "The Man from ASS" is probably a better title than "Dragass" or "The A.S.S.--a Quinn Martin production."

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  10. All of which would be an improvement on "The Wild, Wild ASS."

    "The Inheritors" takes a story that sounds, in summary, like limited-imagination, simple expectation-reversal "high concept" and turns it into an involving show that stands alongside TOL's best.

    ("See, there's this alien intelligence that takes over a bunch of guys' minds and makes them build some really sinister-looking devices. And nobody can stop 'em! And then here's the really perverse kicker---stay with me, now: They start stalking some physically challenged little kids. No-no, wait! It turns out that all they want to do is take these kids to a planet where they'll all be healed! It's, like, this HUGE SURPRISE ending!")

    I don't think it was so huge a surprise for many of us, once it was amply demonstrated how altogether helpless the determined authorities were to derail the alien plans. But it WAS refreshing to discover that it all went down smooth as a silkshake, thanks to a beautifully written narrative and convincing performances all around.

    What a sincere assemblage of ensemble actors, all committed to selling a tricky tale that had to have been an ongoing tough sell in story conferences. Lester's script works hard to pull together this globe-hopping yet ultimately intimate tale. The unique element of having the four enhanced, mind-locked G.I.s both conscious and fearful of what they were being forced to do, of not being privy to their possibly horrible goal, was a stroke of brilliance. It's everything to keeping the narrative hotly wired, emotionally, through all the laborious machinations.

    Thematically, this episode is the bright-side cousin to "Children of Spider County." But here the alien agenda is benign rather than self-serving. And given the double-length, Lester is able to provide the intellectually expanded men plot functions and interior lives. In "Children," they're merely named and allotted important-sounding positions. Then they disappear until the climax, when they contribute abrupt and unmotivated support for Ethan Wechsler.

    To say that there is no "bear" in "Inheritors" is to both assess the show with the shallow, literal-minded, adolescent perspective of the ABC suits and to be at least figuratively inaccurate. While there's no poster-child for that lurking B.E.M.-lust in "all those wacky sci-fi fans out there"---none of that "good stuff" that could be licensed for gum cards with inane storylines---"The Inheritors" does indeed contain a dark cave, with something curled within and gradually rising from terrible slumber.

    The suggestion of unseen, unknowable beings plotting unthinkable acts against helpless children is alone enough to send our imaginations into spasmodic overdrive, giving shape to the sort of individual horrors that always trump anything concocted in an FX shop. And while we do voyeuristically enjoy seeing what others have cooked up in an effort to see what scares us, once in a while we relish that purer look into the face of terror.

    To actually "go there," to be conducted into uncomfortable places by solid drama, and then satisfyingly rescued, even if by a sentimental switcheroo we could see coming, grants us the sort of pleasant catharsis we feel at the end of "The Inheritors." It works because the conviction in the script and the skillful performances makes it work.

    We carry the bears inside us. Bravo to the Devil's Puppeteer who can conjure them from our inner minds, as well as thrust them at us from the outer limits.

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  11. ---Even though the pace of the show is slow and methodical, the script and direction are remarkably solid, as the show builds to the final confrontation scene in the warehouse (from the point the Feds move in). Final 10 minutes are absolutely first-rate.

    ---Agree with all on the terrific performance by Duvall and especially the subtle, gentle but powerful presence of Steve Inhat.

    ---The standard-issue coat/tie/hat ensemble of the Feds almost becomes laughable as they begin to multiply onscreen in part 2. But it helps maintain the neatly controlled ambiguity of the drama---WHO ARE the good guys here? (Donald Herron's chilling "It could be bloody" before they move into the warehouse effectively ramps up the intensity).

    --The final reveal (and Lubin's music) though teetering on the edge of overkill, knocks me over every time. Guess I'm a real sucker for this kind of stuff. It's so damned well done. Inhat's long-awaited explanation of the mission (as he, like the Bellero Shield alien, only comprehends what he is saying just before speaking it), is mesmerizing. And even though Duvall and Herron are standing on a bare cardboard/plywood set wth a metal ladder and those cheapo, pathetic bunk-beds, they still manage to play the scene with a profound sense of wonder that practically excuses everything else that is so wretched about S2. The kids are wonderful.

    ---The final exchange between Inhat and Duvall (having been "cleansed" of his frustration, angst and hostility by witnessing the children restored in the ship) is spare and understated. Beautifully handled by all.

    --Too bad about the string-operated staircase to the ship; it's a testament to the power and professionalism of everything ELSE about the final scene that most viewers are able to overlook its poverty-stricken physical production.

    Probably shouldn't mention it, but....

    --I was surprised that P & J didn't comment on the design of the gravity/nose-cone device that Renaldo invented, (something about Jeff Corey's nose in OBIT comes to mind....)

    --Did James Shigeta even develop TMJ, I wonder? The guy just couldn't stop the jaw gyrations. Some director should have told him to STOP doing it. The weakest performance in the show for me.

    A few observations on Mr. Lubin to follow.

    LR

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  12. I'm with Ted: Before we know the true nature of the project, Minns is one of the most frightening (and tragic) bears in the entire series -- especially once he starts rounding up kids. And in the early surgery scene, when his second brainwave appears, I started picturing what a skull with two brains inside (one of them not human) would look like. A lot more disturbing than an Empyrean or Erosian, probably.

    Making us conjure the horror for ourselves, without some beastie lurking around for effect (as in tomorrow's episode), is the secret weapon of this episode; I wonder if Stevens and Stefano were at all jealous.

    Of all the cast members, only Shigeta doesn't work for me; it's like the ARVN recruited him in some Honolulu cocktail lounge or something. Besides Inhat, Frawley is the most effective -- his inner turmoil seems ready to turn into physical violence at a moment's notice.

    Great episode, one of my favorites, and not just of S2. Wish it had worked as a pilot -- I would've tuned in to ASS Squad every week for sure.

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  13. Actual Conversation Overheard in Larry Edmunds’ Cinema Bookstore, Hollywood:

    “The OUTER LIMITS book? I hate that fuckin book! Fuckin book is worthless!”

    “Why’s that?”

    “’Cos I met Steve Ihnat once, and he was a pal of mine, and that fuckin book spells his name wrong! Fuckin stupid book!”

    True story. Worse, the complainant was an employee of the store, a purported cinemaphile. No sales to be had there, I guess. Guess he showed me!

    Writers refer to this sort of woeful inequity as a “mistake.” That is, an error — the kind that insidiously perpetuates from edition to edition invisibly, unfortunately … and in certain cases, is enough to disqualify the entire work from reasonable consideration. Imagine the intrepid customer, seeking to purchase said work at said emporium. I knew in a hot second that any such fool would receive THE SPEECH, and that the issue of re-stocking the book at good ole Larry Edmunds was doomed.

    Steve (Stefan) Ihnat — pronounced “Eye-nat,” by the way — died of a heart attack at age 37, probably because he heard me misspell and mispronounce his name. Apart from that fuckin book, his brief career is much better served by a huge biographical site created in 2009 and still cranking along:

    http://volcanoseven.com/BriefCandle/

    “The Inheritors” was the fourth original OUTER LIMITS subjected to a re-makeover by the geniuses running NOTer Limits. The onscreen credits allow a “based on the original episode by Sam Neuman, Seeleg Lester and Ed Adamson;” the teleplay was by Sam Egan (this was about a year after the NOTer totally eliminated Leslie Stevens’ name from the credit roll — after all, he only CREATED the entire goddamned series!).

    Urban Vancouverites see meteorite that zaps them in the head with bullet-like crystals. A wiggling monster tentacle protrudes from the protagonist victim’s brain and scares everybody. The travelers chosen are mostly adults with terminal illnesses (one child is seen), and the craft built by the super-intellects is presented via misdirection as a horrifying sort of disintegrator. Most damaging of all, there is no Ballard character or surrogate to drive the narrative; the most this show can muster is a doubting-Thomas detective who would have fit right into any original S2 outing.

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  14. I can only say (in stunned horror) that I'm so glad I only saw one NOTer Limits. Wow...

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  15. Re: Harry Lubin's score.

    When you consider the level of much TV music in the early 60's: Goldsmith, Hermmann, Steiner, etc...it would seem to be an imperative that the scores for a serious, "prestige" series like TOL be written by someone who might be considered at least...somewhat... competitive. But the fact that Brady and his Ass.Prod. Sam ("woo-woo-woo") White canned Frontiere and replaced him with Harry Lubin indicates that they a.) didn't recognize musical quality b.) didn't care about musical quality or c.) both.

    True, Lubin proved that, given the proper impetus, he could turn out an inventive, imaginative score ("Demon"). But the bulk of The INHERITORS score regresses to his endelessly cliched, worn-out, stock musical "horror" gestures, including that maddening theremin motif which Lubin, like a chicken-in-a-box who has learned by rote to peck on a buzzer to earn his corn kernels, resorts to every time the screen action tells him to do something "weird". I want to kick in the TV screen all over again, ESPECIALLY when he almost ruins the finale with that damned sound.

    One wonders if Harry really cared about what he was doing, or if this may have actually been the best he was capable of. Which brings us to the pretty, sentimental tune he wrote for the children in THE INHERITORS. Did he actually invest himself emotionally/creatively in those scenes, or was he just cranking out a stock, "precious-sounding" melody? Goldsmith frequently gives us a "kiddie" tune with harp, flutes, etc whenever he's writing for a juvenile character and, sure enough, Lubin follows suit.

    But...I confess that I find the children's theme in The INHERITORS very moving, despite the crassness of everything around it. Sure, the tune itself and the way it's used are extremely obvious, some would say contrived...but it still seems SINCERE to me. The most striking version occurs when Steve Ihnat encounters young Danny Masters lying on the lawn in front of his house; Harry scores his melody for muted brass and strings, playing the tune in a chorale-like fashion, complete with tolling chime and bright, airy, pulsating woodwind chords. I confess I lose it emotionally at this moment...not sure exactly why. Maybe it has something to do with that same time during my own life (summer '64), which was not a happy one. But there's an "epic", shimmery sound to the theme---as if evoking summertimes of long ago---that is striking and uncanny in the way it enhances this scene.

    Ol' Harry almost blows it, though, when he falls back into "schlock" mode and distorts the theme into the "March of Godzilla's Spawn" version, as the kids process into the warehouse. OUCH! But all is forgiven as Duvall & Herron encounter the kids inside the ship, where the theme makes its ultimate appearance with the comforting, lullabye-like sound of strings and the delicate, spakling celeste. TOTALLY ordinary, stock stuff that somehow transcends all else and goes straight to the heart.

    So here's a belated shout-out to Harry L. who, for whatever his limitations, managed to produce a few moments of profound beauty in this most tender and moving tale.

    LR

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  16. Crackerjack music explication, Larry R---we've come to rely on you to help explain why we like what we like, and why we don't.

    Love that buzzer-peckin' chicken image! All our perceptions inundate us with metaphor, luckily, or all art would look blandly the same.

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  17. While Demon With A Glass Hand may be paced more tightly, or The Duplicate Man gives us tense personal questions to muse, nothing in Season 2 has a better script than The Inheritors, and if the word is where it really matters, it matters here. There's a sense throughout that this Project, that threatens these children, demands justice (who can't relate to the fear of harm to such innocent, trusting ones, even if you're not a parent?), and only at the last are our fears allied. We almost feel a little... embarrassed to have not believed such goodness was possible. So many of the cast are fabulous (Ivan Dixon as Conover, for example, is wonderfully troubled, and he touches everyone with "the kind of man he is"), it's hard to know where to start. For me too, I would have to say that Steve Inhat is the standout; he carries the Minns character with so much power, yet his deep compassion is never far away. The Harry Lubin score has opened some debate. I'm on the plus side-the lovely "childrens" theme with it's various orchestrations, is relatively simple, but undeniably moving. Perhaps being a two-parter, The Inheritors at times moves a little two slowly, but it recovers quickly and ultimately satisfies completely. I wonder if the different outlook on children with special needs (i.e., more acceptance and integration today than in the 60's) would make this tale less moving for a first time viewer; but I doubt it, so well is the caring message conveyed. Probably the best episode of S2, if not my actual personal favourite, and a standout for the entire series.

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  18. DJS --

    Imagine what he'd have done with the rest of the Schow ouevre if that Larry Edmunds’ employee had discovered your mashup of Joan Camden <---> Joan Lamden in both the '86 & '98 editions.

    I didn't catch much of the ShowTime Abortion after season 2, but I gave them some benefit of the doubt that maybe they were finding their sea legs early on. So a few weeks ago I caught the (S4?) Inheritors re-boot on Hulu and was just stunned at how leaden & ham-fisted the whole thing was. I get why the children had to be turfed as the 'inheritors' (it can't even be suggested as possibly ambiguous given the last 30 years of portraits on milk cartons), but it was approaching Irwin Allen subtlety, minus the camp factor.

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  19. What's noteworthy about Joan Camden is that -- apparently -- her OUTER LIMITS episodes ("Hundred Days of the Dragon" and then "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork") were her last screen credits ... unless somebody out there knows otherwise.

    See, I try to expand the knowledge a tiny bit, with help from my friends. (Thanks, Bill.)

    There are two types of reader/fan in the universe: Folks like Larry Rapchak and Tom Weaver, who will bust me constantly on accreditation of the world's most obscure bit players, and ... the other kind. For example, cowboy stuntie Red Morgan is credited just as many times as "Read" Morgan although he's the same guy, and at a certain point we all have to admit none of this scrutiny is possible until old, lost series and credits become available for comparison, and such comparison isn't possible until years of basic research have gone by. That is, nobody really cares about bit-part actor trivia until all the larger pieces of study are resolved. To cite a broad example, the understandable errors made in John Baxter's SCI-FI IN THE CINEMA caused people, some for the first time, to consult Player's Directories and many secondary research outlets that never would have occurred (or been relevant) to the landscape in which that early, pioneering book came out. (AKA: You don't worry about the swimming double who charged Ricou Browning's scuba tanks for one week in 1953 when you haven't covered Julie Adams yet.) Not so long ago, you got a title, a couple of actors, maybe a director, rarely a writer. Time deepens inquiry when one goes back to the well repeatedly, and ultimately the job of any "authority" becomes a responsibility to be as completist as possible.

    The thing about Weaver and Rapchak, et al, is that they usually EXPAND the data, not only correcting typos (copyeditors are hopeless in this regard when it comes to movie names; or ANY names associated with a movie "that ordinary people wouldn't know"), but providing context as well, because, in the end, they do it to enrich the information for some kind of "permanent record" we've all dreamed about. (Hint: it ain't the internet.) They don't do it to score points off cheap shots. They KNOW.

    Which brings us to the OTHER kind ...

    The difference between a simple error (like a typo) and an outright flaw is one distinction yet-unlearned by the legions of booger-flicking nimrods who ooze forth to caper and poot, once they believe they've "caught you" in a mistake, which to them is the same thing as prevaricating on the witness stand. To arrogantly quote myself, from 1995:

    "Misremembering the release date of HORROR OF DRACULA derailed an entire thesis I'd developed about cycles of vampire films; that's a flaw. Getting a book title wrong is the debate equivalent of a typo — correct it, and the point stands. This, of course, will not rescue you from the gaggle of geeks whose lifeforce is derived from splitting hairs and picking scabs; at least the internet keeps such witless pillocks indoors."

    Except that today, they're "indoors" ... IN YOUR HOUSE.

    I'm pleased to report that the dolt who got so steamed over Steve Ihnat is dead now, and good riddance to him. He probably had no idea who Joan Camden was, anyway.

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  20. Another one-shot wonder: Did you notice that when Minns enters the New York Stock Exchange, he walks past the NORCO sign from "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork" (over his shoulder, frame left)?

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  21. DAMN SHIP, DAMN KIDS ...

    Along about the 10th day of shooting, the schedule began to implode, what with multiple company moves and an abundance of cutaways. The shooting schedules for "The Inheritors" are the most chaotic, scribbled-over, crossed-out and revised in the entire history of S2, and just a teeny bit of the madness began to leak into the notes. After thumbnailing five setups for the shot of Ballard on the other side of Renaldio’s Barrier, Bob Justman noted:

    AND THEN THERE IS THE STUFF INSIDE THE SPACESHIP ITSELF.

    AND WE MIGHT AS WELL FIGURE TO ADD ABOUT TEN ADJUSTED SHOTS TO THE AT LEAST 34 LISTED ABOVE …

    GOD BLESS US AND SAVE US, LET’S MOVE TO THE CHURCH BY WEDNESDAY AND GET THE CONOVER PRAYER SCENE, AND THE DEVIL TAKE THE ALLEY AND THE HOSPITAL ROOM.

    19: PICK-UP OF 18, WITH THE GLASS OUT SO THEY CAN GET TO THE DAMN SHIP.

    SCENE 249-A: put the glass in and leave it in!!!!!!

    Set Dec Notes:

    IS COUCH IN LT’S APARTMENT FOLDUP AS ASKED FOR, MADE UP SO IT WILL BE OPEN WITH LINEN ON IT? IF NOT, GET IT RIGHT!!!!

    Scene 235: THE SHIP IS READY FOR LAUNCHING, GOD HELP US.

    Thirteen shots later:

    NOW WE FINALLY GET TO REVERSES, INTERSPERSED SOMEPLACE WITH THE STUFF WITH THE DAMN KIDS INSIDE THE DAMN SPACESHIP.

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  22. Wow, David---you can really see tolerance-and-patience envelopes coming unglued here. Amazing that they turned in such a successful show. Which is, I guess, a function of both professional competence and random chance, as with so many efforts in life.

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  23. One more tidbit: Of the agents that blast Minns at the apartment, and were omitted from the "feature version" of this show except for that blastage, one of them was Jon Cedar — later a producer, co-writer and actor on THE MANITOU (1978). (I theorized that Jon Cedar was the father of Larry Cedar, who, among other things, played the "Thing on the Wing" in the George Miller remake of "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" for TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, but while they ARE in the same family [along with another actor, George Cedar], I haven't yet been able to clarify the relationships.)

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  24. The Godfather references here are funny, because that agent in the car has always reminded me a whole lot of Marlon Brando.
    In a way I agree with the complaints about James Shigeta, but about the character, not Shigeta, and for the opposite reason. He comes across as someone really embittered by this civil war (whether you call it Vietnam or not), but some of his lines make him pretty unpleasant, especially the line about the pretty awful-looking prisoner - "He has been most anxious to cooperate."

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  25. Most incredible episode I have ever seen! EXTRAORDINARY!

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  26. For Steve Ihnat's absolute all-time tour de force, see "MADIGAN" with Richard Widmark, Harry Guardino, Henry Fonda, Michael Dunn & others. Ihnat plays a REAL MANIAC that Widmark & Guardino wind up spending the entire movie trying to track down... until the final, desperate showdown & shoot-out in a tiny cramped hotel apartment.

    If only they could have cut the entire Henry Fonda plotline (the film features 2 distinct, unrelated, parallel plots for its entire length), they might have had a classic right up there with "DIRTY HARRY" (same director).

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  27. My brother, Kim Hector, did a fine job in his role as Johnny Subiron. All three of us (Pat Hector and me, Jay Hector) were in Twilight Zone's, but only Kim was lucky enough to get an Outer Limits role. I guess it fits as he's the weirdest of the brothers. Rod was our co-pilot.

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