Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Keeper of the Purple Twilight




Production Order #07
Broadcast Order #12
Original Airdate: 12/05/64
Starring Robert Webber, Warren Stevens, Gail Kobe.
Written by Milton Krims, story by Stephen Lord.
Directed by Charles Haas. 

Ikar (Webber), leading the charge of an alien invasion, solves the equations of a despondent scientist (Stevens) in exchange for human emotions. Little did he realize that doing so might just derail his whole plan for world domination.

PE: I love that opening shot. Very Thriller-esque. And no dawgies amid the cacti. But where exactly is the Purple Twilight? And who keeps it?

JS: That's because it was shot on a soundstage, Peter. But I agree, it was an atmospheric opening. Of course that atmosphere did not permeate the entire episode.

PE: Another great shot that brought back memories of Thriller ("The Well of Doom" perhaps?): Ikar materializes into Eric's back seat while the scientist is driving way past the speed limit, chastises him for breaking the law and then vanishes, leaving the brainiac shaking his head (but adjusting his speed). Just me picking nits but why would Ikar re-materialize into the back seat of the car, then open the door and get out?

JS: Clearly he was enjoying the Driving Miss Daisy vibe. Eric, on the other hand, was in that funk knowing he was two equations away from the answer to his life's work... We've all been there—unfortunately we all don't find salvation in the form of a big-brained alien in a velour track suit.

PE: Little known fact: Janet Doweling (Gail Kobe) got sick and tired of her pigheaded husband Mike (Richard Jaeckel), had a romp in the rain with Colonel MacWilliams, gave up fighting killer plants, divorced Mike, and settled down with another egghead (Stevens). This girl's got real bad luck. She can't dress worth a damn either. What's with the dress with the bow bigger than Ikar's head? From the picture to my left, it looks like a little wishful thinking on Janet's part.

JS: I thought she did that to give herself as a gift to Ikar.

PE: Back to back episodes populated by scientists who can't seem to find a little room in their hearts for the fairer sex. This dope pushes his sweetheart right into the arms of Klaatu Ikar. Eric's highstrung, acts like a selfish little school boy (in one scene, he actually runs to his room and locks the door, telling Janet "Leave me alone, I don't like girls!"), and abuses his girlfriend time and again. You can see why Janet's sweet on him. She's pretty good-looking but she's got terrible peripheral vision. She walks into Eric's lab, after hearing him arguing with Ikar, and doesn't even see the man standing right across from her until Eric introduces them. That might explain her bad dressing habits. The triangle that's formed, when Janet falls for the alien, is an odd one to say the least. Ikar and Eric switch roles (not that Eric was much of a boyfriend in the first place), Ikar adopts a passion for the blonde and Eric can't be bothered.

JS: Webber does a great job as the alien learning about human emotions, and Stevens does a nice job portraying a man free of them. I like when Eric grabs the alien rifle and takes care of business. And as we all know—in the OL universe, nothing gets the job done like a Thetan Ray Gun™.

PE: The discussions of love are tedious affairs but they produce some howlers:
Ikar: The woman who was here, you said you loved her.
Eric: I have no more love to give her.
Ikar: How much did she get from you?
Eric: I have no way of measuring.
Ikar: Then you can't say that you gave me all of this emotion.
Eric: I cannot say yes or no.
So Ikar heads off to Janet's place, learns the definition of Peeping Tom, and asks the woman to give him Eric's love back:
Ikar: Please define it for me.
Janet: There are very many different kinds of love. There is the love of a man and woman, of course, and there's love of children, and God, and nature, and also it's a beautiful thing. There are so many different kinds of love, it would take me a very long time to show them all to you.
Ikar: Well, I want only that love that belongs to Eric Plummer.
Janet (looking a bit embarrassed): Oh... well, I've....uh... I've given that away to others
Ikar: Why?
Janet: Because that's what love is for.
The show gets progressively more tedious, boring, and just plain dopey. At one point, Janet inexplicably decides the best thing to do with a dangerous alien is take him on a picnic (Ikar eating the fried chicken, bones and all, is a nice touch).

JS: I used to confuse these aliens with those from "The Chameleon." But whereas those worked really well in that they didn't obscure the actor's mouths, these are back to full overhead masks that have a silly mouth motion when they're talking. On the bright side, the alien voice is one of the better ones.

When the alien thugs show up (recognizable by their egg-heads, as opposed to Ikar's inflata-brain), I was looking forward to a Sergio Leone-style showdown. Unfortunately, the visual effect for their weapon looks like a nice, old fashioned beam scratched right into the film itself.


PE: So much of this episode reminds me of golden moments from such 1950s classics as Robot Monster: the the bad spfx, the goofy suits, and the blaringly annoying Universal-International rip-off score (at any moment Clint Eastwood could have dove down from the heavens in his jet fighter and taken care of the marauding aliens).

JS: My L-OL moment: Security conscious Hunt asks Eric if he's vetted Ikar, and he's dismissed with the notion that the project isn't classified—yet. Um, does that mean you share info with enemy agents? Fortunately it all works out because shortly thereafter, Ikar spills the beans on the alien invasion to his new gal pal.

PE: "Oh. Ikar!" has the ring of "Oh Eck, you're wonderful!"

JS RATING:

PE RATING:









David J. Schow on "Keeper of the Purple Twilight":

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

Next Up...

47 comments:

  1. Ah, "Keeper," I sing your praises ... since few others will.

    You are the beginning of the end for S2. You are the last gasp of Big Monster Hijinks. Bringer of Destruction in the form of slashed budgets and shooting schedules. Curtain call for Projects Unlimited, which never again would court the realm of glorious monster masks to such extravagance.

    You are so goofy it is hard not to be charmed by your maladroit ways. Cliche stacks upon cliche in a sort of mega-submarine-sandwich of super-sized monster mayhem. Alien invasion. Butt-headed invaders. Crazy scientist, check. Teleportation. Thoroughly bombastic music. Human-alien Hypnosis-fu. Fried chicken. MORE THAN ONE KIND of death ray. Pointed-eared alien falling victim to human emotions (that "love" thing, again) -- naaah, THAT'll never fly on network TV. You are a big heaping bucket of fried chicken, with sides, monster junk food that's tasty, but not very nutritious.

    You are the progenitor of MORK & MINDY.

    And impossibly, I love you. I can't NOT look.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another commentary far more entertaining than the actual episode. I could never get through this episode as a kid, and I struggled to stay conscious again last night.

    The only thing that remotely kept me interested was trying to figure out what exactly the writers were trying to say or get at with all the yammering between big bow girl (talk about compensating), and Ikar. It was like some non-stop godawful high school debate between the humanistic girl on the debate team and the emotionless guy who just finished reading Ayn Rand. Or like the teacher unions versus Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (ooops, sorry, how did THAT slip in).

    But come to think of it, take another look at Scott Walker of the blank, unblinking eyes and no emotions talking and you'll swear he's channeling Warren Stevens or Robert Webber from this snoozefest. But, at least Ikar had the decency to make a modest attempt to understand or learn empathy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The OUTER LIMITS COMPANION quotes just about everyone as disliking this episode. I thought it was ok but nothing special. Nice aliens right out of a fifties SF movie. Anyone ever notice how just about all the women wear big false eyelashes in the TV series of the 50's and 60's? Gail Kobe even wears hers to bed. And I noticed the funny dress also. Just about the most ugly dress I've seen on TV. Guess this is another sign of the lower budget.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here's an observation that might best summarize the difference in budgets between Season 1 and Season 2:

    Iconic prop widely used in Season 1:
    Lincoln Continental (at least 5 episodes by my count)

    Iconic prop widely used in Season 2:
    ... A barbecue grill (3 episodes so far)

    (Perhaps it also says something about the target audience. We've gone from affluent eccentrics to 'normal' suburbanites.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. So THIS is where the S2 bear budget went!

    Funny stuff, John and Peter. Nice dialogue samples. I particularly love how "love" is talked about as something that can be handed off like a football. "Keepers of the Purple Sage" is shot with all the visual excitement of an episode of MY FAVORITE MARTIAN. Right from the start, the aliens walk around with such Irwin Allen familiarity.

    I don't know about you, but when picnicking I always try make sure we set down right next to a swarming anthill. And what's with Kobe being mildly amused when Webber scarfs the chicken w/ bones. Didn't she find that odd?

    The aliens are cool and fun-looking (except for the mouth thing John points out) but the "thug" who spoke sounded odd to me, kind of like a Muppet. I must say though, if you're going to have B movie sci-fi action, nice to be in Griffith Park.

    David my friend, I understand your love for its goofiness--we all have them guilty pleasures.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Always enjoyed that sonorous title, the nifty rubber masks, and Robert Webber's pre-Spock, pre-Mork take on the part. But really, such a misfire overall. Used to own pulls of the Ikar mask and one of the Soldiers back in the '70s. BTW, John, you're not the only one to confuse the Chameleon heads with these guys; Len Brown did the same thing when he penned the copy for the 1964 trading cards. Even though the colorizer made the Chameleons purple and the Purple Twilighters green (I'm confused already), Len's "story arc" over several cards uses images of the aliens from both episodes, reinventing them as "Mercurians" who launch a full-scale invasion of Earth.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ikar: Well, I want only that love that belongs to Eric Plummer.
    Janet (looking a bit embarrassed): Oh... well, I've....uh... I've given that away to others


    You go, Gail! Foreshadowing the sexual revolution that's just around the corner. Bow-tie-dress-as-gift-wrapping, indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Any insight into the meaning of the title? What's a "Purple Twilight," and who normally keeps it? If this is some sort of literary reference, I'm afraid it's too obscure for me...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yeah, you kind of approach this one with real ambivalence, if you're an original-experiencer from our generation. Unquestionably over-the-top flamboyant monsters any Corman-era film would have been proud to sport---along with the head-scratching dialogue and earnestly dedicated, to the point of "mad," scientist. But it is, on the other extended hand, deadly dull.

    Yet I've always found it watchable. DJS points out the TWO different cool blaster-rays---where else can you get that, aside from WAR OF THE WORLDS? Larry B. nails the "piece o' my love" chatter perfectly with the "football" metaphor. Your ears themselves chuckle after listening to this stuff for a while, all of it lobbed back and forth with such deadly sincerity.

    And Wayne-aholic--- perfect police sketch of Janet and Ikar's profiles: the humanist vs. the objectivist.

    This was dopey fun in '64 in a way that was already looking retro. That's why I've always abided its bizarre illogic and allowed it to sneak in through the alley entrance to the clubhouse. If it looks like the '50s and smells like the '50s, then, by golly (when nobody's looking), it's good enough for me.

    Gail Kobe, sans clown-bowtie dress, was one of my favorite TV actresses of the day. Warren Stevens dignifies anything, even when he's positively smothered in dignified stiffness. Ditto Robert Webber. Interesting to see them together---two of the more staid and unemotional actors who are nonetheless interesting presences. Webber's mien never changes, from the chilliest of the 12 ANGRY MEN, to a pompous French WWI officer (PATHS OF GLORY), to emotionally boggled alien here, to icily self-absorbed drug-czar---and Clouseau foil---in REVENGE OF THE PINK PANTHER.

    So we've had the extended fingers and pneumatic heads. Now get ready for expanded cheekbones.

    Fried chicken---basketball-playing aliens---"Oh, Ikar! You're such a buzzkiller!"---

    One-and-three-quarters Zantis and an anthill...

    ReplyDelete
  10. The only thing that ever held my interest in this episode was the impressive shot of the three tough-guy aliens materializing in the desert, with Harry Lubin's big badd-ass saxophone thing pounding our ears. Real 50's funk! Too bad about their chic crushed velour PJ's, though.

    Right about now (I live in Indiana), I'd like to see a few of these big dudes materialize and go round up our pathetic state legislators (do I dare mention which party they represent?), who are hiding in an Illinois hotel, making a mockery of our legislative process and helping to push our state toward financial ruin--just like their pals in Wisconsin are doing. (Ooops...)

    I again request that we not turn this peaceful, harmonious, and fun-filled blog into a political battlefield. Please.

    LR

    ReplyDelete
  11. LR: You just did.

    ReplyDelete
  12. For a very uncharacteristic (e.g., non-Webber) performance by Robert Webber, check out his turn as Dudley Moore's fey business partner in Blake Edward's, "10." He also plays a very queasy studio flunky pal of Richard Mulligan in Edwards "S.O.B." He was a Blake buddy, which makes me suspect he was a hell of a lot more fun off camera than on. He certainly got to have a lot more fun in Edward's films.

    Since Edwards died recently, I wonder if Webber and Blake's other pals included his corpse in a poker game or fishing trip as was done with Felix's body (Mulligan as Edward's alter ego) in the movie?

    Speaking of uncharacteristic, you'll also see Robert Vaughn as a studio exec. in complete drag in bed in "S.O.B."

    Robert Webber (Ben Coogan) scene from "S.O.B." ...

    Dr. Irving Finegarten: Somebody left a faucet running...
    Ben Coogan: I'm peeing!
    Dr. Irving Finegarten: Into what?
    Ben Coogan: My pants!

    ReplyDelete
  13. A nice overview, Ted. Oddly this most, well, kid-like of episodes is one I never experienced as a kid. I think somewhere along Season Two, Jackie Gleason won out as far as my parents were concerned.

    I can only think the title was left over from an early Lord draft, probably from that famous quote whose origin eludes me:

    For I am like a keeper of purple twilight
    And my ostrich has no feet

    ReplyDelete
  14. >>Funny stuff, John and Peter. Nice dialogue samples. I particularly love how "love" is talked about as something that can be handed off like a football.

    Oh, Larry B-

    You don't know how close you are. According to my top secret sources, that was a longer scene than was presented to us. In the "director's cut," to illustrate exactly where Janet's love was distributed, there's a flashback scene of Janet taking on the entire Paseo High School Badminton team in the gymnasium (ouch!). The scene ended up on the cutting room floor because of time restrictions. My source tells me there's a good chance that the footage will be "re-inserted" (no pun intended) when we get that glorious Blu-Ray package next year with all them extras.

    The good news, at least, is that Projects Limited were able to use the shuttlecocks for spaceships.

    ReplyDelete
  15. >>Iconic prop widely used in Season 2:
    ... A barbecue grill (3 episodes so far)

    L-OL Beverage Spewer of the Day. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Larry B---

    That particular famous quote has managed to elude me, Bartlett, Morley, and the perspicacious folks at Oxford. Is it legit? Or have you been drinking Purple Twilight with Lewis Carroll again?

    Just asking...

    ReplyDelete
  17. The 'barbecue grill' bear episode, "Love Without Fire Within," was one of the unproduced teleplays we would have seen had there been a full second season.

    I'll see if I can dig up Wah Chang's sketch of that.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ted, remember...I'm not always wrong, but I'm rarely right.

    Now if you'll excuse me I have to get back to that caterpillar with the hookah.

    ReplyDelete
  19. "Love Without Fire Within" is an awesome title. Put a big bow on that book/episode/film/song and I'm all over it.

    In the meantime, I'll be slamming down a monster martini every time another grill appears to help get me through season 2.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Somehow this didn't make it into the book text, but "Keeper of the Purple Nitelight" was the one show where, among everyone involved, NONE could say or remember what the title refers to. (Similarly, can you imagine positing the title "ZZZZZ" for ... well, anything? Imagine the network meeting: "What's it called?" "It's called 'ZZZZZ'." "What, are you fucking kidding me? Variety will tear us to shreds!"

    ReplyDelete
  21. 3 Zantis. The bears saved this episode. I've never seen Robert Webber in anything else besides 'Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia,' where he played Gig Young's 'life partner.' He might of spouted off with some moronic dialogue, but still, he gave a commanding performance in this OL, IMHO.

    With the exception of 'The Chameleon' this ep. was the closest one to feature a bear vs. bear encounter. If only Robert Webber had reverted back to his original form to brawl with one of his alien goons. Another fun B-movie along the lines of Specimen: Unknown and Tourist Attraction. No where near as good as 'Invisible Enemy.'

    ReplyDelete
  22. Larry B---

    Your ostrich may have no feet, but the caterpillar with the hookah more than makes up for it.

    I tip my flagon of Purple Twilight to you---salud!

    ReplyDelete
  23. UTW--

    Check out Robert Webber in the classic 1957 "Twelve Angry Men" as Juror #12. A terrific film. No matter how many times I used to come across it on TV...when I'd say.."man, I love this film but don't have time to watch it now", I would ALWAYS- without fail, sit there glued to the set until the last frame. And it's just 12 dudes sitting in a room talking. Each juror is a character "type" and Webber is the Madison Avenue pitchman who's always checking to see which way the wind is blowing; no convictions (the role suits his rather dull screen persona, IMHO). The other 11 jurors were all active and familiar faces from that great era of movies/TV.

    DJS-- re: the title "ZZZZZZ"--- I clearly recall the Chicago's CBS affiliate's Saturday night airing of 1972's "SSSSSSSS" (Strother Martin changing people into snakes). And yes, after commerical breaks, the booth announcer, addressing the entire Chicago metropolitan viewing audience, actually had to say: "AND NOW, BACK TO..........."

    LR

    ReplyDelete
  24. Larry R.-

    I'm a little behind on the non-sci-fi, horror, western classics from that era. Still, when you describe the film that way, along with the Kubrick military court room drama from a previous post, I definitely feel like I'm missing out. I'll have to check both of them out, however, you inadvertently got me intrigued by 'Sssssssss.' Check it out on IMDB. It's got the original theatrical poster along with some movie 'The Boy Who Cried Werewolf,' as part of a double feature.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I seem to recall the tagline for the film was, "Don't say it... Hiss it..."

    ReplyDelete
  26. >>It's got the original theatrical poster along with some movie 'The Boy Who Cried Werewolf,' as part of a double feature.

    I saw that double feature at the Almaden Twin as a kid. I was really looking forward to both because of stills Forry Ackerman had pubbed in Famous Monsters. Sssssss was a decent flick with great monster make-up (Dick Smith? nah, I don't think so) but Boy Who Cried was awful. Broke my heart.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This was the first episode I ever encountered when the BBC's 2nd UK channel broadcast the show since its erratic mid '60s telecasts. And they mixed the second season with the first. Weird.

    I knew of it's reputation via a splendid written two part article written by Tise Vahmagi (co-author of 'The american Vein' and 'The Untouchables' books). They were shown at one, two or sometimes 2.30 in the morning...I actually had to pretend to have gone to sleep, put the pillows in my place and then sneak down, my hearing on hyper alert in case my parents woke up. I'd sneak down the creaking stairs and occasionally - they would awake and go to the toilet, stopping me in my steps - either half-way down or half-way up the staircase. Sometimes, the moment they opened the door, I'd jump into bed and pretend to be asleep. Sometimes, I'd fall asleep waiting to go down and miss the show. And kick myself.

    So this was the first one I caught.

    It was certainly lively, larger than life, to my eyes then. This was my third viewing. It still has vigor, pulp energy to go with it's kiddie plot and loopy, po-faced seriousness. It's a bit too straight to have much laughs in it. I could help thinking how much better it would have been with a couple of first season stars in it's place. Kellerman in the woman's role, and any of the big lead actors. They might have pulled off it idiotic plot, retro '50s sci-fi pulpiness and melodramatic silliness.

    Unfortunately, it has two actors here performing from the 'hardwood method' school of acting. Stevens and Webber are so stiff and emotionless - devoid of life - that it's hard to tell the difference between them with emotions and without. The female lead is just plain annoyingly broad and sketchy. Yet Webber was a class part of '12 Angry Men'.

    It's the type of segment I'd expect if Irwin Allen had been on the show. Crude.

    My favourite moment is when the three alien goons surround the old guy. It has a surreal, otherworldliness to it. Also, it probably has the fastest appearance of a bear, maybe even faster than the energy creature from 'It Crawled Out of the Woodwork'.

    One zanti, it at least moves, which is better than the last three segments.

    ReplyDelete
  28. "ZZZZZ" -- don't say it, buzz it.

    Robert Webber is funny/scary as a smooth-talking psycho thug in Harper, the 1966 adaptation of Ross Macdonald's first Lew Archer novel. The guy definitely had range.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Lawrence RapchakMarch 1, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    "SSSSSSSSSS" was pretty demented, with a plot nearly identical to the British sickie "The Mutations" (anyone see it? I caught it on a drive triple-bill in in '74). Both feature a wacko scientist changing unsuspecting young folk into either snakes or plants--take yer' pick. The failures--the test subjects that go awry--are sold to the local carnival's freak-show. And of course, in both films, some cast member who's beginning to suspect the doc goes to the carny and spots a weird, half-human, half (snake/plant) thing that vaguely resembles their mysteriously missing friend.

    Donald Pleasance was "The Mutations'" insane doc, a deformed Tom Baker was his hulking assistant, and Jill Hayworth was one of the young victims. A dreary, depressing and distrubing film (with some significant skin, if I recall correctly).

    SSSSSSSS starred one of those look-alike guys who went on to fame and fortune in TV's 1978 "Galactica" as the snake-boy, and Heather Menzies was his girl-friend. The reptilian Strother Martin was in is hissy-glory as the crazed herpetologist.

    Wasn't "Boy Who Cried Werewolf" the film that starred our favorite hero (and a fine actor) Kerwin Matthews (7th Voyage of Sinbad, Jack the Giant Killer, etc) as the beast? I think it might have been his film swan song. Too bad.

    LR

    ReplyDelete
  30. I longed to see The Mutations for years after a Famous Monsters cover story. It's on DVD under the alternate title The Freakmaker.

    One of those look-alike guys? That's no way to talk about Dirk Benedict - the Han Solo of Battlestar Galactica!

    ReplyDelete
  31. John-

    Wasn't he the one with the stogey? Seemed kinda' desparate to me, like---"we gotta do SOMETHING to make this guy cool!" Maybe I just couldn't appreciate the subtleties of that show.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Larry R---

    You got me wondering about Kerwin Mathews---Mr. Sinbad/Jack. I was sure I had seen him in something ignoble during the VHS days, so I checked him out on IMDb and, yep---he did TWO more after THE BOY WHO CRIED WEREWOLF: the legendary Harry Essex stinker OCTAMAN (1976 - alongside Jeff Morrow!) and NIGHTMARE IN BLOOD (1978).

    I never saw the latter, which sounds interesting enough, subject-wise, in that it tells of a San Francisco film convention Guest of Honor who's actually a vampire.

    And by the way, THE BOY WHO CRIED WEREWOLF was also directed by the very same Nathan Juran who directed BOTH THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD and JACK THE GIANT-KILLER, plus a number of other genre films; and as Nathan "Hertz": ATTACK OF THE 50-FOOT WOMAN and BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Yeah, that's him. He also went on to star as Faceman in The A-Team.

    Once we get around to Galactica-A-Day, you'll be thrilled to discover the concept was basically Wagon Train in Space. And keep in mind Leslie Stevens was a supervising producer on the pilot. So you're destined to fall in love with it upon re-examination.

    ReplyDelete
  34. For years when I was a little kid, it was Ikar who defined the Outer Limits for me. Back in the 60s and 70s years would go by when OL wasn't being rerun (or on too late for me to see), and the image I'd have in my mind during those times of drought would be Ikar appearing in the car or transforming from human form to alien. When I was seeing this episode at that early age, I didn't have the knowledge to identify cliches or low production values.

    In later years I did/do notice the faults of this episode, but I still find Ikar to be one my favorite looking "monsters" in TV & Movies.

    Rob

    ReplyDelete
  35. Glad to hear the tangential mentions here of "SSSSSSS" and "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf". Those of you who watched Los Angeles TV in the 1970s would have seen "SSSSSSS" many times; it was a ratings-grabber when I was at KTLA (especially in our 6pm weekend showcase)and consistently worked very well. The only thing I don't like about the movie is that at the end Dirk Benedict actually turns into a real snake, rather than being the scary and sad hyrid creature that is genuinely horrifying. Who wants to see two snakes fighting each other...except if one of them has a human head, right? Alas, they didn't do it that way.

    And also great to see some love for the late, wonderful Kerwin Mathews -- "...Werewolf" didn't perform as well for KTLA but oh, that Kerwin! What a wonderful heroic figure he was in his fantasy work -- nobody like him, nobody as handsome, as brave, as earnest (but not stuffy). Definitely a charming and believable presence in all those films. After giving up the screen he had a rewarding career as an antiques dealer in San Francisco...not that there's anything wrong with that.

    As for this episode, there's something to the non-emotional Ikar and his discovery of unsettling feelings like love and swallowing scratchy chicken bones. Warren Stevens in some scenes looks kind of like the Incredible Shrinking Man -- those high-waisted pants and shirt and tie don't do him any favors. He comes off like a little kid. He goes from prissy to unemotional with no improvement, and it's weird to hear Gail Kobe use works like "my lover" when taking about him. He has NO sex appeal, and at least Robert Webber projects a masculine quality as the alien. Funny, because Stevens is a good actor but he didn't register as a boyfriend-type.

    Janet was trying to sex-up Warren but she was intrigued by Ikar, on a sheer physical level if nothing else, and definitely enjoyed his little try-ons of human experience, like the picnic gaffe. She was genuinely tickled by him, at least then, and I do like when Ikar grabs her and doesn't quite what to do with her once he has her close. What if she *hadn't* fainted when he transformed? Would have loved to see her help him out of his jam.

    Does everybody live in a place with a big iron gate? Lots of them this season, seems like, sort of like the BBQs.

    Lots of food references in this one, sandwiches, chicken...Janet was a good cook. And cocktails...everything! Though there is kind of a "Fatal Attraction" moment when he comes home and she's already there. Didn't seem like he was expecting her, and was that boiled bunny he's smelling...? But no, she just wants to get laid by her brainy scientist boyfriend.

    Effective hulking aliens, nice chase through the brush, but in this one the parts don't add up to quite enough total. Three good actors and they couldn't breathe much into this, and yet...it's got something, hasn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Lisa---

    I concur wholeheartedly with your feelings about Kerwin Mathews. A fine actor and a wonderful screen presence. He always emitted positive vibes about his genre work and was particularly laudatory about 7TH VOYAGE in interviews (e.g., on the laserdisc SINBAD boxed set).

    Not all actors are so generous about their sf/fantasy ventures. Patricia Neal, for one, was always dismissive of DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL---to her, merely a place-holder for more "serious" work.

    Skip Homeier is next, Lisa!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm working on my "Expanding Human" post throughout the day -- I want to watch once again to savor it! :-) Glad you remembered my thing for Homeier!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I must add to my former comments about Kerwin Matthews; I love the guy. There was a big two-part interview with him in Starlog in the late 80's, which revealed him to be a level-headed, sensitive and genuinely nice person. He felt totally "at sea" working with Nathan "Jerry" Juran, who was not AT ALL an actor's kind of director. Kerwin disliked his performance as Sinbad, and when cast as Jack (The Giant Killer) by Juran 2 years later, realized that he had to take matters into his own hands as far as the character was concerned, since he knew Juran would not be of any help in that regard. So Kerwin decided to invest the character of Jack with more humor and likeability than Sinbad, and it really worked to the film's advantage. As a matter of fact, "Jack"---despite the inferior special effects---has what few Harryhausen films ever achieved: genuinely likeable and interesting characters and a genuine sense of charm. My all-time favorite childhood film to this day--with my first encounter with the great Walter Burke, Torin Thatcher (in a much less hammy performance than in Sinbad), Dayton Lummis as the King, Barry Kelly as Sigurd, the old Viking, etc. Only Anna Lee embarasses herself in her big scene....but it's a minor role. First-rate, rousing score by Paul Sawtell.

    Kerwin Matthews also had a nice write-up and cool pic (taken in Pierre Deux, his San Francisco shop) in Richard Lamparski's "What Ever Became Of...?" Eighth series.

    (Sometime in the early 90's, I called his home and left a message, citing the legions of fans [like me] from the old days who still enjoy and appreciate his onscreen work).

    LR

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh, yes---

    Who could forget "OCTAMAN"....as hard as one might try?

    LR

    ReplyDelete
  40. Larry R---

    Have you ever seen that god-awful "sanitized" version of JACK, THE GIANT-KILLER, with the violence curtailed and that maddening replacement of portions of Sawtell's score with truly horrible kiddie songs to reassure the children who might be frightened by the film?!

    One of the most infuriating, pandering outrages in movie history.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Ted--

    As a matter of fact, in summer of 1981..having seen "Jack" only once (a privately owned 16mm print shown in a home with the shades literally pulled down---in Cleveland, November '72) during the past 18 years, I was THRILLED to see it announced as a new feature on the Cinemax channel. My older brother, who had another cable channel, promptly switched to Cinemax. The night before the first showing of "Jack", I hauled my big old Panasonic VCR over to his place, hooked it up, set the clock for 6am, and slept on the floor next to the TV; my brother took off work. So the historic day dawns, we turn on the TV, fire up the VCR, and.....instead of Sawtell's robust, bracing main title with the gorgeous red velvet background, we get a stupid kiddie finger-painting and some pain-in-the-ass babe singing "Every little girl dreams of being a Princess". No kidding, it was like a nightmare...one of the worst days in my life.

    About five years later though, salvation came in the form of a 3rd-generation video-tape of the ORIGINAL version from a certain DJS...free of charge, and a few years after that, the first commerical release on tape.

    Incidentally, it was Steve Mitchell and Dave who informed me last summer of the March 2010 2-CD release of the complete "Jack" soundtrack on the Intrada lable. 1,000 copies only were manufactured, and they apparently sold out in a SINGLE DAY. I got one on Amazon. It's incredibly fabulous stuff.

    Note: the cd booklet actually lists all of the orchestra personnel from the 1962 sessions; turns out that the 2nd trumpet player was Bernard Adelstein, former principal trumpet of the Cleveland Orchestra from about 1960 to 1980 or so. I used to talk with him all the time when I was a student at the Cleveland Institute in the early 70's; if only I had known then......

    ReplyDelete
  42. One odd moment for me is when Janet wakes up from her faint and the ants are still swarming. I don't know if ants believe in guilt by association, but I wouldn't want to fall asleep right beside an anthill that's just been stomped by the person I was with.

    ReplyDelete
  43. hockey24hrs. mentions Janet's "I've given the love to others" line as looking ahead to the Sexual Revolution. Even if that's a joke, you hear something like that in her wary line to Ikar about how women live in his "ideal society."
    Speaking of her reaction to him, one of Gail Kobe's best lines is incredibly simple. It's when Ikar tells Janet "I don't live to be liked or disliked."
    She smiles and says "Oh." But in such a quietly sarcastic way, as though she's just heard the lamest remark in the world!

    A lot of Robert Webber's roles have been mentioned, but I've always liked him in the comedy "Don't Make Waves," where he played one of those comical swingers, the kind who passes judgement on that when it comes to EVERYONE ELSE in the story.





    ReplyDelete
  44. Say what you want about Harry Lubin and his theremin, but I think what he did for "Keeper" was some of his very best-like that cue just prior to the bedroom scene.

    ReplyDelete
  45. One of my favorite SMALL lines is Ikar's grudging compliment to Janet's fried chicken.

    Janet: Do you like it?
    Ikar: It's a new taste.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Okay, this is weird. I can't remember if I ever saw this or not. Thought I do have a feeling I walked in in the middle... like, maybe, the last 10 minutes of it. Don't you hate when that happens?

    I loved Robert Webber's crime boss in "REVENGE...", where he hired a team of hit men to kill one man, who, it turns out, is the man he's actually hired to kill Clouseau. (He wanted a demonstration.) Later, he's so wrapped up in his work, his squeeze Dyan Cannon (a major babe) winds up with Clouseau instead.

    But my favorite film with Webber has to be "WRONG IS RIGHT", where (if memory serves), he plays the globe-hopping journalist Sean Connery's boss, who catches a sarcastic earfull when his TV star berates what the news game has become. The film ACCURATELY predicted incidents of the GWB administration, 19 YEARS before the fact. Scary.

    ReplyDelete
  47. The mask interfering with the actor's mouth (mentioned near the top of the page) is close to my only problem with the whole episode. As JS says, it's a real step down from the way the mouths were left free in THE CHAMELEON. But if you compare it to the no visible mouths at all in FEASIBILITY STUDY, it looks a lot better.

    ReplyDelete

Apologies for having to switch to moderated comments. This joker (https://www.blogger.com/profile/07287821785570247118) has been spamming our site for weeks, and we're hoping this will finally get him/her/it to crawl back into the hole from whence it came. Sadly the site isn't smart enough to detect that every single comment they make is spam. We'll be sure to review and post legitimate comments quickly. As for you, "Blogger" (trust me, we've got far more imaginative and appropriate names for you) on behalf of all of us at WACT, don't let the door hit you on the way out!