“‘M’ for Mankind”

This is rare that we have two stone-cold classics in “The Obsolete Man” starring our old friend, Burgess Meredith, the second season finale of Twilight Zone, and then we wrap it up tonight with “Two”, the third season premiere of Twilight Zone starring Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery. I couldn’t finish this season with only the one episode, as there were 29 episodes produced, so we had an odd number and decided to kick off the third season. I’m very happy to be joined by Mark Jeacoma, who stepped in and saved my ass for the episodes, “Mr. Dingle, the Strong” and “Static” – that was the favor, and this is the job, so I assigned him two, in my opinion, gold-standard episodes of Twilight Zone.

So here we are, at the end of this season, and we start with “The Obsolete Man” written by Rod Serling, directed Elliot Silverstein, starring Burgess Meredith and Fritz Weaver. This is a heavy-handed episode. You have this stark, expressionist lighting scheme in, I presume, a courtroom, some court of final judgment where Burgess is being tried or sentenced to death for the crime of being “obsolete”, the definition of which is no longer in use or no longer useful. I don’t know how they come to that conclusion, other than that he leads a insular existence in a furnished room, reading books, reading the Bible, and really he doesn’t seem to be bothering anybody, right?

Apparently this is a crime in this alternate universe. This is obviously a totalitarian regime, and the uniforms resemble those worn by Nazis or other types of fascist leaderships. Visually, the palette resembles Hitler, standing at an enormous podium or lecturn, high above the masses; Fritz Weaver appears as a god-like figure to the defiant Burgess Meredith.

Next up is “Two” starring Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson, before they became famous icons, courtesy Bewitched and Death Wish (interesting mash-up: “Deathwitched”). It’s Mark’s theory that we are witness to another alternate universe. It’s my supposition that we have a Cold War allegory extended into an undetermined future. Both theories work. I love both of these episodes; both expertly well-done. “Two’s” writer/director Montgomery Pittman would make another episode, “The Grave”, in the third season (but shot for the second season) starring a Who’s Who of actors from westerns.

Don’t forget to visit Mark’s sites, VHS Rewind! with Chris Hasler and On The Odd with Alex Saltz – it’s good stuff!

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Mark Jeacoma
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering
Introduction Music: “You’re the One That I Want” (John Farrar).
Audio Clips: “The Obsolete Man”, “Two”

Recorded September 1, 2016

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2016 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. Original Music © Alex Saltz copyright 2015. This podcast, “That Twilighty Show About That Zone” is not affiliated with CBS Entertainment, the CBS Television Network, or The Rod Serling Estate. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well. If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember, there is no actual pie. We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot compensate you. If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind. I do this ’cause it’s fun, and nothing else.

Running Time: 33:36

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“Men Are from Mars”

I want to start off by saying I love Burgess Meredith. He’s exceptional in just about everything he ever did. If you wanted Burgess Meredith, you got Burgess Meredith as – the Penguin in Batman, as Henry Bemis, the man who breaks his glasses after a nuclear apocalypse, as the “Dingle” here, as “The Obsolete Man” at the end of this season (which we will also be reviewing), as the Devil later on … just a top-notch actor, he has a mischievious almost youthful, innocent feel about him, about his performances.

I guess this is a crazy what-if story. You have aliens observing us. Two aliens from Mars walk into a bar – sounds like a bad joke, right? You have Dingle, this guy who I guess is a pleasant mensch, a regular guy, likes to come down to the bar, have a drink and relax while he’s trying to sell vacuum cleaners. You have Don Rickles, arguing baseball with another guy. They bring in Dingle to give his two cents, but Rickles doesn’t like his opinion, and punches him – he’s such a dick, seriously. This is how you settle differences? He asked his opinion, and then he punches him when he disagrees? The only reason Rickles gets violent with him is because he’s Burgess Meredith. Now if Dingle looked like Charles Bronson – that’s another story.

“Mr Dingle, the Strong” premiered March 3rd of 1961, written by Serling, directed by John Brahm, and was followed by the episode, “Static”, written by the great Charles Beaumont, directed by Buzz Kulik, and starring Dean Jagger. You remember Dean Jagger? One of those great, old character actors. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Twelve O’Clock High (1949), Dark City, Rawhide, Warpath, The Robe, White Christmas, King Creole, The Nun’s Story, Cash McCall, Elmer Gantry, Game of Death – later in life, he appeared in Alligator, soon to be a Vintage Cable Box classic, with Robert Forster, directed by Lewis Teague, written by John Sayles. Great movie!

So Dean hates television, and his complaint is nothing new. I’ve heard so much about how television is a soul-sucker, a mind-sifter, some kind of a false god worshipped by mind-numbed zombies, but I think those arguments tend to come from an older generation raised on radio, so it’s a biased view – these older folks want to go back to a time when they were young, it’s nostalgia. I remember listening to radio. We had a show, WCBS in Philadelphia, weekends, I was 9 years old, and I listened to Radio Classics, which would broadcast “Abbott & Costello”, “Fibber McGee & Molly”, “The Shadow”, “The Whistler”, “Great Gildersleeve”, I used to love those shows. I had room in my heart for both media, television and radio. Dean is going back to a time when he was, I suppose, a young man. He’s living in – not a, I don’t want to say Old Folks Home, but he is living with a bunch of old people in a house. They love their TV. He hates it.

You can hear Mark Jeacoma’s insanely good podcasts at:
http://vhsrewind.com/
http://ontheodd.com/

Visit http://www.firesidemysterytheatre.com for more information about this odd, old-fashioned, very entertaining podcast!

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Mark Jeacoma
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering
Introduction Music: “Do You Remember Rock ‘N Roll Radio” (Ramones) by the Ramones. “Do You Remember Rock ‘N Roll Radio” (Ramones) by KISS.
Audio Clips: The Shadow, created by Walter B. Gibson, and developed for radio by David Chrisman and Bill Sweets, Fibber McGee and Molly, created by Jim Jordan, Marian Jordan, and Donald Quinn, Abbott and Costello: “Who’s on First?”, Fireside Mystery Theatre, created by Gustavo Rodriguez and Ali Silva, “Mr. Dingle, the Strong”, “Static”.

Recorded August 24, 2016

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2016 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. Original Music © Alex Saltz copyright 2016. This podcast, “That Twilighty Show About That Zone” is not affiliated with CBS Entertainment, the CBS Television Network, or The Rod Serling Estate. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well. If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember, there is no actual pie. We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot compensate you. If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind. I do this ’cause it’s fun, and nothing else.

Running Time: 32:54

“The Best Laid Plans Of Henry Bemis”

The Best Laid Plans Of Henry Bemis

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Denny Spangler
Notes Cribbed from Craig Beam
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering
Audio Clips: Futurama “The Scary Door”, “The Lonely”, “Time Enough At Last”, The Twilight Zone “Radio Dramas” “Time Enough At Last” starring Tim Kazurinsky.

Recorded December 10, 2015

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2015 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. Original Music © Alex Saltz copyright 2015. This podcast, “That Twilighty Show About That Zone” is not affiliated with CBS Entertainment, the CBS Television Network, or The Rod Serling Estate. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well. If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember, there is no actual pie. We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot compensate you. If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind. I do this ’cause it’s fun, and nothing else.

Running Time: 38:40 Direct Download