Monkees vs. Macheen: “The Picture Frame”

“What’s My Motivation?”

“The Picture Frame” starts out with the “Hurray for Hollywood” sound-alike incidental music and the sign for the fictional Mammoth Studios, first used in “I’ve Got a Little Song Here.” Some previous episodes where the Monkees tried to break into show biz were “Captain Crocodile,” “Find the Monkees,” “Monkees at the Movies,” and “Monkees in Manhattan.” Mike, Micky, and Davy wander onto a soundstage and meet Harvey and J.L., who tell the Monkees that they want them to play bank bandits in their picture. Harvey and J.L. are wearing berets, and it amuses me that berets are what crooks think will let them pass for legit Hollywood producers. The film flips over and the three Monkees appear in gangster-wear with guns, cigars, suits and hats, etc. (It’s probably a sign of illness on my part, but I find them sexy here.) Other episodes where the boys pose as gangsters include: “Monkees in a Ghost Town,” “Monkees à la Cart,” “The Monkees on the Wheel,” and Micky in “Alias Micky Dolenz.” In all those cases however, the Monkees were trying to fool crooks into thinking they were of their kind.

J.L. asks the Monkees for a picture to see “how they photograph” and Davy whips out a baby picture. J.L. throws it away and asks for something more recent. Micky grabs a medium format camera to take a picture of the crooks with Mike and Davy, despite J.L.’s protests of “no pictures.” They get an instant picture which J.L. tosses in the same trashcan. J.L. tells them they’re all set up to shoot “the bank stick-up scene” at the 9th National Bank. He tosses scripts at them and explains they use the “hidden camera technique” so they won’t see the film crew. The Monkees, who have perpetuated dozens of cons aren’t suspicious of any of this.

“The Picture Frame,” directed by James Frawley, originally aired on September 18, 1967. The filming dates for the main episode were April 5-7, 1967, not long after they finished Headquarters. Jack Winter wrote “The Picture Frame” as well as “Everywhere a Sheik, Sheik,” “Monkee Mayor,” “Hitting The High Seas,” and “The Monkees In Texas.” The first three on that list were among the group of leftover first season scripts. Musical numbers in this episode were part of the Rainbow Room performances, shot on August 2, 1967.

Back to the story, the Monkees awkwardly enter the busy bank, guns drawn. Some highlights of this scene include the squeaky voiced bank teller (Joy Harmon) who keeps asking Davy, “Do you have an account here, sir?” Micky’s brief Cagney impression, and Mike’s magic power to speed up time and open a safe by imitating a clock. The bank Vice President was played by Ronald Foster, who was also the Rolls Owner in “Success Story” and the Courtier in “Prince and the Paupers.” As they leave, the boys read the “scripted” lines, telling the bank customers and staff not to move or say anything. The “extras” put their arms down once the door shuts, but then Micky sticks his head in to say “cut, print that’s a wrap” and they all put their hands back up.

Mike, Micky, and Davy are back on the soundstage. Peter arrived, having gone initially to the wrong stage at the wrong time. J.L. congratulates them, gives them each $100 bucks, and tells them they’ll call tonight about tomorrow’s shoot. Mike offers to take the stuff back but J.L. tells him the “prop people” will handle that, as the Monkees are going to be “big stars.” As they leave, J.L. tells Harvey he’s going to make an anonymous call to the cops.

There’s stock footage of police cars with sirens blazing. Outside the Monkees house is Dort Clark as the Sergeant, previously in the “Monkees à la Cart” episode in a similar role. He’s a funny actor and I wish they’d used him as well for “Alias Micky Dolenz” (though Robert Strauss did a fine job as the Captain.) The Sergeant is with two uniformed policemen. Peter thinks they want his overdue library book, so he crawls to the door and puts the books outside. The Sergeant tells them to stop fooling around. Davy goes up to the lookout window and repeats the gag from “Monkees à la Mode” where he opens it even though he’s too short to see out. Somehow he reports what’s out there: cops, lights, etc. Mike decides it must be tomorrow’s shoot moved up to tonight.

The Sergeant sends one of the uniformed cops in, after some comic uncertainty on the their part. The cop goes into the Monkees’ pad, stammering and telling them to follow him. Micky says that’s no good and starts directing him how to hold the gun and to be more steely-eyed. Cute, unintentional meta-moment because the cop is played by Robert Michaels, who was also in “The Frodis Caper,” Dolenz’ directorial debut. The cop exits and re-enters, accidentally scaring the Monkees and himself by shooting up the place. The editors cut to stock footage of planes crashing, cars crashing, etc.

At the police station, the Sergeant shows the Monkees the film of themselves robbing the bank. They’re disappointed that it’s black and white, but I think it’s actually improbably good for security camera footage. Mike tries to decide what movie star he looks like: Barry Sullivan, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, while Micky and Davy also admire their own performances. Not getting that they’re in deep trouble, they agree it is them on film. Peter walks in with popcorn and the scene becomes a clever parody of a movie audience, with a lady in a hat, a couple making out, a guy sleeping in sunglasses. The Sergeant tells them he’s booking them for the robbery of the 9th National bank. The Monkees are confused. Davy explains, “We were shooting a movie. Some cat came up and said ‘do you want to shoot a movie?’ We said, ‘yeah, we’ll shoot a movie’ So we shot a movie.” Mike realizes the trap they’ve fallen into and has a nervous breakdown, with hilarious facial expressions.

Now we have the comic sequence of Taking Everything Literally. The Sarge tells the three busted Monkees to “start talking” and so they mutter lyrics to “Zilch,” the isolated vocal track from Headquarters. Sarge tells them to change their tune, so Mike blows a pitch pipe and talks in a higher pitch (okay, not technically changing their “tune.”) He threatens them with the 3rd degree so Micky passes out three diplomas. The cops bring over the bright light but the Monkees respond by pulling out dark glasses and sun-tan lotion. Sarge asks them if they’re ready to spill the beans, and of course the Monkees pour out cans of beans. The Sarge loses it and says to throw the book at them. The cop tosses a book. In the shot where Mike catches it, he’s not wearing his glasses but back in the closeup he’s wearing them again. I’m thinking this is not an accidental continuity error but a deliberate one so he could see to catch the book. In a callback gag, the book is Peter’s overdue library book.

The Monkees, minus Peter, are now pacing around a jail cell. Peter brings them a file, which turns out to be an emery board instead of the expected metal file. Peter unleashes this nonsensical gem, “I don’t think you’re guilty. I just don’t see how you could possibly be innocent.” He found a lawyer from the classifieds but the lawyer won’t attempt get them off, “With that kind of evidence? No chance.” He points to Davy, “him maybe with the cute face.” The not-so cute faces of Micky and Mike are told to plead guilty. The lawyer wants $40,000 to represent them, which they don’t have. The lawyer states the seemingly obvious, “Of course you do, you just robbed a bank, didn’t you?” The lawyer was portrayed by Art Lewis, who was the missing persons inspector in “Find the Monkees.”

Now, the court scenes. The judge asks the Monkees if they’re represented by council. They say yes, but clearly they don’t have a lawyer. She asks them to bring in the first prospective juror. The DA calls in Philip Jackson. It’s actually Mike playing a similar character to the janitor he played in “Captain Crocodile.” The DA objects on the grounds that “Mr. Jackson“ is one of the defendants. The judge scolds Mike for trying to pull a fast one. Mike starts flirting and pulls out some flowers for her. She melts (so do I) as Davy and Micky look on hopefully.

Meanwhile, Peter is back on the soundstage, snooping for evidence against the actual crooks. He has the Sherlock Holmes hat that Micky used in “Monkee See, Monkee Die” and a sleuth-cliché magnifying glass. Peter runs into Harvey who correctly guesses that Peter is snooping. If this were logical, Harvey could have gotten rid of Peter right there, but instead he watches him snoop. Peter finds a picture in the wastebasket and is happy/excited with this evidence. Harvey calls J.L. and tells him what Peter has found. J.L. assumes it’s the incriminating picture of them with the Monkees and orders Harvey to keep Peter there.

Back at the court, Micky adopts a British Barrister persona and questions the bank VP on whether he can be sure Mike was the one who held him up. The bank manager is sure, so Micky asks him a bunch of irrelevant trivia questions (What is the capital of Nova Scotia?) Micky wants to dismiss on the grounds that it is late and everybody’s hungry. The judge joyfully claps her hands for food and Mike and Davy are suddenly ballpark vendors with hot dogs and popcorn. The prosecutor freaks, “Your honor, this is outrageous!” as the judge obliviously enjoys her hot dog.

Mike argues that the dynamite that they supposedly threatened to blow open the safe with was actually harmless. There was no bit like that in the robbery scene, but just roll with it. He lights it, and it goes out as it burns down the wick. The prosecutor objects and grabs the dynamite. Of course it explodes, leaving him not blown to bits, but covered in soot and smoke, a la Daffy Duck. It is to laugh. The judge overrules his objection because this is all insanity anyway.

Peter tries to leave the studio, but J.L. comes in with a gun and tells him to hand over the picture. This launches a romp to “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (Goffin/King) with Peter running all over the soundstage area we saw in “I’ve Got a Little Song Here” and in and out of the “Mammoth Studios” area. This is mixed with Rainbow Room footage of the Monkees performing the song. The gangsters catch Peter in the shower at one point and he pretends to be offended. If this was meant to make sense, they could have shot him a while ago. Outside the soundstage, Peter drives a Monkees logo golf-cart. He seems to have evaded them by climbing the chain-link fence but they simply open the gate.

Somehow he gets to the courthouse with the picture. The music is still playing as Peter runs all over the courtroom with the gangsters chasing him. The Monkees protect Peter while the police grab the gangsters. Romp over, J.L. yells at Harvey for not emptying the wastebasket (or you know, shredding the picture, destroying the negative etc.) Mike, Micky, and Davy crowd around Peter hoping he’s got the picture they need, but naturally it’s the baby picture. They hand it over to the judge anyway who gasps at the cuteness and decides they’re “obviously innocent.” That was certainly in keeping with the ridiculous logic of everything else in this story.

Next up is more Rainbow Room footage of “Randy Scouse Git” (Dolenz). This series of song performance film clips was shot in the summer of 1967, in the middle of the Monkees concert tour. Due to race riots taking place in both Milwaukee and Detroit at that time, a couple of the Monkees performances were cancelled so they ended up with some extra time in Chicago. The Monkees producers booked time in Fred Niles Studios (later Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios was there; sadly it is now torn down). In the Fred Niles Studies room with a robin’s egg blue and rainbow background, the Monkees filmed promo clips for “Daydream Believer,” “She Hangs Out,” “No Time,” “Randy Scouse Git,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Love Is Only Sleeping,” “What Am I Doin’ Hangin’ ‘Round?,” and “Salesman.” If you look at the recording dates of these songs, some of them were not complete yet so the Monkees were lip-syncing to rough versions. More about this here.

I enjoy all the Rainbow Room performances, they have an iconic look and are the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Monkees performance clips. Last summer I was lucky enough to be invited to discuss the Rainbow Room with a panel of smart Monkees fans on Zilch! A Monkees Podcast. Check it out here.

The Monkees are in great form in this story, working together with crack comic timing to create mischief in the justice system. With the dynamite, the literal sight gags, the slapstick, and the absurd plot points, “The Picture Frame” would certainly get my vote for Most Cartoony. It’s a tightly put-together farce, with it’s own insane sense of logic that builds up to a wacky finish. The solution with the baby picture certainly isn’t any more ridiculous than the Monkees just tying up the bad guys at the end of the romp like they usually do. “The Picture Frame” has one laugh-out-loud scene after another and it’s certainly worth watching for entertainment value.

by Bronwyn Knox

Every couple of weeks, “Monkees vs. Macheen” examines the crazy, spirited, Ben Franks-type world of the Pre-Fab Four: David Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork alias The Monkees.

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“‘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

“A Regular Ray Bradbury”

“The Mind and the Matter”, written by Rod Serling and directed by Buzz Kulik is episode 63 of the American television anthology series, The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on May 12, 1961 on CBS. That’s from the Wikipedia. The subject matter is prescient; being what our society, in this modern age, has had to endure over the past 16 years, since the year 2000, but it also ushers in the era of the “Me” Generation, starting with the baby boomer generation and the self-involved qualities that some people associated with it. The baby boomers (Americans born during the 1946 to 1964 baby boom) were dubbed the “Me” generation by writer Tom Wolfe during the 1970s – again, the Wikipedia, sorry.

You have this self-involved “turd”, Archibald Beechcroft, which is such a fake-sounding name, it seems like Serling just belched out this idea onto fresh typing paper, it’s not inspiring, in any sense of the word. He works in an office situation. This is New York City, I’m assuming. He lives in a tiny apartment. He’s sick of people. He’s a misanthrope. What he wants is peace and quiet. This guy gives him a book – “The Mind and the Matter”, which is a self-help book.

In “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?”, we have a couple of cops in the snowy woods, great photography here, especially if I suspect it was shot on a soundstage, it’s absolutely amazing if you take that into consideration. It would make very little sense to go on location since the majority of the action occurs in a small diner; location work being extremely expensive. The bridge is out, and the cops hear strange sounds, which they immediately surmise is some kind of an unidentified flying object passing overhead, perhaps crashing.

A bus carrying a bunch of passengers has to make an unscheduled stop, everybody files out and goes to the diner. Slow night, and you have to wonder – based on what we eventually discover – if it isn’t possible that the owner of the diner orchestrated the crash at the bridge just so he could drum up some business? Even if he didn’t, it’s still a great set-up. The episode turns into a mood piece about paranoia. John Hoyt is a businessman. The great character actor Jack Elam plays a nutty old man. I watched Cannonball Run recently for Vintage Cable Box, and I absolutely love him. He plays a drugged-up doctor that Burt Reynolds and Dom De Luise abduct so nobody will question them driving an ambulance. He shoots up Farrah Fawcett with sedatives and keeps giving everybody the finger. He’s hilarious.

Don’t forget to visit Craig’s sites, My Life In The Shadow Of The Twilight Zone and My Life In The Glow Of The Outer Limits and check out Craig’s Twilight Zone podcast, “Between Light and Shadow” – very entertaining.

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Craig Beam
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering
Introduction Music: “Rose Tint My World” (Richard O’Brien) by Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon, and Jonathan Adams (from the 1975 film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show directed by Jim Sharman).
Audio Clips: Complaints and Grievances (a 2001 stand-up comedy special starring George Carlin), “Bart’s Inner Child” (a 1993 episode of The Simpsons written by George Meyer), “The Mind and the Matter”, “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?”

Recorded September 28, 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: 37:34

“Our Lips Are Sealed”

So, here we are again in the Privileged Men’s Club, Masters of the Universe,
sitting in nicely-appointed surroundings, upholstered armchairs, pipes and cigars,
pasty-faced old money and new money hob-knobbing, like they do. They still do it,
but I don’t think the clubs exist anymore, or maybe they exist as fronts for
lobbying-concerns and initiatives. This is “The Silence” with Franchot Tone – he
has a great voice, and Liam Sullivan, and also Dr. Smith again from Lost In Space,
but this time he’s a decent guy who is just trying to put a stop to all of this
nonsense. Written by Serling, based in part on a Checkov story, “The Bet” (which is
actually really quite good, I recommend it for people to go out and read), directed
by Boris Sagal, the episode premiered April 28th, 1961.

“Shadow Play” plays as a recurring nightmare. The story remains the same, but the
characters change. An inmate (Dennis Weaver) on death-row suffers the same fate
every night; trapped in a dream where he is handed a death sentence, spends his last
night alive desperately trying to convince all of the people involved they are but
pieces of his fate to be moved around on this horrific chessboard. Written by
Charles Beaumont, and directed by John Brahm, “Shadow Play” premiered May 5, 1961.

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Colin Hall
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering
Introduction Music: “‘Say Say Say” (Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson) by Paul
McCartney and Michael Jackson (from the 1983 album, Pipes of Peace).
Audio Clips: Groundhog Day (a 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray, directed by Harold
Ramis), “The Silence”, “Shadow Play”.

Recorded August 23, 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: 28:01

“All That Glitters”

I’m privileged to have Craig on the show. He lends an air of legitimacy to the proceedings. I urge you to go to his sites, My Life In The Shadow Of The Twilight Zone.  Also, My Life In The Glow Of The Outer Limits

These are two indispensable web sites, filled with voluminous references and facts about these remarkable television shows. Also, there’s lot of fan-boy stuff. When I started my podcast, I referred to his sites for information and notes.

Let’s move into our episodes. I’ve taken a cue from you and decided to break them down in a kind of thematic way. These are time-shifting episodes, of a sort. In “A Hundred Yards Over The Rim”, we have Cliff Robertson and a group of pioneers, I want to say, running wagons from Ohio to California, but his child, a young boy is sick, practically dying. Cliff crosses over a sandy hill and he goes back … to the FUTURE! Some 114 years into the future, the modern world with cars and jets, just lots of noise, like when that horrible cattle rustler wound up in the future because of the Professor’s time machine in “Execution”, except Cliff isn’t an idiot.

“The Rip Van Winkle Caper” premiered two weeks later, April 21st, 1961, written by Rod Serling, and directed by Justus Addiss.

This is one of my favorites, because it’s a story that depends on the stupidity of it’s central characters, DeCruz and Farwell. Seriously, those guys should have their own sitcom. DeCruz is a scientist, for crying out loud. This guy is supposed to be a genius. He figured out a way to cryogenically preserve people, and I forget if there was any explanation for why he wasn’t raking in the Science cash, this would be an incredible discovery. He would have a patent and become a millionaire all on his own anyway. Maybe he appeared on the Retraction Watch, and was discredited by conservatives and the like. So Farwell hooks up with a bunch of criminals. They steal a million bucks worth of gold, and the plan is to retreat into a cave, sleep in these modified 80s glass coffee tables for a hundred years, and then they’ll wake up and everybody would’ve forgotten about the stolen gold, and they’ll walk into a clean-slate, wonderful new future with a lot of gold.

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Craig Beam
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering

Introduction Music: “’39” (Brian May) by Queen (from the 1975 album, A Night at the Opera).
Audio Clips: Treasure of the Sierra Madre (a 1948 drama starring Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston, directed by John Huston), Back to the Future (a 1985 comedy starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, directed by Robert Zemeckis), “The Power of Love” (Huey Lewis, Chris Hayes, Johnny Colla) by Huey Lewis and the News, “A Hundred Yards Over the Rim”, “The Rip Van Winkle Caper”.

Recorded June 29, 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: 36:19

“Frame of Reference”

“The Prime Mover” has two accomplished science fiction writers, Charles Beaumont, working from an unpublished story by George Clayton Johnson, working together with Richard L. Bare directing. This episode premiered March 24, 1961. We have two pals, Ace and Jimbo. This guy’s name is Ace? Is that his Christian name?

What name do you give your child? (or: have you given?)
Parents: Ace.
What do you ask of God’s Church for Ace?
Parents: Baptism … and also a crippling gambling addiction.

Charles Beaumont works with William Idelson to bring us our next episode, “Long Distance Call”, directed by Jim Shelton, premiering the following week. This was the first appearance of Billy Mumy in the Twilight Zone universe.

“Long Distance Call” is a very creepy, atmospheric episode, shot on video to reduce production costs. This is an episode that doesn’t fit well with this format. Like “Lateness of the Hour”, it comes off looking more like a soap opera than anything else.

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Nicole Phelps
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering

Recorded July 6, 2016

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© 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: 31:32

“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