The Classic/Retro Pop Culture Thread

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by The Old Mixer, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Jun 11, 2003
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    It's one of those things where you wonder how it's even possible. :rommie:

    I like it okay, but it just seems like my mind wanders.

    It's not terrible or anything, it just doesn't grab me.

    They're capable of learning. This is good news. :rommie:

    This is a coincidence. Did Lawford sell it to Lennon directly or did he even know?

    You'd think these guys would have their own pads. :rommie:

    I'll have to see if the lyrics mention Mercury. :rommie:

    I had no idea. Of course, I never really paid attention to the words.
  2. DarrenTR1970

    DarrenTR1970 Commodore Commodore

    Aug 1, 2015
    Bothell, WA
    The Lennon and Nilsson biographies don't say. It would be interesting to know if Lawford did it as a favor to Lennon, or if it was done through a third party.
  3. DarrenTR1970

    DarrenTR1970 Commodore Commodore

    Aug 1, 2015
    Bothell, WA
    I didn't want to post this until we got to the actual recording sessions, but here it is.

    It was left off the album because, as you can hear, Harry was extremely drunk when he recorded it.
  4. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

    Feb 4, 2002
    The Old Mixer, Somewhere in Connecticut

    50th Anniversary Viewing


    "Clinic on Eighteenth Street"
    Originally aired March 19, 1974
    Season finale
    I remember this bit of business from my previous watch-through of the series. It was so not Adam-12 that I just left it on in the background while wandering to other activities. This time, review business motivated me to pay more attention.

    The opening credits are edited to accommodate guests, three of whom were presumably to be the series leads...

    Special Appearances by

    Abe Strayhorn

    Gino Bardi


    Lynn Carmichael

    [Cagney, not Lacey]

    Dr. Elroy Gantman

    Dr. Gantman gives diabetic Clark Watkins (Bond...David Bond) what he describes as an electro-charged oscillator belt that's supposed to stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin, and is said to be based on space program research. As Watkins is leaving, Nurse Brown (Virginia Gregg) brings in a seven-year-old blind girl named Maggie Fenton (Dawn Lyn). Cut to Watkins at the morgue, where Malloy and Reed fill in Strayhorn, head deputy of the Major Fraud and Consumer Protection Division of the District Attorney's Office, about the cause of death--diabetic shock--and the strange, blinky belt that was found on the deceased. This segues to our would-be series setting, Strayhorn's office, where Strayhorn, having determined that the belt is just a vibrator hooked up to some lights, fills in his team, Bardi and Carmichael--the latter a former LAPD meter maid whose menial, first-day-on-the-job task is to count toothpicks to verify that buyers are being shortchanged. Bardi visits Ed Mooney (George Chandler), a neighbor at Watkins's rooming house, who points him to Gantman at the titular address. Lynn visits the doctor as a prospective patient, with Gino posing as her husband. Gantman's preliminary diagnosis is a rare form of leukemia, concerning which he gives Gino pills while discussing a treatment program. As Gino signs paperwork at Brown's desk, he takes an interest in Maggie, whom Gantman is supposedly helping to gradually regain her eyesight.

    Having looked into Maggie's history, Bardi and Carmichael report to Strayhorn that she has a tumor, and Gantman has played into her mother's doubts about the needed brain surgery. Strayhorn sends them to talk to Mrs. Fenton (Virginia Vincent), whose husband having died on the table motivates her refusal to believe that Gantman's a quack. After consulting with the D.A., Strayhorn determines that they don't have sufficient evidence to pin a murder two charge on Gantman, which is what he's after. Art Wilson (Len Wayland), the LAPD detective in charge of the Watkins case, informs Strayhorn that they've brought in a TV repairman who built the belt gadget and is willing to testify.

    After a break we find ourselves in the courtroom of the Honorable Judge Dodd (Harry Bartell), where, after helping Gantman to present himself as a man of faith for the jury's benefit, defense attorney Don Bates (Kenneth Tobey) has Maggie brought in for a demonstration. Maggie claims to be able to see light and shadows when Gantman shines his penlight in her eyes, but both Bardi and Strayhorn silently note the telltale clicking that precedes each successful test. Having secured the judge's permission to participate, Strayhorn quietly turns the penlight on, then questions Maggie, his subsequent audible clicking repeatedly producing the opposite results--Maggie claiming to be able to see when the light isn't on, and not to be able to when it is...causing twelve angry murmurs to arise. When Strayhorn presses Maggie, she tearfully admits that Gantman coached her to respond to the sound of the clicking for her mother's benefit. Bates objects that Strayhorn is showboating, and the judge asks to see both parties in chambers. Outside the courtroom, Bates pleads to Strayhorn for a lesser charge, only to find himself on the receiving end of a brief Fridayesque lecture. Malloy and Reed silently bookend the episode while helping Lynn escort Maggie and her mother to the University Eye Institute, who diagnosed her tumor.

    Burt Mustin also appears, as the janitor at Strayhorn's office.


    The Odd Couple
    "One for the Bunny"
    Originally aired March 22, 1974
    Season finale
    Al Delvecchio: Yehhhp, yep, yep...
    When Myrna brings Oscar a copy of Playboy that was delivered to his office, he tries unsuccessfully to hide it from Felix, who tosses it into the corridor and chastises Oscar for letting the rag in his house. (I think we've got a continuity issue before we've even gotten to the flashback--hasn't Felix done shoots for them before?) We learn that Oscar formerly worked for the magazine, and that he got Felix a gig there, while also getting Gloria, who was engaged to Felix at the time, a job as a cocktail waitress at the club. (Whatever the timing of Felix and Oscar's marriages was supposed to be, Oscar is in full slovenly bachelor mode here with the apartment in its pre-Felix state, including the gorilla.) Felix is scandalized to see Gloria at the club in her costume and makes a scene, yelling at all the customers that she serves.

    Felix, who feels the need to adopt a pseudonym for such work, arranges to use Oscar's tidied-up apartment in lieu of his studio. Oscar hangs around in a smoking jacket with a pipe and eyepatch, trying to pick one of the models up. Things get worse for Felix when Gloria shows up for the shoot. Felix tries to withhold the resulting photos from art director Al Fisher (Lloyd Kino), but when he sees them, he declares that she'll be Miss April.

    Felix ends up suing the Hugh Hefner Corporation to get out of his contract, with Curt Conway playing the judge and Arthur Batanides as the opposing lawyer, Mr. Harper. Felix tries to argue that he signed under emotional duress, and when Oscar testifies to the contrary, he tries to undermine Oscar's credibility, who subsequently declines to take the stand as a character witness. Felix pleads with the judge, who wants to see the photo to determine if it's obscene, and to Felix's horror, the judge wolf-whistles and has the photo passed around to the jurors. Felix loses his case, following which Oscar summons him to the club to talk with Heff (himself), who volunteers not to use the photo.

    There's questionable continuity within the episode itself, as, after we return to the present, Felix lampshades why he's sore at Heff after all these years despite the flashback's resolution. Also, Batanides is billed as "Plaintiff Lawyer," even though he's supposed to be the defense.

    I also want to say that there was a previous reference about Felix having met Gloria at such a shoot, which this episode would seem to be based on while also contradicting it.


    Originally aired March 23, 1974
    Season finale
    Directed by Kevin Tighe.

    Johnny's sharing an idea with Roy for winning the $250 contest prize, but clams up when Chet walks by the bulletin board. Station 51 and another engine are called to a vehicle collision that's blocking a freeway exit. Johnny sees to the unconscious driver of an overturned truck (Hal Bokar), while Roy's tending to a conscious woman pinned in her car who may have a jugular wound and is having trouble breathing. Roy notices as the others are moving the truck driver that the truck is marked as carrying radioactive materials, which the revived truck driver subsequently confirms. While firefighters from the second engine check for leakage with a Geiger counter, it's discovered that the freed woman also has a leg fracture. Rampart has two treatment rooms and the corridor area set up for radiation safeguards. (You wouldn't like the Brackett when he's exposed to gamma radiation.) Brackett and Morton see to the woman with a counter present, while Early treats the truck driver. It's determined that both will make it and that nobody was which point the paramedics and presumably firefighters present at the scene have switched into medical scrubs.

    Back at the station, Johnny's determining that the squad is also clean while sharing his new idea with Roy to create a foam bomb that could be hurled at a fire like a grenade. The squad is called to an athletic club where a masseuse named Aubrey (Pepper Martin) informs the paramedics that his groggy customer, Clair Hartley, went comatose during a massage. Johnny takes interest when he learns that the man came in with a drink from the club's bar, and has the martini transferred into a bottle. While Early and Morton are trying to determine what's wrong with Hartley, his wife, Helena (Aneta Corsaut), flies in from Boston and Early questions her about his medical history. Early diagnoses that the man's been poisoned, but can't treat it without knowing the nature of the poison. When Hartley's friend in L.A., Bill Ellis (Charles McCauley), comes to Rampart, Early asks him about Clair's activities, and takes interest when he learns that Ellis and Hartley were both suffering headaches after a cab ride to the athletic club.

    Back at the station's parking area, Stoker and Marco are trying out a gadget that's supposed to put out fires by blowing cooled air onto them, but it just blows around a can full of burning paper and catches fire itself; while Johnny's come up with a new idea for a launchable net. Chet saunters over in his socks to show the other firefighters his invention--human fly shoes, which are boots attached to a platform with suction cups on the bottom...the problem being that once he gets himself stuck on the ground, he can't move. Chet has to hurry out of them when the station gets a call to the residence of a woman named Norma (Lillian Bronson), whose heavy-set son, James (Robert Miller Driscoll), is in the attic with his leg stuck in a hole through the living room ceiling. James drops a reference to the energy crisis as he explains that he was trying to install insulation. Assessing that the ceiling won't be able to hold his weight along with that of any rescuers, the firemen chainsaw a larger hole around James and lower him down.

    At Rampart, the cab driver (Michael Richardson) answers a summons and is questioned by Early and Morton, who eventually learn that he'd spilled a can of spot remover in the back of his cab a few days earlier. Early reports to Mrs. Hartley and Mr. Ellis that he'll now be able to treat Clair, who was affected by a toxic mixture of carbon tetrachloride fumes and alcohol.

    The paramedics and Chet have given up on their contest ideas when the station and other units get called to a plant where a corrosive chemical cloud has leaked out. Stanley has the area evacuated while the firefighters spray down the structure and the paramedics climb up for a man lying unconscious on pipes. Despite Roy experiencing a hazardous slip and Johnny getting his hand burned by a spray of steam, they retrieve the man and lower him and themselves down via a launched cable.

    In the coda, Johnny--who somehow lost his voice in the last rescue--is outraged to learn that a firefighter from another station won the contest using his and Roy's original idea from the beginning of the episode, which was for a canvas spanner sleeve.


    They had to bring Ringo in for legal reasons, as Lawford had his name put in the paperwork rather than John's.

    (Not Capped. :p)
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2024
  5. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Jun 11, 2003
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    It would be funny if they became friends. :rommie:

    Yeah, I kind of like the idea, but the execution is not grabbing me.

    He looks like he's trying to channel Jack Webb. :rommie:

    I can never remember. :rommie:

    "It was discovered by the recent Mercury probe."

    The clone factory was at peak output.

    "I've seen this before," said Malloy. "It's Mercurian!"

    These days, they'd probably call in the Bomb Squad.

    Another candidate for the Townsend Agency.

    They get to the courtroom quicker than Perry Mason.

    I wonder if the show would have had a closing narration similar to Dragnet, telling viewers how to spot fraud and who to contact. It's not a bad idea, but I wonder how sustainable it would be over time.

    Mere guests in their own season finale.

    That closing narration could have filled us in on her outcome as well. I wonder if the events that we have seen are true.

    Definitely, at least once.

    As a sports writer? He must know Hunter S Thompson. :rommie:

    This seems highly unlikely.

    This part is very familiar, although I could be remembering it from watching the show.

    Apparently he got less prudish as time went on.

    You go, Gloria.

    He gets to court pretty quickly, too. :rommie:

    Maybe this is actually a dream sequence. :rommie:

    But he'll hang onto it for safekeeping.

    Hmm. So he's not a prude, he's just sore at Hef for helping him out. Maybe another instance of coming up with a story quickly to suit the guest star's schedule.

    It does seem familiar.

    You go, Kev.

    He'd actually make a pretty good Reed Richards.

    Seems like kind of a wasted opportunity. They could have had a real exposure and shown all the protocols and had exposition about treatments and such.

    That's kind of cool, actually.

    Good thinking.

    Hmm. It seems like they should be able to get some ideas from the blood work.

    This subplot about the inventions has kind of crossed the line into burlesque. :rommie:

    So either Ellis had nothing to drink or Hartley is oversensitive to the chemical.

    Didn't they have gas masks on because of the chemical cloud?

    This time I get it. :rommie:
  6. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

    Feb 4, 2002
    The Old Mixer, Somewhere in Connecticut

    Post-55th Anniversary Viewing


    "Cowards Die Many Times"
    Originally aired April 17, 1966
    While riding to Panamint, Jason comes upon some men trying to move a mud-bogged wagon off a man's leg. Jason takes charge despite the surliness of the workers, setting up a 4x4 on the junk-filled wagon as a lever to lift the wagon. The grateful man, Tad Evers (John Ireland), offers Jason a job with his freight line company, but his demeanor changes when Jason informs him that he's got a job surveying for the railroad, which threatens Evers's business.

    In town, Jason reunites with love interest Ann Williams at her newspaper office (Lola Albright in her second of three appearances in the role). After making a dinner date, he goes to check out a mine shaft that he thinks could be converted into a tunnel. When Jason returns to the paper, Evers drops in to try to persuade him to leave the railroad. When Jason refuses in the name of inevitable progress, Evers declares that he no longer owes Jason a favor.

    After a sloppily edited return from a break, we find Jason being accosted by two of Evers's men, Deke and Midge (Bill Catching and Luke Saucier). As they're about to start smashing up his wagon, Jason warns Deke that he's about to sledge-hammer some leftover nitro. When they turn on him, he treats the pair to a public pummeling, relieving one of them of a gun and driving them off.

    Evers visits Jason at the mine, offering him a percentage of the business, but Jason stands firm. Evers angrily explains how much he's put into building his company, then starts to attack Jason, who dissuades him at gunpoint from doing anything that might cause the shaft to collapse. Evers walks out and considers for a moment before pulling a rifle from his saddle and firing into the mine. Jason tries to run for the entrance, but finds himself stymied by the shaft coming down around him. A sobered Evers yells to confirm that Jason's alive and offers to help him. As Ann arrives on the scene, Jason instructs Evers to lower a vial of nitro through an opening in the shaft entrance, then to yank it back through as Jason takes cover. After a couple of tries, the nitro impacts and goes off, opening up the entrance enough for Jason to get out.

    In the coda, Jason delivers the news to Ann that the railroad has approved of beginning work on the tunnel, and that his grandfather is coming out to work with him. Evers drops into the office to make the most of the situation by doing business with Jason's engineering project. After Evers exits, Ann backdoor-proposes to Jason by asking him about building a house on a piece of land that she owns outside of town.

    This was the penultimate episode of the series--the finale having been covered last year--and leaves me only one episode short of having watched all of them. A previous impression that they were downplaying Jason's reputation as a coward in the later episodes is supported by this one, in which it also doesn't come up. Perhaps the writing was on the wall and they wanted to bring some resolution to Jason's situation by having him find a place where he could settle down.


    Strayhorn did have it examined by SID.

    That's what you've been missing, isn't it? Dragnet-style closing narrations. Where are they now...?

    If they'd had that little to do on Emergency!, they wouldn't even have gotten credited!

    I don't think they specified, just that he was writing for them.

    The best way to remember the show... :p

    They're on half-hour formats.

    I think he did.

    "Brackett SMASH puny grape-man!"

    Maybe...they would've had to devote the episode to it, though.

    Ellis had nothing to drink, and was just dropping Hartley off at the club.

    They did. Roy muttered some exposition about a hose, which I couldn't make out and CC was unavailable for the episode recording. Direct yourself to enunciate, Kev!
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2024
  7. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Jun 11, 2003
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Nobody thought to remove the junk and lighten the wagon?

    Well-known movie actor.

    Did they ever say what his business was and why it was threatened? Railroads were generally good for business.

    That's a bit on the petty side.

    Let's take a moment to appreciate the last public pummeling we'll see from Jason.

    This is some interesting low-key character development. He just realizes he done wrong. The title of this episode really makes no sense whatsoever.

    "Stop the presses!"

    Chekov's nitro. Nice.

    The inevitability of the railroad should have been a talking point.

    I forget how the finale went. Did we decide that he probably was able to settle down with Ann and with his dad around? Still, it would have been nice to have some official resolution with the army, especially since it seemed like so many of his superior officers knew the score.

    Nice. Good attention to detail.

    It's true. :rommie:

    I wonder if the episode count for the season was jacked up by one to accommodate the pilot, or if the boys basically lost a story.

    I was actually thinking of Rolling Stone when I wrote that. Thompson's alter ego Raoul Duke was listed as the sports editor for Rolling Stone, not Playboy, for decades.

    I know, I know. :rommie:

    Yeah, but the instant courtroom dramas are one of our running gags for Perry Mason. Along with "He was dead when I got there." :rommie:

    I certainly would have. :rommie:

    :rommie: Just imagine those sideburns turned gray and that crisp white lab coat over the blue FF uniform. And that stern authoritative countenance. He'd be perfect! :D

    Yeah, it would have been worth an episode.

    Good, that's consistent.

    I wonder how much directing he ultimately did.
  8. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

    Feb 4, 2002
    The Old Mixer, Somewhere in Connecticut
    Yeah, but you're about 150 years too late.

    Freight hauling. It's in the post.


    Yeah, if it was referenced in the episode, I didn't catch it.

    :D Nitro in Westerns now flashes me back to a Hell on Wheels scene in which Cullen shags his love interest on a table with nitro vials on it. That was before he was Captain Pike, kiddies.

    It was, briefly. The usual schtick about some being opposed to what others see as progress. In another sixty years, steam engine crews would be in the same boat.

    Let's take a look. Seems that there was the vaguest allusion to his pseudo-fugitive status, and I was under the impression that he was settling down.


    It was the usual 24 episodes, but Milner and McCord probably got a full episode's pay for doing almost nothing.

    Ah, I see. I have tended to notice the abrupt transitions from investigation to court when I have it on in the background.

    But if we're retro-casting Reed, we already have a too-perfect-to-be-true candidate in Russell Johnson.

    Looks like three more episode of Emergency! and that's it.
  9. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Jun 11, 2003
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Story of my life....

    Oh, yeah. Oops.

    "He came at me and everything was a blur, especially my face."

    I'm going to think of that now whenever he says, "Hit it."

    Happens every week nowadays. :rommie:

    Oh, yes. His dad, his fiancee, and a potential stepdaughter. Let's imagine that he lived happily ever after.

    Hmm. The first two seem to have been running similar schemes to Dr Quack, but I don't get the third one.

    They probably would have preferred to be in the story. Or maybe they appreciated the time off. Who knows?

    True, Russell Johnson would have been perfect.

    I don't think he did a lot of acting after Emergency!, either.
  10. DarrenTR1970

    DarrenTR1970 Commodore Commodore

    Aug 1, 2015
    Bothell, WA
    John's final appearance before the Los Angeles judge was on March 27, where the charges pertaining to the Troubadour investigation were dismissed due to John and Harry's acts of contrition. This paved the way for the 'Pussy Cats' recording sessions to begin.

    The sessions were due to begin on March 28 with the Record Plant studio reserved from 5:30pm until midnight. The goal was to record a song a day until the album was completed. During the recording, a pattern was set that continued with little alteration once the music-making began. Ferried around by a fleet of limousines, John, Harry and the others went out on the town from midnight until closing time, then back to the house where they would stay up until the wee small hours of the morning drinking and taking drugs. They awoke late in the morning and recovered from hangovers, or worse, around the pool during the afternoon, before heading to studio to record.

    Paradoxically, Lennon, despite the drinking and wild nights with Nilsson, was a stickler for using studio time productively. As May Pang observed, "A lot a people don't realize he was a real workaholic in the studio. If it was a seven o'clock call, it was a seven o'clock call. He didn't want seven thirty or eight o'clock. He was very strict about it and had a strong work ethic."

    The sessions started with a recording of Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues", which served as the A-side of the album's second single.

    The song shows Harry in fine, if somewhat ragged, voice, belting out the complex lyrics over the double drums of Jim Keltner and Ringo Starr.

    As the first day session was drawing to a close, the studio received some unexpected visitors. Paul and Linda McCartney were in Los Angeles for a luncheon at Capitol Records where they were presented with a platinum record representing the sale of one million copies of the album ‘Band On The Run’.

    Hearing that John was in town and recording nearby, Paul and Linda decided to drop by the studio for a visit. Stevie Wonder was in the adjoining studio recording his album 'Fulfillingness' First Finale' and was corralled into accompanying Paul and Linda into the control booth.

    After some slightly awkward conversation between the two ex-Beatles, it was suggested that Paul and John play something, and they were joined by by Wonder, Keltner, Nilsson, Bobby Keyes, Jesse Ed Davis and Mal Evans. This resulted in the last known recording session featuring Lennon and McCartney, bootleged as 'A Toot And A Snore In '74'.

    Ringo Starr just missed out on meeting McCartney, having left the sessions. Had he been there, it would have been the last time the three ex-Beatles would have recorded together. When Ringo walked into the studio the next day, saw that his drum kit had been messed with and that it was Paul who had played his kit said bitterly, "[McCartney] always messes up my drums!"

    At one point Paul recounted being offered angel dust during the meeting. "He (Harry) said, 'It's elephant tranquilizer.' I said, 'Is it fun?' He thought for about half a minute. 'No,' he said. I said, 'Well, you know what, I won't have any.' He seemed to understand. But that's how it was there."

    Unfortunately, the late nights coupled with the copious amounts of smoking, drink and drugs were taking their toll on Nilsson's voice and instead of trying to preserve it for the sessions, Harry decided to try and outsing his idols during the jam session, belting out a shouty version of 'Stand By Me', and unbeknownst to him at the time, ruptured one of his vocal cords; which would have disastrous effects as the sessions went on.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2024
  11. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

    Feb 4, 2002
    The Old Mixer, Somewhere in Connecticut
    Of course, you'd think there'd be some business in hauling things to and from trains where the tracks don't go. Eventually, highways and big trucks would threaten the train business.

    Jason McCord vs. Jay Garrick!

    And even the uncredited townie's jab plays into the idea that he is settling down.

    I was just picking some familiar (if obscured) faces from among the caps that I still have. A couple of Trek guests and Virginia Gregg.
  12. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk A Spock and a smile Premium Member

    Nov 4, 2001
    AI Generated Madness
    Any of you Monkees fans know why Peter and Mike disliked each other?
  13. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Jun 11, 2003
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    All you need is love.

    Apparently they did not learn as much as I thought.

    That was weird. I don't think I've ever heard anyone cover "Subterranean Homesick Blues" before.

    Potential Supergroup.

    Poor Harry. Too bad his Irish caretaker wasn't there to watch over him.

    True. Taxi service, as well.

    Capped, believe it or not. :rommie:

    I'm sure he would have pummeled his way into the hearts of the townspeople pretty quickly.

    A couple of good choices, intentional or not. :rommie:
  14. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

    Feb 4, 2002
    The Old Mixer, Somewhere in Connecticut
    50th Anniversary Cinematic Special

    Directed by Michael Crichton
    Starring Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, and James Brolin
    Premiered October 24, 1973 (Los Angeles)
    Released November 21, 1973

    The illegitimate daddy of all holodeck malfunction episodes, this is one of those oft-referenced genre classics that I hadn't actually watched before. I'd meant to squeeze this into my holiday season movie viewing, and the Frndly recording from Movies! is due to expire in a few days.

    The movie opens with an advertisement for Delos. This was tacked onto the film late, and I could tell at first glance--all of the actors are uncredited despite having substantial speaking roles (according to IMDb, Robert Hogan, Robert Nichols, Julie Bennett, Paul Sorensen, and Barry Cahill); everyone in the scene uses the name Westworld, while the sub-park is otherwise referred to as Western World in-story; and it directly sets up that the characters in Delos are androids, which the early scenes with the main actors are coy about.

    On the flight to the park via futuristic transport, Peter, who's never fired a gun, peppers John with questions about the park. That Peter is the softer of the duo is underscored by him acting like a kid in a candy store as they pick up their gear and suit up--alongside a bespectacled banker played by Dick Van Patten--yet complaining about the period-authentic accommodations.

    Wade Crosby is the bartender. A demonstration of how the guns work is the next scene, which addresses a question I had at this point in the film--they'd established that the guns are real, but that guests can't necessarily tell other guests from androids. The guys subsequently visit a brothel run by Miss Carrie...
    ...where Peter--established to still hold a torch for an ex who took him to the cleaners--tries to ignore gunfire from a bank robbery outside while awkwardly taking a room with one of the artificial ladies, Arlette (Linda Scott).

    The chief supervisor (Alan Oppenheimer) theorizes that the breakdowns are like an infectious disease. The park's computers are very '70s futuristic--banks and banks of spinning tape reels and blinking lights. There isn't much privacy in the park, as the technicians are constantly monitoring the guests' activities and adjusting programming to accommodate them.

    The banker is actually the one to wake up next to Arlette.

    John shoots the sheriff (Terry Wilson), following which the duo plan to become the town's notorious outlaws...though the banker steps up to fill the law enforcement void.

    Snake Bite
    The chief supervisor realizes that he am become death, the destroyer of worlds.
    ...which Sheriff Banker also got caught up in...

    Shoddily designed place--the killer robots can't be shut down, but the staff can be.
    Oddly, that scene doesn't result in the face dramatically coming off. We subsequently find that the guns aren't completely mechanical, because the Gunslinger has to discard his when the battery runs out...perhaps a failsafe connected to the safety sensor.

    You'd think that not being able to drink would be an issue when the androids are playing their roles. Feasting and drinking was featured in all three settings.

    I didn't catch if Dick Van Patten's character died amidst the chaos. He was set up with a bunch of little comic relief scenes, which was begging for some sort of payoff, comical or grimly sobering.

    Other than the one posted above, recognizable Trek faces include Charles Seel as the guys' bellhop in Western World, and Davis Roberts as one of the supervisors.

    This was an enjoyable watch if not especially captivating, and recognizable for its influence on subsequent pop culture from my childhood, like all the face-losing androids popping up in the bionic shows. It was interesting seeing Richard Benjamin as an adventure film lead...the main things I knew him from were comedies, the Trek spoof show Quark and Dracula spoof film Love at First Bite.


    We lost Louis Gossett Jr. today. :(

    They've got stagecoaches for that.

    Nice, I wasn't sure.

    :D Like Lucas McCain with maybe less shooting.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2024
  15. DarrenTR1970

    DarrenTR1970 Commodore Commodore

    Aug 1, 2015
    Bothell, WA
    "Westworld" - The Terminator before The Terminator. According to the DVD commentary, it was the first movie to posit the idea of a "computer virus" infecting machines, even though the term hadn't been coined yet.

    Also, Yul Brynner wore the same outfit in "The Magnificent Seven" fourteen years earlier, and again as Carson in "The Ultimate Warrior" the following year.

    It was also the first movie to use Digital Image Processing to create the pixels used to represent the Gunslinger point of view.

    I never could figure out if the movie was set in "The Near Future", due to the airplane briefly glimpsed at the beginning of the movie and the advanced robotic technology; or contemporary, just more advanced than our own.

    The sequel "Futureworld" didn't help matters in that it was a contemporary setting.

    Michael Crichton would revisit the theme again with "Jurassic Park".
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2024
  16. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

    Feb 4, 2002
    The Old Mixer, Somewhere in Connecticut
    I think it was supposed to be a near future...but woefully off-target with the quickly dated computer tech.
  17. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Jun 11, 2003
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    "Where nothing can possibly go worng." I loved this movie. :rommie:

    True. :rommie: Also, at least partial inspiration for Fantasy Island, I'm sure.

    That's not trusting your audience.

    But other guests would still be vulnerable to accidents or bad aim or ricochets, which is a big plot hole-- or concept hole.

    Maybe it really is the Holodeck! :rommie:

    That's a well-appointed room for an Old West town.

    I'm very disturbed to find Dr Wells involved in this mess.

    But not the deputy. You knew I couldn't resist that. :rommie:

    Nice. :rommie:

    The message is, technology will bite us all in the ass.

    Those are some nice, conveniently labelled bottles of acid. But what happened to Peter's gun? Presumably the androids are still vulnerable to bullets.

    Why would the androids even have real guns? To shoot each other?

    Maybe she was damaged in the chaos.

    True. They should have shown his corpse, at least. Maybe he ended up on the cutting room floor instead of the saloon floor.

    Well, like most high-concept Sci-Fi of the time (eg Planet of the Apes), it's not exactly Hard SF. As soon as you start to think about the details, like the guns or the suffocating technicians-- or the cost-- it falls apart quickly. Of course, to people like me, that's part of the fun. :rommie:

    Not my favorite actor, but he was good in this. Pretty perfect for the role.

    I saw that. RIP, Mr Gossett. :(

    A little competition is good. :D

    It took about thirty seconds. :rommie:

    The Knuckleman. :rommie:

    Good point. Terminator borrowed from more than The Outer Limits. :rommie:

    Hmm. I wonder if that's true. It kind of seems unlikely. Also, was the problem in Westworld a planted virus or just cascading malfunctions?

    That's pretty cool. Is that because he owned the outfit?

    I think it was a "twenty minutes into the future" thing, like Max Headroom. Which would make Westworld proto-Cyberpunk.

    Ahead of the curve on robotics, though, thanks to Dr Wells. :rommie:
  18. Aragorn

    Aragorn Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Dec 30, 2002
    Disappointing how winning an Oscar didn't lead to better work. He had no problem getting work, but so much of it was subpar. He said the only reason he kept making Iron Eagle movies was because they showed a black man as a positive role model.
    RJDiogenes likes this.
  19. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

    Feb 4, 2002
    The Old Mixer, Somewhere in Connecticut
    50 Years Ago This Week

    March 31
    • British Airways was created by the merger of four airlines that had been nationalized by the government of the United Kingdom. British Overseas Airways Corporation (popularly known as B.O.A.C.) and British European Airways (BEA) were combined, and the regional carriers Cambrian Airways and Northeast Airlines were included.

    April 1
    • Five days after the Mariner 10 inteprlanetary probe made findings that suggested that the planet Mercury had a satellite, tentatively named "Charley" by astronomer A. Lyle Broadfoot of the Kitt Peak National Observatory, Broadfoot declared that the change in ultraviolet radiation intensity turned out to have been from a distant star, 31 Crateris, located 3,000 light years from Earth.

    April 2
    • The day after Newsweek magazine's April 8 issue revealed that Georges Pompidou, President of France since 1969, was ill with cancer and might soon be resigning, the President's office abruptly canceled that day's scheduled meeting with the President of Rwanda, Juvénal Habyarimana, followed by a cancellation of all engagements for the rest of the week because of illness. Pompidou stayed home at his private apartment on Quai de Bethune on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris, and was found dead at 9:00 in the evening. The Agence France-Presse news agency sent a bulletin at 9:58 announcing "M. Pompidou c'est mort." Pompidou, who was later found to have complications from Waldenström macroglobulinemia, a form of leukemia, was 62. Before becoming president, he had served as prime minister from 1962 to 1968. The President of the French Senate, Alain Poher, became the Acting President of France until an election could be held to determine a new President. Poher had previously served as acting president after the death of President Charles de Gaulle, until Pompidou's election as president.
    • The Agranat Commission, chaired by the President of the Supreme Court of Israel, issued its report assessing blame for Israel's failures in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, with recommendations for dismissal of General David Elazar (Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces); Major General Eli Zeira, director of the military intelligence for the agency Agaf HaModi'in), Brigadier-General Aryeh Shalev (head of research at the Agaf HaModi'in), and Major General Shmuel Gonen, leader of the Southern Front defense against Egypt. Following the report, the government of Prime Minister Golda Meir would fall.
    • The 46th Academy Awards ceremony was held in the U.S. at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. The Sting won seven awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (George Roy Hill), and Best Original Screenplay (David S. Ward). Best Actor and Actress awards were given to Jack Lemmon and Glenda Jackson, while the Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards went to 71-year-old John Houseman and 10-year-old Tatum O'Neal, who became the youngest actress ever to receive an Oscar.

    April 3
    • A system of 148 confirmed tornadoes killed 319 people and injured 5,484 others in 13 of the U.S. states (Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois, Michigan, Virginia and West Virginia) and the Canadian province of Ontario. Hardest hit was the city of Xenia, Ohio, where 36 residents were killed after the tornado struck at 4:40 p.m. local time. Other areas struck were Brandenburg, Kentucky (31 dead) and Guin, Alabama (28 dead). The area in and around Tanner, Alabama, was struck by two tornadoes 30 minutes apart, killing 44 people.
    • The White House Press Office announced that the Internal Revenue Service had determined that U.S. President Richard Nixon owed $432,787.13 in back taxes and an additional $43,644 in penalties and interest, an amount almost half of Nixon's stated net worth. The ruling by the IRS disallowed deductions including a declaration one for $576,000 for the claimed worth of Nixon's vice-presidential papers.
    • Two months after being kidnapped, Patty Hearst announced in an audiotape that she had joined her captors at the Symbionese Liberation Army and that she had adopted the name "Tania" for the SLA.

    April 4
    • In Cincinnati, baseball player Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hit his 714th home run on the first swing of his bat to open the 1974 Major League Baseball season and tied the career record set by Babe Ruth, in a 7 to 6 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. While the Braves wanted to keep him out of the opening three-game series against the Reds so that the record could be tied and broken at home in Atlanta, Commissioner of Baseball Bowie Kuhn had ruled that Aaron was required to play at least two of the three Cincinnati games. On April 7, Aaron came up to bat three times in a 5 to 3 win over the Reds, striking out twice and grounding out once.
    • Women in Jordan were granted the right to vote in elections for the first time. However, the suspension of parliamentary democracy prevented the right of suffrage from being exercised except in local elections.

    April 5
    • A major development in x-ray astronomy was achieved with discovery of "the first indication of strong coronal emission from stars" when astronomer Richard Catura detected x-ray luminosity from the star Capella (Alpha Aurigae), almost 43 light years from Earth, that was more than 10,000 times as much as the x-ray luminosity of the Sun. The detection was made by accident, in that the intended mission of a rocket-borne launch of instruments was simply to calibrate the directional accuracy of the stellar sensors.
    • Carrie, the debut novel by high school teacher Stephen King, was published by Doubleday, launching his career as the "King of Horror".

    April 6
    • A massive fire, started accidentally by "a 10-year-old boy playing with matches" swept through the Lincoln National Forest in the U.S. state of New Mexico and the small towns of Weed and Sacramento, New Mexico, causing $38 million worth of damage, including 21 homes and buildings, and scorching 14,469 acres (5,855 ha) of land.
    • The California Jam, a rock festival held at the Ontario Motor Speedway in the Los Angeles suburb of Ontario California, attracted 250,000 paying spectators who came to see headliners Deep Purple and Emerson Lake & Palmer, along with the Eagles, Earth, Wind & Fire, Black Sabbath, Seals and Crofts, Rare Earth and Black Oak Arkansas.
    • The Swedish pop group ABBA's song "Waterloo" won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton, England.

    Selections from Billboard's Hot 100 for the week:

    Leaving the chart:
    • "She's Gone," Daryl Hall & John Oates (8 weeks)

    New on the chart:

    "I'm in Love," Aretha Franklin

    (#19 US; #1 R&B; #51 UK)

    "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing," Stevie Wonder

    (#16 US; #9 AC; #2 R&B; #55 UK)

    Something that charted too low to normally be included, but I thought it might be of interest:

    And new on the boob tube:
    • Kung Fu, "The Cenotaph (Part 2)" (season finale)


    Timeline entries are quoted from the Wiki page for the month.


    Was that deliberate?

    Maybe, now that you mention it.


    Seems it could be pretty civilized in places. Look at Bonanza or The Big Valley.

    I was trying to think of a way to work that in. You didn't find it. :p

    Good question. I still have 4 days to answer cockamamie questions, but I tried clicking around the appropriate scenes and couldn't find where anything happened to it. In general, though, I think he knew better than to try to beat the Gunslinger at his own game.

    Verisimilitude, I guess. Easier than faking the bullets hitting things and other androids.

    For this, I was able to find a Westworld Wiki page for the character. It seems we didn't miss anything, the last thing he's mentioned as having done was participate in the saloon brawl. The Wiki played this up as his character growth.

    I wasn't thinking in terms of sci fi necessarily, more in terms of overall quality compared to some of the films I've watched recently. It was no Godfather or American Graffiti.

    "I'd rather ride in that rickety, open freight wagon!"

    Enough time for Jay to grab some China.

    In case you weren't in the know about the specific element that brought on the reference, in lieu of wearing a mask, Jay was said to use his super-speed to blur his facial features.

    I think a :D is a little strong. But I chuckled.

    The Wiki article for the film also made the connection to computer viruses. I guess it was rattling in the back of my brain as I watched, but I didn't make the connection because the concept was so anachronistic in the '70s world of computers running on tape reels and punch cards.

    My primary exposure to him was The Powers of Matthew Star, which was contemporaneous with AOAAG. :p I guess you could say that he elevated the show.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2024
  20. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Jun 11, 2003
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    That's weird. What would prompt the UK to national four airlines? I'm a little surprised it's even legal.

    Something similar happened to Venus, which had an imaginary moon named Neith for a while. Or maybe it was aliens.

    Whoa, that's horrible. It must be a record, or close to it. I think there was a similar disaster earlier in this century.

    That's got to be a few million in today's dollars.


    I recall so many girls in school carrying that paperback around the halls. :rommie:

    I kinda vaguely remember this. It's nice enough.

    This is a goodie.

    "All the studs they call him sir." :rommie: Oh, the pain. The pain!

    This brought back a memory of my Grandmother watching some religious program, Pat Robertson or Billy Graham or something, who sang a somewhat re-imagined version of the song. "Nice, nice, Leroy Brown...." :rommie:

    Yes, that was used in the advertising. I think it was on the paperback cover, too, if I remember right.

    Bonanza is exactly what I thought of when I saw it. :rommie: The rest of the town was pretty ramshackle in comparison, but I suppose the brothel would probably be the most lucrative business by far.

    No, I didn't. :rommie:

    Ouch. :rommie:

    He had like five minutes to fill the Gunslinger fulla holes as he waxed dramatic about getting acid in the face. :D

    The release forms for this place must have been like a phone book.

    Full of pride, he went home early to start a large family.

    Well, yeah.

    It's called a "Stage Uber."

    I didn't make that connection, but I remember now that you mention it. I wonder if he made that sound that comedians make when they do the face shake thing.

    I'll take it. :rommie:

    That brings up the whole question of who introduced the virus and why. Maybe it was the Robot Maker, seeking revenge on Rudy.