A live telecast of Tales of Tomorrow (1951) keeps being broken into by a phantom broadcast of a cheating couple preparing to launch her soused husband out a window. The Tales of Tomorrow (1951) crew ...
Lights Out was an extremely popular American old-time radio program, an early example of a network series devoted mostly to horror and the supernatural, predating Suspense and Inner Sanctum... See full summary »
Anthology series hosted by Boris Karloff that originally told ordinary tales of crime and mystery, but later became a showcase for gothic horror stories, many of which were based on works ... See full summary »
Produced at the same time as the more well-known Twilight Zone, this series fed the nation's growing interest in paranormal suspense in a different way. Rather than creating fictional ... See full summary »
In a production of "Frankenstein," Lon Chaney Jr. played the monster. An urban legend states that Chaney was intoxicated during the live TV broadcast, due to his heavy drinking. In the broadcast (which is available on YouTube), Chaney is handed a chair - but instead of smashing it, he sets it down, and shouts "Break! Break!" while making smashing motions with his hands. However, Chaney later explained in an interview that he was not drunk. Before the broadcast, he had spent four hours in the makeup chair, having his monster makeup applied. When the performance started, Chaney assumed it was a dress rehearsal, and thus, did not break the chair when it was handed to him. Between scenes, the director informed Chaney that the broadcast was happening live, so in subsequent scenes, Chaney didn't hold back and freely broke pieces of the set. (In the YouTube video of the broadcast, he falls out a window and later smashes Dr. Frankenstein's lab equipment.) See more »
Television of the early 1950's had lots of science fiction programmes. You had your choice of "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger", "Flash Gordon", "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet" and the series I am here tonight to talk about.
"Tales of Tomorrow" was for the most part a well done and effective series which offered plots which never . . . well okay, seldom . . . strayed into outlandishness. Monsters were rarely seen but their presence was always felt. In the "Dune Rollers" episode for example we learn that mysterious rocks found only on a spot called Lightning Island have the power to merge and grow into giant rocks which can move on their own and radiate enough heat to burn a victim to a crisp. (If that sounds familiar and you have never seen the episode you are probably thinking about s similarly theme feature from the 1980's called THE CREMATORS.)
The "Blunder" episode will have you on the edge of your seat but you might as well relax. Scientist Robert Allen risks an experiment which might deplete the Earth's entire oxygen supply. Of course he is certain that this will not happen but his fellow scientists are not at all sure. Can they reach him in time to stop him? The ending will leave you asking "WHAT just happened?"
"The Crystal Egg" will always be a favourite of mine. Oscar winner Thomas Mitchell is a university professor who is asked to examine what appears to be a harmless curio. Ah, but when he looks into it he sees the surface of Mars. And one time, a moment which will make you jump, he sees something looking back at him!
"Test Flight" starring Lee J. Cobb is another good one. Lee is a wealthy businessman who decides to build his own rocket to fly to the Moon. A mysterious engineer offers him a fool proof plan to build a rocket and Lee nearly bankrupts his company to build it. Does it work? Yes, and Lee and the engineer are the test pilots . . . but is Lee ever in for a surprise after take-off.
Everyone has already written about the "Frankenstein" episode so there is little that I can add. So much has been said about this episode that watching it today is a little disappointing because many of you will be expecting more. The one live broadcast may have contained more "juicy bits" but these were edited (if they ever even existed to begin with) for subsequent re-broadcasts. Lon Chaney gives a really great performance, way different from his portrayal of The Monster in GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942) and this interpretation is wholly original.
"What You Need" was a very satisfying episode also. I was glad William Redfield's ruthless, amoral character got what he deserved but I wish Edgar Stehli had made a different decision at the end. You will see what I mean.
Okay so very often the backdrops are obviously painted. In fact in the "Appointment on Mars" episode the camera follows Leslie Neilsen as he climbs a rock and you can see the studio lights about where the backdrop ends! Characters blow lines and miss cues, even during the commercials which were also shot live. This only adds to the charm of these episodes and recalls the age of Live Television; an era which is sadly gone forever. Thank goodness for collections like this so people like me who missed that era can see what it was like.
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