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A 26 year old Angie Dickinson, 20 December 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

MEET McGRAW – Tycoon -1957

MEET MCGRAW was a Private Investigator television series that starred Frank Lovejoy as P.I. McGraw. The show started as a stand-alone episode of the popular FOUR -STAR PLAYHOUSE in 1954. It took till 1957 before the actual series hit the airwaves. It ran for 42 episodes between 1957 and 1958. This particular episode is the 4th of the series run.

P.I. McGraw (Lovejoy) is approached by the right hand man, Grant Richards, of wealthy industrialist Barry Atwater. Richards offer Lovejoy 500 smackers to meet with his boss at his office. His boss, Atwater, has a matter that needs to be dealt with on the quiet side. The cash is right, so Lovejoy agrees.

Lovejoy meets with Atwater and the man tells him he wants Lovejoy to find his runaway wife. He wants her found, and brought back. Atwater does not wish the papers or media to hear about his family problems. Lovejoy listens and then tells Atwater it will cost him another grand. Atwater agrees and gives Lovejoy a picture of the missing wife. Lovejoy has a boo at the photo of the lovely young woman. (A drop dead gorgeous 26 year old Angie Dickinson)

Lovejoy hits up all his downtown snitches and offers a bit of cash for any info on the missing woman. Soon a clue is handed to Lovejoy by snitch, Paul E Burns. It seems Miss Dickinson is hiding out in a fleabag hotel downtown.

Lovejoy pays the woman a visit and forces his way inside her rooms. Dickinson swears she will kill herself rather than return to Atwater. It is a loveless marriage where she is only a trophy wife. McGraw decides he cannot return her to Atwater and promises Dickinson he will say nothing.

Lovejoy heads back to report to Atwater that he has found his wife, but, he has no intention of telling Atwater her location. Atwater and his man, Richards, tell Lovejoy he has made a big mistake. Atwater will get even.

Lovejoy returns to Dickinson's hotel room and finds the place swarming with the Police. It seems Miss Dickinson has taken a header out the bedroom window to the street below. She is at the emergency ward barely clinging to life. Two Detectives, Larry Blake and Ray Walker give Lovejoy a grilling about why he is interested in Miss Dickinson. They think that someone helped Dickinson with her quick trip to street level.

Lovejoy figures that Atwater or Richards must have had him followed during his first visit to Dickinson's rooms. The less than amused P.I. returns to Atwater's office for a chat of his own. Atwater's man, Richards, calls the office security goon, Joe Barry, to toss Lovejoy out. This does come off as planned and Barry gets himself tuned up by Lovejoy. Lovejoy then hands Richards a bit of his own as well.

Lovejoy then blasts Atwater with a bit of verbal abuse for being a meat head to his wife. Atwater decides that Lovejoy has a valid point and the two head off to see Dickinson at the hospital.

Not bad at all. The episode was written by actor, writer, producer and director, Blake Edwards. Edwards would hit it big with the PETER GUNN television series and the PINK PANTHER film series. Interesting to see Dickinson before she went blonde, the dark hair suits her very well.

Thrush in Japan, 18 December 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. –The Cherry Blossom Affair – 1965

This is the 39th episode of 1964 to 1968 spy series, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The series ran for a total of 105 episodes. The first season was filmed in black and with the remainder shot in colour. Robert Vaughn plays agent Napoleon Solo while David McCallum, plays Illya Kuryakin, Leo G Carroll plays Mister Waverly, the boss of the secret agency known as U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law & Enforcement) Their main enemy is THRUSH, an organization out to take over the planet.

UNCLE discovers that THRUSH Japan is making a new weapon that could change the balance of power. A defecting scientist, Robert Riordan, is bringing film of the device to UNCLE headquarters in New York. On the same aircraft is France Nuyen. Nuyen is a film maker also carrying a can of film.

At the New York airport, THRUSH agents make a move to retrieve the film from Riordan, killing him in the process. There is a mix up in the confusion and THRUSH instead grabs the film of Miss Nuyen. Nuyen picks up the film of the scientist and is in turn grabbed up by UNCLE. UNCLE watches the film on the weapon which appears able to start volcano's to erupt on cue.

UNCLE agents Robert Vaughn and David McCallum are sent to Japan to capture or destroy the THRUSH device. Of course Miss Nuyen gets involved in the plot. There are more than a few close calls for the trio as they attempt to do their job. The THRUSH types, led by Woodrow Parfrey and Jerry Fujikawa are great. Everyone in the episode looks like they are having a gas.

This is a very enjoyable way to spend 50 minutes in front of the tube. Miss Nuyen would marry the star of I SPY, Robert Culp a year later.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Angela Lansbury Guest Stars, 17 December 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. –The Deadly Toys Affair – 1965

This is the 38th episode of 1964 to 1968 spy series, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The series ran for a total of 105 episodes. The first season was filmed in black and with the remainder shot in colour. Robert Vaughn plays agent Napoleon Solo while David McCallum, plays Illya Kuryakin, Leo G Carroll plays Mister Waverly, the boss of the secret agency known as U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law & Enforcement) Their main enemy is THRUSH, an organization out to take over the planet.

UNCLE discovers from a defecting THRUSH scientist that THRUSH has a nerve gas plant out in the Mohave desert. Agents Robert Vaughn and David McCallum are sent out to do a spot of destruction to said plant. Afterwards they are sent to Switzerland to rescue the son of the defector. The lad, Jay North, is being held at a THRUSH school for brilliant children. They want to make sure he grows up as a THRUSH type.

Nothing of course ever goes to plan and North's father, the defector (Gil Perkins) escapes UNCLE custody. He does not trust UNCLE to save his son. THRUSH are not amused with Perkins, they blow him to pieces with a bomb carrying radio controlled model aircraft.

Anyways, Vaughn and McCallum go undercover, McCallum as a hairdresser to Diane McBain. Also in the mix is Angela Lansbury as a slightly wacko ex movie star. Needless to say there is plenty of action with the regular amount of captures, escapes and gun battles.

The various plot holes are nicely covered up by director John Brahm. Brahm was a former big screen helmsman. He is well known for his work in the film-noir genre. These would include, THE LODGER (1944) GUEST IN THE HOUSE, HANGOVER SQUARE, THE LOCKET, SINGAPORE and THE BRASHER DOUBLOON. He later would direct several of the best TWILLIGHT ZONE, episodes,"Time Enough at Last" and "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street".

Jay North was well known to TV viewers as Dennis the Menace on the 1959 to 1963 TV series.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Better than i was Expecting, 14 December 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

ISLAND OF LOST WOMEN – 1959

This low budget film seems to have been a make work project for several of Alan Ladd's friends. Produced by Ladd's "Jaguar Productions", it employs veteran director Frank Tuttle and cinematographer John F.Seitz. Tuttle directed Ladd in his breakout role, THIS GUN FOR HIRE and worked with Ladd on several other films. Director of photography Seitz was the cinematographer on an even two dozen Ladd films.

Anyways, to get back to the film, a couple of men, pilot, John Smith and reporter, Jeff Richards, are lost. They were flying to Australia in a small two engine aircraft. They ran into a storm and were thrown off course. Now they are having trouble with the aircraft and are running low on fuel.

They see an island and head for it. Suddenly a voice booms out of their radio, "Turn back, do not land!" Smith and Richards though have no choice and land the aircraft on the beach. While taking a quick look around, the pair are approached by a man. The fellow, Alan Napier tells them to take off as it is a private island.

After a few words are exchanged, Richards and Smith promise to leave as soon as they repair the aircraft. Now out of the jungle pop three babes in short shirts. The girls, Venetia Stevenson, June Blair and Diane Jergens are the daughters of Napier.

The boys, Smith and Richards are invited back to Napier's underground home for dinner. Reporter Richards soon gets the story of who these people are. Napier was an atomic science specialist who had worked on the Manhattan Project. After seeing the power of the bomb, he had grabbed his wife and three small daughters and vanished. He had then set up a lab and a home for them on this uncharted island.

The wife has since died and the daughters are now grown up. Needless to say they have never seen a man other than their father, Napier. Napier now decides it would be better if the two men stayed, so he destroys their aircraft. He does not want word of his location known.

Needless to say, the girls fall for the two lugs. They now plan on building a raft and leaving the island. Of course the girls also want to see the outside world. The very world Napier wants to shield them from.

Napier has managed to build himself an atomic reactor on the Island. Of course there is now an accident which causes an overload. Everyone scurries down to the beach and hides behind a few rocks. BOOM! (Thank goodness for those rocks shielding them from the radioactive dust) The government notices the blast and send aircraft to investigate. Everyone is rescued and returned to civilization.

This film is nowhere near as bad as I make it sound. It does have that certain charm that some of these low budget quickies have. The look of the film is quite good, which it should be with Tuttle and Seitz handling the camera-work. All in all, it will kill a rainy day when you have an hour and bit to kill.

Miss Stevenson was the daughter of actress Anna Lee and director Robert Stevenson. Noir fans know Stevenson as the director of, TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH, THE WOMAN ON PIER 13, WALK SOFTLY STRANGER and LAS VEGAS STORY.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The Final Episode, 14 December 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

HONG KONG – Runaway – 1961

Rod Taylor headlines this 1960-61 series as a newsman who is stationed in Hong Kong. Taylor is constantly in trouble with various shady types who are always involving him in their troubles. It usually takes several round of fisticuffs, a dead body or two and a gun battle before things get settled. This is the 26th episode.

Night time, a Hong Kong alleyway is suddenly filled with the sound of gunfire. A woman, Gia Scala, comes running from the alley and heads up the street. Several seconds later, a man, Lawrence Dobkin, also exits the alley, looks around and spots Scala entering a nightclub up the street. He follows. The camera now shows us a body lying in the alley.

Scala, once inside the club, grabs the first man she comes to and asks him for a dance. The man turns out to be newspaper man, Rod Taylor. Taylor agrees to a spin on the floor and the two join the crowd on the dance floor. Dobkin now enters and takes a seat at the bar. He sits quietly watching the couple with an evil glare.

Taylor soon notices the man and figures he must have something to do with Scala. He asks if the woman is in trouble or just has an overprotective husband? Scala asks for Taylor's help escaping an unwanted suitor. Taylor dances the pair over to a back exit and they bolt leaving Dobkin behind.

Scala soon spills the beans on her real problem. She is a radio operator on an Eastern Bloc freighter docked in Hong Kong harbour. She jumped ship because she wants political asylum. She also lifted the ship's code book. She wishes to present it to the British government as a gesture of good faith on her part.

Dobkin it turns out is the captain of the ship and wants the code book back. He and one of his crew had cornered Scala in the alley and pulled a gun on her. There was a struggle and the crewman got shot in error. Dobkin does not want the west to get their hands on the code book. The fact that his ship is carrying a cargo of arms for some Asian rebels, in no small way drives his desire to retrieve the codes.

Soon, Taylor's buddy, Hong Kong Police Inspector Lloyd Bochner is brought into the mix. Dobkin and his bunch make several more stabs at capturing Scala. Finally, Scala, Taylor and the Police come up with a plan to end the matter. Scala phones Dobkin at the ship and offers to return the code book. All she wants is to be left alone in Hong Kong. Dobkin agrees.

Needless to say Dobkin has no intention of leaving Scala behind. He needs to return her to the home country or face the music himself. This point has been made clear to him by his country's political counsel in Hong Kong.

Of course the plan of Taylor and company goes off the rails, and Scala is scooped up by Dobkin and his thugs. Taylor, who has been tailing Scala to the meet, quickly sets off in pursuit. Taylor bulls his way into the villains and the fight is on. There is a well done round of fisticuffs between Taylor and Dobkin. The Hong Kong Police now arrive and haul off Dobkin and his henchmen for a stay in the crowbar inn.

This was the last episode of the series and it goes out with a bang. It is a shame it only ran the one season.

There is a wealth of top talent here on the other side of the camera as well. One time Oscar nominated Arthur Hiller handles the direction. The story is supplied by another Oscar nominated type, Robert Buckner. Twice Oscar nominated Philip Lathorp is the cinematographer. Joining these three is Oscar winning composer, Lionel Newman, who supplied the score for the series.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Another Republic Programmer, 13 December 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

PASSKEY TO DANGER – 1946

Republic Pictures cranked out low budget programmers by the hundreds. These include, westerns, comedies, crime, film noir and adventure films all for the bottom of the double bill. These quickies were a hit or miss business with the miss column the normal winner.

This one is a comic-mystery film starring Kane Richmond, Stephanie Bachelor, Gregory Gaye, Gerald Mohr and Adele Mara.

Richmond is an advertising man who has put out a new line of ads promoting "The Three Springs". The ads do not say what the "Springs" are, but that info will be coming in ads down the road. Next thing you know Richmond is being paid visits by various people. These persons, John Eldredge, George Lewis, Gregory Gaye and others offer him cash, or a beating to disclose what the "Springs" are.

The gag here, is that the ads are really for a yet to be released series of dresses designed by his girlfriend, Stephanie Bachelor. Richmond is at a loss as to why all these folks are interested in his ads.

A cop finally fills him in on the details. There were three Spring brothers who had pulled a 3 million dollar heist 20 years before. The Police are still looking for the trio, as well as the cash. It seems that the Spring Brothers believe that Richmond has tumbled to their new identities. They are sure he plans on blackmailing them.

As silly as it might sound, it does move right along with only a quick 58 minute runtime. By no means is this a top drawer bit of entertainment, but if you are a fan of these low rent films, it will pass the time on a rainy afternoon. It also never hurts to take in the gorgeous Adele Mara! Too bad she only has a few minutes of screen time here.

The film was helmed by low budget specialist, Lesley Selander. Between 1936 and 1968 Selander directed over 140 different films and TV series. His most well-known film is most likely the 1951 Sci-Fi film, FLIGHT TO MARS.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Tiger Bait, 12 December 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. –The Tigers are Coming Affair – 1965

This is the 37th episode of 1964 to 1968 spy series, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The series ran for a total of 105 episodes. The first season was filmed in black and with the remainder shot in colour. Robert Vaughn plays agent Napoleon Solo while David McCallum, plays Illya Kuryakin, Leo G Carroll plays Mister Waverly, the boss of the secret agency known as U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law & Enforcement) Their main enemy is THRUSH, an organization out to take over the planet.

This episode guest star is David McCallum's wife, Jill Ireland. The story, set in India, has Ireland working for a UN agency helping out the poor. The local man in charge is a Prince, Lee Bergere. He spends his time drinking and going on tiger hunts. He also seems to have heaps of cash of which none is spent helping his people. Ireland returns to the UN and reports about the starving people etc. The UN calls in UNCLE to have a look into the problem.

UNCLE agents Robert Vaughn and David McCallum arrive undercover as a newspaper man and his photographer. Needless to say there is some nasty business going on. Bergere, with help from ex-Army officer, Alan Caillou, are destroying the people's homes and using them as forced labour in his ruby mines.

Vaughn, McCallum and Miss Ireland need to hotfoot it into the jungle, when Beregere and his people discover who they really are. Now they need to fight Bergere and the odd man-eating tiger to survive. Needless to say the UNCLE types turn the tables on the villains and blow them and their mine to smithereens.

Not really a world beater by any means, but it still passes the time well enough.

Actor Caillou was also a writer on the series and would do the odd cameo bit.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Fun in the Desert., 11 December 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. –The Arabian Affair – 1965

This is the 36th episode of 1964 to 1968 spy series, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The series ran for a total of 105 episodes. The first season was filmed in black and with the remainder shot in colour. Robert Vaughn plays agent Napoleon Solo while David McCallum, plays Illya Kuryakin, Leo G Carroll plays Mister Waverly, the boss of the secret agency known as U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law & Enforcement) Their main enemy is THRUSH, an organization out to take over the planet.

This episode has David McCallum out in the Arabian Desert keeping an eye on a secret THRUSH base. The base is being used by THRUSH to manufacture a weapon called the "Vaporiser". The device emits a stream of toxic bubbles that can dissolve human flesh in 30 seconds.

McCallum finds himself bushwhacked and captured by a group of Arabs led by Michael Ansara. Ansara's daughter, Phillis Newman, claims McCallum as a prize. She wishes to trade him at the slave market for a new camel.

While all this is going on, Robert Vaughn is going through files on THRUSH agents. He discovers that retiring THRUSH agents all meet their death 48 hours after retirement. THRUSH does not like loose ends.

Vaughn approaches THRUSH type Robert Ellenstein, who is about to retire. He shows Ellenstein evidence of what happens to THRUSH agents at the end. Vaughn offers the man and his wife protection and a new identity if he will help UNCLE. UNCLE wants the files on the new "Vaporiser" weapon.

Ellenstein takes Vaughn to his retirement party at the THRUSH headquarters. Vaughn's play for the files goes sideways and he barely escapes. THRUSH boss, Jerome Thor, is not amused with Ellentein helping UNCLE. He heads for the airport with Ellenstein to fly to Arabia. Our man Vaughn of course smuggles himself onto the aircraft.

Back in the desert, McCallum has talked the Arabs into joining him in an attack on the THRUSH base. He convinces the Arabs that he is the son of Lawrence of Arabia.

Anyways, everyone arrives at the THRUSH base at the same time. There is the mandatory gun battle between THRUSH and the good guys. Vaughn even manages to rescue Ellenstein from being used as a test subject for the "Vaporiser".

This one is fun romp with the cast all in top form.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Murder in Rome, 9 December 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

ADVENTURES OF THE FALCON – Out of all Evil – 1954

This is the 10th episode of the 39 episode run of the 1954 to 1956 series, ADVENTURES OF THE FALCON. Film noir icon Charles McGraw headlines as Mike Waring, an agent of the U.S. Government. The series follows McGraw as he travels the world putting the kibosh on various criminals and foreign agents.

In this one, McGraw is sent to Rome to get the goods on mobster, Richard Benedict. Benedict is suspected of working with a ring of smugglers shipping industrial diamonds to the Reds. McGraw has a meeting set up with a man, William Tannen, from the Italian Secret Service.

This meeting goes sideways when Tannen is found at the meeting suffering from severe blood loss. Seen in the area of the knifing is none other than Mister Benedict. McGraw follows the man to a church, which Benedict enters. McGraw is sure that Benedict is using the church as a hideout.

The next day McGraw pays the church a visit to talk with the priest. He tells the man, Gregory Gaye, that he knows Benedict from the States. Gaye tells McGraw that Benedict has seen the light and now works for a winery owned by some monks. McGraw does not buy this for a minute. He decides though that he better look into the matter.

He heads to his hotel to grab a cab and runs into old friend, June Vincent. Vincent is a reporter always on the look for a good story. She figures if the "Falcon"(McGraw) is in town, there must be something big on the hop. She decides to follow McGraw when he heads to the winery.

McGraw pretends to be a wine importer from the U.S. looking for a new brand to sell back home. The man in charge, Charles Lung, gives McGraw the tour etc and then blows him off. Lung's number two, Philip Van Zandt, now shows. It seems that the two are really behind the smuggling racket. They ship the stones inside bottles of wine. Zandt is also the one who had really killed Italian cop, Tannen.

Needless to say, now reporter Vincent arrives and spills the beans about McGraw really being a U.S. Federal agent. Zandt is soon on his way to give McGraw the same ventilation treatment he gave Tannen. It is only good luck and a solid right cross that saves McGraw from the morgue.

McGraw pays a return visit to the winery for another chat with Lung and company. Guns are drawn and it is only the timely arrival of Benedict that saves McGraw. It seems that Benedict has turned over a new leaf. He just wants to be on the straight and narrow from now on.

Another quick, and to the point, half hour's bit of entertainment. It is a sharp looking episode with former big screen helmsman, Seymour Friedman at the directing controls. Friedman worked mostly on b-films for Columbia etc. His work includes the noir, CHINATOWN AT MIDNIGHT, CUSTOMS AGENT, ESCAPE ROUTE and LOAN SHARK.

The director of photography was Kenneth Peach. Peach shot hundreds of television episodes from series such as, BOSTON BLACKIE, MR. and MRS NORTH, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF CHARLIE CHAN, MICHAEL SHAYNE, THE OUTER LIMITS and MAN FROM UNCLE. His film work includes the 50's sci-fi classic. IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The hunt for Nazi Loot, 9 December 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. –The Re-Collectors Affair– 1965

This is the 35th episode of 1964 to 1968 spy series, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The series ran for a total of 105 episodes. The first season was filmed in black and with the remainder shot in colour. Robert Vaughn plays agent Napoleon Solo while David McCallum, plays Illya Kuryakin, Leo G Carroll plays Mister Waverly, the boss of the secret agency known as U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law & Enforcement) Their main enemy is THRUSH, an organization out to take over the planet.

This episode has Nazis, Nazi hunters, stolen Nazi artwork, crooked Italian cops, pretty women and a few other things involved. UNCLE agents Robert Vaughn and David McCallum are sent to Rome to recover some stolen art. The key to the case seems to be that artwork stolen by the Nazis is showing up. Several dead Nazi war criminals are also showing up in a less than animated state.

The UNCLE agents are soon mixed up with a hit-man, Theo Marcuse, a crooked cop, Vic Tayback, several cute women, Jackie Beer and Jocelyn Lane as well as first rate villain, George Macready. Macready is a Nazi type who is bumping off his wartime pals so he can keep all the stolen artwork for himself.

This one is a tad on the weak side story wise, but still worth a look though just to see Macready. Jacqueline Beer was well known to television viewers of the era. She had just finished 123 episodes of 77 SUNSET STRIP.


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