The Electric Grandmother (1982) - News Poster

(1982 TV Movie)


When Maureen Stapleton Became Our Grandmother Forever

35 years ago, the actress sang the body electric.

The handful of actresses I associate with motherhood include ’80s movie and TV staples Dee Wallace, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Joanna Kerns, Judith Light, and Meredith Baxter. They were the ones that comforted me when I was a kid. But when it comes to images of grandmothers, only one woman comes to mind: Maureen Stapleton.

On January 17, 1982, Stapleton was only 55 years old. She had three Academy Award nominations under her belt and was about to receive her fourth. She would win that Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the end of March for her performance as Emma Goldman in Reds. But on this particular night, she was on television in the title role of The Electric Grandmother.

The Emmy-nominated NBC special, part of the network’s Peacock Theatre, was co-written by Ray Bradbury based on his 1962 Twilight Zone episode “I Sing the Body Electric,” the
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Ioncinephile of the Month: Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins)’s Ioncinephile of the Month feature focuses on an emerging filmmaker from the world of cinema. This September, we put the spotlight on the writer-director of The Skeleton Twins. After exploring the thirtysomething slackerhood with the 2009 SXSW Film Festival preemed True Adolescents, Craig Johnson’s sophomore feature visits a paralleled (re)union of sibling spirits where the pursuit of happiness is challenged by the skeletal remains of what was left in one’s past. An examination of the sometimes vacuous, sometimes endearingly noir phases that the psyche tends to visit, the Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award winning film mowed down Park City auds with the versatile Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader proving that comedy and drama do mix.

Johnson’s delicate empathetic portrait of the misfits carries some vintage moments, and was instantly picked up by Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions for distribution and is landing in theatres September 12th.
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