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3/10
Odor eaters couldn't cure this stench.
22 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Poor sound, choppy editing and unnecessary narration are the keys to this unimaginative "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" rip-off that is about as believable as "The Tingler" is serious. A mysterious cone contains the alleged brain eaters that control their thoughts, not devour them. It's as dull as poor science fiction can get with Ed Nelson and Joanna Lee leading the search for the mysterious control center and facing human monsters taken over by these parasites.

I've seen dozens of these science fiction/horror films of the late 1950's and 1960's that range between imaginative and intelligent, hysterically campy and pathetically sleep enducing. The horrible title is just the beginning of the flaws of this miserable disappointment that is often difficult to see in scenes depicting extreme fog. Fortunately, it's over in just an hour, but even that was a challenge for me to tolerate.
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6/10
The only thing that this is missing is Scooby and Shaggy.
22 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I wonder if the creators of Scooby-Doo saw this movie in 1964 and based the popular animated mystery series on the concept. It's quite different in the sense that involves two couples (Ron Foster and Merry Anders; Richard Crane and Erika Peters) who stay in a mountaintop mansion that looks strangely like something you'd see in the Pepperdine area of Los Angeles county. In fact, it's obvious that Foster and Anders are driving up the Pacific coast and turn off on the road that leads into the hills in that area. When they are given the keys (of which there are 13) to the mansion and they disappear, they suspect that something chilling is up. Rumors that the original owner (Georgia Schmidt) murdered and decapitated an intruder makes a foursome believe that the house is truly haunted.

This is an innocent but charming little B horror film that actually has a comical tone to it and ends up being quite entertaining. At only 63 minutes, it's like a programmer from the 1940's yet done in 1960's terms. Richard Kiel, the 6'7" gentle giant, plays a hulking figure who seems very threatening, and Alyene Selyer, the extremely obese woman in "The Loved One" (and who also danced with Stanley Holloway in "My Fair Lady") is quite sweet. while the atmosphere is somewhat spooky in the first three quarters, overall, it is not gruesome and is quite suitable for youngster, and ultimately simply charming.
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2/10
The hole isn't in the ozone. It's in the screenwriter's head.
22 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Just when I thought I'd seen all of the atomic age science fiction, along comes this one, a laughable exercise in moronic attempts at giving the drive-in crowd some quick thrills between make out sessions. For viewers of it now, it's painfully boring for 3/4 of the film and when the cosmic monsters do appear, they are filmed with such dark close-ups that it becomes a frenzied attempt to make a last minute point.

Initially seen with a goatee that makes him look like Bela Lugosi in "White Zombie", Martin Benson reveals himself as a citizen of a civilized planet who, like many other movie aliens, has come to Earth to warn us about our actions in the age of atomic power. It seems that the ozone layer has been punched through and this causes normal insects to increase in size and search out food among the much-smaller humans. For about 10 minutes, we see these close-ups, and they are so badly done, it's just not worth the wait to get to this point.

Poor Forrest Tucker had a better time falling off the Alps in "Auntie Mame" the same year than he does here, working with Alec Mango and Gaby André on various scientific experiments that not only open up the ozone layer but destroy TV reception as well. It's simply just pretentious stupidity all along with poor special effects that will have you shaking your head if you don't fall asleep before hand.
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5/10
Everybody thinks they know who Jack was!
22 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
A rather sordid and violent atmosphere prevents this B tale of real life murder and mayhem from becoming something that would have been acceptable for a late 1950's TV anthology show. It obviously doesn't ring any reality bells, but it's entertaining enough and fast paced to become a passable horror programmer.

The typical foggy atmosphere, slim gaslit cobblestone streets, and floozy streetwalkers are expected for the 1880's London atmosphere, and the actual attacks (unbloody fortunately) are appropriately horrifying. Typical public paranoia takes over for every stranger on the streets, including American detective Lee Patterson who is actually there by request to aide in the investigation.

The ripper is out to find someone named Mary Clark, heard whispering the name before he strikes. This script presumes to solve the cast, but 140 years later, there's no evidence of the real ripper's identity. My favorite ripper story is 1979's "Murder By Decree", with "Time After Time" a close second. 1944's "The Lodger" is also preferable to this which thanks to some good photography and a dramatic music score is just average.
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5/10
Wax melts. Bodies don't.
22 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This is your typical British programmer, cheaply made and claustrophobic, but loaded with atmosphere. It has a great set-up with British nobleman James Carew agreeing to spend the night at Madam Tussaud's on the very night that his wax statue is placed there. So among the many king's and queen's and real life monsters, Carew must deal with the eerily shadowy figure (some of which move) as his pretty niece Lucille Lisle deals with a fiancee who proposed to her with ulterior motives.

The first third and last third are fine, surrounded by a rather dull un-thriller, typical romantic nonsense that nearly stops the film cold. The last third is particularly chilling, although I would hardly refer to this as either a horror film or a mystery. It's still watchable thanks to its extremely short running time, small dollops of humor and some very realistic wax statues.
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Maude: Maude's Night Out (1973)
Season 1, Episode 22
6/10
She never leaves the bedroom.
21 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This is a two set episode, showing mod and Walter preparing for a party in their bedroom and bathroom, opening and slamming the closet door shut. They are ready to go, then change their mind, arguing over whether or not they really want to go with Walter obviously in favor of staying home. It comes out that Walter doesn't like the host whom he claims is always boggling mod, and then secrets about the unseen host and hostess are revealed.

Maude and Walter fought in practically every episode and made up by the end, and this season one finale is no different. This is different than "The Convention" episode which just featured the two of them, even though the episode featured a fight as well. We get to see Maude dress, undress, and dress again, and Walter's jealousies eventually seem unfounded. This shows Maude's hypocricies, gossiping about her supposed closest friends (never seen), so it's very real in nature. I don't recall any other sitcom that had these types of special episodes, and coming from Norman Lear (who produced many of the best sitcoms of the 1970's), that adds to the uniqueness of the series.
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Maude: The Perfect Marriage (1973)
Season 1, Episode 21
7/10
Is there such a thing?
21 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Her wig is still gray but much more flattering than the one Rue McClanahan wore in an earlier season one episode. She's back as Maude, Walter, Vivian and her husband Chuck (William Redfield) return from Jamaica and reminisce about the cruise before Vivian and Chuck announce that they are getting a divorce. This leads to their claim of boredom which brings out Maude's insecurities once again and leads to a big fight between her and Walter.

The reappearance of Vivian informs the audience that there's a lot about the Findley's private life that the audience does not know about. Vivian's dizzy characterization isn't as prevalent in this episode as in later appearances, so it's obvious that the writers were unsure of who she was. But it's another episode that brings out the passion in their marriage after a big fight, a recurring plot device throughout the series.
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Maude: Maude's Good Deed (1973)
Season 1, Episode 20
7/10
When you are over 40, you don't count days. You count opportunities.
21 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
No, that's not Bonnie Franklin as guest star Rosemary Murphy's problematic daughter. That's soap opera veteran Lee Lawson ("Love of Life", "Guiding Light") who shows up at Maude's interference for a reunion due to their estrangement. It's another case of Maude becoming involved in a situation she doesn't have any right to interfere in, and Lawson makes a play for Arthur whom Murphy is attracted to. Maude doesn't learn over her mistakes, interfering even though she is called out for her initial interfering.

There's a ton of classic movie references here, and it's delightful to see Arthur (Conrad Bain) having a bit of romance This makes him seem less stuffy, and he's very funny. Like "Phyllis" from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", Maude is a great eccentric character whose guest appearance on "All the time Family" lead to her own series, even though on first glance, she doesn't look like a leading character. Bea Arthur pulls it off because like the plotline here, it's fun watching her get her comeuppance.
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Maude: Walter's Secret (1973)
Season 1, Episode 19
7/10
Maude relives a storyline from "Love of Life".
21 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
"My God", Dorothy Zbornak said on "The Golden Girls", "I sound like I'm on Ryan's Hope". Here, she references another nearly forgotten daytime soap opera after suspicions arise that Walter is having an affair. It turns out that Carol saw Walter in a cocktail lounge with another woman and accidentally spills the beans, causing a funny confrontation between Maude and Walter, and her more furious over his temptations than the actual truth.

Once again, Maude's insecurities take over her sensibilities, showing that underneath all of that feminist bravado is a woman who has her faults that prove her real vulnerability. It's well written and funny, yet compared to many of the other episodes of the first few seasons is rather ordinary in plot. It's only in the details that makes this better than average, a tribute to the excellent cast, writing and direction.
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Maude: Florida's Problem (1973)
Season 1, Episode 18
9/10
Esther Rolle gets her chance to shine.
21 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Having been a drop gag girl other than her introductory episode, the character of Florida Evans gets the chance to shine here, and the affection between her and Maude begins to really take shape. She's been practically ordered by husband John Amos (Henry here, not James) to quit her job, making her come in to work in a horrible mood. She tells Maude that if she makes her cry, she'll never forgive her, and the next thing you know, she's crying in Maude's arms. Maude's intro to Henry isn't exactly what creates peace, and yet, the laughs are still fast and furious.

Maude may sometimes be a pain in the rear-end for Florida, but it's obvious that she sees Maude's big heart. Thanks to confidence that Florida has gained during her short time as Maude's employee, she's able to stand up for herself. The racial differences are overshadowed by gender differences as Henry and Walter join forces against Maude and Florida, but the real reason is deeper than just chauvenism and racism, and that makes this a remarkably complex issue. In spite of his arrogance, Henry is understandable, and it's a great intro to his character.
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Maude: Arthur Moves In (1973)
Season 1, Episode 17
9/10
The best way to start to hate a friend is to allow them to move in.
21 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Maude may like Dr. Arthur Harmon deep down, but that doesn't mean that she can spend more than just a few hours of her time with him. While some repairs are being done on his house, he stays with Walter and Maude and creates a lot of tension even though he continuously insists on going to a hotel, which Walter will not her of. Of course it takes one playful argument to bring out the silliness in the situation which greatly lightens it up for them. And of course, there's Arthur's recurring speech about how society is heading down the toilet which leads to a ridiculous concluding line that makes Maude even crazier than she had already become due to his presence. As stuff though as Arthur could be, there was always that hint of a big heart underneath all that pompousness, and Conrad Bain makes him one of the best written supporting characters on a sitcom. There's also references to toy machine guns being inappropriate play, but of course, the adults end up using it as a prop to get out their frustrations that show that even acting more like children than children can sometimes become the key to getting one's frustrations out. It's a very funny episode that even adults nearly 50 years later can relate to.
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Maude: Maude and the Medical Profession (1973)
Season 1, Episode 16
8/10
Maude is really itching for a vacation.
21 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
On the verge of becoming a household name (after being a Broadway name thanks to his role as Fiorello LaGuardia in the hit Broadway musical "Fiorello!"), Tom Bosley plays an acquaintance of Arthur's who treats Maude for a rash as she and Walter are about to head to Italy. Maude's rash is in the most inconvenient place for a long flight, and Bea Arthur makes the most out of scratching, rubbing and squirming on her itchy back end. This gives Bea a ton of funny material to work with, especially when she arrives at Bosley's office, and is kept waiting and practically ignored in her attempt to be quickly treated. She overdoses on some rash medication which makes her appear drunk, and Bea takes it to the limit with her woozy condition. When she sobers up, she uses her situation to her advantage to tell Bosley off, threaten a law suit and make a point of how an overworked doctor needs to slow down with each of their patients to make sure they get the best treatment possible. It's a lot funnier than what Bea and writer Susan Harris did years later with the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome episode on "Golden Girls", and yet still makes important points about issues in the medical field which are still timely.
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Maude: Walter's 50th Birthday (1973)
Season 1, Episode 15
7/10
Everybody has to turn 50 sometime.....hopefully.
21 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This is a funny but bittersweet episode that has Walter reunited with his old childhood friend John Heffernan on his 50 birthday....rather briefly and ending in the most unsettling way. Walter's already upset by the fact that he's half way through a century of life, and if briefly and happily reunited with Heffernan, He's in the middle of performing an old childhood vaudeville routine for Walter when he all of a sudden collapses, and in his grief, Walter keeps repeating the same routine over and over, driving Maude crazy with his depression. It's a dark, funny episode where mortality becomes a subject of concern for the not so old Walter, giving the characters the chance to get some laughs out of a serious subject.
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Maude: The Convention (1973)
Season 1, Episode 14
8/10
It's Maude and Walter only for one of the series special episodes that is very character revealing.
21 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Every so often during the six season run of "Maude", there would be an episode that focused on only a few of the characters with the others conspicuously absent from the action. This is the first in the series, taking Maude and Walter out of town to a convention, and staying in a rather tacky motor lodge that has a magic fingers machine on each bed and walls seemingly as thin as cardboard. Maude and Walter fight throughout over her role as "the little woman", and she continuously expresses her desire to be just more than a housewife, mother and grandmother. Walter reminds her of her busy social life which she claims is still meaningless without a career, and this shows the changing world of women in society in the early 1970's. There are several off stage shouts for them to shut up so at the end when the unseen proprietors want to take their picture, it seems like they will be added to a wall of "do not allow these people to check in" rather than "they are an actual married couple" which Walter and Maude are told. It really gives great detail into their inner personalities, show how loving couples can fight bitterly and make up in ways that strengthen the marriage simply because how much they love each other. I'm sure many married couples related to this experience which makes "Maude" truly one of the most ground breaking sitcoms in history.
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Maude: The Slumlord (1972)
Season 1, Episode 13
6/10
One of many "Maude" episodes later re-done as a "Golden Girls" episode.
21 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
At least here, Walter and Maude don't go under house arrest and have to live in their roach filled Harlem home where dozens of people allegedly are crowded together in one room. Walter has made an investment in a tenement in Harlem, not realizing that it is basically a dump that needs to be torn down and re-built with proper living conditions. One of the tenants (Nolan Bell) finds out who the investors are and chooses Maude and Walter's house to protest outside of. Bell is actually a very sweet older man, and makes repeat visits to the house to use the facilities as Walter and Maude figure a way to get out of this mess. Bell is delightfully deadpan and steals the episode with his constantly cheery personality with the ability to be a Greek chorus to the action going on around him. Writer Susan Harris took ideas from this episode obviously and expanded it later on to have Dorothy an unwilling party to Stan's purchase of a Miami tenement that is just seen, while the apartment building conditions here are just implied.
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Maude: The Grass Story (1972)
Season 1, Episode 12
8/10
That's the pot calling the kettle Maude.
20 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Maude and a bunch of her activist friends are involved in a protest concerning a teenager arrested for pot possession, and it's up to Maude to get the pot. After arguing with Walter, she ends up taking in oregano instead creating all sorts of humorous conflict at the police station. Elizabeth Fraser returns Lorraine, although there's no mention of her pregnancy from a few episodes before. It is another amusing episode with social issues as the major conflict, and the resolution is very ironic.
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Maude: Maude's Reunion (1972)
Season 1, Episode 11
7/10
Maude may be in orange, but her face is green.
20 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This episode is worth it just to see Maude do a college cheer, act out the poem "Slither Dee Dee" and become increasingly jealous of old college pal Barbara Rush. Her envy is hidden by sarcasm of Rush's single status, having changed from a rather plain young woman with an overbite to a glamorous Avon executive. it's a good episode that shows in great detail Maude's insecurities as well as Rush's envy of Maude's more structured life. Bea Arthur is very funny as she desperately tries to get Rush's attention towards her mother of the year award. There's also a great rapport between Rush and Adrienne Barbeau in conversations about the changing world of women in the working field.
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Maude: Maude's Dilemma: Part 2 (1972)
Season 1, Episode 10
10/10
Vasectomy after Golf, a new play by Noel Coward.
20 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Well, not really, but that's what Maude says after Walter announces that he's going to have a vasectomy. He keeps his feelings about her pregnancy to himself, only saying that he believes that Maude knows what he wants. To Arthur, he confides that he doesn't want to make Maude's moral decisions for her but down deep doesn't want to have the responsibility of being a father at his age.

Veteran actor Robert Mandan guest stars, one of several appearances on "Maude" in different roles. Elizabeth Welsh also appears as a pregnant neighbor who relishes thr idea of being a mother again (for the fifth time). The episode has its share of laughs, but really is more serious in nature. The writers really explore all of the issues here, giving the episode a fair view of the situation.
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Maude: Maude's Dilemma: Part 1 (1972)
Season 1, Episode 9
10/10
Maude's hopping mad over her news.
20 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
And the rabbit died laughing!

Controversy took over the media for both parts of this episode where the 47 year old Maude discovers that she's pregnant, leading to hysterical reactions of her friends and family. Future regular Rue McClanahan makes her first appearance as Vivian, unfortunately wearing a hideous gray wig that is completely unflattering on her. The funniest script of the series up to this point deals with women's rights concerning reproductive issues and Carol's urging Maude to have an abortion.

This deals with Maude's dilemma over whether or not to have the baby, and the support she gets is really touching, especially by Walter and Carol. It's an intelligent and witty episode that also deals with men's responsibilities concerning their part in creating pregnancy. It may seem rather tame now, but in 1970's sensibilities, it was far too liberal for millions. That makes this one of the most important shows in the series' history as well as in TV history.
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Maude: Flashback (1972)
Season 1, Episode 8
7/10
Nixon 6, McGovern 4.
20 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
It's election day 1972 (airing a few days before the real election day) and Maude, Walter, Arthur and Carol recall how Maude and Walter fell in love. It was the very first moment that Walter declared. "Maude, sit!" to which she replies after, "I sat!" That very moment has her furious over realizing this means that she loves him, something that really scares her.

A fun trip down memory lane shows why of her marriages, the one with Walter was the one meant to last. The cast gets to youthen with Adrienne Barbeau having a much better hairstyle than the one she had in the other episodes of season one. The guest appearance by Van Johnson seems unnecessary as he's too big of a star to have had such a pointless cameo. Conrad Bain gets a lot of laughs for his pompous conservative politics.
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Maude: Love and Marriage (1972)
Season 1, Episode 7
7/10
What's love got to do with it?
20 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Twelve years before Tina Turner first recorded her signature song, guest star Frank Aletter nearly utilizes the exact same lyrics as he reflects on Carol's desire to marry him in spite of the fact that she doesn't love him.

Yes, she respects him, and they've apparently been dating on and off for two years, but after dealing with lecherous bosses and no father for her son, she's ready to take what she can get. Her motivations make sense to her and Aletter, but Maude is opposed.

This episode is loud and even violent, but very funny as the audience witnesses brutal fights between Carol and Maude first, and later a dish breaking fight between Walter and Maude. But the fight wakes Carol up so it has a point.
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Maude: The Ticket (1972)
Season 1, Episode 6
6/10
Maude fought the law, and the law won.
20 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The law of Maude, however!

With young police officer Jon Korkes following Maude home for speeding, Maude has her hands full trying to get herself cleared. Judge Vincent Gardenia is influenced to dismiss the charges, but Maude nearly makes the situation worse. This is a decent episode that shows Maude's screwy desire to control everything and everyone around her, but has a lengthy opening scene that goes on way too long.
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Maude: Maude and the Radical (1972)
Season 1, Episode 5
10/10
"As nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers."
20 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
"I heard it on Hee Haw... the Dean Martin show...Sonny and Cher..." It's a dated joke that works because of the deadpan way Maude, Walter and Arthur respond to it. Florida even gets to be the recipient of the "God'll get you for that" joke, laughing at Maude's audacity and even doing an Aunt Jemima impression.

Maude's the nervous long tailed cat as she prepares for a fund raising party with her usual over the top liberal intentions, hosting a get together for black activist Jim Chambers and using Florida to pose as an upscale black guest. But Maude requires more than her share of tranquilizers which makes her extremely loopy and hysterically out of control. This shows Maude at her most deliciously ridiculous, resulting in a very funny episode that is certainly one of the best of the series.
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Maude: Like Mother, Like Daughter (1972)
Season 1, Episode 4
7/10
God couldn't be everywhere. That's why he invented mothers.
19 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Maude's jealous when Carol dates an old boyfriend of hers (Cesare Danova) and does her best to interfere, but becomes briefly amused when Carol reveals that during what Maude assumed to be an intimate moment called her Maude. Of course, there's more to it than that, but try telling that to the stubborn Maude. Danova is charmingly pompous and very funny in his conceit. More perfect timing in a funny episode that shows exactly why this still stands the test of time as classic comedy.
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Maude: Maude Meets Florida (1972)
Season 1, Episode 3
10/10
A thin line between love and hate, and Maude's erasing it.
19 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
"God'll get you for that Walter" is used for the first time as is "Maude, sit" in this hysterically funny episode that introduces Esther Rolle as the compromising, enterprising right on Florida Evans, Maude's new housekeeper. Maude spoils her in a patronizing way that makes Florida uncomfortable, proving that sometimes, liberalism can just go too far.

It's obvious that Maude's attempt to try to improve Florida when she doesn't need improving is going to set up two seasons of conflict that will have them both loving and hating each other in a most delightful way. Carol proves herself to be a more sensible liberal, instantly winning Florida's respect because she simply sees Florida as a human being who just happens to be black, rather than Maude who will bluntly apologize to a black person when they simply just introduce themselves. Rolle is a welcome addition to the cast, although I wish she would have more to do than just drop a wisecrack and then leave the room.
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