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Party Wire (1935)
5/10
The Whole Town Is Really Talking
17 October 2019
Curiously enough Party Wire came out after the big hit that Jean Arthur co-starred in The Whole Town's Talking with John Ford directing. This film is about a whole town spreading gossip created with bits and pieces.

Party lines are thank God a thing of the past. I remember my grandparents in the 50s still having one. We'd have to wait until someone was finished to use the phone.

The local rich kid Victor Jory comes back to his home town and takeover the creamery which is the main employer. That's news in and of itself. But when a nasty story involving Jory, Jean Arthur, and Bob Allen with a 'theft" of some church funds and a mysterious trip taken the gossips invent some dirt. And dirt travels best by phone.

It all results in a near tragedy for an innocent other party.

Jean Arthur did well and Victor Jory made a nice couple. Occasionally Victor Jory was a nice guy in movies.

Arthur's part might have given Frank Capra some idea that she could be good casting in some upcoming projects of his. After all in Mr. Deeds she's a gossip spreader of sorts. She scores well in this film.

Arthur fans should love this
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7/10
No good to the end
16 October 2019
There was need for a man to play a father figure in Don't Turn 'Em Loose and RKO got Lewis Stone over from MGM and he's perfect as the Judge Hardy like father who gets appointed to the state parole board of his midwestern state.

Bruce Cabot is his son and they think he's abroad working as an engineer, but in reality he's a John Dillinger like criminal operating under an alias. In fact a lot of the Dillinger legend gets worked into the plot of this movie.

When Stone in his official capacity meets up with Cabot in his criminal persona at last is the climax. What follows after is the crux of the film.

This so far is Bruce Cabot's best performance on screen. How easily he slips in and out of a loving son and a public enemy is something to behold. Lewis Stone's anguish at seeing what he really has raised is outstanding acting. And you will not often see James Gleason as the hero cop.

Others in here are Betty Grable as Cabot's wholesome sister and Grace Bradley as his luckless moll who betrays him.

This one is a sleeper from RKO.
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Dax (1993)
Season 1, Episode 7
8/10
When the legend is fact, print the legend
16 October 2019
Terry Farrell and the very nature of her Trill character Dax are the subject of this episode of Deep Space 9 when she is nearly kidnapped off the station. The kidnappers are from another planet where some 30 earth years ago Curzon Dax was involved with some planetary rebels in many ways.

Curzon was a flamboyant rogue of sorts, unusual for prescribed Trill behavior who was a mentor of sorts for young Benjamin Sisko. He is defending Dax past and present though Terry Farrell won't lift a finger in her defense.

Rene Auberjonois goes to the other planet and looks at documents and interviews Fionnula Flanagan the widow of the deceased. All the answers are there.

You know it comes out good for Terry Farrell because she's back for the series run. As for the answer it might best come a classic movie, when the legend becomes fact print the legend.

Nice performance by Anne Haney as the arbiter from Bajor presiding over the extradition hearing.
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Lucy Calls the President (1977 TV Movie)
7/10
Almost like a pilot
15 October 2019
If I didn't know any better I would have sworn that this was a pilot for yet another Lucille Ball series. Might have been a good one. But I doubt that the White House would have put its imprimatur on a TV series, a special but not a TV series by having a first family member appear.

I also don't think that Ed McMahon would have left the Tonight Show and Johnny Carson to do a series either.

McMahon and Lucy are a married couple in a small Indiana town. Ed's father Gale Gordon lives with them and Ed owns a bowling alley. Lucy on a national call-in show speaks to President Carter about a community problem and he decides to drop in as he's speaking in Indianapolis the next day.

The rest of the show is devoted to her frantic preparations for the presidential visit. Such Lucy friends as Mary Jane Croft, Mary Wickes, and Vivian Vance are also in this which features the usual Lucy schemes and situations.

Lucy fans and others will love it.
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Dennis the Menace (1959–1963)
7/10
Such a sweet child
15 October 2019
Until it was obvious that Jay North was entering puberty the Dennis The Menace Show ran for four years. After that some of Dennis's antics might have put him in juvenile court;

The only child of the adult Mitchells Herbert Anderson and Gloria Henry, Hank Ketcham's cartoon urchin was played by Jay North who had the right peroxide blond look for the part as Ketcham drew him.

Of course the favorite foil of Dennis was neighbor Joseph Kearns who struck the right note of curmudgeonlyness. There was also Mrs. Wilson who would have been the perfect grandmother if the Wilsons had grandkids, played by Sylvia Field.

This half hour show set in suburban ideal town USA and it had like Mayberry a host of familiar character players who might pop up in recurring roles. When Wilson wasn't around, Dennis menaced the others.

Kearns died during the run so he was replaced by Gale Gordon as brother John Wilson. Another glaring look and slow burn master.

Poor Jay North, his life was truly spoiled by the show. Still he was a television icon for a while.
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Q-Less (1993)
Season 1, Episode 6
8/10
Q and Vash
14 October 2019
One of my favorite DS9 episodes has a couple of recurring characters from TNG making an appearance. When last seen o TNG John DeLancie as Q and Jennifer Hetrick as Vash went off together to explore the universe.

Hetrick has returned with artifacts from the Gamma Quadrant right through the wormhole. Q makes an appearance later and makes known that he wants Vash back whom he finds as appealing as as Jean Luc Picard did at one time. But Vash is all about the latinum as she partners with Quark for profit to sell her artifacts.

Meantime the station itself is draining power in fits and starts, but might be dragged into the wormhole.

I love this episode, especially Hetrick negotiating with Armin Shimmerman. She has great knowledge of other cultures, even their erogenous zones. Seeing her work on Quark is worth this whole episode.
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Captive Pursuit (1993)
Season 1, Episode 5
7/10
What makes him tick
14 October 2019
Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien takes center stage in this DS9 story of the first contact with an alien species through the wormhole.

Scott McDonald comes roaring through the wormhole and he identifies himself and his species as a Tosk. As his ship is badly damaged Chief O'Brien looks to repair it and get some idea as to what makes a Tosk tick.

All that O'Brien can get is he's on the run from something. When they do get other aliens headed by Gerrit Graham coming to the station looking for McDonald we learn why.

Which I won't say other than there's a prime directive problem involved that O'Brien and to a lesser extent Sisko get involved in trying to work around.

Quite a culture Starfleet encounters.
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Babel (1993)
Season 1, Episode 4
7/10
Aphasia
14 October 2019
A booby trap of a virus was set in Deep Space Nine years ago, a virus causing stroke like aphasia. It starts with Chief O'Brien and takes down most of the regulars before the episode is over.

Major Kira is the one who investigates and finds the how and why. The question is can she get one of the responsible parties to find an antidote.

Some unusual partnerships are forged. Never question the strength of the Ferengi immune system.
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5/10
These ain't Jeff Davis camels
14 October 2019
Wayne Morris and Virginia Grey star in Desert Pursuit which was mostly shot in desert country in Southern California. He's a prospector who struck it rich. she's a fired faro dealer and they travel together as man and wife for conveince sake and to observe the proprieties.

Some Arabs who have imported camels are threatening to take Wayne's gold. The three are Anthony Caruso, George Tobias, and John Doucette. The bulk of the film is taken up with their pursuit with animals more adapted to the desert than horses.

Clearly these are not camels that Jefferson Davis imported when he hoped to start a camel corps. Still they are hardy desert animals. Our Arab villains are a scurvy trio as ever assembled.

Nice location shooting in the desert and a no frills story with a cast that delivers.
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5/10
It was a panther
14 October 2019
One of the annoying things about The Leopard Man is that this was not one of those spotted creatures from sub Sahara Africa. No this was a panther, a black panther and the film was falsely titled.

Dennis O'Keefe comes into Jean Brooks's dressing room with a black panther on a leash. He's her manager and thinks that a great publicity stunt would be for her to walk into a nightclub with it on a leash. They're in a small New Mexico town and this might make the big city papers. Brooks does it and upstages Margo doing her act with the castanets. The leopard gets frightened and bolts.

After that a series of mutilation murders occurs and public opinion is against O'Keefe. But he and Walker do a bit of their own sleuthing as you would expect.

Competent enough mystery thriller. Not too much suspense. I think that anyone who watches enough of these will have the murderer pegged early enough.

Good enough for most mystery fans.
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7/10
My imaginary friend
13 October 2019
Seeing The Curse Of The Cat People reminds me of my niece when she was growing up. Like Ann Carter in this film my niece at that age also had some imaginary friends. Usually kids with high intelligence are ones who make up imaginary friends. They're left behind when kids develop real ones.

In this gothic story Kent Smith, Jane Randolph, and Simone Simon repeat their roles from The Cat People. Smith and Randolph have a little girl now of grade school age. And Ann Carter tells everyone she has an imaginary friend.

We don't see into halfway into the film who it is. But it's Simone Simon who married Smith in the first film and died. She was part of a cult that turned into felines in the first film. None of that here, but she does hold a strange fascination for Carter.

With little to work with producer Val Lewton and director Robert Wise create a world of wonder rather than terror. Though we don't know whether the ghostly Simon as to her intentions until the very end.

No big special effects here, but a good story told with imagination.
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The 'Burbs (1989)
7/10
When there's something wrong in the neighborhood, don't call these guys
13 October 2019
The 'Burbs has Tom Hanks looking to spend a quiet weekend at home with his family with wife Carrie Fisher and son Cory Danziger. But a strange new family has moved into the house next door and he spends his week trying to figure out what their story is.

Meet the Klopeks who have all the characteristics of a Charles Addams creation. When one of their neighbors, elderly Gale Gordon goes missing without an explanation imaginations run wild.

At least the imaginations of neighbors Bruce Dern and Rick Ducommon are stirred and they get Hanks involved. Dern has a real flair for comedy with his creation of this man who loves all things military. Ducommon is a man with a big imagination and no clue.

With the title I thought this would be a general satire on suburban living. It isn't but that's all right. It's a very funny film with a nice twist for an ending.

I also have to say Corey Feldman has one of his best roles though if the creators of The 'Burbs are giving some commentary on 80s American youth. He's kind of a Greek chorus of comment himself on the stupid goings on of the adults.

Very funny stuff, catch it if you can.
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The Money Pit (1986)
7/10
Would you buy a used house from this woman?
12 October 2019
Married couple Tom Hanks and Shelley Long have been staying at her ex's apartment but now they have to get out as famous symphony conductor Alex Gudenov has returned.

So after a lot of hunting they come across Maureen Stapleton's grand mansion in the burbs that she is unloading for a ridiculously low price. Stapleton is as grand as her house. But when she unloads she takes the money and runs.

She'd have made a great used car salesperson. Like a lemon car everything goes wrong and pretty much all at once. Hanks and Long encountering these problems is hysterical. Pretty soon they've sunk all their dough in the place and no end in sight except for their marriage.

The Money Pit is a very funny film that has a nice slapstick quality to it. Liked the leads, but liked Stapleton more. She really chews the scenery in her role, all ten minutes or so.

Anyone who ever dealt with home repair will love this film.
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6/10
The intelligence officer
12 October 2019
The Horrizontal Lieutenant has Jim Hutton assigned to the Army Intelligence division who has had one desultory war when toward the end of WW2 he gets an assignment in the Ryukyu Islands near Japan.

Hutton's mission is to find a Japanese soldier who hasn't surrendered and is stealing all kinds of supplies and he's become a folk hero to the natives. Not exactly looking for Mata Hari.

He might accomplish his task, but he's also spending time trying to score with nurse Paula Prentice whom he knew a bit before the war.

Hutton and Prentice are supported by such stalwarts as Charles McGraw, Jim Backus, Miyoshi Umeki, Jack Carter, and a good group of Asian players. The final capture scene with Hutton, Prentice and their quarry is hysterical.

If you like service comedies this is for you.
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: A Man Alone (1993)
Season 1, Episode 3
6/10
DS9's first murder mystery
11 October 2019
The integrity of Rene Auberjonois is called into question when he wants to throw off the station a Bajoran smuggler with whom he has history. But later the man is found murdered in one of the holosuites at Quark's. The only DNA found in the locked suite is the deceased. Odo the shapeshifter is the suspect.

It's Alexander Siddig who figures it out. Dr. Bashir with a bit of futuristic forensics is our hero here.

Rosalind Chao also has some difficulties establishing a school on the space station, but persist she does. She has a great scene with Max Grodenchik who says no female can teach a Ferengi.

Good main and subplot.
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Past Prologue (1993)
Season 1, Episode 2
7/10
What do we do with a Bajoran exile?
11 October 2019
The new relationship and command structure of DS9 gets a test here as Nana Visitor and Avery Brooks are at odds over how to handle the arrival of former Bajoran freedom fighter Jeffrey Nordling coming to DS9 with some Cardassians in hot pursuit. They want him for terrorist acts, Nordling wants asylum.

There's more to it than that. The infamous Klingon Douras sisters also arrive at DS9. And Andrew Robinson shows how his rather intriguing character Garak the Cardassian tailor has his fingers in many pies.

Confrontation scenes between Sisko and Kira are key here and well done.
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Hogan's Heroes (1965–1971)
7/10
When you stop and think about it
11 October 2019
In the years that Hogan's Heroes was in first run I wonder did anyone stop to think about just how all this came together. POWs who had their own underground running from prison camp Stalag 17. And a commander who was both a fatuous fool and a moron. How did all that come together?

Well if you don't think about these things you can enjoy Hogan's Heroes which was a really funny show. The title role of Colonel Hogan was played by Bob Crane, ranking POW in the camp. Part time Army Air Corps flyer fulltime conman. Each week he had to put something over on the commandant Colonel Wilhelm Klink.

Werner Klemperer was Klink as fatuous as they come. Part of the con was to keep a dope like this in charge so they could run rings around him. As for Klink he and the other Germans had one great fear, the Russian front. Just go along and pretend not to notice certain things.

Even more afraid was Sgt.Schultz, John Banner. He knows his commandant is an idiot and he knows the prisoners are pulling something. But best to feign ignorance. Hence the tagline, "I know nothing",

Hogan's crew are Larry Hovis, Ivan Dixon, Richard Dawson, and Robert Clary. Each had a useful talent necessary for underground sabotage. Dawson was British and Clary Free French. A good bunch of second banana comedians.

Both Klemperer and Banner dealt with real Nazis in real life. I always thought it odd they did this show.

Hogan's Heroes was a funny show. But you really have to suspend disbelief to enjoy it. More than for most shows.
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Emissary (1993)
Season 1, Episode 1
7/10
Captain Sisko's new assignment
11 October 2019
Looking at this inaugural episode of DS9 that provide a hint as to what happens to Avery Brooks in the conclusion. But for now Lt.Commander Ben Sisko and his son Jake are going to a space station that was recently occupied then trashed by the Cardassians as Bajor overthrew their occupation.

What is discovered by Brooks is that there is a wormhole that the Cardassians missed during their stay. That wormhole is central to the overall plot of the series.

The rest of the regulars are introduced. Already on the job is Constable Odo a shapeshifter played by Rene Auberjonois and the Ferengi Quark who runs the local gambling and other sinful activities played by Armin Shimmerman.

Nana Vistor is Major Kira Nuryes of the Bajoran armed services who will be Sisko's number 2. Alexander Siddig is medical officer Dr. Julian Bashir who is anticipating adventure and he got his wish. Terry Farrell is Jadzia Dax who is a double being, a trill. And Colm Meaney transfers from the Enterprise and Chief O'Brien's duties will be keeping the station's systems running.

It was a good beginning for my favorite Sta r Trek franchise series.
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8/10
More than profit
10 October 2019
The second part of this story has both Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes on board Richard Lynch's ship of smugglers. But this group who have been looking for ancient artifacts has more than profit in mind. In fact Robin Curtis who is a Vulcan has an agenda all her own.

It is the Vulcan home world that they are bound with the Enterprise under Data in command. Riker is a prisoner and Picard is incognito as an archaeological expert .

A couple of nice twists in one of TNG's best stories.
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8/10
Picard goes undercover
10 October 2019
This first of two part episode has Patrick Stewart allegedly killed in a barroom brawl. When Jonathan Frakes goes hunting for the killers, he's captured by them and to his relief, but surprise sees Stewart among a gang of thieves where his knowledge of archaeology is coming in handy for the gang.

Naturally Riker does not give Picard away. Richard Lynch is in charge and as usual playing one of his top flight villain characters. He's got a control device that enforces obedience.

Top flight villain in one of TNG's topflight episodes.
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6/10
The Austins lose a maid
10 October 2019
When Abbey Lincoln in the title role of Ivy announces she's quitting to go out on her own, the Austins except for father Carroll O'Connor hit the panic button. Nan Martin is beside herself as the mom and the kids Lauri Peters and Beau Bridges recoil at the prospect of doing for themselves.

Beau Bridges who is a rather shallow character with pretensions of being a flower child comes up with the idea of fixing Lincoln up with a disreputable character so she would see how well off she is and stay. His choice is Sidney Poitier a man with a trucking company who on the side at night has moving casino inside one of his moving vans.

But as these things work out, Poitier falls for Lincoln and mounts an earnest campaign to win her. That campaign is some of the best parts of the film, Poitier and Lincoln have a real chemistry together.

The other part I like is what goes on with Beau Bridges. Some of the dialog between him and his parents remind me of Carroll O'Connor and son-in-law Rob Reiner from All In The Family.

This is a nice feel good movie about a princess who finds a Prince Charming in a strange place.
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Silver Spoons (1982–1987)
5/10
The pangs of riches
9 October 2019
Before Michael Jackson created his own fantasy childhood for someone who never quite grew up we had an 80s series with a child living a fantasy life. This would be Rick Schroder in Silver Spoons. Schroder played Richard Stratton III whose dad was raising him.

There house was like a Michael Jackson creation. Every kind of toy imaginable was there that his dad Joel Higgins provided. But Higgins also wanted him to grow up as normal as possible under the circumstances, so Schroder was always having his friends over and they did the usual kid things. He also went to public school like the rest of his peers.

John Houseman was Richard Stratton I and he raised Higgins quite severely. It was John Houseman so you would expect nothing less. But Higgins was determined on his own course of child rearing.

Others in the cast were Erin Gray as girl Friday, Franklin Searles as the butler, and Alfonso Ribeiro and Jason Bateman as friends who went on to star in TV series themselves.

Silver Spoons was good family entertainment.
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Father Knows Best (1954–1960)
6/10
Meet the Andersons
7 October 2019
If there is a 50s show than Father Knows Best is definitely it. No other television series so typically presented our ideal version of the American family in the Eisenhower years.

It's leads were refugees from motion pictures. Both Robert Young and Jane Wyatt did their share films in Hollywood. But films were being made less and so Young and Wyatt went where the work was, the small screen.

And they got their career roles as Jim and Margaret Anderson all American couple. Jim was an insurance agent, Margaret was a homemaker. In those years of defined parental roles it was unthinkable she would hold down a job as well.

The kids in descending order were Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, and Lauren Chapin. Young had cute nicknames for them, princess, Bud, and kitten respectively. Their problems were always G rated.

Father Knows Best began on radio in 1949 than switched to television in 1954. Except for Young it was a different cast on radio.

For us boomers, the Andersons have a special place in our collective memories.
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The Howdy Doody Show (1947–1960)
7/10
Say kids what time is it.
7 October 2019
With that greeting came the arrival of Howdy Doody, a marionette boy and leading citizen of Doodyville. Later on that name was the subject of much scatalogical humor.

The show's cast divided between marionette creations and some live players in roles. Chief villain of the show was one Phineas T. Bluster the mayor of Doodyville who probably stuffed the ballot boxes. He was a marionette and looked like a Scrooge character. Bluster had all kinds of nefarious schemes which always came up short. A worthy antagonist for the All American Howdy Doody.

Presiding over all of this was Buffalo Bob Smith who hailed from Buffalo, New York. He did it with grace and tact and never talked down to the kid audience. I remember that he had a real heart attack at one point in the 50s. A guy named Bison Bill came in for a bit and Smith's return was welcomed.

Buffalo Bob was assisted by Clarabelle The Clown played by Bob Keeshan who went straight into Captain Kangaroo when Howdy Doody finished its run of 13 years. Clarabelle the Clown usually ended quarrels with those oldfashioned seltzer bottles with the spritzers.

It was a great kid's show, just about in the boomer generation saw it.
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Bad Blonde (1953)
4/10
Putty in his hands
7 October 2019
After a bit too much partying on this side of the pond Barbara Payton got this offer from Great Britain for The Flanagan Boy. She got to play a vixen in a story that resembles Double Indemnity with some traces of They Knew What They Wanted.

Merchant sailor Tony Wright takes up trainer Sid James's offer to 3 rounds with his fighter at a carnival and flattens him. James takes him up he soon as a heavyweight contender and fixes his him up with Frederick Valk as a manager.

Valk likes what he sees, but so does his tramp of a wife Barbara Payton. Soon enough these two are hot and heavy in the kanoodling. But her ultimate game is to kill Valk and Wright might just think long and hard enough with his male member to do it. He's putty in her hands.

This one was a bit too slapdash in its preparation for my tastes. And Payton while gorgeous is not in the category of Barbara Stanwyck as an actress.

This boxing/noir film could have been a contender.
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