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Greetings, and welcome to CLASSICS ON THE TUBE. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage TV series episodes from the early days of television through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery series. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find an index of episodes reviewed for each television series.

I also cover vintage movies at my sister site, VIEWING THE CLASSICS, so please feel free to check that out as well.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

THE OUTER LIMITS: Second Chance

Guest Stars:  Simon Oakland, Janet De Gore, Don Gordon, Yale Summers, Arnold Merritt
Directed by Paul Stanley
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

An outer space ride at an amusement park is converted into an actual spaceship by an alien, who then abducts hand-picked people at the park to start a new life aboard an asteroid.

An interesting alien makeup and intriguing plot are the highlights of this episode, although the idea that an amusement park ride could actually be changed into a spaceship is a bit fantastic, but I didn't have any problem accepting it and moving on.  The special effects for the vessel's trip through outer space aren't great but they do service the plot well enough.  I wasn't as big a fan of the conflict between the human characters on their voyage which seemed a bit too extreme and over the top to me.  Nevertheless, I thought it was a well-constructed episode with a clever story.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

DARK SHADOWS: Episodes 37-40

Starring Alexandra Moltke, Joan Bennett, Louis Edmonds, Nancy Barrett, Mitchell Ryan
Guest Stars:  David Ford, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Thayer David, Frank Schofield
Directed by Lela Swift & John Sedwick
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

While Victoria investigates a mysterious sobbing coming from the basement, Carolyn makes a play for Burke Devlin, and Roger tries to convince Sam Evans to leave town.

I liked this batch of episodes, glad that we finally seem to be done with the car accident and its aftermath, and welcomed the return of the ?supernatural? sobbing in Collinwood, and the pushing to a head of Sam Evans' secret knowledge of Roger's past.  We also have another actor replacement, with Thayer David (Journey To The Center Of The Earth's Count Saknussemm) stepping in for George Mitchell as Collinwood handyman Matthew Morgan, one of several roles David would play on the series.  Plus we find out Roger has an actual job at the cannery, for anyone wondering about that like I have all this time.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

THE OUTER LIMITS: Specimen: Unknown

Guest Stars:  Stephen McNally, Richard Jaeckel, Gail Kobe, John Kellogg, Peter Baldwin
Directed by Gerd Oswald
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

The crew of a space station take aboard a group of alien spores, but realize too late they're harmful to human life and transport them back to Earth.

This probably wasn't the first story of its kind- I recall similar plot lines in the films The Green Slime and Mutiny In Outer Space, but it's very well done with many suspenseful scenes.  The characters are sympathetic, the special effects are quite passable, and the ethical dilemma of whether or not to bring the astronauts home is effectively presented.  However, I didn't feel that the last act of the story was believable, where the military is surrounded by spores and no one thought to bring gas masks or weapons or try to shield their respiratory systems.  Familiar faces in the cast outside the principals include Gilligan's Island's Russell Johnson, Arthur Batanides of The Leech Woman and Star Trek's episode That Which Survives, and a young Dabney Coleman.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

THRILLER: The Fatal Impulse

Hosted by Boris Karloff
Guest Stars:  Robert Lansing, Whitney Blake, Conrad Nagel, Elisha Cook Jr., Steve Brodie
Directed by Gerald Mayer
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

When a madman's attempt to place a time bomb in a mayoral candidate's office fails, he hides it in a woman's bag on the elevator, and a police detective has but hours to track the unknown woman down.

One of my favorite episodes thus far from the first season, Lansing gives a hard-boiled but empathetic performance in a suspenseful tale adapted from a John D. MacDonald story, and Blake is quite effective as well as one of the women he investigates, who becomes mutually attracted to Lansing's character.  The episode is also gifted with a number of other notable actors, including Cook as the deranged killer, and a surprise appearance by Mary Tyler Moore before she was famous.  The focus on the police hunt keeps things interesting for the entire scope of the hour-long episode as Lansing pieces together clues bit by bit, and although the love story is a bit contrived, I didn't mind it thanks to the chemistry between Lansing and Blake, and the quality of their performances.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

DARK SHADOWS: Episodes 33-36

Starring Alexandra Moltke, Joan Bennett, Louis Edmonds, David Henesy, Nancy Barrett
Guest Stars:  Mitchell Ryan, Joe Crothers, David Ford
Directed by John Sedwick & Lela Swift
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A crushing blow to Joe's future plans leads him to get drunk and confront the Collins family, while Victoria seeks out Burke Devlin to find out what his private investigator found out about her past.

There's a nice showcase for Joe Crothers in this batch of episodes, continuing his role as Carolyn's jilted fiancee, as well as a new actor (David Ford) playing Sam Evans (replacing Mark Allen), and according to IMDB, Allen would never return to the series.  I think that's a shame, as I thought Allen really had a good handle on the character, and excelled in displaying tension in scenes with Ryan as Burke Devlin and Kathryn Leigh Scott as his onscreen daughter.  In other storylines, Victoria accepts an invitation for dinner from Burke Devlin which brings out a jealous rage in Carolyn, who's still viewing him through rose-colored glasses, and Elizabeth's refusal to let Victoria leave Collinwood starts making me wonder if she's her mother or knows who is.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN: Mystery Of The Broken Statues

Starring George Reeves, Phyllis Coates, Robert Shayne
Guest Stars:  Tris Coffin, Michael Vallon, Maurice Cass, Phillip Pine
Directed by Tommy Carr
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

Lois becomes fascinated by a pair of men buying cheap pottery from various shops and then smashing it on the floor, but runs into danger when she tries to investigate what they're up to.

This episode's plot offers a variation of sorts on the Sherlock Holmes story, The Adventure Of The Six Napoleons, although we learn that the men are not looking for a valuable prize inside the statues, but items far more mundane.  Still, the story leads to a similar conclusion.  Coffin & Pine, who guest starred in the previous episode, are back again in this one as the villains, signaling a future trend in the series' casting the same actors again and again.  There's not much for Superman to do in this one, except the inevitable rescue of Lois, but I always treasure scenes with Reeves (as Clark Kent) and Shayne (as Inspector Henderson) playing off of each other as this episode has- the two actors had a genuine rapport even when adversarial with each other.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

STAR TREK: The Conscience Of The King

Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy
Guest Stars:  Arnold Moss, Barbara Anderson, DeForest Kelley, Grace Lee Whitney, Nichelle Nichols
Directed by Gerd Oswald
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

The Enterprise is diverted by an old friend of Captain Kirk's who claims that the head of a Shakespearean troupe is a notorious governor who put thousands of colonists to death.

I'm fond of this episode, which uses Shakespearean drama to launch a drama of its own, and presents a memorable guest performance from Arnold Moss as an actor with demons not unlike the roles he plays.  As Kirk tries to build a case against the actor known as Karidian who sounds like the man from twenty years ago, Governor Kodos, who slaughtered half his people in order to feed the others, he also courts Karidian's comely daughter (played by Anderson).  There's some good scenes for Nimoy and Kelley, along with Nichols, who sings "Beyond Antares" in her best of her few musical showcases in the series.  Bruce Hyde also returns to play Lt. Kevin Riley for a second and final time, who has a crucial connection to the story.  At times it's hard to see why Kirk delays so long to confront Karidian, as the evidence against him seems rather airtight, but the sequence in which Moss reads an edict of Kodos is so well-acted and is worth the wait.