Greetings!


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!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

THE OUTER LIMITS: The Man With The Power

Guest Stars:  Donald Pleasence, Priscilla Morrill, Fred Beir, Frank Maxwell, John Marley
Directed by Laslo Benedek
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com

A college professor, eager to join a scientific laboratory, implants a device in his brain that allows him to control matter with his brain waves, but fails to realize the power his subconscious now has. 

Pleasence is perfectly cast as the gentle professor whose penetrating eyes are showcased in numerous closeups, pointing to the danger behind them while also conveying his desire to be something important.  The teleplay's emphasis on painting his character as a nobody comes across a little strong, down to his wife and his boss telling him he can't chase his dreams because he's too ordinary, which could have been scaled back a little in my opinion.  Nevertheless, this is a strong episode, augmented by very good special effects and Pleasence's convincing performance.

Monday, July 25, 2016

MY FAVORITE MARTIAN: The Matchmakers

Starring Ray Walston, Bill Bixby
Guest Stars:  Ann Marshall, Laura Shelton, Linden Chiles
Directed by Sidney Miller
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

While taking care of his boss' listless dog, Tim discovers from Martin that the canine is in love with the pooch next door, and Tim tries to bring them together by charming her attractive owner.

A rather silly outing, but the well-trained canines cast in the episode help sell it, and Walston's scenes trying to seriously communicate with the animals are priceless.  There's one sequence that's a little too derivative of 101 Dalmatians but it didn't bother me too much, and the plotline did fit in rather well with the series' quirky humor.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

MY FAVORITE MARTIAN: My Favorite Martin

Starring Ray Walston, Bill Bixby
Guest Stars:  Pamela Britton, Ina Victor, Ann Marshall, Herbert Rudley, J. Pat O'Malley
Directed by Sheldon Leonard
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

Newspaper reporter Tim O'Hara rescues a Martian when he crash lands on Earth, and passes him off to his friends and neighbors as his Uncle Martin.

The debut episode of this charming sci-fi comedy series prepares us for many entertaining installments to come, anchored by the two talented leads, who have a fine rapport with each other.  Comedy veteran Leonard directs a witty script from series creator John L. Greene, and although there's fairly decent effects in place to show Walston's descent to Earth, his rising antennae and Bixby's performance carrying him while "invisible" are even more memorable.  A fun start to a fun series.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

THE OUTER LIMITS: The Architects Of Fear

Guest Stars:  Robert Culp, Leonard Stone, Martin Wolfson, Geraldine Brooks, Hal Bokar
Directed by Byron Haskin
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A top secret agency, in an effort to distract Earth's warring nations, surgically alters one of their own men, and plans to introduce him to the world as an authentic alien invader.

This episode is well-filmed, with strong performances and a clever makeup for the alien Culp is transformed into, but the script leaves a bit too much unsaid.  We know that the agency is trying to distract the world from its wrong-headed conflicts, and force them to unite against this alien presence, but it's never explained how, nor is Brooks' psychic connection to her husband which is used to unravel the plot.  Nonetheless, it's another showcase for the unique aliens of this series compared to previous film efforts and the less-inspired creations in many sci-fi series to come.

Monday, July 4, 2016

THE OUTER LIMITS: The Hundred Days Of The Dragon

Guest Stars:  Sidney Blackmer, Phillip Pine, Mark Roberts, Aki Aleong, Richard Loo
Directed by Byron Haskin
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

An Asian dictator concocts a scheme to gain influence in the White House by replacing a leading candidate for President with his own agent, whose features have been altered to resemble him.

Borrowing its plot from of all things the 1942 Bela Lugosi film Black Dragons, this episode is a less than convincing thriller, although the makeup effects by Fred Phillips, illustrating how drugs can make the human face malleable, are well-done.  With its use of Oriental music and focus on Blackmer's heavy-lidded eyes in a number of scenes meant to show the agent's true origins, the production relies on old stereotypes, rather than finding something creative to say, which seems the antithesis of what this series is supposed to be about.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

THE OUTER LIMITS: The Galaxy Being

Guest Stars:  Cliff Robertson, Lee Philips, Jacqueline Scott, Burt Metcalfe, Allyson Ames
Directed by Leslie Stevens
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

The technician for a radio station borrows the station's power to transmit into space, and succeeds in contacting an alien being from another galaxy.

The debut episode of this revered anthology series features an intriguing script from director and series creator Stevens, in which the alien encountered is far different from anything seen before or in most of the filmed science fiction to that point.  It's appearance as a glowing robot-like form with claw like hands is very distinctive, and one wonders if Star Wars character C-3P0 may have been inspired by this creature.  It makes for daringly different television, and a fine kickoff to the short-lived but memorable series.