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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!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

THE OUTER LIMITS: Corpus Earthling

Guest Stars:  Robert Culp, Salome Jens, Barry Atwater, Ken Renard, David Garner
Directed by Gerd Oswald
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

After suffering an accident at his wife's geology lab, a doctor has difficulty getting others to believe when he hears the thoughts of alien rocks out to conquer the world.

One of the nuttiest episodes of the series I've seen thus far, it's difficult at times to take seriously until the rocks change form into tentacled creatures that crawl across the floor, and latch onto the faces of their human victims.  The creatures are so similar to the "face-hugger" form from the Alien movies, one wonders if this might have been an inspiration.  Although makeup supervisor Fred Phillips delivers an effective zombie like makeup for the humans whose minds have been taken over, it's not a terribly captivating story, and the presence of a Mexican mystic who's worked into the plot seems an awkward fit, apparently only around as a device to get Culp to return to his wife after she's been taken over.  Nevertheless, the loony goings on sustained my interest, and the special effects that animate the rocks and transform them are serviceable enough.

Friday, February 17, 2017

STAR TREK: Mudd's Women

Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy
Guest Stars:  Roger C. Carmel, Karen Steele, DeForest Kelley, Maggie Thrett, Susan Denberg
Directed by Harvey Hart
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

Notorious smuggler Harry Mudd is captured and beamed aboard the Enterprise, along with three gorgeous women with a strange hypnotic power over the male members of the crew.

Roger C. Carmel and his trademark curled mustache made just two appearances as Harry Mudd during Star Trek's three year run, but brought the comical rogue to such wonderful life with the aid of Stephen Kandel's well-written dialogue for the character, that he's become one of Trek's more memorable guest stars.  He's perfectly charming in a plot more serious than in his follow-up appearance in the episode I, Mudd.  Mudd's introduction here coincides with one of Gene Roddenberry's more transparent messages within the series on the subject of illegal drugs, but effectively delivered with clever makeup and lighting effects.  This is also the episode that introduces dilithium crystals as the source of the starship's power, although they're referred to simply as "lithium" this time.  My thanks to Dan Day Jr. for pointing out that one of Mudd's women is played by Susan Denberg, the Playboy model who was showcased in Hammer Films' Frankenstein Created Woman, and not redubbed in the episode as she was in that film.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

SHERLOCK HOLMES: The Sign Of Four

Starring Peter Cushing, Nigel Stock
Guest Stars:  Ann Bell, Paul Daneman, John Stratton, Ailsa Grahame, Howard Goorney
Directed by William Sterling
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

Holmes unravels the mystery behind a secret treasure that led to a man's untimely death, while Watson falls for the man's beautiful daughter.

Based on the second Sherlock Holmes novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the teleplay does an impressive job of condensing the large story down to an hour-long episode, but as was the case in the series' adaptation of A Study In Scarlet, much of the backstory of the characters central to the mystery is lost, which leaves us little time to get to know them.  The episode also curiously drops Watson's proposal of marriage from the adventure, leaving his fascination with Bell's character largely unfulfilled.  What remains is still worthwhile viewing, but the camerawork is not as inspired as in previous episodes, and the mystery not as enticing.