Posts Tagged ‘Richard Matheson’

Ray is gone. Even though the news was hardly unexpected (after all, he was 91, and hadn’t been in the best of health for some time, and lost his beloved wife, Marguerite, several years ago, which has put many a man over the edge, as it certainly would me), and I had long been bracing myself for it, it’s hit me harder than I expected. Maybe because I’m a little gloomy anyway these days, and definitely because I not only admired but also knew him, not in a drinking-buddy kind of way, yet in the way of one who has interviewed a person at great length–more on that later–and corresponded sporadically with him after that.

The one time I met Ray face to face was quite by chance and makes for a rather nice anecdote. It had to be 1990, because I was publicizing Behind the Mask, the memoir by gay former MLB umpire Dave Pallone, and for once I was actually in the big time, sitting in the Green Room at CNN while waiting for Dave to be interviewed by Larry King, when lo and behold, there he was, The GREAT Ray Bradbury, over whom I’m sure I shamelessly fawned the entire time. Normally, of course, when an author is interviewed, the publicist sits in rapt attention, drinking in every word, but when Dave returned to the Green Room after his segment, asked me how it went, and heard my lame reply, he looked at me accusingly–but, it must be said, affectionately–and intoned, “You were talking to Ray Bradbury!,” which I could not in good conscience deny.

I had much more contact with Ray by long distance when I conducted a telephone interview for Filmfax‘s late, lamented sister magazine, Outre, that covered pretty much the entirety of the film and television oeuvre written by Ray and/or based on his work. The logistics surrounding that interview, eventually published in 1995, summon up Ray as a man better than anything else I could come up with, because after it turned out that a technical glitch had rendered my entire audiotape blank, he agreed to reschedule and then did the entire goddamn interview all over again. Yes, you read that right. And believe you me, it was not a brief one.

As is widely known, Ray was not only an inspiration but also a kind of mentor/role model/elder statesman for many of the younger writers among what became known as the California Sorcerers, or simply The Group, such as George Clayton Johnson, Richard Matheson, William F. Nolan (all of whom I interviewed for Filmfax and proudly consider friends as well), and Charles Beaumont. It was typical of The Group that they not only were friends, contemporaries, and colleagues, but also wrote for many of the same TV shows, movie studios, and magazines, collaborated on various projects and/or adapted one another’s work for the screen. Ray’s efforts in that last capacity accounted for a goodly hunk of our interview, because by then I was already in the grip of my Matheson obsession, although not yet planning to write Richard Matheson on Screen, and Richard had written the teleplay for the ill-fated 1980 NBC miniseries based on one of Ray’s most famous books, The Martian Chronicles.

Despite his justifiable and quite public disappointment with the miniseries, Ray had the good grace to acknowledge that on paper, Richard’s script did an excellent job of turning a largely unconnected series of stories into a single narrative; like me, he fingered the soporific work of director Michael Anderson as the primary culprit. When it came time for me to write my magnum opus, I drew heavily on our interview for quotes concerning both The Martian Chronicles and their shared experiences writing for The Twilight Zone, which were considerably less happy for Ray than for Richard. And although they weren’t applicable to the book, he had also regaled me with stories of his boyhood pal Ray Harryhausen (another Filmfax interviewee), It Came from Outer Space, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (both 1953), Moby Dick (1956), King of Kings (1961), Fahrenheit 451 (1966), The Picasso Summer, The Illustrated Man (both 1969), the 35-year saga of getting Something Wicked This Way Comes onto the screen in 1983, The Ray Bradbury Theater, The Halloween Tree (1993), his wonderful book Green Shadows, White Whale, and others too numerous to recall.

If all had gone according to the original plan, I would have met Ray face to face one more time in 2005, when he was one of several genre legends who attended a party in L.A. to celebrate the publication of Matheson’s novel Woman, as I was also scheduled to do. But Richard, realizing that I would get completely lost in the shuffle, wisely suggested that I defer my visit for a few weeks until the HWA’s Stoker Awards weekend, when he would be doing a Twilight Zone panel with George (whom I finally got to meet years after our phoner). I’d exchanged Christmas cards with Ray for several years after our own interview, and kept him abreast of my progress on the Matheson book, but was less willing to bother him after Marguerite died in 2003, and it’s been years now since we’d had any contact.

A giant talent, a great soul, a 12-year-old Midwestern boy-poet trapped in an infirm 91-year-old body, but now liberated–and reunited with Maggie–forever, hoisting a few with a delighted God. What more can I say?

I’ll let the author of Fahrenheit 451 have the last word, in a quote that my mother-in-law shared with me when she called a few minutes ago to offer her condolences:  “I don’t try to describe the future.  I try to prevent it.”

Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012

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Although I am neither an expert on nor a particular fan of Dark Shadows, I would be beyond remiss if I did not note the passing at 87 of its star, Jonathan Frid; after all, creator Dan Curtis soon afterward became Richard Matheson’s most frequent collaborator.  I was going to say that I was unfamiliar with Frid’s oeuvre outside the genre when I discovered that, aside from his prestigious stage career, he didn’t have one:  of his five IMDb entries, three are manifestations of Dark Shadows (the original 1967-71 ABC serial; the slam-bang 1970 theatrical compression, House of Dark Shadows, which I heartily enjoyed; and a cameo in Tim Burton‘s imminent travesty).  The others are The Devil’s Daughter, a 1973 TV-movie from Somewhere in Time director Jeannot Szwarc that I have yet to see, and Seizure, Oliver Stone’s indescribably bizarre 1974 feature-film directorial debut, in which Frid co-starred with Martine Beswick and Hervé Villechaize (’nuff said).

Be that as it may, my experience with Dark Shadows was restricted mainly to catching occasional episodes when what was then the Sci-Fi Channel showed two every weekday morning in the early ’90s, at which time–to be blunt–I finally gave up because, no matter how many monsters it featured, it was still a soap opera, with all of the glacial pacing that entailed.  But I saw enough to know that no matter how shaky the sets, silly the scripts or amateurish some of the acting may have been, Frid was always a class act, investing his character of Barnabas Collins with a complexity rare in screen vampires.  As Curtis himself once said, “In most of my horror [stories], I try to find an additional dimension to the monster.  Sometimes you actually end up feeling sorry for him.  We certainly did that with Barnabas,” and that he was able to so successfully is, in many ways, a tribute to Jonathan Frid.

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In the Vortex

Anyone with the slightest interest in the original Twilight Zone should check out the blog The Twilight Zone Vortex, which offers an in-depth episode guide as well as articles on related subjects such as Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine. Working their way chronologically through the series, bloggers Jordan Prejean and Brian Durant are still in the first season, and to date have covered the two episodes Serling adapted from Matheson’s stories, “And When the Sky Was Opened” and “Third from the Sun,” as well as Matheson’s maiden effort, “The Last Flight.” I have found Durant’s analyses to be consistently thorough, accurate, informative, and insightful; “Third from the Sun” also provides a wealth of background material about Matheson.

Full Disclosure Dept.: Am I biased by the fact that Durant endorses The Richard Matheson Companion and my introduction to Noir? Or writes that “I would absolutely recommend Richard Matheson on Screen as the definitive reference guide for anyone wanting to know anything about his work in film and television. It’s a fantastic book”? Or that Prejean calls Filmfax #75-76, the 40th-anniversary tribute spearheaded by Yours Truly and containing my interviews with Matheson, George Clayton Johnson, and Jerry Sohl “probably the single best issue of a genre periodical ever devoted to [the series]…highly recommended”? In the words of Cecil Turtle & Co., Bugs Bunny’s nemeses in Tortoise Beats Hare, “Eh, it’s a possibility!”

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Allow me to offer a mix of holiday greetings and sincerest apologies for the extended silences around here, but since the other blogs that are kind enough to post my musings have far greater readerships than this one, it seems logical to reach as many readers as possible, and then direct you there; more on that in a moment. We have been de-emphasizing gifts lately in the extended BOF clan, so I don’t have a big haul to report, but my darling daughter and her boyfriend did get me two singularly suitable DVDs: an Eddie Izzard documentary and the Criterion edition of one of the great films, Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear. We had a crowd of 15 chez nous on Christmas, and between that and socializing with visiting family members since then, it’s been pretty hectic.

Madame BOF and I are not sorry to see the back end of 2011, with all of its natural disasters, but the changing calendar also highlights the transitions in our lives. Among the most conspicuous, in my case, is the shift in my area of current concentration from the James Bond books and films (themselves a welcome change of pace after 13 years devoted to Richard Matheson on Screen) to Silver and Bronze Age Marvel Comics, actually the resurgence of a lifelong love affair. Yes, my obsessions with Matheson, 007, and the nexus of film and literature continue dominating my life, yet maintaining a day job to support us in the humble style to which we are accustomed severely limits my writing time, so for now, you will likely find me more often over at Marvel University.

As mentioned, because I will be contributing to their regular Wednesday posts on a weekly basis, I won’t bother alerting you to those, but today they are featuring a solo piece (the first written for M.U. specifically), the latest in my series of Snapshots. I fear even these may be an endangered species, not only because of the considerable time involved, but also because as I look over what Marvel published while the ’70s drew to a close, I see less and less that excites me, so if I’m not feelin’ it, there’s no point in forcing it, especially for free. Luckily, I actually took the time over the past couple of weeks to excavate my comic-book collection, which I conservatively estimate at around 3,000 issues, thus giving me plenty on which to weigh in with those Wednesday posts.

Today also marks the long-awaited debut of It Couldn’t Happen Here…, the blog in which M.U.-meisters Peter Enfantino and John Scoleri will analyze an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker a day, just as they have previously done with Thriller, Outer Limits, and Batman. As if their own erudition and witticisms weren’t enough, they have solicited the daily contributions of Kolchak’s greatest chronicler, Mark Dawidizak, who is also a hell of a guy and was extremely helpful to me in the research and writing of RMOS. And, since I am not entirely unacquainted with the pair of Matheson TV-movies that spawned the series, they have kindly invited me to provide a spotlight article on each of those, which you’ll be able to read starting Tuesday…and yes, I’ll remind you.

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It may seem odd for me to write an obituary–however brief–for an actress on the basis of a single role, but I feel compelled to do so in the case of Patricia Breslin, who left us October 12 at the age of 80 and, in my book (literally), is known for playing William Shatner’s wife in Richard Matheson’s classic Twilight Zone episode “Nick of Time.”  So pleased with her performance was Richard that he not only wished she could have done so in the other Shatner/Matheson TZ episode, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” but also strove to recapture their dynamic with the couple in his Thriller script (revised by director/star John Newland), “The Return of Andew Bentley.”  Almost all of Breslin’s other credits were also in episodic television, ironically including an episode of Thriller, as well as a non-Matheson TZ and several episodes of the Hitchcock series, but she did do two features with William Castle, Homicidal (1961) and I Saw What You Did (1965).

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In February, IDW Publishing will unleash the four-part monthly comic book Road Rage, with Chief Creative Officer and all-around swell guy Chris Ryall adapting Richard Matheson’s original 1971 Playboy story “Duel” and another notable work it inspired, “Full Throttle.”  Marking the first collaboration between my former colleague Stephen King and his son Joe Hill, the latter was written for Chris Conlon‘s award-winning tribute anthology He Is Legend; the stories, first paired in the audiobook Road Rage, will be illustrated by, respectively, Nelson Daniel and Rafa Garres.  For those of you late to class, IDW’s distinguished Matheson history includes not only the graphic novels of I Am Legend and Hell House but also the magazine Doomed, which has featured adaptations of “Blood Son,” “Crickets,” “The Children of Noah” and “Legion of Plotters” (not to mention an excerpt from our very own Richard Matheson Companion).

As touched on in my most recent interview with Richard, he and his son and namesake, Richard Christian Matheson, have teamed with ex-William Morris agent Alan Gasmer to form Matheson Entertainment for the purpose of shopping the screen rights to 150 of his multi-media works.  The catch, if you will, is that they are insisting on a greater degree of creative control than Richard has hitherto had over adaptations of his work, presumably to avoid a repeat of The Box (which, now that I think about it, I still need to assess here…someday).  It’s a little unclear to me whether they’re willing to sell some of the rights piecemeal or will only partner with a specific corporate entity; I think it’s the latter, but will of course keep you posted on that and adaptations of Earthbound and “Deus ex Machina” allegedly in the pipeline.

Here’s a nice piece from Variety with further details.

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Had occasion today to plug my name into Google Books, where in addition to the usual Matheson fare and The Nativity–one of several picture books I’d forgotten adapting from animated versions by my erstwhile employers–I discovered Anne Francis: The Life and Career. Laura Wagner, the author of this just-published McFarland title, thanks me in her acknowledgments…which was civil of her, especially considering I had no idea she’d quoted from my Filmfax interview with the late Ms. Francis no fewer than six times. Not that I mind per se, since she cites them all quite properly, but it does seem strange that I was unaware of this, after the hoops McFarland made me jump through getting permission to use previously published material in Richard Matheson on Screen.

Additional random updates/observations:

  • I see NBC has already cancelled Free Agents. Glad I didn’t invest myself in that one–although, considering my track record, can the shows I liked enough to stick with be far behind?
  • Not sure how soon I’ll get to it myself, given how packed my next two weekends will be, but I urge everyone within the sound of my voice to go see Real Steel. It opens tonight and is based on Richard Matheson’s story “Steel,” which he also adapted into an excellent Twilight Zone episode with Lee Marvin, plus it stars Hugh Jackman, so what’s not to like? More on that after I’m able to see it personally, but here’s a nice Matheson-centric piece in the meantime, for which I thank the mighty Turafish.
  • Recognizing boundless enthusiasm and free material when they see it, the good folks at Marvel University have decided to make me a “substitute teacher,” first by re-presenting some vintage Marvel-related BOF posts (if anything from a blog that launched in January 2010 can truly be called “vintage”). They’re supposed to be running my stuff on Sundays starting 10/9, of which I will of course keep you apprised, and then, God willing, once the dust has settled on my epic Bond project, I’ll start churning out new material for them. As I recently told President and Dean of Students Peter Enfantino, he and his partner in crime, Professor John Scoleri, make me remember why I started writing for little or no money in the first place!

Bradley out–and about.

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While preparing Richard Matheson on Screen, I had some very enjoyable correspondence with Christopher Landry, who produced the soundtrack CD for the Matheson-scripted miniseries of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, released on the Airstrip One label in 2002. Chris was kind enough to give me permission to quote some material from his excellent CD liner notes, and recently sent me the following, which he has generously allowed me to reproduce here verbatim:

“I wanted to let you know that I finally obtained a copy of your excellent book, Richard Matheson on Screen. Reading it cover to cover, I found it thoroughly enjoyable. Congratulations on a job well done!

“While you only asked me about The Martian Chronicles, I have a couple of other tidbits of information that you might find of interest…

“First, regarding What Dreams May Come—I was an assistant director on that film (though I think I am credited as ‘producer’s assistant’ because they didn’t want to pay union wages). During the prep of the film in 1996-1997 and up until very close to the time of shooting, we were told that Annette Bening was cast in the role of Annie. Not sure what happened, but Annabella Sciorra seemed to be very much a last-minute replacement. Also, [German filmmaker] Werner Herzog’s cameo in the film [as part of the “sea of faces”] came initially through a request to use footage he had shot in Kuwait during the first Gulf War of the burning oil fields. This was intended for use in a documentary that was ultimately shelved when the similar IMAX Fires of Kuwait came out first. Herzog’s footage was used as VFX plate elements in many of the Hell scenes in What Dreams. It turned out that Herzog was a big fan of Matheson’s book and was eager to do a cameo when [director] Vincent Ward offered it.

“Second, about The Last Man on Earth—there has always been debate about which portions of the film were directed by Sidney Salkow and which were directed by Ubaldo Ragona. There was an Italian DVD boxed set of this film released [c.] 2008 that as a bonus feature shows a number of scenes in split-screen showing a comparison of Salkow’s and Ragona’s direction of the same scene. There are numerous differences, but essentially it’s the same story. There is also a unique bonus feature where you can scroll around a map of Rome, showing the various filming locations used in the film, with then-and-now photos and a clip from the film showing each location.

“Maybe you know about all of the above, but if not maybe it is of interest. Again, great job on the book.”

Actually, I didn’t know about ANY of that, and wish I had in time to use it in the book, but better late than never. Thanks, Chris!

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In honor of my daughter’s recent graduation with a B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University (magna cum laude, I might add), I have dipped into the archives of the Bradley Video Library to excavate a smattering of films with academic settings or themes.  I’ve omitted the Hammer films Fear in the Night, Lust for a Vampire, and The Witches (aka The Devil’s Own), each of them covered in an installment of my multi-part post “If I Had a Hammer,” so as not to be too repetitious.

The Beguiled:  One of five films in which The GREAT Don Siegel directed Clint Eastwood, the best known of which is the original Dirty Harry (made that same year), this shows that as far back as 1971, Clint was interested in doing something out of the ordinary, a trait that’s enhanced his own directorial career as well.  Here, he’s a wounded Yankee solider, given refuge by the man-hungry inhabitants of a Southern girls’ school, whom he thinks he can easily wrap around his finger—but he learns differently, in a macabre and surprising finish.

Bunny Lake Is Missing:  Otto Preminger’s willfully offbeat film was adapted from a novel by Evelyn Piperas was Hammer’s The Nannyby John and Penelope Mortimer (he of Rumpole fame).  Carol Lynley is a transplanted American who says her young daughter disappeared on her first day at an English school, although evidence increasingly suggests she may never have existed; Laurence Olivier underplays beautifully as the police inspector; Keir Dullea is her devoted brother; Noël Coward is her twisted landlord; and Anna Massey (daughter of Raymond and sister of Daniel, later to appear opposite Dullea in Richard Matheson’s ill-fated De Sade) is the headmistress.

Cosa Avete Fatto a Solange? (What Have You Done to Solange?, aka Who Killed Solange?, Solange, Who’s Next?, Das Geheimnis der Grünen Stecknadel [The Secret of the Green Pins], The School That Couldn’t Scream, Terror in the Woods):  Given that this film is filled with naked girls, and concerns a school-based serial killer who puts very large knives into a very unpleasant place (which, given the eventual solution, is less gratuitous than it might be), the last thing one would expect is that it would be dull.  But Massimo Dallamano proves yet again that, although he reportedly came up with Sergio Leone’s signature widescreen closeup as he was photographing the first two films in the Dollars Trilogy, he’s no director.  Adding to that is the fact that the protagonist is very unsympathetic; with the pivotal title character dragged in out of left field about two-thirds of the way through to provide a motive, this is a minor giallo, indeed.

Ladybug, Ladybug:  Independent director Frank Perry and his then-wife, screenwriter Eleanor Perry, crafted this Cold War tale about the effects of a threatened nuclear attack on the students and faculty of a rural school, with William Daniels (unforgettable as John Adams in 1776), Nancy Marchand, and Estelle Parsons in a bit part among the largely star-free cast.  Sobering stuff and sadly so timely today.  It should be noted that the previous year, the Perrys gave Dullea one of his earliest and most acclaimed screen roles in the breakthrough independent hit David and Lisa, adapted from the case history of a couple who fall in love at a school for disturbed youths.

Lord Love a Duck:  I found this black comedy written and directed by George Axelrod, the screenwriter of John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate, to be entertaining but ultimately unsatisfying, most likely because it lacks a solid storyline.  Instead, it’s a scattershot satire of contemporary life with some neat ideas (e.g., a drive-in church) and a good cast headed by Roddy McDowall and Tuesday Weld.  A young Harvey Korman is quite memorable as the wacky high school principal.

Lycanthropus (aka Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory, I Married a Werewolf, Bei Vollmond Mord, Monster Among the Girls, The Ghoul in School, Ghoul in a Girls’ Dormitory):  This characteristically atmospheric but decidedly low-key Euro-horror outing is most interesting when considered in context.  It’s from screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi (aka Julian Berry), who according to Wikipedia “has collaborated with Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, Riccardo Freda, Tonino Valerii, Sergio Martino and Sergio Leone, [and] as such…can be regarded as a chief architect of the giallo and [spaghetti] Western film,” and Paolo Heusch, the nominal director of La Morte Viene dallo Spazio (Death Comes from Space, aka The Day the Sky Exploded), which Bava photographed and reportedly co- (or actually) directed.  The unusually convoluted plot involves not only the titular werewolf (who, if I’m not mistaken, never actually gets inside said dorm in his hairy form, although there are plenty of [sadly non-titillating] scenes set there) but also multiple whodunits, a deformed and sinister groundskeeper (Peter Lorre lookalike Luciano Pigozzi [aka Alan Collins], who appeared in the Gastaldi-scripted La Frusta e il Corpo and several other Bava films), and blackmail.  Just for good measure, the interiors were filmed in an actual castle that was also used for La Frusta e il Corpo and La Danza Macabre.  Curt Lowens, who plays the director of the school, looks and—in the dubbed version—sounds uncannily like Noel Willman from Hammer’s Kiss of the Vampire and The Reptile.  Don’t expect many fireworks.

Night of the Eagle (aka Burn, Witch, Burn):  Notwithstanding George Baxt’s controversial claims to have rewritten it substantially, this is one of Matheson’s best films, and marked his only big-screen collaboration with friend and fellow Twilight Zone scribe Charles Beaumont.  Based on Fritz Leiber’s Conjure Wife (filmed earlier with Lon Chaney, Jr., as one of Universal’s Inner Sanctum mysteries, Weird Woman), it concerns a college professor (Peter Wyngarde) whose wife and colleagues are using magic to help and hurt his career, respectively.  Directed by Sidney Hayers, as were Baxt’s Circus of Horrors and Payroll.  As a side note, Matheson also adapted his story “One for the Books,” in which a college janitor becomes the unwitting—and unwilling—recipient of alien-infused knowledge, as an episode of Amazing Stories.

La Residencia (The Boarding School, aka The Finishing School, The House That Screamed):  This is an unusual, if at times overwrought, Spanish horror film set in a French school for “difficult” girls run by Lilli Palmer.  John Moulder Brown is her teenaged son, who understandably finds the students of interest but is urged by Lilli to wait until he can have “a woman like me”—advice that, unfortunately, he takes all too literally.  Given the film’s European origins and its none too subtle thematic threads of sexual repression, lesbianism, and sadism, it is not as explicit as you might think (or hope, as the case may be).  Trivia fans will note that the “body-building” plot element was used previously in the 1966 Chamber of Horrors and subsequently in May.

What’s the Matter with Helen?:  This may be pushing the “academic” criterion, but because its cast includes the late Yvette Vickers, I’ll let it slide.  Following How Awful About Allan, it’s the second collaboration between director Curtis Harrington and author/screenwriter Henry Farrell of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? fame.  Shelley Winters and Debbie Reynolds are the mothers of convicted killers who try to make a new start opening up a dancing school for kiddies in Depression-era Hollywood, but as usual in a Harrington film, the past comes back to haunt them, which sends Shelley around the bend.

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In the grand tradition of the late, lamented Sunday Drax, here’s a BOF buffet of unrelated items:

  • Those of you who, like me, enjoy fond memories of the immortal comic strip Pogo (written and drawn by Walt Kelly from 1948 until his death in 1973), and won’t rest until there is a Complete Pogo to accompany the volumes of The Complete Peanuts gradually accumulating on my shelf, will appreciate this.  The other day I stumbled across the “online reading journal” Hal’s Quotes & Notes, which has a whole section devoted to Kelly.  Those unfamiliar with the strip may find its Southern-fried dialogue a little perplexing at first, and of course you need the visuals for the full experience, but it’s a great way for Pogophiles to relive some of those memorable moments.
  • For decades, people have entertained themselves by looking for connections between Patrick McGoohan’s great series Danger Man (aka Secret Agent) and its maybe-kinda-sorta sequel The Prisoner, especially as they apply to the whole “Is John Drake Number Six?” parlor game.  I’ve recently resumed working my way through my complete collection of Secret Agent DVDs and, by a curious coincidence, in both of the first two episodes I watched, “That’s Two of Us Sorry” and “Such Men Are Dangerous,” Drake used the omnipresent Prisoner catchphrase “Be seeing you.”  Make of that what you will; for myself, I’m of the belief that Number Six is indeed Drake.
  • Matheson completists, take note!  For years, one of the Holy Grails of elusive items was “The New House,” his pilot for the William Castle-produced anthology series Ghost Story, which left a conspicuous hole in Richard Matheson on Screen until my main man Gilbert Colon saved the day—as usual—by acquiring a crappy gray-market DVD for me.  Yesterday I finally got a copy of its legit release as an extra on the Mr. Sardonicus disc in The William Castle Film Collection (much as I resent having to pay through the nose for the entire set just to get that, since it’s not on Columbia’s stand-alone Sardonicus DVD), and can’t wait to see a decent copy of this thing.
  • Last but far from least, it’s a crime that Sutton Foster isn’t a household name…although, to be fair, our showbiz-savvy choir director tells me that she IS one in Broadway circles.  Last night, Madame BOF and I had the pleasure of attending Roundabout’s revival of Anything Goes, part of a package we signed up for this season, which I expected would be piffle punctuated by great Cole Porter songs.  Well…it is, but with Foster’s outstanding singing, dancing, acting, and looks headlining a cast that includes Joel Grey and Jessica (Play Misty for Me) Walter, we were mighty glad of our second-row orchestra seats; this review by Ben Brantley is absolutely on the money.

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