“ I noticed that the toy clown that served as a prison for James West in "The Night of the Whirring Death" is present (in living color!) in the opening scene.
They also reused the prop(mouth he comes out of) in the opening scene with Vance Markham in S4 TNO Miguelito’s Revenge.
I'll watch for that when I get there.
I remember reading in Sue Kesler's book that Michael Garrison had a reputation as a spendthrift when he produced the episodes early in Season 2. And that lead to Bruce Lansbury being brought in as producer #5 (after Collier Young, Fred Freiberger, John Mantley, and Gene L. Coon) to bring the show under control.
But watching "The Night of the Eccentrics", it doesn't appear a particularly lavish production compared to what we saw in Season 1. The prop reuse being evident for example.
However, apparently the switch to color photography was, in itself, very expensive and perhaps CBS expected Garrison to cut back on the production in other ways to offset costs.
For example, as stated regarding contemporary show "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (a show I never watched until it came to DVD in 2006):
Seaview Leaving Pearl Harbor. From "Mutiny."
Loss of the wonderful sort of composite imagery seen here is the price Voyage paid for its transition to color in 1965. Apparently, budget constraints made these more-expensive kinds of sequences impossible.
I watched this episode several days ago, but am just getting around to posting my commentary now.
I first needed to catch up on Sue Kesler's book, and I see that Ethel Winant was quoted about Michael Garrison going over budget in the early season two episodes. And looking at this episode, I can see why. In addition to a prominent guest star (Boris Karloff), there was a large cast, including a pair of Hindu Dancers, and also several animals including a tiger, leopard, and elephant. All of this could not have come cheap, and it wasn't all essential to the plot.
Regardless, a good, fun outing. I especially liked Jim's "secret weapon" box of matches and Artie's Indian rope trick.
Post by Primemovermithrax Pejorative on Oct 26, 2019 21:09:27 GMT
Good to know. I was wondering when the color started but too lazy to check.
"Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow." Frankenstein
"The Night of the Raven" AKA "The Incredible Shrinking (Secret Service) Man"
Obviously inspired by The Incredible Shrinking Man, right down to the cat, dollhouse, and spider. But what a great episode! This may be another reason why Michael Garrison had a reputation as a spendthrift. The sets and special effects to pull off West's miniaturization must have been expensive.
Some other thoughts:
The interior of the Sheriff's office was obviously shot on a sound stage
The interior of Loveless' house was used in various Season 1 episodes
Black thread moving the Venus Flytraps is visible in one shot
The miniature effects are good, shadows are visible throughout. I mention that because when the titular The Incredible Shrinking Man casts no shadow, it's a dead giveaway that a process shot was used.
There is one continuity error, though. West tells Loveless, "Three times you tried, and three times you failed." Excuse me Jim, I count four times:
- The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth (1965) - The Night That Terror Stalked the Town (1965) - The Night of the Whirring Death (1966) - The Night of the Murderous Spring (1966)
For some reason I was hesitant to move on to this episode, perhaps because I recalled it as being campier than usual. And to some extent that's true, particularly when it comes to the character of Prudence Fortune (Patsy Kelly).
But it is a good episode, obviously inspired by Frankenstein, with a great performance by Ross Martin.
If you watch the fake West explode in slow motion, you'll see a very cartoony animated explosion
This episode reuses some very familiar sets from Season 1, namely the one manor house with the wood panelling and the other one with the marble staircase and checkerboard floor
Although Susan Kesler writes about how Ross Martin did most of his own sword fighting, I thought the use of a stunt double was very obvious at times
Around the 37 minute mark, there's an interesting shot where the hutch/cabinet at the far end of the main room in the train has been removed from the set, to allow the camera to follow Lily Fortune into the small room where Jim stashed his clothes and guns in the pilot
When the preparations to zap ex-convict Artemus Largechestcavity are being made, it's unclear how Dr. Faustina avoids seeing the real Artie and Jim standing in the doorway. At one point she seems to look right at them.
Good use of Bronson Canyon. Good Artie line, “On the Sabbath? Never on Sunday.”
"The Night of the Returning Dead"
I decided to power through this one and get it over with.
Despite a good cast, and both a talented writer and director, this episode is a mess, with plotholes large enough to stampede horses through.
Although it's never stated, apparently Jim and Artie were shooting blanks in their first meeting with "Col. Beaumont". But what's to stop anybody else from shooting him with real bullets?
How did Jeremiah/Beaumont get to the top of the cliff opposite in mere seconds?
Apparently Jim lied to everyone about the deadliness of his dynamite filled shell anti-theft mechanism. But how come no one asks questions like, "Wouldn't that seriously damage your horse's hearing?" or "Isn't blowing up a horse thief excessive force?"
Jeremiah's ability to make horses stampede is never explained other than to say he has an "affinity for animals".
The stovepipe used to make a "pepper cannon" should be open at both ends. And yet they raise it to a near vertical position and dump pepper down it, and yet the pepper doesn't all fall out the opposite end.
So in conclusion, thank goodness that's over! IIRC, the rest of the season, apart from "The Night of the Infernal Machine" is pretty solid.
This is the first episode (in air date order) to including the following credit: "Produced by Bruce Lansbury". As noted in Susan Kesler's book, Lansbury was the ninth and final producer, following in the footsteps of 1.) Michael Garrison, 2.) Jack Arnold, 3.) Ben Brady, 4.) Collier Young, 5.) Fred Freiberger, 6.) John Mantley, 7.) Gene Coon, and 8.) Michael Garrison (again)! However, Arnold and Brady were each with the series only a short time, and neither actually produced an episode.
After Michael Garrison's untimely death (more on that in a future post), Lansbury remained producer for the rest of the series. Sue Kesler's book details that some of the writers felt the series went downhill after Garrison's death. Although one could also argue that Lansbury's arrival ushered in the mildum, er, golden age of the series.
Personally, I agree with the appraisal of Ethel Winant:
"Bruce did a good job keeping the show alive over the years it was on. It's hard to come up with new gimmicks, special effects, gags, and devices and still make it seem like it could take place in the West."
And now some thoughts on this episode:
At the 7:30 mark, the black rope pulling Hellfire Simon back is clearly visible. However, since Simon later gives an in-universe explanation that a wire pulled him back, I guess this doesn't count as a blooper.
At the 26:38 mark, it's clear that a good portion of the town of Morning Glory is a painted backdrop. I'm not sure if the whole thing was constructed indoors or not.
I have on my computer a video mashup that someone did, based on the opening credits of Gerry Anderson's UFO:
Sadly the mashup is not available on YouTube. It uses all the same music as the clip above, including the intro, which substitutes "Jules Verne" for "Gerry Anderson". The graphic "1872" repeatedly appears instead of "1980", and the majority of the footage is from this episode.
This episode is a lot of fun. The crime syndicate and it's members are very memorable. IIRC, this is the first time Artie impersonates someone, only for the actual person to show up later.
Is it just me, or does Justice, Nevada look a lot like Morning Glory, Arizona?
After the trick carriage so obviously inspired by Goldfinger's Aston Martin, this episode takes a page from Dr. No, and employs a tarantula as a murder weapon. The syndicate's meeting room, with the table that slides out of the wall, and the map that comes down, is also reminiscent of S.P.E.C.T.R.E.
There's a pretty significant plot hole where the agents, for some reason, fail to take Pinto's gun after the fight in the ice house. Pinto fires only two shots, and is a wearing a bullet belt. Then Artie complains about not having a gun and Jim tells him, "You're spoiled." Guys, you walked away, leaving Pinto's gun right there!