One season shows-The Planet of the apes

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1974

One hour long

Lasted 14 episodes

A spaceship crashes and astronauts Verdon and Burke are the only survivors. They end up finding out they are on a planet dominated by talking apes. Their ship is destroyed and they are on the run. They soon meet up with a chimp named Galen who grudgingly goes off with the humans and becomes a fugitive as well. Together the three try to stay ahead of Dr. Zaius and General Urko while trying to get along with each other and dealing with the problems they run upon.

After five films this series came to the small screen in the fall of 1974, but it didn’t make into 1975. I was four when this came on and I remember it a little. My brother is six years older than me and he got me into Star Trek and was a big Six Million Dollar Man fan back in the 70’s so it’s no wonder he watched the POTA show as well. Yes, I saw this show before I viewed any of the films so it made an impact on me. I saw a few episodes in the 90’s when it was on the Sci-fi channel and I enjoyed it. When it came out on DVD in the early 2000’s I grabbed it. I thought the acting from the two human leads was rough at first, but got better as the show went along. The relationship between the three leads got stronger as the show went along too. Although it could be argued that while the show began with the humans trying to find out what happened in this society that in that became just like the fugitive with the leads running from the law every week. The show was canceled for low ratings. There is often much discussion amongst fans as to how the events of the series do or even could fit in with the timeline established by the previous films. In the first film the astronauts crash on the east coast yet here the astronauts crash on the west coast, but Dr. Zauis is in both places. Roddy McDowell plays characters of different names, but with similar personalities yet he is also on both coasts. Ultimately I always think of the series as an alternate earth’s version of the apes taking over events. I am a big POTA fan so yeah I liked the series and really wished that it had gotten at least a whole year to try and establish itself. If I’d been a teenager watching this when it was first on I would have been hooked. Ultimately it’s a show that tried to put the ideas from the films into a series and put in enough action and story to attract people, but ultimately they just couldn’t pull in enough people.

 

The Land of the lost-Chaka

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1974

The Marshall family consisting of dad Rick, son Will and daughter Holly went over a waterfall. Then something funky happened the waterfall seemed to go on forever before depositing our trio in a land where there be dinosaurs. They did manage to set up camp in a cave and are trying to figure out what the heck is going on. Oh and uh dad Rick saw that there were three moons so yeah they aren’t where they used to be. The two kids witness three little hairy dudes trying to make fire with rocks. Then a tyrannosaurs comes after the fuzzies, but the smallest hairy guy trips and hurts his leg. Will and Holly manage to get him out of there. Through a short exchange they find out this guy is Chaka, well how do you do. They get him back to the cave and fix his leg. He sees Rick make fire with a lighter and ew that’s a neat trick. During the night Chaka swipes the lighter and take off. The Marshalls go after him somewhat mad that he stole from him. They run into Chaka and two of his people and have a slightly heated standoff then a dino comes by rawrrrrrr and the two groups go back to where they came from. The next morning the Marshalls wake up and find a bunch of giant fruit left for them likely by Chaka. They hope to see him again and roll the credits.

Other brief  notes on this episode are that the kids see a pylon thing briefly in the jungle, but these come back in later episodes and with more explanations. We also see the homemade cave elevator and the flyswatter (big pointy stick for warding off giant dinos from the cave.

The negatives-The special effects are what they are -limited. Looking at it today if looks even more so very much on a tight budget.

The positives-The cast is overall decent for this kind of show. I always liked Spencer Milligan as the dad and the show went to pot in season three when he left. I like the cave set and how the family began adapting to their surroundings the best they can. This was a decent first episode that sets up the basic situation to get the show rolling.

I watched this show as often as I could back then on Saturday mornings. I’d watch it and then later in the day go outside to my sandbox with plastic dinosaurs, toy raft and usually cowboys filling in for the Marshall family. Then I’d act out the episodes I just saw. I bought the entire series a few years back and really felt like the first two seasons have held up well enough. It’s survival action show, but eventually they put in various sci-fi elements to explain where they are what’s going on. David Gerrold (writer of Star Trek’s The trouble with Tribbles) worked on this show for a while and I think he had a push and pull relationship with Sid and Marty Kroft over how to handle the show. However I think that Gerrold got enough of his ideas through to make this show interesting. Like all of the other Sid and Marty Kroft shows it was for kids, but unlike the other shows this one made an attempt to be more than just fluff while you swallowed down some sugary breakfast cereal and stared at the screen.

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires

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1974

 

Hey let’s do a Dracula film with some martial arts action.

Sounds good.

We’ll have Dracula take over a Chinese man so he can travel to the East and cause trouble.

Okay, I’m with you.

While over there he will hook up with some ancient vampire warriors and take over the area.

That has some promise.

We’ll have Peter Cushing as Van Helsing.

Great!

His character will be speaking in China about vampires and a young man will talk Van Helsing into going with  him to fight the vampire warriors.

Alright, that could work.

The young man is a fighter and he has six brothers and a sister who are also warriors.

Alright I’m seeing the action falling into place.

Van Helsing and the brothers and one sister will travel to where the vampire warriors are.

Got it.

Then they’ll battle some baddies out in the hills to demonstrate their skills.

Nice.

Then we’ll throw in some sitting around talking about very little.

What?

The warriors will battle half the vampires in a cave.

I understand.

However the vampire warriors will be weaker than the goons that battled the warriors in the hills.

Why?

Of course they’ll be some mindless zombies to help the vampires.

I can sort of see that.

The zombies will walk slow and then come alive like dancing fools when they battle.

Uh.. that doesn’t make sense.

The good warriors win this battle.

Of course they do.

Then they fight the rest of the vampire warriors in town.

And then?

These vampire warriors will kill some of the good warriors?

That’s only fair.

The vampire warriors will then be beaten to a pulp by villagers with rakes.

What the?

Van Helsing will figure out that the Chinese guy is Dracula.

Oh, yeah Drac I almost forgot about him.

We’ll give Dracula horrible make-up and dub him.

Really?

Van Helsing will defeat the prince of darkness in like two seconds.

Wow, you really thought that one out.

Then we roll the credits and let the cash roll in.

I wouldn’t hold my breath on that last one.

The negatives- The idea of a vampire-martial arts film has promise, but this movie doesn’t do enough with either genre. The horror elements are not fleshed out enough and the martial arts action gets weaker with each fight scene. Peter Cushing is largely wasted after the first half of the films.

The positives-The scenery and sets are fairly well done. The first big fight scene is strong with a lot of action going on involving a large number of people. I like that each of the warrior brothers and the sister had either their own fighting style or weapon to set them apart.

Overall this is a film that had a decent idea, but it doesn’t do enough to make it work. They set up the story and then try to fill in the running time with uneven action and the same ideas over and over. It’s a shame because they’d tried just a little harder this could have been memorable.

 

 

 

 

 

10 things I learned from ‘Twas the night before Christmas

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1-Mice can talk.

2-Town council members always look bored.

3-Mice can wear clothing.

4-Writing a mean letter to the editor about Santa will screw your whole town over.

5-Mice can wear glasses.

6-Building a giant clock tower can be done really fast.

7-A curious mouse can screw up a new clock tower fast.

8-If your clock tower fails once the whole town will hate you.

9-Mice can set everything straight for a whole town.

10-Santa looks like a pig with a white beard.

This Rankin-Bass half hour production was loosely based on the famous poem. I tend to prefer the stop motion specials from Rankin-Bass over their animated shows. The story is good with it’s theme of faith. There are only three songs, but they are solid. The animation isn’t fantastic (so many people with buck teeth and a weird looking Santa) but it’s passable. Some people absolutely love this one. I think it’s more on the level of being good, but not essential.

The year without a Santa Claus

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1974

Santa feels like dog pooey and that combined with rumors of people no longer believing in him makes him think he should skip Christmas this year. Mrs. Claus sends elves Jingle Bells and Jangle Bells along with young reindeer Cupid down to southtown to see people care about Christmas. Wait, she send two muddleheads and a little deer to a hot area with people who don’t like Santa? Shame on you, Mrs. Claus. So the elves lose Vixen  in Southtown, they get laughed at generally just screw things up. Santa finds out what is going on and sick or not he goes after them. He meets this kid who doesn’t believe in Santa, but his parents do. Blah, blah, blah, Santa, elves, Vixen, Southtown – you and I all know we watch this one for two reasons…Snowmiser and Heatmiser. So let’s get to them then. The people of Southtown will believe in Santa if it’s snows there so if Heatmiser let’s Snowmiser bring snow there it would help Santa, but the miser brothers argue. So Mrs. Claus gets their mom Mother Nature to order her boys to cooperate. That’s all well and good but after the peak of this show is before that when the miser’s do their songs – oh yeah!. Everything works out, the south gets snow, Santa perks up and everything gets back to normal and you know you’ll rewind to watch the misers do their songs again.

It’s like a collage of the shapes creating a little scene in the bottlecap. I think that I put some of photos of them on my pinterest page if you want to look at that. I ‘m having trouble looking at it with this slow connection. I’m not sure how we should word it in the description, but it would be a Spring scene. Or they are welcome to bring their own photos to make one with a personal picture.  Maybe we should make two. One like the traditional way and the other as the collage- Spring scene.

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The negatives- Not a whole lot.

The positives-I think this one is underrated. Rudolph is better, but I prefer this one to Santa Claus is comin’ to town and the Little drummer boy. Mickey Rooney and Shirley Booth are very good as Mr. and Mrs. Claus. As a fan of the inimitable Dick Shawn I’d have to see he was great as Snow Miser. The show looks great, the pace is good and the story works out. I actually watch this at least twice every year around Christmas.

ELVES, REINDEER

The Brady Bunch-Out of this world

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1974

What’s this about?
Bobby and Peter meet an astronaut who claims to have seen a UFO. That gets saucers on their minds. Later at home they hear a whining noise, they look outside and see a red saucer shaped thingamabob floating out in the distance. Oh me garsh it’s a flying saucer it is! Or at least it looks enough like one to get this episode rolling. Peter and Bobby are thrilled by having seen this, but the rest of the family doesn’t believe them. So they decide they need evidence like a picture. Next thing they set up in their back yard with a camera prepared to see the UFO again. Eventually they do and get a picture. Also around this time Bobby has a dream where a UFO complete with red-afro wig wearing little aliens come and talk to him. After the dream the pictures are developed and show a saucer. The parents still don’t know what it is however an Air Force investigator is called in. Turns out that Greg was doing it all along to prank Bobby and Peter, but he didn’t intend for it to go this far. So he confesses and gets punished, no UFO, show is over.

The UFO-Greg explains earlier to Marcia that he hung a plastic sheet on a line between two trees like a movie screen. Then the saucer is a cutout on a flashlight that he shines on the sheet while blowing into a whistle thingie for the sound. Of course the saucer looks too good for what he says he did. While Bobby is always wanting to believe in things it’s not surprising he was duped. Peter however is like 15-16 here and should have known better.

Impact-I loved this one as a kid and still appreciate it for the UFO aspect and the hoax aspects.

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Ten thoughts on Zardoz

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1-The locations are spectacular.

2-The more explanation they add into the film the less sense it makes.

3-They reveal too much about the story too soon.

4-As far as 1970’s dystopian sci-fi goes this one tries harder, but the results are mixed.

5-The red diaper look on dudes wasn’t cool in 1974 nor will it ever likely be even in any future universe ever.

6-If waving one’s fingers at someone worked as a punishment it would have been done a long time ago.

7-It doesn’t take long into this film for the average viewer to begin laughing.

8-There are some moments are images that work in this film, but there are just many that feel like they are just trying to pad the length of the film.

9-It’s not a good film, but there are enough odd and interesting ideas and visuals to make it worth re-visiting from time to time.

10-No one in this film really looks very comfortable with what they are doing.

Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter

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1972 and 1974 are both listed

Young girls are being turned into old women in an isolated village. A former soldier Kronos and his hunchback assistant Grost rescue a young girl Carla who danced on a Sunday  and then tell her they are vampire hunters off on a mission . They then show up at the doorstep of their old friend Dr. Marcus to see what’s up with this youth draining stuff. Meanwhile more girls are being turned old and wrinkly and all that is seen is a figure in black who bites them on the lips to drain their youth. Kronos and Dr. Marcus are lead towards a rich local family the Durwards as possible suspects. The father died and the mother appears in bad shape, she blames Dr. Marcus for her husband’s death. They have two grown kids and the son seems sour while the daughter seems defiant. Around this time their servant hires some guys to go after Kronos with their swords. Hey it’s no biggie Kronos slices them like an onion and moves on. Meanwhile Dr. Marcus gets bit oh, crap. He starts turning younger and Kronos and his assistant have to kill him. That’s not an easy task as they say different vampires have different weaknesses so wooden stakes don’t work but hey what do you know iron kills these kind of youth suckers. So they make a special sword out of iron as Grost fashions one from a cross and adds a mirror sleeve. Meanwhile a townie witnessed Kronos offing Marcus and thinks Kronos is a real bad seed. So this guy organizes other townspeople to go after Kronos which results in them getting their rear ends kicked all over a graveyard. Oh, well at least it gave him a good workout to get ready for the main event. He is now convinced that rich family is behind all of this. So the girl who has been hanging with him goes there pretending to need help and the son and daughter let her stay in their living room. Someone comes downstairs and hypnotizes her. Meanwhile Kronos takes out the servant and sneaks in. He finds an odd mask in the mother’s room so she isn’t really an old hag. Downstairs  Kronos arrives in time to save the girl from being killed by get this the old woman and her dead husband. Seems they have been using the blood from young woman to revive the husband and to make the mother young. Aw and the once dead now alive dad who needs one more youth treatment is also a champion fencer. So he and Kronos go at it in a sword fight all over the living room after Kronos uses the mirror shield to immobilize the  woman’s mesmerizing glare. Kronos eventually kills the guy and the mother turning them both to skeletons and leaving their children to scream and be in shock. The good people ride off and roll the credits.

Stats-

Blind women in a tavern for no real reason-one

Number of 1970’s hairstyles on men even though it’s like a century and a half or so earlier-at least five

Number of old men filling in for girls drained by their youth-At least one, but maybe two

The negatives-Too much dubbing as usual with Hammer, but other than that it’s pretty much on.

The positives-A fine cast including John Carson and Caroline Munro plus a small cameo by Ian Hendry. The film looks great too and I always enjoy the plants shriveling as the cloaked figure walks by. The plot is a good twist on the regular old vampire angle. The action and the ideas of professional vampire hunters are well played too. A great one from Hammer films.

Negatives-

Invasion from inner earth AKA : They

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Wah, a bunch of dots! The horror! The terror!

1974 (reportedly filmed in 1972, but didn’t get released until two years later)

I’m going to tackle this one a bit differently because it has a back story of sorts to it. Back in the 1980’s I used to watch way too much TV as in all sorts of crap. Oh, wait that’s no the end of the story. Once around I 84-85 I turned on the tube on a Saturday afternoon and went right into the middle of some movie. I remember scenes of people in the snow, something about not being able to leave and then indoor scenes of a couple of dudes and one woman sitting in a cabin talking about being trapped and some hooey about aliens invading from within the earth. I’m uncertain if I watched all of it at that time. Fast forward about two years and again I turn into the middle of this same film. This time I saw people vanishing one at a time, red lights and more blah, blah, blah talking. Then it gets down to a man and a woman left, they smile and suddenly instead of two hippies in the snow it’s two kids walking across a field of flowers and then boom it’s over. I remembered these parts of the film over the years, but not the title. About ten years or more ago I recalled those parts and tried to figure out what the film was by searching online with no luck. Fast forward to last month. I bought this cheapo sci-fi collection and last week I decide to pop a film in. I do and there’s some stuff about people being in the woods and like 15 minutes later the little sparks start to go in my brain and I leapt up and said “this is it, this is that film I saw in the 80’s”. Then I shut up and watched the rest of the film…big mistake. The film is made up of a few images of people in the snow, an airplane, a red light that comes before the people vanish and a bunch sitting around yacking about nothing and not in a good Seinfeld kind of way but in more of a “we don’t have a script just rant on about nothing” kind of way. The ending was the same as I remembered it. I guess it’s supposed to mean the two people were like Adam and Eve, the only two humans left and they went to start populating the world again. Although it may have meant the film has gone enough just slap something strange in there to wrap this baby up. Turns out the director was Bill Rebane who has made numerous films that show up on worst movies of all time lists.

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The film is very hard to take to the lack of much of anything going on. So it’s even hard to laugh at. At least I found out what this movie was.

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Plot? Meaningful dialog? Are you serious?

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The end.

Happy Days-Haunted

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1974

Guests
Linda Purl as Gloria, Richie’s girlfriend. Purl would come back as a different character and be Fonzie’s love interest much later in the series.

Beatrice Colen as Marsha the waitress. Colen played this role in a handful of episodes during the first three seasons of the show. You may also recognize her as a regular from the first season of Wonder Woman.

Neil Schwartz as Bag a jerk and member of the Demons. He had a handful of roles but this is probably the one he is most known for as he played Bag in nine episodes of Happy Days.

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Richie, Ralph and Potsie are planning their annual Halloween party. However they don’t want the goofy gang the Demons to crash their shindig so they need to have it at a different location. Ralph decides on an old abandoned house that everyone thinks is haunted-the Simpson house which is supposed to be haunted by Magnolia Simpson. Richie gets picked to check it out oh, dear what a horrid job. He stops at the house with Joanie who is already and then Richie gets scared of something and races out all wide eyed. Later he tells his dad he thought he saw a headless person in the closet and his dad tells him no way, Jose or something like that. He tries to forget the horror of such an image but it still bothers him oh the poor boy, but hey cheer up it’s hallowfreakinween! Richie lies to Ralph and Potsie and says the house is okay. He and Gloria go there for the party and everyone is having a good time. Then Richie has to go to the closet and see the headless body but it’s just a dummy in a rocking chair oh I knew it wasn’t a real ghost. Oh, everything is just fine and they can get back to their wild party of dancing around and eating lunch meat with no bread. Wait another headless body comes down the stairs and everyone is ready to pee in their costumes except Richie who steps forward and exposes the headless thing as Demon member Bag who has been a real rear end through the whole episode. Richie dumps soda on Bag’s head and now Halloween is okay. Roll the credits.

The negatives-Not a whole lot although just to be a little nit picky at the party the hose seems a little bigger and in far better shape than when Richie first saw it.

The positives- Happy Days was at it’s best during this time in my opinion when it was about Richie and Fonzie was still a supporting character. I remember seeing this episode when I was really young and it kind of scared me then so it stuck with me as one of the most memorable episodes of the show and it’s a pretty good one. I also enjoy their costumes and all of the Halloween decorations.

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Halloween/scary episode meaningless trivia of sorts-
Ronnie Howard enters a haunted house in two different shows with this one and when he was much younger as Opie in the Andy Griffith Show.
Beatrice Colen plays the reoccurring role of waitress Marcia in this episode. Cohen also had a small part in the CHiPs Halloween episode a few years later and she was in a Halloween episode of Night Court in the mid-80’s. Which gives her a total of being in Halloween episodes in three different shows. Can any other actor or actress beat or even tie that?

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