My Holiday Viewing

The observant will notice I haven't been posting here much. The reason is that my OK-job took a nose dive and became a horrendous job, which has been taking up a lot of energy. I actually have a conditional offer of another job but it will take up to eight weeks to get the checks done. Meanwhile HR graced us with a visit today and because the woman could see I wasn't OK asked for a chat. The upshot is we mutually agreed I could leave immediately and so I have some weeks off and can watch the huge heap of DVDs I have. Don't get too jealous, will you?

What I have in store (and which I may well blog about) is-

I have already started watching The Day of the Triffids, which I have somehow managed not to see until now. I haven't even seen the film from the sixties. I suspect the reason is that having eye trouble myself it has always been too close to the bone, but since my bones are currently far more likely to fall apart, that is less of a worry. It seems to follow the well-established trope of social collapse following an Event, and since my own interest is far more in the rot which supports so-called civilisation, perhaps that's another reason it never appealed. You will rightly see it compared to Survivors - it has the same feel and look. On first watching it strikes me as one of the Greats.  It raises many a reflection on our world - the example I have just seen is that relationships will move towards polygamy in the new world. I think I will be keeping this. The original Triffid which decorates this post comes from here.

I have two series of Kojak to watch, I have seen Kojak before and do rate it as a show, I just haven't been inspired to blog about it here. Telly Savalas was, of course, a very handsome man, in fact he looked just like me (and shared my attitude to clothes). The only thing is I have seen a picture of him having his head shaved with an electric shaver. Weakling. On the other hand he did a hilarious promotion video for sunny Birmingham.

Next up is Mr Palfrey of Westminster. I have no idea whether I will like it, because I bought it on the chance that it comes from the right time, albeit rather late, 1984. The synopsis on the box gives it an Avengers feel, since it is about an intelligence agent whose work is allocated by his boss, The Co-ordinator. I hope it lives up to my high expectations!

I am afraid I sold my disk of The Owl Service, but have kept wondering whether I gave it enough of a chance, so it's back in the pile.

On my mental list of things to watch has been the 1979 series Quatermass. Now there is a name to conjure with, and frankly I have always thought it would be a good name for a cat. I adore the original series, can go crazy over the Hammer film version, but didn't like the newest version. But then you knew that, didn't you. I see that Nigel Kneale thought this was the weakest version to date. There is something about the milieu of the 1950s, which makes the original ones sparkle, but I will see what the apocalyptic 1970s made of Quatermass.

The oldest series I have in the heap is The Four Just Men. It is ITC so I hope it, er, seems familiar and safe! I suspect that it won't feel quite the same, being older than the series I am familiar with, and also it was scripted by Edgar Wallace. I have seen some of his films and have found them rather uneven, but when they are good they are really good.

Have a great holiday!

Oh go on then, since you insist -


  1. Chicago Calling (The return!):

    Some while back, I got hold of a DVD set of The Four Just Men series from 1959-60.
    At any rate, that's when it played in the USA, syndicated to local stations by ITC.
    Here in Chicago, TFJM was bought by WNBQ-TV, Channel 5, the local affiliate of the NBC network; they ran it on Saturday nights at 10:30 pm, after prime time.
    Channel 5 gave it some publicity play at the time: this was one of the first "wheel" shows, as they ultimately came to be called, with four star actors rotating as leads.
    In '59, all four were "major gets" for a TV series: Jack Hawkins, Vittorio DeSica, Richard Conte, and Dan Dailey.
    All four appeared in the first episode, which set up the premise; thereafter, apart from the opening titles, each star got his own mini-series within the whole (although in most episodes. one of the others would make an inserted scene, usually a phone call, with a plot point).
    According to my count (from IMDb), Dan Dailey (as an American reporter based in Paris) and Vittorio DeSica (as an Italian hotelier) each had 10 starring episodes, while Jack Hawkins (as a London-based barrister) and Richard Conte (as a New York-based lawyer) had 9.
    That all said, I make it out that all 39 episodes were filmed in the UK (I'll confess that I get a kick out of the supposedly "American" Conte shows, for reasons we went into long ago at this site).
    What people seem to notice about Four Just Men these days is that Dan Dailey's assistant in most of his shows is a very young Honor Blackman.
    Quite a few other faces who became familiar in later years show up as well.
    What I noticed in looking the shows up:
    The shows with Dailey and Conte were mainly written by American screenwriters - more than a few of them working under pseudonyms, thanks to the USA blacklist.
    Hawkins and DeSica were serviced by British artisans of the field (one of the DeSica shows is credited to T.E.B. Clarke).
    As near as I can determine, ITC only made the one season, which they figured to sell indefinitely throughout the world; that didn't quite happen (here in Chicago, Channel 5 ran the 39 films, and that was that).

    Oh, by the way:
    Inasmuch as Edgar Wallace passed away in 1932, that probably limited any input he might have had with the TV series, so there too.

    One of the many annoying things about Telly Savalas was his assertion that he was shaving away a full head of hair; a look at anything he did before the mid-'60s shows him with a male-pattern-baldness horseshoe rim around his skull, so there too … also.
    Also, as a working actor, Mr. Savalas most likely got his daily Baldy Sour from a studio makeup artist, so there too … as well.
    (Have I beaten this to death yet? Otherwise, I have to address Telly's acting, which is even more annoying …)

    Any questions?
    You know where I am.

    1. I think we should cut Telly some slack with his vanity. I actually have a different experience - I have wet shaved my head for years and often have people ask me if I have any hair at all! They don't see the stubble for some reason.

      Four Just Men has just rushed to the front of the queue!

  2. I hear you about bad jobs, brother. Good luck with your future prospects - I hope it works out!


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