Sunday, October 29, 2017

HALLOWE'EN CHUCKLES



Hallowe'en night is almost here. I love the little kids coming to the door for their treats, especially the tiniest ones who don't have a clue what's going on. So cute! I also love immersing myself in classic horror stories, kitschy horror stories, and comical horror stories. Here are some of my favourite Hallowe'en chuckles.



Disney's 1949 take on Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a must-watch this time of year. It is a perfect combination of cheeky humour and the genuine chills. Previous post found here.



See those guys? Rathbone, Price, Lorre, Karloff? They have such fun playing off their dastardly film personas in this 1963 movie that your sides will ache. Richard Matheson wrote the story of a failed undertaker played by Vincent Price. Who fails at an undertaking business? It would be like not running a successful casino. Anyway, his ideas to keep the business going are murder! Jacques Tourneur (Curse of the Demon) directed and the aforementioned hams are delicious. Previous post found here



Bob and Paulette had a great success in the 1939 version of The Cat and the Canary, so naturally they were reunited in another comedy/horror flick in 1940. The Ghost Breakers screenplay by Walter DeLeon, like the earlier film he wrote, was adapted from a play. The director of our movie is George Marshall, who had a way with this sort of thing. See Murder, He Said, The Gazebo and the remake with Dean and Jerry of this one, Scared Stiff.


Bob is a radio star who, with his servant played by Willie Best, is on the run from mobsters. He crosses paths with Paulette, who has inherited a fortune which comes along with a haunted castle on an island near Cuba. Can zombies be far behind? Also in on the fun are Paul Lukas, Richard Carlson and Anthony Quinn. Trust me. I enjoy it even more than their earlier hit, and I get a kick out of that one.



A good, old-fashioned ghost story is just the ticket. Lou and Marjorie Reynolds are ghostly holdovers from the Revolutionary War who need to have their loyalty to the cause proven or else they're stuck. Bud is the descendant of the guy who done them dirty. 


A Connecticut landmark is the setting for the clash of this world and the next. If you know nothing else about the movie, know that Gale Sondergaard is on board as a psychic. A great script by our pal Walter DeLeon (see The Ghost Breakers), and fast and furious gags abound. You'll love this 1946 film!



We all have them; the movie that cracks you up, time and time again. For me Joe Dante's 1989 comedy/chiller The 'Burbs is such a movie. The neighbourhood here doesn't really have anyone living in it that you would call "normal", but when one family is even odder than the rest, there may be something to worry about.


Worrying is one thing, but actually organizing to do something about it is entirely different. Who knows where it will lead? Better to just stay in bed and read the paper. What do you think? Well, once you start down the Buttinski Road, there is no turning back! Again, trust me on this, there are lots of laughs and an especially fun bit with Gale Gordon.




Well, there you have it, five of my favourite Hallowe'en movie chuckles. What does your list look like? I can always do with some more laughs.










Friday, October 20, 2017

THE JOAN FONTAINE CENTENARY BLOGATHON: Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948)



Crystal of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Virginie of The Wonderful World of Cinema are co-hosting The Joan Fontaine Centenary Blogathon running October 20th to 22nd. Click on either site to access contributions to the blogathon.


Burt Lancaster

Does one rash act define a life or does a harsh life lived lead to a blur of wrong choices? Bill Saunders (Burt Lancaster) is a lonely, rage-filled man in post WW2 London. The rootless Canadian veteran of a German POW Camp is set off by a simple "Time, gentlemen, please". A sock to the jaw of a barman and the unfortunate meeting of skull on furniture results in murder and desperation as Bill runs into the night.


Burt Lancaster, Robert Newton

The incident brings two people into Bill's life whose influence will be overwhelming for good and for ill. Harry Carter (Robert Newton) is a small time hood with grand ideas. A witness to Bill's impetuosity, Harry uses his knowledge of the accidental murder to blackmail Bill into future co-operation for any criminal activity deemed advisable.


Joan Fontaine

Hiding from the police that fateful night brings Bill into the modest bedsit of Jane Wharton (Joan Fontaine). Jane is also a deeply lonely human with the loss of her fiance during the war. Lloyd was in the RAF; one of the brave few to whom so much was owed as immortalized by Churchill. Jane's life is quiet and one of comparative solitude, but not one of desperation such as Bill experiences. Jane is respected and well-liked in her profession as a nurse at a clinic where she enjoys the life-affirming feeling of being useful. Jane is basically kind, and that may be the motive behind her allowing Bill to go free when she could have turned him in to the authorities.


Burt Lancaster, Joan Fontaine

Jane's instinct to keep away from the volatile Bill gives way to his need to be with this compassionate young woman. An innocent and fun outing to the racetrack will end with Bill's inability to curb his violent tendencies and the fateful consequence of a jail term and a brutal lashing. Upon his return to society, Harry and Jane pull Bill in two very different directions.


Burt Lancaster, Joan Fontaine

While Harry reminds Bill of his criminal obligations, Jane gets Bill a job as the clinic's lorry driver. (Note: there is a disconcerting film error in that the driver's side of the vehicle is on the wrong side for England.) Through his work, Bill now knows that feeling of being useful and liked, and his relationship with Jane grows into love. Their love and their very lives are threatened by Harry's black market plans for the clinic's medical supplies.


Joan Fontaine, Burt Lancaster

The couple are dogged on all sides by the relentless Harry, and Bill's lifetime of troubles and rash acts. There is a destiny in the dark city and even darker society that makes of their love a desperate thing. To run or to stay are the choices for Bill and Jane, and here is the conundrum. Spoiler ahead.

The film's ending has the couple staying to face the consequences. On one hand, it is the most pragmatic solution, yet the character of Bill is almost offhandedly hopeful that he and Jane may yet have their heart's desire. Perhaps that hopefulness is only something I read into the scene, and not intended by the filmmakers. Nonetheless, the ending felt unsatisfactory in execution.

Kiss the Blood of My Hands was produced by Harold Hecht, who promoted young Broadway actor Burt Lancaster in his Hollywood career. Hecht-Lancaster Productions would be formed in the early 1950s and their collaborations include Sweet Smell of Success, Run Silent Run Deep, and Marty.


Bill at a crossroads in our story.

The source novel by Gerald Butler was published in 1940 and was a popular success with its lonely and alienated character. The screen play is by Leonardo Bercovici (The Bishop's Wife, Portrait of Jennie). Cinematographer Russell Metty tapped into his moody side creating a pervasively dark atmosphere to rival that of Touch of Evil. Miklos Rozsa's score is appropriately chilling and melodramatic. Director Norman Foster (Woman on the Run, Rachel and the Stranger) shows a lovely touch for the emotionalism inherit in this story where the plea of the title comes to define both Bill and Jane.


Jane - reflected and reflecting.

Joan Fontaine is lovely as our heroine Jane, timidly, yet bravely reaching out for love in a lonely and cruel world. This period in Joan's film career is filled with interesting and diverse films and roles. Along with our film-noir, she gave us the masterful performance in Letter from an Unknown Woman, the scheming murderess in Ivy, the humorous love story of the out-of-date Countess in The Emperor's Waltz, leading to the glorious romance of September Affair and the notorious Christabel of Born to Be Bad. Joan Fontaine was an actress to be reckoned with, and an actress to remember and admire.












Saturday, October 14, 2017

HOLLYWOOD'S HISPANIC HERITAGE BLOGATHON: Ramon Novarro in The Big Steal (1949)


Hispanic Heritage Month is being celebrated by Aurora at her site Once Upon a Screen with Hollywood's Hispanic Heritage Blogathon on October 15th.


Ramon Novarro
1899-1968

Born in Durango, Mexico as Jose Ramon Gil Samaniego, the actor we came to know as Ramon Novarro moved to Los Angeles with his parents in 1913, escaping revolution. We can truthfully call his career that of an overnight sensation, if we count five years as overnight. He began doing extra work in film in 1917, and in 1922 director Rex Ingram cast him in the flashy part of Rupert of Hentzau in The Prisoner of Zenda. A star was born! Charismatic and good looking, Novarro soon became another of Hollywood's popular Latin Lovers.


"Nobody would do but Ramon Novarro."

The name Ramon Novarro still meant movie romance forty years later. The 1961 Car 54, Where Are You? episode Love Comes to Muldoon featured Alice Ghostley as the unmarried and pining Bonnie Calsheim. She was never able to find love because of Ramon Novarro. "I never met Ramon Novarro, but that man ruined my life. I fell in love with Ramon Novarro the first time I ever saw him on the screen. I lived only for the hours we were together; he on the silver screen and me in the balcony. How I suffered! Here's the worst part. Nobody would do but Ramon Novarro."

Romantic idols can retain that cinematic glow long after they have left us thanks to the longevity of film. Off the screen, the young actor grows into an older actor and hopefully that performer will have the opportunity to show their mettle as a character actor. I enjoy 50-year-old Ramon Novarro's turn as a police inspector in 1949s The Big Steal.



Don Siegel's movie opens with a map of Mexico on screen and a theme by Leigh Harline with a peppy mariarchi feel. You might almost expect "the voice of the globe" James A. FitzPatrick to begin a plummy narration. Based on a Saturday Evening Post short story by Richard Wormser called The Road to Carmichaels, the script by Daniel Mainwaring and Gerald Drayson Adams is fast-paced, cheeky fun. That map may have come in handy as along with location shooting at the Corrigan Ranch, cast and crew went to Mexico City, Veracruz and Tehuacan.


Jane Greer, Patric Knowles

A fellow named Jim Fiske (Patric Knowles) has stolen $302,000.00. $300,000 was liberated from an Army payroll and a Lt. Duke Halliday (Robert Mitchum). Lt. Halliday is angry and chasing Fiske. After all, a fellow does like to have his name cleared.

The stolen $2,000 is from a young woman who was expecting to be married to Mr. Fiske. If Lt. Halliday thinks he is angry, just wait until he meets Joan Graham (Jane Greer). The whole kit and caboodle are being followed by the apoplectic Captain Vincent Blake (William Bendix), and they are following one another through Mexico to what end, no one can be sure.


Robert Mitchum, Don Alvarez, Ramon Novarro, Jane Greer

None of these visitors to Mexico are the calm, easy-going type. If they don't bring trouble, trouble finds them. They may think their excuses are acceptable to Inspector General Ortega (Ramon Novarro) in Veracruz, but then again, they may be underestimating the official. The Inspector is friendly, but wily. He may only be learning English from his second-in-command, Lt. Ruiz (Don Alvarado), but knows not to tip his hand. As Holmes would say, the game is afoot. Inspector Ortega is a man of patience and intuition, explaining to Lt. Ruiz that he is a cat playing with mice.

Inspector Ortega: "I'll tell you a little story, in English. Once upon a time there was a cat who had a little mouse right in his paws, but he let the little mouse go so that later he could find that mouse into a group of other little mouses - mice."

Lt. Ruiz: "You're a clever cat, Inspector."

Inspector Ortega: "So is the mouse."


Jane Greer, Robert Mitchum

Duke and Joan become partners in search of Fiske who leads them a merry chase along scenic byways and detours. Along the way, the pithy byplay between our leading man and leading lady, and their encounters with locals, reveals histories and creates a bond. Not far behind, but hampered by his lack of Spanish, is Captain Blake. Blake is a trigger-happy fellow you hope does not win at this game of catch up.


Ramon Novarro, Don Alvarez

One step ahead of these strangers is Inspector Ortega. Slyly he greets all parties at a resort to observe and stir the pot. However, Fiske is desperate to get to someone and whither Fiske goes, there goeth Duke and Joan. Of course, where Duke and Joan go, can Blake be far behind? Inspector Ortega is a patient man. He can wait. A mouse called Seton (John Qualen) is waiting at the end of the chase.


Ramon Novarro, Robert Mitchum

Inspector Ortega: "You helped get the goods on Seton. Such a clever man. We knew he was a fence, but we could prove nothing. All we could do was wait until someone would lead us to him. Along came Fiske. Along came you. Along came Blake. Now we have nothing to worry for Seton."

Duke Halliday: "Or Blake, or Fiske."

Inspector Ortega: "Or you."


Jane Greer, Robert Mitchum

The Big Steal is a breezy 71 minutes filled with quips, chases, gunfights, fisticuffs, and the architecture and people of mid-century Mexico. You'll enjoy Ramon Novarro as Inspector Ortega and wish you would find him there still should you ever take the trip.










Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A FAVOURITE FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)


The nights are growing longer and it is time for ghostly tales of Hallowe'en. Cozy up with your favourite horror author of past or present, slip that familiar Universal or Hammer feature into the DVD player or schedule your life around TCMs spooky movie line-up.

Washington Irving
(1783 - 1859)

"He had a way with a yarn, did Mr. Irving."
- Bing Crosby, narrator

A perennial at this time of year is Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow written in 1820. A grand tale told with verve and a cheeky sense of humour, both the chills and the chuckles translated beautifully to Disney's animated version originally released in 1949 as the second half of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Since then, both stories have often been screened as separate shorts. Basil Rathbone expertly narrated the studio's take on Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, and Bing Crosby took up that mantle for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

The writers of the witty adaptation were Erdman Penny (Cinderella), Joe Rinaldi (Sleeping Beauty) and Winston Hibler (Peter Pan). The animators included Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Wolfgang Reitherman, Fred Moore, Ward Kimball and Milt Kahl. The directing team was Clyde Geronimi (101 Dalmations) and Jack Kinney (The Three Caballeros). The music was by Oscar winner Oliver Wallace (Dumbo).

Bing Crosby as narrator both sings and speaks the story in the fluid manner so familiar to fans of his radio program, and his films. If Mr. Irving had "a way with a yarn", then Mr. Crosby had a way with language that pleases the senses. Vocalist and arranger Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires joined Bing Crosby's radio show in 1947 and their collaboration on this Disney feature is a prime example of voices combining in perfect musicality.



The delightful songs are by Gene de Paul (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) and Don Raye (Alice in Wonderland), and they humourously propel the story with a perfect platform for their narrator and companion to the artistry of the animators.


ICHABOD
Bing Crosby and the Rhythmaires


Who's that comin' down the street?
Are they shovels or are they feet?

We are introduced to Ichabod Crane, itinerant schoolmaster, upon his arrival at Sleepy Hollow. His arrival provoked both pleasure and consternation, but all agreed they'd never seen anyone like Ichabod Crane.



Ichabod may be quaint
May be odd, and maybe he ain't

We see the schoolmaster lording over his students, indulging his appetite at dinners and seeing to the cultural interests of the burg. We also see that the unique Ichabod is victim to the pranks of local hero Brom Bones. None of this disturbs his remarkable equanimity, until the fateful day when his path was crossed by a woman.


KATRINA
Bing Crosby and the Rhythmaires



Once you have met that little coquette Katrina
You can't forget Katrina

Ah, Katrina. The daughter of Baltus Van Tassel, the richest farmer in the country, was the local beauty as well as an heiress. All vied for her hand, but although it was obvious that she would end up with Brom Bones, Katrina often wished for a champion to take the field against the overly confident Brom. Such a man was Ichabod Crane who, in his obliviousness, felt that his charms far surpassed  those of these country bumpkins.



And yet when you've met that little coquette Katrina
You've lost your heart


THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN
Bing Crosby and the Rhythmaires




The annual Hallowe'en frolic hosted by Herr Von Tassel was an occasion where Ichabod triumphed with his Terpsichorean skill and charm. Brom Bones had one last chance to best and remove his rival for there was no more potent believer in spooks and goblins than Ichabod Crane. When guests were called upon to spin a ghoulish tale, Brom Bones stepped to the plate with the tale of the Headless Horseman.



When the spooks have a midnight jamboree
They break it up with fiendish glee
The ghosts are bad, but the one that's cursed
Is the headless horseman; he's the worst



They say he's tired of his flaming top
He's got a yen to make a swamp
So he rides one night each year
To find a head in the hollow here

It is the witching hour when Ichabod leaves Van Tassel's farm on the old hay burner borrowed for the night. Down into the hollow they travel amid the weird shadows cast by moonlight upon the trees, surrounded by unfamiliar and eerie noises. The commonplace becomes supernatural and Ichabod's heart beats faster as he comes face to face with...




The comedy and the terror which combines in this scene is thrilling sensory overload for the small child and one which inspires sheer admiration in the adult viewer. Fortunately, I have found that the admiration gained as an adult film fan has not erased that original emotional response. It is so much fun to be frightened when no harm will come to you. Happy Hallowe'en, friends!










Thursday, October 5, 2017

THE JUNE ALLYSON CENTENARY BLOGATHON: June on TV in Burke's Law and Murder, She Wrote

June Allyson
October 7, 1917 - July 8, 2006

Simoa of Champagne for Lunch is hosting a blogathon celebrating the life and career of June Allyson, a first-rate musical entertainer, sly comic actress, and versatile dramatic star. Click HERE to read all the contributions to the blogathon running from October 5th to 7th.

A back injury before the age of ten led this Bronx born baby to swimming and dance as therapy. Dance led to her show business career beginning with chorus work on Broadway. Her perky personality was shown to good advantage in a number of musical shorts throughout the 1930s. Her featured role in the Broadway hit Best Foot Forward led to a contract with MGM for the 1943 film version. The studio paired June with stars like Van Johnson and James Stewart to great success.

We might call June the unofficial queen of remakes with Little Women, My Man Godfrey, The Opposite Sex (The Women) and You Can't Run Away from It (It Happened One Night) in her filmography. June's appeal and skill is a pleasure to enjoy.

Today I am looking at two of June's television guest appearances, 20 years apart, on the popular mystery programs, Burke's Law and Murder, She Wrote.



Burke's Law was a Four Star TV production, the company founded by June's husband Dick Powell. The series, produced by Aaron Spelling, began in the 1963 season. Spelling, originally an actor, was employed by Four Star and encouraged by his mentor Dick Powell to try writing and then producing. Good eye, Mr. Powell! Mr. Spelling turned out to be one of television's most successful producers. Dick Powell was TVs first Amos Burke in a episode of the anthology series The Dick Powell Show called Who Killed Julie Greer? written by Frank Gilroy, Pulitzer Prize winner for The Subject Was Roses.

Regis Toomey, Gary Conway, Gene Barry, Leon Lontoc

Our sleuth in this delightful series is Captain Amos Burke of the LAPD played by Gene Barry. Independently wealthy, Burke lives a life of luxury surrounded by beautiful women, driven in his Silver Ghost Rolls Royce by chauffeur Henry played by Leon Lontoc. Every once in a while his unit's detectives played by Regis Toomey and Gary Conway interrupt Burke's casual lifestyle to involve him in a murder case.

Each episode opens with a murder. The list of suspects is played by familiar names from the world of movies and television. The series can be enjoyed for the guest cast alone, but its delights extend beyond the opening credits of special guest stars listed alphabetically. Burke's Law features screwy characters, witty lines and a devil-may-care attitude. The show ran for three seasons, two under its original premise and an aborted third in an ill-advised revamp into Amos Burke, Secret Agent. A syndicated update reverting to the earlier format ran for two seasons starting in 1994.

W H O   K I L L E D   B E A U   S P A R R O W ?

Let's start with who is Beau Sparrow in this episode written by John Meredyth Lucas (Star Trek) and directed by David Orrick McDearmon (Peter Gunn). Played oh-so-briefly by Jerry Catron, Beau is a playboy/artist, and the alleged fiance of a Countess played by Yvonne De Carlo. He is dispatched to the hereafter while attempting to use a catapult device to dive into a swimming pool. That's odd, you may be thinking, and you would be right.

Jack Haley as Victor Haggerty

The host of the party is the head of a corporation specializing in weird contraptions. He is Victor Haggerty played by Jack Haley. Victor has been estranged from his wife Liz played by Agnes Moorehead for the past five years. Perhaps that is why he is the king of the hypochondriacs. Victor's support group includes his physician played by Dan Tobin, his right-hand-man played by Ken Murray and his executive assistant Jean played by June Allyson.

Agnes Moorehead as Liz Haggerty

Countesses, working girls, health nuts and sickos - my what a strange group we have for this murder case, or is it a murder? Most of the episode is spent trying to determine a specific cause of death. As Amos opines, if no doctor will claim it then it must be a criminal matter.

Yvonne De Carlo as Countess Barbara Erozzi

Captain Burke's investigative technique generally involves intimate questioning of female guest stars. In this case, he and the Countess are not sympatico companions. It is a tangled relationship that is woven among our guest characters. The Countess has definite opinions about another of Beau's "friends", Jean Sampson. The Countess calls her a salmon. "The cold fish that swims with such termination up rivers."


June Allyson as Jean Sampson

Amos discovers that Jean has equally strong feelings about Beau and the Countess. "Isn't that just like a little boy to be impressed with a title? ... "You don't think her cheap, overblown looks could hold a man, do you?"


The steaks haven't hit the grill and we're already at dessert.

Amos wrangles a dinner date with Jean, who has steaks on the grill and cocktails at the ready. She is also wearing a very fetching hostess ensemble. Amos is impressed with her cute smile and authoritative martinis.

Amos: "I can't tell you how much I hate myself."
Jean: "Well, you'll have to stand in line!"

Impressed or not, Amos is always on call and rushes out on the date to pursue a theory and a lead. Beware girls with cute smile, they get angrier than most. They also devise plans to ensure date number two continues as advertised. Said plans involve handcuffs and passing the next case on to the  captain's underlings.

As to the solution to this mystery, let's say that fans of a certain well known 1947 British film will have figured out the how, but spend the rest of the time figuring out the why.

A pretty portrait of June to indicate Beau Sparrow was an artist.

Who Killed Beau Sparrow? aired on December 27, 1963. Four Star Executive Producer, and June's husband since 1945, Dick Powell, had passed from cancer in January of that year. All of June's television appearances during the period of 1960 to 1963 were in Four Star productions, including her own anthology series. It takes a long time to recover from such a loss. Perhaps familiar work among friends helped with the healing.




Richard Levinson and William Link, as writers and producers, gave us the best of TV mysteries including Columbo, Ellery Queen and Murder, She Wrote co-created with Peter S. Fischer. Beginning in the 1984 season Murder, She Wrote would spawn four made-for-TV films, a book series authored by Donald Bain, and a never-ending syndication run.

Angela Lansbury stars as Jessica Beatrice Fletcher, a widowed teacher living in Cabot Cove, Maine. She takes up writing to occupy her time and finds success. Jessica not only finds success in the publishing world, but success as an amateur sleuth. Noted for a keen eye at crime scenes and precise judgment of people, law enforcement alternately loves and hates her presence. Fortunately, success also leads to travel, so that the entire population of Cabot Cove is not wiped out. After all, the show ran for 12 seasons.

H I T ,   R U N   A N D   H O M I C I D E

This season 1 episode, written by Gerald K. Siegel and directed by Alan Cooke, takes place in Jessica's home base of Cabot Cove. Eccentric inventor Daniel O'Brien played by Van Johnson is mixed up in the murder of his former employer. Luckily, Daniel has strong support in his friend Jessica, his nephew Tony played by Edward Albert and Tony's fiancee Leslie played by Patti D'Arbanville. Daniel is most fortunate in the steadfast affection of his former co-worker Katie Simmons played by June Allyson.

June Allyson as Katie and Van Johnson as Daniel

June Allyson and Van Johnson made a very appealing team in comedies and dramas for their home studio, MGM. It is an impressive list of entertainment including Two Girls and a Sailor, High Barbaree, The Bride Goes Wild, Too Young to Kiss and Remains to Be Seen. On episodic television, they co-starred in a 1968 episode of The Name of the Game titled High on a Rainbow. In 1978 they were featured as a married couple in a segment of The Love Boat called On Her Own Two Feet. June and Van's last film appearance together is on this episode of Murder, She Wrote.

Mrs. Fletcher and Sheriff Tupper discuss the case.

The plot of the episode can be summed up in this exchange between Jessica and Sheriff Amos Tupper played by Tom Bosley.

"Sheriff, think. Two partners arrive from Boston to a tiny town they've never seen before. One of them is almost run down by a car. The next day the other is run down. Now don't you think that's more than just coincidence?"


So nice to have June Allyson back on our screens.

The injured partner played by Stuart Whitman insists that Daniel invited him to Cabot Cove, for some reason. The murdered partner was there at the behest of his business cohort. Katie is there to convince Daniel to join her at a firm in Memphis. The spooky thing about this whole business is that the car involved appears to be riderless. Don't talk to me about the technology being around for ages, and all of the riderless trucks and cars that are soon to hit our roads! It's spooky.

Technology gone wrong.

Jessica is frightened by being placed in peril in the remote control operated vehicle, with the villain taking her to the edge of a cliff before stopping. Jessica: "And you wonder why I don't drive a car!"

The mystery portion of the episode moves along at a logical and humourously presented script. For fans of June Allyson and Van Johnson the most charming sequences involve the old pros doing their acting thing with Miss Lansbury.

The Cabot Cove lock-up.

Frightened after being arrested, Daniel and Jessica have a charming exchange concerning Katie.

Jessica: "Is he [the lawyer] good enough to get you bailed out of here?"
Daniel: "He and Katie have promised I'll be home for supper."
Jessica: "There's someone who believes you."
Daniel: "She always has."


We all feel like Jessica at the happy sight of Van and June together again.

The wrapping up of the case is celebrated at a dinner at Jessica's with local handyman Ethan played by Claude Akins, June Allyson and Van Johnson who, as Daniel, makes a toast.

"May I offer a toast to the two ladies in my life. To the one who just saved my life and to the other who's been saving it for years, only I was too pre-occupied to notice."









THE GREATEST FILM I'VE NEVER SEEN BLOGATHON: Modern Times (1936)

Debbie Vega at Moon in Gemini is hosting the genius blogathon  The Greatest Film I've Never Seen  from November 16th to 18th. What ...