Saturday, April 05, 2008


Definitely a bad week for Dee-Vee-Dee viewing. First off, I can't seem to find where I stuck that 2-disc set of THE UNTOUCHABLES that Lou Rone got me for Christmas, and after that the disque of THE CORPSEGRINDERS that Brad Kohler done tossed my way (also for X-mas) will not play on my computer (will have to check it out on the real-deal player that's rotting away in the other room though I've had little luck with that monstrosity as well!). To make matters even worse it seems as if none of the FERNWOOD/AMERICA 2NIGHT tea-coasters that I have been anxiously awaiting for the past few weeks, all burns but beggars can't be choosers, won't do their duty either on my computer player or my home entertainment system making this blogger one mightily upset kinda individual! (Guy I got 'em from on ebay told me the silver dollars're made for all regions even though my tee-vee screen says otherwise, and he's sure hedging against giving me a refund of any sorts which is cause for irritation in the pocket book department amongst other places!) So what's a guy who hungers for more and more hotcha television viewing of the past that's rarer than hen's (or Keith Richard's) teeth s'posed to do? What else but STAMP YOUR FEET AND CRY LIKE A BABY AND HOLD YOUR BREATH UNTIL YOU TURN BLUE that's what! It always works, and after that I'll just go and start spinning a disque from this ONE STEP BEYOND set that I got recently which surprisingly enough will play on just about any machine that I have access to here at ol' Home Sweet. Believe me, all of this hassle I've been having twixt getting these disques to play and taxes is enough to make one want to go and sit on a sno cone!

Good collection of this '59-'61 ABC "anthology series" originally known as ALCOA PRESENTS before getting slammed into syndication hell under its more familiar title until it sorta decayed away along with all those other fantab old-time series I do so desire. Your guide to the unknown John Newland may come across "suspect" according to Don Fellman, but the guy's still creepy enough as the on-camera host kinda like Rod Serling would be once the '60 season of TWILIGHT ZONE came into being and he too began showing his cigarette-laden mug for all to see. (Which makes me wonder if ONE STEP BEYOND is in fact the DOOM PATROL to ZONE's X-MEN...definitely num-num for thought!) The stories regarding the "paranormal" that are to be found therein are pretty snat as well, and the fact that they're all supposed to be based on true events makes them even spookier than TZ's at times way-too-humanist approach that did give us a few clunkers (never liked that one where this cool guy fakes an atomic war situation while gathering a buncha dolts who really did him wrong in life...still retch at the thought of that 'un t' no end!). And what's best about 'em is that the prints used ain't taken from negatives but old syndication reels that've been run to the ground o'er the past fifty years and they sure look it! (One of 'em even sports the original network ALCOA PRESENTS format for all you tee-vee historians out there!) Real nice low-fi preserved digitally which somehow makes me proud...kinda reminds you of when you were a kid'n you got to see all that dust flickerin' around on the lens and maybe even a fly or two. Sure brings back great memories of classic UHF lazyass viewin', don't it?

Unfortunately a couple of key episodes are missing. Everyone who remembers this series or has at least heard about it through blogs such as mine wants to see the documentary-oriented one where Newland goes to Mexico and takes some 'shrooms (under a doctor's supervision) but it ain't here, and neither is the one where some kraut kills his best friend over a fraulein before der var und then puts his body in a glider and tries to make it look like an accident only to have the EXACT SAME GLIDER NOW MANNED WITH A SKELETON swoop at him during a reichstag reunion years later! But don't fret Clyde, because there still are a whole number of these spooky-wooky programs here that do make for superfine late-night peek-a-booing especially after laying eyes upon David Letterman's stonefaced smirk for hours on end 'til your eyes can't stand it no more!

The Peter Hurkos two-parter with Albert Salmi portraying the Dutch psychic thankfully does show up as do a couple with famed midgie Walter Burke playing it particularly creepy (one as a jockey done in for wanting to marry Ida Lupino's sister and the other as a stone-carver who can eerily predict the deaths of locals in a Maine village). Lotsa names soon to be made also appear such as in the one with Patrick Macnee just prior to his stint on THE AVENGERS as an ill-fated passenger on the Titanic, not forgetting Suzanne Pleshette as the slutty gal whose life is saved and ultimately ended by a mid-aged blood doner who has strange premonitions about the future BOB NEWHART co-star. And yeah, watching Mike Connors as a furriner trapeze artist may seem to be stretching it a bit, but it sure goes down smoother'n a lotta the quap I last saw when I turned on prime-time tee-vee! There's even a neat chiller with Ron Howard (not Opie but the guy who used to play Sherlock Holmes in the mid-fifties) as a mad murderer whose mere presence leaves everyone arctic cold including Violet Rutherford herself Veronica Cartwright, on loan from LEAVE IT TO BEAVER as a flower girl at the cad's wedding!

So what else can I say? ONE STEP BEYOND is a top-notch entertainment wowzer from the real Golden Age of tee-vee (not that PLAYHOUSE 90 highbrow stuff but the fantastic late-fifties/mid-sixties viewing that still has the power to surge) that'll sure make you glad you don't have to change the stations past the all-homo Logo and Lifetime for Wimmen to get to some nineties rerun on TV Land anymore! You'll probably ignore it and you may even laugh at it, and I can't help it if some unsuspecting modernaires keep trolling this blog in search of lesbian sex tips or whatever and winds up here for whatever reason, but if you're one of those guys who grew up with the buzz of rerun television in your veins while everyone else was going gaga over the latest "right on" craze and still cherish trips to the library to read old tee-vee listings from days when your footsies weren't even walking the earth, a DVD set like this 'un is custom made for your proudly anal retentive lifestyle. Buy it, or be hip(pie!).

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