17 February 2008 | melvelvit-1
A creaky curio/fascinating relic from "The Golden Age of TV"
This NBC TV series was based on a popular radio show of the same name and aired Tuesday nights at 9pm. Each week, fantastic tales of terror and the supernatural were filmed "live" on kinescope and fog-bound sound stages, backdrop paintings, and a bit of inventive camera work all tried hard to disguise the limitations of early television. A disembodied head (Jack LaRue and later, Frank Gallop) opens and closes the show with pithy commentary -a gimmick later used by Alfred Hitchcock, Boris Karloff, and Rod Serling. A few of these half-hour shows even have their original commercials still intact and the guest stars include Basil Rathbone, Veronica Lake, Robert Stack, Yvonne De Carlo, John Carradine, Tom Ewell, Anne Bancroft, and Burgess Meredith. A fascinating relic.
DARK IMAGE (aired 10/8/51) A young groom on his honeymoon returns to the Southwestern ranch he grew up on and his bride is soon terrorized by a bedroom mirror; in the glass is the man's dead sweetheart intent on trading places.
THE MEDDLERS (aired 7/9/51) Before blowing out a candle and bellowing "Lights out!", the disembodied head (Frank Gallop), intones, "Hello. Have you ever had the urge to search for lost treasure such as the fortunes of Captain Kidd, or the ancient Incas, or others closer to home? If you have, let me remind you of an old saying: larrows catch meddlers. What are larrows? Hmmm. We shall see. Lights out!" A history teacher (John Carradine) convinces a Virginia hillbilly (E.G. Marshall) to help him find a fortune in gold buried under the old, abandoned Larrow plantation house... "I told you larrows catch meddlers!" This no-budget nugget has it all -a cursed gold shipment, a "glory hand" cut from a hanged man, betrayal, murder, and Condederate zombies. Although reminiscent of the controversial horror comics popular at the time (TALES FROM THE CRYPT, VAULT OF HORROR , etc.), I'll bet this was one series that wasn't for the kiddies. Creaky fun.
AND ADAM BEGOT (aired 7/2/51) Kent CAT PEOPLE Smith stars in this pretty primitive but nonetheless ambitious episode about two men and a woman who crash their car near an archaeological find and are thrown back 50,000 years where they're hunted by a cannibalistic Neanderthal. An eerie ending helps.
DEAD MAN'S COAT (aired 5/14/51) Legend has it that digging up a corpse at midnight and donning its coat will grant the wearer invisibility and a vindictive, murderous millionaire browbeats his butler into helping him find out if it's true. Basil Rathbone plays the valet and the ironic yarn starts out with the two watching a LIGHTS OUT! TV show about digging up a dead man and putting on his coat...