23 September 2005 | theowinthrop
A Series I Briefly Watched Two Decades Ago
This series was on the air in the U.S. very briefly - about one year only, which is unlike the British series that lasted nearly a decade. I recall watching it, and seeing John Houseman introduce the episodes. The particular one I can recall seeing (I was on a date the night it was being shown) was shown in April 1983 and called THE MEMORY MAN. Colin Redgrave is an expert in helping people improve their memory by various ways, including hypnosis. He discovers that a new customer (Bernard Cribbins) is having problems with his memory, but also seems quite hostile to questions that Redgrave asks innocently enough. Soon Redgrave remembers that Cribbins had another name, and was involved in a violent robbery where he stole thousand of pounds. Redgrave is slowly using his knowledge of hypnosis to extract the information that Cribbins has forgotten (and so has sought Redgrave's assistance to recall). In the end neither man does too well out of the experience.
When Houseman introduced the episode, he tried to illustrate the problem of memory by shooting out one question after another. One he shot out was, "Who was the 14th President of the United States?" I amused my date by shouting out, "Franklin Pierce".
Many of the stories are by Roald Dahl, and I suspect, if they are watched, some of them would have to be compared with versions of the same stories (like "Mrs.Bixby and the Colonel's Coat") that originally appeared on Alfred Hitchcock Presents (in that case, and in "Lamb to the Slaughter", Hitchcock directed the television episodes). One wonders if the image of Hitchcock, with his plump person, and his delivery of his introduction, was behind the use of Houseman (with his plump person and delivery) as the host.