Saturday, February 1, 2014

Old School TV: Tales of Tomorrow- Frankenstein

I put alot of money into getting this show, so I might as well use it.

Okay, that's a lie.  I bought a DVD from Moviestop with four Episodes for .49 cents.

Regardless, let's find out what this show is.  Running from 1951 to 1953, Tales of Tomorrow was an early show in the history of widely-available television.  One of the first things to really run from area to area on TV was the library of Universal Horror Films.  Looking to capitalize on that, we started to see shows like this and The Twilight Zone, which would come about 8 years later.
Unfortunately, this show hasn't had nearly the long-term historical impact as Zone and The Outer Limits.  Let's see if we can change that.  Let's start with a look at one of the most famous Horror/Science-Fiction tales ever written...
With no setup, we see Dr. Frankenstein- it's unclear when this one really takes place, so he might be a descendant- hosting his girlfriend and her father at his Castle.  They talk about experimenting with creating life, which the Doctor is totally not doing.
Oh, right- he did just that.

His Adam- played by Lon Chaney Jr.- looks more like Michael Chiklis than Boris Karloff.  Kudos for making a change, even if the actual bolt and flat top look is actually copyrighted.
The Creature quickly breaks loose from his restraints & runs afoul of both the hired help and the world's most bad-ass kid.  Seriously, this kid just flat-out tells the Creature that it is lucky and doesn't back down.

While two of them escape, the Maid has another showdown with the Creature and is choked to death (off-camera).  For the 1950's, that's still pretty rough.
The Butler and The Doctor confront the Creature in the wake of this tragedy & seemingly-kill the creature by shooting it until it falls out of a window.  Most windows I've seen don't break the way this one does though.
Off-camera, however, he gets back in by some sort of ledge (not shown).  The Doctor has one last plan: set a trap.

The only possible bait: the woman and the little boy.  What a brave, brave man!
The plan works and the Creature runs into the open wires.  He dies, but only after a classically-over-the-top death.  Way to milk it, Chaney.

With that, it just ends.  Yes, just like that.  The End.
Honestly, it is a good, albeit simple version of the tale.  The whole thing takes place in a total of 24 minutes, counting the brief Credits.  It is interesting to note that no Director, Writer or Staff is listed here.  Things sure have changed, huh?  As a whole, it is a solid Episode.  The set-up is quick, but I guess that's just part of adapting the tale into a short TV format.  There is nobody here that does a bad job honestly, so I have no complaints.  Viewed in a modern context, it is decent and kind of makes you wonder why this show is so obscure.  If you try to look at it from the viewpoint of someone in the '50s, it had to have been pretty scary.  The make-up on the Creature is still pretty good to a jaded guy like me.  So not everything that's obscure is bad, folks.  Take us away, Chaney stopping to check if he should drop the chair or not...
Next up, let's look at the second Episode in my collection.  When you have an Appointment on Mars, you don't want to be late.  Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment