(Television History and Trivia)




Victor Edward Swanson,


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- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 7 - - -

    In the previous edition of T.H.A.T., you got hijacked for a while, and it should be something you never forget.  Much of the theme of being hijacked focused on a television series that was produced in England, was aired in the U.S. for the first time in the summer of 1968, and was set in "The Village."  The series was The Prisoner, which featured Patrick McGoohan as "Number Six," and "Number Six" was the only name used for the main character.  Many people think the character's name was "John Drake," which was the name of the character that Mr. McGoohan played in Danger Man (a set of half-hour episodes) or Secret Agent (a set of one-hour episodes), which are the two names used for one series as it was originally distributed in the U.S. in the 1960s, but the character in The Prisoner was never really identified as "John Drake" or by any regular name.  That covers three answers that I have to give you about the series through this edition of T.H.A.T.  In The Prisoner, Angelo Muscat played the Butler, and, on December 2, 2000, The Simpsons, a series on Fox TV, had a spoof of The Prisoner.  I also gave you in the previous edition of T.H.A.T. three hard questions to answer in relation to The Prisoner.  First, I report that Professor Seltzman was in Kandersfeld, Austria.  Second, I report that, because of "The General," a person could acquire three years of college learning in three minutes.  And, third, I note that the answer to the question about the full quote is: "Questions are a burden to others; answers are a prison for oneself."

    In the summer of 1968, CBS-TV never aired all the episodes of The Prisoner; the episode entitled "Living in Harmony" was not shown.  In addition, CBS-TV did not air the series in what I consider the proper order.  Recently, BBC America began airing the series, and I have not checked to see if BBC America is airing the series in the proper order.  Today, you can buy a complete DVD set of the series; I happen to have the set.  I will neither urge you to buy the DVD set nor not buy the DVD set, but I must report that the set does not have the episodes set up in what I consider the proper order.  The DVD set puts the episode entitled "A, B, and C" before the episode entitled "The General," and that is a clear error.  Here is my proof.  After the opening theme sequence, most episodes begin with Number Six waking up to a new day, part of a sequence that involves a bunch of different visual shots and voice-over banter between Number Six and Number Two, and, in this sequence, when a new Number Two is introduced, Number Two will say the line (in response to Number Six's "Who are you?"): "The new Number Two."  In "The General" and "A, B, and C," the same Number Two (played by Colin Gordon) does battle with Number Six, and, in "The General," the response from Number Two to Number Six's query is "The new Number Two," and, in "A, B, and C," the response is "I am Number Two."  Do you see the problem?  Remember: "The General" should always been seen before "A, B, and C."  By the way, I have a book entitled Fantasy Television, copyright 1977, and it lists the episodes as they were originally aired on CBS-TV, so the book cannot be used as a guide to the proper sequence of episodes.

    Now, here are answers to other questions posed in the previous edition of T.H.A.T.  David Janssen and Keenan Wynn were in Hijack!  Perry King, Anthony Michael Hall, and others were in Hijacked: Flight 285.  And the TV-movie related to Karl Malden was The Hijacking of the Achille Lauro.  Notice the hijacking theme.

    In past editions of T.H.A.T., I have talked about how I have been noticing how television executives and television producers have recently been using a lot of titles for made-for-television movies that have already been used.  It is amazing!  I have more recent examples for you now.  Lifetime aired a movie entitled Deadly Encounter on Monday, September 6, 2004, and it was a movie that featured such performers as Laura Leighton, Al Coulem, and Daniel Mager; on Saturday, December 18, 1982, CBS-TV had aired the movie entitled Deadly Encounter, which featured such performers as Larry Hagman and Susan Anspach.  By the way, the two movies with the title Deadly Encounter had different plots.  Another example of repeated title (and not repeated plot) involves a movie originally shown on NBC-TV in 1990 and a movie recently shown in syndication.  Made-for-TV movies that get aired in syndication are rare.  The recent syndicated movie was shown in the Detroit area on Thursday, September 16, 2004 (and I cannot report when it was shown in the broadcast market in which you live, if it was ever shown); my files note that, for the Detroit area, the next two most-recent syndicated movies were The Climb (June 7, 2002) and Road to Redemption (June 6, 2001).  The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was responsible for making and distributing The Climb and Road to Redemption, as it was for the September 2004 syndicated movie.  The 2004 movie featured Richard Tyson as a pilot who goes looking for a medical missionary in Columbia, and I now have some hard questions for you to answer about the movie.  What was the name of the movie?  Who played the medical missionary?  Remember: There had already been a movie with the same title.  Who played Dan Hood in the 1990 movie?  Some of the performers in the movie were Thongkhow Tarveeprangsrinukoon, Gift Valairat Jearmongkolskul, and Rungisma Kasikranund, and it seems very likely to me those names are unfamiliar to you.  Who played Al Topping in the 1990 movie?  If you do not know the name, you should recognize it when I give it to you in the next edition of T.H.A.T.

    Let me show how the repeat-title thing is becoming a monster.  On January 16 and 17 of 1973, ABC-TV aired a two-part movie (though on tape) entitled Frankenstein, featuring such performers as Robert Foxworth, Bo Svenson, and Susan Strasberg; by the way, it was shown under the umbrella titled "ABC Wide World of Entertainment," which identified a block of programming shown on ABC-TV on weeknights.  On October 7, 1985, Showtime aired a one-hour program entitled Frankenstein, which featured such performers as Robert Powell and David Warner.  TNT aired a movie entitled Frankenstein, which had Patrick Bergin playing Dr. Victor Frankenstein, on June 13, 1993.  I will mention that Frankenstein: The True Story, a two-part movie that had such performers as James Mason, David McCallum, and Michael Sarrazan, was shown on NBC-TV in 1973 (November 30 and December 1).  You might discover that the monster is back this fall (and I will note how in the next edition of T.H.A.T.).

    On November 12, 1994, UPN aired a made-for-TV movie that was about a monster, and some of the performers in the movie were Tobias Mehler, M. Emmet Walsh, and Angela Kemp.  The movie was shown under the umbrella title Blockbuster Shockwave Cinema.  What was the name of this movie?  The trouble in this movie took place in a small town.

    And that wraps up another edition of T.H.A.T. in a neat-and-tidy fashion.  That reminds me.  In 1986, Tena Tidy and Nick Neat were two of the main characters in an unusual made-for-TV movie that was shown in syndication.  What was the movie?  Who played Tena Tidy?  Who played Nick Neat?  Who played Headmistress Bruno von Kleff?  Who played Tena's mom, Loretta Kimble?  Some of the performers in this movie were Edie Adams, John Astin, and Larry Storch.

Stay well!


Date: October 10, 2004

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