Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mork + Mindy = Mearth... WTF?!?

OK, so out of the blue I started to think about Mork and Mindy and the wild decline from hit show to total miss. While I still find many of the episodes after Season One quite entertaining, the whole Mearth thing was... ummm... just weird. Now that I am older, I have been able to put those obtuse thoughts I had as a kid into some kind of words.

Mork laid an egg.

The look on Exidor's face explains it all

Even as a kid watching the fourth season of Mork and Mindy I knew something was not only wrong with Mork’s pregnancy, but also with the concept of an earthling and an alien mating. I can accept an alien wanting to get it on with Pam Dawber… just look at her… but Pam wanting to do it with an E.T. left a strangely uncomfortable feeling inside me. Plus he wore those horrible suspenders… And now I find myself wondering how Mork got Mindy’s DNA (and/or egg!). I mean, what exactly did he snatch (!) from her during those... ummm... copulatory sessions of love? I keep having visions of Mork drinking with his finger. OK, I refuse to even try to wrap my brain around that

The craziest Easter Egg hunt ever!

Mindy even discusses how she is missing out on the wonder of childbirth and like any awesome sitcom, her trauma is quickly glossed over as Mearth is hatched from a giant egg. Eventually, he gets a creepy pair of overalls and learns to call her "Shoe." How sweet parenting can be.

The fourth season of Mork and Mindy was an undisputed bomb, landing in 60th place! I think pairing Jonathan Winters with Robin Williams was an ingenious bit of casting, but suffice to say Mork not only laid an egg, but so did the show.

No caption needed!

Oh yeah, and Mindy had the best apartment ever.

I have not seen the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but here is an article explaining why the movie will never be as good as Mork and Mindy.

And is it just me, or does Mearth remind anyone of The Baby? I mean, minus the electric cattle prod.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Updates Galore!

Yes sir, I've got it all lined up for you!

You may have noticed a couple of changes here at Made for TV Mayhem. I’m currently revamping the site. I’ve changed my banner, and I’d like offer my deepest thanks and gratitude to Lance Vaughan at Kindertrauma for creating it! He also created the MFTVM Funhouse pic on the right. I owe him my life! Also, where would I be without Bert Convy? Such a heartbreaker, he is. I think it’s doubtful I’ll stick with a black and white background, but for now I think this site screams “television madness” and that’s exactly what I wanted!

I’d like to throw a big thank you to my friend Jason who got the news out that Born Innocent is coming to DVD from Hen’s Tooth Video in June! I couldn't find much out on the website but apparently you can only order through Amazon and a couple of other sources. I’m not sure how good Hen’s Tooth Video’s quality will be, but this is such a great, and slightly rare, TVM, it might be worth the coinage either way. They've also just released Gargoyles, which did have a DVD release some time ago but went out of print.

If you are going to be in Louisville, Kentucky from July 22nd – 24th, then you really must go to the Fright Night Film Fest con, where they are hosting the 1st ever Dark Night of the Scarecrow reunion! How absolutely incredible is that?!?

I’ve also posted links to the Movies About Girls podcast I participated in and you will find those links on the right. It’s a really fun show so check it out! (Psst: The Romy and Michelle one is my favorite!)

Before I bid you adieu, let me direct you to a ukulele player my friend Adla turned me onto. Seems he has a penchant for TV theme songs. Here is his rendition of Dallas:

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Swoon-worthy Michael Brandon!

I was just surfing the net and came across Michael Brandon's great website. I decided to read his bio and saw this quote:

My first television movie; The Impatient Heart, written by Alvin Sargent, (Spiderman ll) and directed by John Badham, (Saturday Night Fever). TV movies really were movies made for television then. Quality writers, directors and actors were making films in twenty-eight days instead of the months or years a feature would normally take.

He also talks a little bit about A Vacation in Hell, working with Dario Argento and other tidbits. I have to admit, I had no idea he had been married to Lindsay Wagner or that he is now married to his Dempsey and Makepeace co-star! Anyway, he mentions dating Kim Novak, drops some great TV movie titles and overall, tells a really interesting story about his life.

I've always liked Michael, but my favorite role will always be his part in Vacation as the feckless but extremely likable machismo in suspenders! Hey, I just call 'em like I see 'em!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dr. Cook's Garden (1971)

Network: ABC
Original Air Date: January 19th, 1971

Considering how haphazard many critics felt the original play of Dr. Cook’s Garden was, it still finds its way onto many a small stage and was immortalized in the 1971 TV movie adaptation, which plays up the good doctor’s questionable ethics inside of the suspense blueprint. The play was written by Ira Levin who is better known for his incredible novels which have been made into several films, such as Rosemary’s Baby. Garden is often compared as a combination of Levin’s Stepford Wives and his play Deathtrap, but when it was destined to become a Broadway flop, most people saw it as a convoluted and superficial thriller, and it closed before the end of its opening week. The director, George C. Scott was reportedly having artistic differences with… someone, and many others pin its failure on the casting of Burl Ives as Dr. Cook. Since I haven’t read the play, I can’t say how much was changed for the television adaptation (written by Art Wallace), but the themes of narcissistic morality and creating utopia through murder translate rather well on the small screen. Ives is replaced by Bing Crosby in what would be his last film, and I do say he’s perfectly cast. Having recently read his son’s excellent “tell-all” biography, Going My Own Way, I have that darker side of Bing planted firmly in my brain, so the jump from family entertainer to cold-blooded killer seemed like a fairly smooth transition!

No one in my town gets corns and lives to tell about it!

Dr. Cook lives in small town heaven, where there’s no crime, or even disease. In fact, no one suffers any disabilities at all! You’d be hard pressed to find as much as a limping local. A young doctor named Jimmy Tennyson (Frank Converse plays him in the movie, Kier Dullea portrayed him on Broadway), who grew up in this small paradise, returns to help Dr. Cook with the business. The good doctor doesn’t really want him around, and we soon find out why. Seems Cook’s Hippocratic Oath only applies if he likes you. And even then you are still in danger, if you find yourself really sick. He keeps his small town clean and pure much like the way he weeds his garden, deciding who gets to stay who gets poisoned!

There are plenty of interesting themes here, and although this ABC Movie of the Week is played more as a straight thriller rather than thought provoking drama, it’s impossible not to think about the whole “Playing God” motif and the moral obligations attached to people in a position of power. Bing Crosby does a great job and it was such a nice choice for him, exploring those dark recesses in a way that allows the audience to look at the film’s deeper themes without feeling overwhelmed by ethics. I guess when your movie only lasts 74 minutes; it’s good to keep it brisk!

The answer to the doctor's secret lies in the Dewey Decimal System

Frank Converse was always a treat to watch on television. He has such a presence... and that voice… Mmmmmm… He was one of my favorite faces to see when I was growing up. Blythe Danner is really young and quite good as the sweet natured nurse. But in the end, this is Crosby’s movie all the way. It was a wild choice of a swan song, but it looks like he was testing the dark waters, Bing Crosby Productions produced Willard and a few other horror movies in the early 70s.

Also, if you just have to know everything about Dr. Cook's Garden, check out this exhaustive guide to the play.

Who knew Frank had such a beatnik heart:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Must See Streaming TV - The Hitchhiker: Split Decision

Network: HBO
Original Air Date: December 14th, 1983

It also started innocently enough, when someone posted a traumafession over at Kindertrauma. It was about twins who tend to share everything. I might not have thought much about it afterwards, but as my lucky stars would have it, it was revealed that this was an episode of The Hitchhiker titled Split Decision and it starred the Landers Sisters! And then, as if little angels had come to grant my every wish, I found out this episode is streaming on Hulu! Ah, The world just got a little better.

Two great tastes that taste great together?

Audrey and Judy are Priscilla and Francis Packard. They aren’t completely identical, but buxom and blonde enough that real estate sleazebag agent Jake McElhaney (Jackson Davis) doesn’t bother to look any closer. He’s trying to sell their house because these twins, who used to work the carnival circuit with their now deceased dad, are pretty sick of each other and want their own places. However, because they like to share everything too, Jake becomes Boy Toy extraordinaire, despite his cheeseball bowties.

Watching this episode yesterday I thought it must have been made in the mid to late 80s, because poodle perms do not lie. I was shocked to see it actually aired in 1983, so I am thinking the Landers ladies are responsible for bringing split-ends to the latter part of the decade! Who knew?

Bow tie love in the afternoon

Split Decision is fairly predictable, but quirky and fun. I actually had no idea that the original Hitchhiker was Nicholas Campbell who stars in my favorite episode of the Canadian romance TV movie series Shades of Love, titled Champagne for Two. Yes, I have a favorite Shades of Love movie… In this episode of The Hitchhiker he’s a little less vague than Page Fletcher who was given some really obtuse dialog to wrangle. Both look good in tight jeans though, so I won’t complain.

If you’re in the mood for candy-colored creepy, I think this Landers love-fest should fit the bill!

And make sure you visit this awesome website dedicated to the Landers Sisters

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Poll: Flying High

Since I missed adding Horror at 37,000 Feet in last month's Shat-tastic poll, I thought I'd find a way to squeeze it into the next one. Lo and behold, I thought, why not have a poll on TV movies that feature airplanes? I mean, what's better than cramming several familiar faces into a tiny area and letting them freak out on each other? Oh, the drama! There were just enough of these movies to make me feel smart, so I went with it. OK, so I bent the rules a bit with Columbo: Swan Song, but it's a fantastic episode starring Johnny Cash, where a plane figures prominently... and like I said, it stars Johnny Cash!

I am pretty sure Seven in Darkness is going to get my vote because it's not only one of the first made for TV movies I saw, my revisit of it recently proved it's just as good as my memory of it! But there are some excellent movies on this list and I hope everyone comments on why they chose the movie they did.

As for last month's poll, The Babysitter walked away with it! I should say, it left all the other titles in the dust. I thought for sure Pray for the Wildcats was going to give that sexy babysitting nymph a good run for her money, but it actually came in a far third, after The Tenth Level! Whodathunkit?

And finally, I am sorry I've been so MIA, and I probably will continue to be that way until finals are over, which is only about a week and a half away. I have one half written review waiting to be finished and I am hoping for at least one theme week over the summer. I'm counting the days guys!