"A Piano In The House"
Barry Morse starred as Fortune Fitzgerald in this episode with Joan Hackett as Esther Fortune, Don Durant as Gregory Walker, Cyril Delevanti as Marvin Bridges, Philip Coolidge as Throckmorton, and Muriel Landers as Marge Moore.
It stands as one of the best episodes filmed during the run of this classic television series. It originally aired on the CBS television network on February 16, 1962.
"A Piano In The House" was written by Earl Hamner, Jr. (The Waltons), directed by David Greene, and produced by Buck Houghton. Hosted by Rod Serling, he opens the show with this teaser: "Mr. Fitzgerald Fortune, theater critic and cynic at large, on his way to a birthday party. If he knew what is in store for him he probably wouldn't go, because before this evening is over that cranky old piano is going to play 'Those Piano Roll Blues' - with some effects that could happen only in The Twilight Zone."
Synopsis: Theater critic Fitzgerald Fortune buys a player piano for his wife Esther's birthday, since he believes she is too untalented to ever play a real piano. The present gives him more than he bargained for upon learning that when the piano is played, the listener must show his true feelings to the world. At first Fortune uses the piano to amuse himself as he makes his acquaintances look like fools, but the gift eventually reveals the critic's true nature.
Here is a sampling of selections from that player piano:
Shopkeeper's Theme "I'm in the Mood for Love"
Esther's Theme "The Sabre Dance"
Greg's Theme "Those Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)"
Marge's Theme "Clair de Lune"
Fitzgerald's Theme "Brahms' Lullaby"
Rod Serling closes with the following: "Mr. Fitzgerald Fortune, a man who went searching for concealed persons and found himself in..."
"...The Twilight Zone."
This superior episode is available for purchase on DVD via
THE OUTER LIMITS
Barry Morse starred in this episode with Carroll O'Connor and
Grace Lee Whitney, filmed as the pilot for a prospective series.
The episode is notable in that it is the only comedic installment
of the series.
SYNOPSIS: On earth a newly arrived Martian visits a resident Martian who operates an outpost/pawnshop. The visiting Martian is here to study the curious Earth habit of murder. Going to a nearby hotel lobby, the Martians witness a murder. Using a strange Martian gizmo, they observe the event forwards, backwards, and in slow motion. Using a cigarette lighter, the visiting Martian deflects the slow motion bullet, preventing the murder. The Martians convince their alien superiors back home that the murder actually took place. The visiting Martian decides to extend his stay on Earth.
REVIEW: Writer/Director Leslie Stevens' "Controlled Experiment" is an unusual and highly entertaining "Outer Limits" episode. Actors Carroll O'Connor and Barry Morse play two Martians named Earth Caretaker Diemos and Inspector Phobos One, respectively. Although the teleplay doesn't point out that these are also the names of Mars' two moons, it's a nice inside joke for those up on their astronomy. O'Connor runs an "outpost" on Earth, in the form of a pawnshop. He's been here for awhile and likes his job. Morse is a Martian inspector, who has just arrived on Earth to conduct an experiment involving the unusual Earth custom of murder. As Morse puts it, "It happens only here on this weird little planet, nowhere else in the galaxy."
Determining that a murder will take place in a nearby hotel in a few minutes, O'Connor and Morse hustle over there. Hiding in the potted plants, Morse and O'Connor observe the murder, then use a special Martian gizmo to move time backwards, and forwards, and to slow it down, in order for Morse to learn more about the act of murder. As the Martians 'Deimos' and 'Phobos', O'Connor and Morse are a study in contrasts and both shine. The plump O'Connor, who has gained great fame via gruff portrayals, on TV's All in the Family and In the Heat of the Night is here being wistful and moody. Morse, best known as the driven Lieutenant Gerard, on TV's The Fugitive and Professor Bergman in Space:1999 gives a zestful performance as the visiting Martian, who digs coffee and cigarettes as much as he enjoys messing around with time.
Surprisingly, seeing the same event over and over again, (a man coming down an elevator in a hotel and being shot in the lobby by his jealous girlfriend), does not become boring. Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Rand of the Star Trek series and films), gives a lively, early career performance as a tough talking, wronged blonde with a gun named Carla Duveen. Robert Fortier (Bert Hamil) offers able support as her murdered lover, who gets a second chance at life. One of the best scenes takes place when O'Connor introduces Morse to the Earth habits of coffee and cigarettes. Morse's delighted response is like a small child sampling cake and ice cream for the first time. Director of Photography, John M. Nickolaus Jr., makes maximum use of the episode's hotel lobby set, using clever angles and camera setups to avoid viewer boredom. Particularly good is a shot of Whitney in the cross hairs of a mind reading scope, as we hear her thoughts. The music, by Dominic Frontiere is gentle and dreamy. The use of a harp, zither, and echo chamber helps convey the episode's dream-like mood. The main FX in the episode involve seeing events in slow motion and backwards, as well as a flashing light/negative image effect every time the "miniaturized temporal condenser" is operated by the Martians. The Special Photographic Effects were Designed and Created by Ray Mercer and Company, and are quite effective. Of note is the Assistant Director, Robert H. Justman, who would later go on to line produce the classic Star Trek series.
This superior episode is available for purchase on videocassette via
The TV series The Adventurer was the first of three television series which Barry Morse filmed for ITC in the United Kingom. Soon after came The Zoo Gang, followed by Space: 1999. The show was an action adventure series featuring wealthy movie celebrity 'Gene Bradley', who worked undercover for US intelligence. He stars as a debonair film star and jet-setting, multi-millionaire businessman. With an eye for the ladies and a nose for trouble, his multiple interests plunge him into dynamic adventures with every new episode.
This fondly-remembered and much sought-after series was created by Monty Berman and Dennis Spooner. It starred former Burke's Law star Gene Barry as 'Gene Bradley', as well as some familiar TV faces; Barry Morse as 'Mr. Parminter', Catherine Schell, Stuart Damon, and Garrick Hagon. The theme was by John Barry. The series features excellent performances from guest stars such as Freddie Jones, Stephanie Beacham, Andre Morell, Burt Kwouk, George Sewell, Ed Bishop, Patrick Mower and Sylvia Syms.
The DVD release includes exclusively recorded contributions from Catherine Schell, Stuart Damon and Barry Morse, a gallery of title elements struck from the original 35mm negatives, as well as extensive image galleries and a commemorative booklet. Although The Adventurer was filmed and distributed on 16mm, the main titles originated on 35mm. These surviving 35mm materials are presented for the first time on the DVD.
THE ZOO GANG
The TV series The Zoo Gang was based on the popular novel by Paul Gallico and adapted for television by Reginald Rose. The book and series revolved around the reunion of four former members of the resistance in France during World War II, who were known as the 'Zoo Gang' because of their codenames; the Fox, the Elephant, the Leopard and the Tiger.
Actors Barry Morse (The Tiger aka Lieutenant Alec Marlowe), Lilli Palmer (The Leopard aka Manouche Roget),
Brian Keith (The Fox aka Steven Halliday), and John Mills (The Elephant aka Thomas Devon)
Manouche's husband, Claude Roget, known as the Wolf, was killed by the Gestapo after the gang were betrayed by a contact. Over thirty years have passed and the gang have drifted their separate ways. Steven Halliday (Brian Keith) is an antiques expert in New York and Alec Marlowe (Barry Morse) works as a mechanic in Canada. The only members who are regularly in touch with each other are Manouche Roget (Lilli Palmer) and Thomas Devon (John Mills), who runs a jeweler's shop.
When the contact who betrayed them all those years ago, Boucher, turns up in Devon's shop, Thomas recognizes him, alerts Manouche and wires Steven and Alec. They had decided long ago that if there was an opportunity to avenge the death of Claude, they would. Steven and Alec drop everything and fly to the Cote d'Azur, where the Zoo Gang reforms for one last time. Although Boucher is captured and made to pay for his crimes, it is not the end for the gang. They decide to put the reward money for Boucher's capture to good use, putting it towards the Claude Roget Children's Hospital which they hope to build in Claude's memory. It becomes apparent that they do not have enough money from this one score, and they decide to stay together to bring justice Robin-Hood style to the French Riviera while collecting any reward money for the hospital.
The Zoo Gang was filmed on location in the south of France and in England's Pinewood Studios. The performances from the leading actors and guest cast were all very good. The scripts, though like those in a good many adventure series before it, were well-written. Six hour-long episodes of the show were filmed.
Episode 1: Revenge: Post Dated - Script: Reginald Rose, Director: Sidney Hayers
Episode 2: Mindless Murder - Script: Howard Dimsdale, Director: John Hough
Episode 3: African Misfire - Script: Peter Yeldham, Director: Sidney Hayers
Episode 4: The Lion Hunt - Script: Sean Graham, Director: Sidney Hayers
Episode 5: The Counterfeit Trap - Script: John Kruse, Director: John Hough
Episode 6: The Twisted Cross - Script: William Fairchild, Director: John Hough
Barry Morse explains what happened: "The difficulty was that all of us, Lilli Palmer, John Mills, Brian Keith and myself, were to some extent locked into other things, so it was only possible to do a limited number of episodes. It was whatever we could shoot in the space of about two and a half months."
"We had a lovely time down in the South of France. We were rather rueful that we weren't going to be able to do any more, because it was better than most of the other things we'd been doing. It was certainly better than The Adventurer" (in which Morse had appeared in with Gene Barry just prior toThe Zoo Gang) "where the quality of the writing was poor."
THE ALCOA PREMIERE STORY
JUDD, FOR THE DEFENSE
Following the success of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, MCA's Revue Studios developed anthology series for several big names, including Fred Astaire, whose Alcoa Premiere ran for two seasons, from 1961-1963. Each week a different producer on the Revue lot was invited to oversee the show. When his time came, Hitchcock enlisted veteran talent from his own show - director Norman Lloyd, producer Joan Harrison, and writer Ray Bradbury - to come up with "The Jail," a harrowing sci-fi rumination on crime and punishment starring John Gavin of Psycho. Aside from his own series, which continued until May 1965, it was the last time Alfred Hitchcock put his name on a television program.
"The Jail" starred John Gavin, James Barton, Barry Morse, and Bettye Ackerman. It was executive produced by Alfred Hitchcock, directed by Norman Lloyd and produced by Joan Harrison. Ray Bradbury wrote the teleplay and host Fred Astaire had filmed segments at the beginning and the end of the show. "The Jail" debuted on February 6, 1962. The program, following its network run on ABC, was re-titled Fred Astaire's Premiere Theatre for syndication.
"I remember working on a show for Alfred Hitchcock in which the noted writer and dramatist Ray Bradbury developed the idea that at some time in the future most things had been taken over by machinery, by computers of various kinds, including the administration of justice. At the time of this teleplay computers were a relative novelty. In this future time a young man was charged with an offense against the state and marshaled into a huge building crammed with banks and banks of computers. These computers would absorb and assess the evidence, circumstances and facts in his case. All of them were operated by one master button-puncher - played by me."
"The wonderful irony of all this was that it seemed to infer that all of this was taking place in the United States at some future time. I thought, "My God, that's a terrifying vision; many steps beyond George Orwell." In those days there used to be a production meeting at the beginning of the shoot with Hitchcock, the various network people, the sponsors and the advertising representatives. I thought to myself, "Oh boy, when they hear this script the balloon is going to go up. It's going to be considered an attack on the American way of life. Surely they must see that! Bradbury's suggesting that if the USA goes on in the direction of automation and mechanization that pretty soon there won't be any humanity in this at all. And machines will run all public affairs and governmental matters. Surely somebody would object to that." I thought!"
"But not one word was said by anybody. There was, however, a scene, a tiny little episode in the script in which this young man was returning with his newly married wife from their honeymoon trip to Europe. They were going through their souvenirs and had a little bit of china from Germany, a little something from France, and they had - in the original script - a pewter beer mug they had picked up in England. As it happened at that time the show was sponsored by an aluminum manufacturing company called Alcoa. When we got to this little scene in the script, somebody mentioned the pewter beer mug and a handful of these frightened-face people all leaped to their feet, went into a corner and talked quickly and somebody called old Alfred, Mr. Hitchcock himself. He went outside and all we heard was "Mumble, mumble, mumble." Then they all came back in with their pronouncement - the pewter beer mug must be removed. All because this great corporation couldn't even bear the mention of another metal!"
"Yet, the whole script was about the decline and demoralization of the entire United States. Nobody had a syllable to say about that. How about that for black comedy? I think Ray Bradbury is among the best of the writers in the science fiction genre. His writing has very serious, philosophic and satiric subtext."
Judd, For The Defense was a 53-episode American legal drama originally broadcast on the ABC network on Friday nights from September 8, 1967, to September 19, 1969. The show starred Carl Betz in the role of 'Clinton Judd', a flamboyant attorney based in Houston, who often took on controversial cases across the country. Playing his top assistant, 'Ben Caldwell', was Stephen Young.
Barry Morse played the role of 'James Burke' in a special two-part story entitled "Fall of a Skylark", part 1 was called 'The Trial' and part 2 was named 'The Appeal'. Other guest stars in the episodes included Diana Hyland, Dabbs Greer, Malachi Throne, and Bradford Dillman.
Throughout the course of the two-year run of the show, critics gave it positive reviews. Programs dealth with a number of cutting-edge issues, including homosexuality, blacklisting, and draft dodgers. The show's producer, Harold Gast, sought to break new ground with the program, using a number of new writers for scripts that veered away from previous television conventions.
JUDD, FOR THE DEFENSE
Links to more of Barry's TV work:
The Fugitive / Space: 1999 / Merely Players / Icon
Be sure to check out the photos and article from the August 1955 issue of
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