“Village of the Damned” (1960) was directed by Wolf Rilla and was produced by Ronald Kinnoch. Adapted from John Wyndham/John Harris’ novel, “The Midwich Cuckoos;” both Rilla and Kinnoch (the producer’s screenwriting credit was credited to his pseudonym name of George Barclay) also co-wrote the screenplay adaptation of the Wyndham/Harris novelization with veteran screenwriter Stirling Silliphant (Silliphant also created two popular television mystery dramas for Columbia Pictures/Screen Gems, the TV adaptation of “Naked City” from 1958-63 and “Route 66” from 1960-64).
35 years after the original theatrical release of Wolf Rilla’s MGM production of “Village of the Damned” (1960), veteran writer/director John Carpenter directed his own re-make of “Village of the Damned” (1995) for Universal Studios with Christopher Reeve (of “Superman” fame), Mark Hamill (of “Star Wars” fame), Kirstie Alley (of “Cheers” fame), Trishalee Hardy, Jessye Quarry and Cody Dorkin.
This will mark Sven’s second big coast-to-coast broadcast of Rilla’s 1960 MGM classic sci-fi thriller masterpiece on Me-TV. He previously showcased “Village of the Damned” (1960) as a big coast-to-coast Me-TV premiere broadcast back in Aug. 2019.
Sven previously aired “Village of the Damned” (1960) for his Berwyn/Chicago big broadcast on his hometown television station in Berwyn/Chicago, WCIU-TV 26/”The U”* back in back in Oct. 1995, according to details from the official YouTube site of fellow super SvenPal David Fuentes and information from IMDB.
Who was in Wolf Rilla’s MGM production of “Village of the Damned” (1960)?
The players who appeared in the 1960 Wolf Rilla-MGM sci-fi thriller production were George Sanders (as Gordon Zellaby; some of Sanders’ best-known screen roles include his role of Simon Templar in the 1939–41 RKO Radio Pictures feature film adaptation series of Leslie Charteris’ “The Saint;” the title role of Gay Lawrence in RKO’s 1941–42 post-“Saint” screen adaptation series of Michael Arlen’s “The Falcon” and his Academy Award-winning role of Addison DeWitt in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s smash 1950 Twentieth Century Fox/Twentieth Century Studios screen drama with Bette Davis, “All About Eve”), Barbara Shelley (as Anthea Zellaby, Shelley was known for her various British screen horror roles, including her characterization of Carla Hoffman in Terence Fisher’s 1964 Hammer/Columbia monster classic with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, “The Gorgon”), Martin Stephens (as David Zellaby, Stephens previously appeared with George Sanders in Guy Hamilton’s 1960 Paramount comedy with James Mason and Vera Miles, “A Touch of Larceny;” Stephens later appeared in Jack Clayton’s 1961 Twentieth Century Fox/Twentieth Century Studios thriller with Deborah Kerr; “The Innocents;” ), Thomas Heathcote (as James Pawle), Charlotte Mitchell (as Janet Pawle), Michael Gwynn (as Maj. Alan Bernard; Gwynn previously appeared in Fisher’s 1958 Columbia-Hammer monster classic with Cushing, “The Revenge of Frankenstein” and later appeared in the guest role of Lord Melbury in the 1975 pilot episode of John Cleese’s BBC hotel comedy series, “Fawlty Towers”), Laurence Naismith (as Dr. Willers), Richard Vernon (as Sir Edgar Hargraves), John Phillips (as Gen. Leighton), Richard Warner (as Harrington), Sarah Long (as Evelyn Harrington), Jenny Laird (as Mrs. Harrington), Pamela Buck (as Milly Hughes), Susan Richards (as Mrs. Plumpton) and Rosamund Greenwood (as Ms. Ogle).
Original considerations for the role of Gordon Zellaby in “Village of the Damned”
According to additional details from IMDB, veteran actor Glenn Ford was originally chosen to play the role of Gordon Zellaby in Wolf Rilla’s MGM production of “Village of the Damned.” Filming of “Village of the Damned” was originally slated to begin in the United States at the insistence of Stirling Silliphant in 1957, yet Ford had commitments to other MGM feature productions at the time. Veteran actor Ronald Colman was also considered for the role of Gordon Zellaby, but was unable to due to his health; Colman died in 1958.
After George Sanders was chosen for the role of Gordon Zellaby, production of “Village of the Damned” was filmed on location in the village of Letchmore Heath, England; according to the American Film Institute.
MGM’s 1960 promotional tie-ins for “Village of the Damned”
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s publicity department had several promotional tie-ins for exhibitors for the 1960 theatrical release of “Village of the Damned.” According to additional information from IMDB, a “beautiful eyes” contest was held where theatergoers had to guess different “mystery staring eye” photos of celebrities. If the contestant got all 12 answers correctly, a U.S. Savings Bond with complimentary theater tickets were awarded to the winner.
According to the Oct. 1960 edition of Motion Picture Daily, MGM arranged another promotional tie-in for “Village of the Damned” with famed magician and mentalist Joseph “The Amazing” Dunninger. The magician visited 200 theaters throughout his tour for “Village of the Damned” and made numerous TV and radio appearances promoting Wolf Rilla’s MGM thriller feature throughout his visits to Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia.
MGM’s 1963 sequel to “Village of the Damned”
***THEATRICAL TRAILER ADVISORY: Viewer discretion is advised.***
Four years after the success of “Village of the Damned,” Anton M. Leader directed the MGM “Village of the Damned” sequel, “Children of the Damned” (1964); with Clive Powell, Bessie Love, Ian Hendry, Roberta Rex, Martin Miller and Barbara Ferris.
Be sure to watch Svengoolie and his big broadcast of “Village of the Damned” (1960), this Sat. on Me-TV!
Escape from the anxiety, chaos and stress with the magic of Svengoolie and Sven’s big broadcast presentation of Wolf Rilla’s MGM production of “Village of the Damned” (1960); this Sat. on Me-TV! With George Sanders, Barbara Shelley, Martin Stephens, Thomas Heathcote, Charlotte Mitchell, Michael Gwynn, Laurence Naismith, Richard Vernon, John Phillips, Richard Warner, Sarah Long, Jenny Laird, Pamela Buck, Susan Richards, and Rosamund Greenwood; along with Sven’s extensive fun facts, Doug Graves’ parody music serenade and Kerwyn’s “mail call!” You will not be disappointed! Highly recommended to all fellow super Svengoolie SvenPals and classic sci-fi/thriller feature film enthusiasts everywhere! Don’t miss out!
Note: Sven’s upcoming big broadcast of “Village of the Damned” (1960) will be airing in place of “The Curse of Frankenstein” (1957) since the production of recent segments for Sven’s show have been suspended for now due to preventative measures and concerns in connection to the recent coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic until further notice- stay well, keep healthy and stay safe, Sven/Mr. Rich Koz, the entire Sven/Me-TV production team & the entire crowd of fellow super SvenPals everywhere! –C.H.
*Sven’s hometown station in Berwyn/Chicago, WCIU-TV’s “The U” moved to WCIU-TV 26.2 since WCIU’s main channel; WCIU-TV 26.1 serves as the current Berwyn/Chicago home of The CW (CBS-Warner Bros.) television network, according to WCIU’s official website. –C.H.
In the Frederick, Maryland/Washington, D.C. area: WTTG-5.3/Cable 196/FiOS 489/Antietam Cable 194 (also on QAM digital 68.6 for Antietam cable subscribers)
In the Baltimore, Maryland area: WBAL-TV 11.2/Cable 208/FiOS 460
In the Hanover/Gettysburg/York, Pennsylvania area: WGAL-TV 8.2/Cable 248/FiOS 460
Live-tweet (via Twitter) with all fellow super SvenPals everywhere during #Svengoolie’s big Me-TV broadcast of “Village of the Damned” (1960) this Sat.!
In terms of health in connection to the recent coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic: Again, to all fellow super Svengoolie SvenPals everywhere, please stay well, keep healthy, wash your hands, stay safe and follow all precautions seriously. Again, look to Svengoolie, the entire crowd of fellow super SvenPals, Mystery Science Theater 3000, the entire crowd of fellow super MSTies & classic film aficionados everywhere for wisdom, enlightenment and encouragement! Sven’s Sat. evening classic monster, horror and sci-fi features are one of many perfect escapes from the anxiety, chaos and stress with the live-tweeting of all fellow super SvenPals everywhere! Join us for the fun and excitement from Berwyn by live-tweeting with the entire crowd of fellow super SvenPals! Once again, let’s all take preventative measures to be healthy, well and safe. –C.H.
Flashback “Silver Screen Reflections” article on Svengoolie’s Aug. 2019 big Me-TV broadcast premiere of “Village of the Damned”(1960), includes information on the famed “eye glowing” visual effect process!
Extra! Extra! Extra! The “Rondo Awards” ballot deadline is coming up! Again, to all fellow super Svengoolie SvenPals who have not voted yet in the 18th annual Rondo Awards, be sure to cast your vote for Svengoolie for both categories of “Favorite Horror Host” and “Top Event of 2019” for Sven’s 2019 40th anniversary commemoration/proclamation by the City of Chicago through the efforts of fellow super SvenPal Brian “B.A.” Bernardoni! Official voting for the “Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards” is taking place from now until this upcoming Sun. March 29 at midnight! And once more, to all fellow super SvenPals everywhere who have not voted in the Rondo Awards yet, be sure to vote for Svengoolie in the two aforementioned Rondo categories and look at the other Rondo categories/nominees on the official online Rondo ballot! Once again, enter your ballot and follow all directions on the official Rondo Awards website, vote for Sven for the two categories “Favorite Horror Host and “Top Event of 2019” (40th anniversary proclamation/commemoration by the City of Chicago) and look at all of the other nominees/categories for the Rondo Awards! Again, this will be the last week to vote for the recent Rondo Awards, voting ends this Sun., March 29 at midnight! Many fellow super Svengoolie SvenPals from coast-to-coast, including the author/writer of “Silver Screen Reflections” have entered their Rondo online ballots! Again, to our fellow super SvenPals who have not entered in the Rondo Awards yet, be sure to enter, vote for Sven’s categories and look at the other Rondo categories too! Follow all directions from the official Rondo Awards website and enter your Rondo Awards online ballot to the Rondo webmaster (all online ballot instructions are available on the official Rondo website) before this Sun., March 29 at midnight! –C.H.
Extra! Extra! Extra! Cameo mentions of fellow super SvenPals!
Extra! Extra! Extra! Fellow super Svengoolie SvenPals jumped for joy when they recognized the Sven marionette figures from the recent Sven marionette prize giveaway from fellow super Svengoolie SvenPals Highly Revered Reverent Super Clown and professional marionette figurine artist Darren “Gepetto” Moreash and of “Darionettes” fame! Fellow super Svengoolie SvenPal Nanette Keir & I received our Sven marionette prize packages on the same day as Sven’s big Me-TV broadcast premiere of “Horror of Dracula” (1958)! Again, a big thank you to H.R.R. Super Clown & Darren “Gepetto” Moreash for the wonderful Sven marionette figurine prizes! And again, congratulations to Nanette on her Sven marionette prize win and the receiving of the Sven marionette! We highly appreciate the wonderful Sven marionette prize! Three cheers, keep healthy, two thumbs up, stay well, kudos, peace, stay safe & “Hi-Keeba” to you & the entire crowd of fellow super SvenPals everywhere! –C.H.
Extra! Extra! Extra! Fellow super Svengoolie SvenPal Jamie Lee recently announced that the studio facilities of Northwestern University Radio/WNUR 89.3 FM have been suspended for now due to concerns and preventative measures in connection to the recent coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic until further notice. Pre-recorded editions of Jamie’s “Jammin’ with Jamie” program and other prerecorded WNUR programs will be playing in rotation on the station via 89.3 FM/89.3 FM-HD1 and WNUR.org/TuneIn! And fellow super SvenPals/fellow super jammers can also listen to archival editions of Jamie’s “Jammin’ with Jamie” shows (2016-present), additional details can be found via Jamie’s official Twitter site and/or website! Three cheers, keep healthy, two thumbs up, stay well, peace, kudos, stay safe & “Hi-Keeba” to Jamie & the entire crowd of fellow super SvenPals & fellow super jammers everywhere! –C.H.
Extra! Extra! Extra! Help out one of our fellow super SvenPals’ friends: Be sure to donate generously/help out one of fellow super SvenPal Jamie Lee’s friends from the PM&L players troupee by giving whatever you can to her friend’s official GoFundMe fund site to help offset the expensive costs of additional medical treatments. Help out one of Jamie’s friends by giving generously/spreading the word! And again, any amount helps! –C.H.
In connection to “Village of the Damned” (1960):
“Village of the Damned” (1960) is available on Blu-Ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s “Warner Archive” line and is also available on Warners’ “Village of the Damned”/”Children of the Damned” double-feature DVD set (part of Warners’ ownership of the Turner Entertainment/pre-1986 MGM holdings)*. The 1960 MGM sci-fi thriller classic is also available for streaming from Warner Bros. through participating streaming/video-on-demand providers.
Sidebar: Part of Warners’ ownership of the Turner Entertainment/pre-1986 MGM film, TV, cartoon/animation and short subject holdings; Time Warner/the future Warner Media merged with Ted Turner’s media/cable properties in 1996; Turner purchased the aforementioned classic MGM holdings around summer 1986 after his brief ownership of MGM. -C.H.
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