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The legendary Chicago-based horror host will be showcasing the 1944 ghost drama “The Uninvited.” The fun starts Sat., March 18 at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central on Me-TV Network.
“The Uninvited” was directed by Lewis Allen. Charles Brackett was the associate producer of Allen’s film. The screenwriters were Dodie Smith and Frank Partos. Smith and Partos’ screenplay adaptation was based off of Dorothy Macardle’s novel.
Who was in “The Uninvited?”
The actors who appeared in “The Uninvited” were Ray Milland (as Roderick “Rick” Fitzgerald), Ruth Hussey (as Pamela Fitzgerald), Donald Crisp (as Commander Beech), Cornelia Otis Skinner (as Miss Holloway), Dorothy Stickney (as Miss Bird), Barbara Everest (as Lizzie Flynn), Alan Napier (as Dr. Scott) and Gail Russell (as Stella Meredith).
The Weinberg Center for the Arts will be bringing back another vintage film series for silent film lovers during the venue’s 2016-17 performing arts season.
Back to the Tivoli: The Weinberg Center’s “Silent Film Series”
For fans of silent film in the Frederick area and beyond, the historic cinema house (formerly known as the Tivoli Theater) will be showcasing a series of vintage Hollywood silent films from the 1920s.
All silent films in the series will be accompanied by organist Michael Britt, who will play on the theater’s “mighty” 1926 Wurlitzer organ.
From horror to slapstick comedy and drama, there’s something for everyone during the Weinberg Center’s silent film showcase!
Special Halloween Day/Evening Screening: Mon., Oct. 31 at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.: “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” (1920), directed by John S. Robinson, featuring John Barrymore, Martha Mansfield and Brandon Hurst. A Halloween costume contest will be held before the 7 p.m. showing!
Sat., Nov. 26, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.: “Our Hospitality” (1923), directed by Buster Keaton and John G. Blystone, featuring Buster Keaton, Natalie Talmadge and Joe Keaton. This was one of the earliest groundbreaking comedies featuring the “great stone face.”
As this month will mark the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek,” one of television’s iconic horror hosts will present the rarely-seen pilot this Saturday.
Svengoolie Presents: “Star Trek” (The Cage)
Iconic horror/sci-fi movie host Svengoolie will present a special edition of his Saturday evening vintage horror/sci-fi film showcase on Me-TV Network. On Sept. 10, Sven will present the rarely seen pilot episode of “Star Trek,” titled “The Cage” at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central, right after first broadcast episode of “Star Trek,” “The Man Trap,” which will air in the program’s regular timeslot on Me-TV at 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central (part of Me-TV’s “Super Sci-Fi Saturday Night” lineup, the original series premiered on NBC with “The Man Trap” on the evening of Sept. 8, 1966).
According to the official Me-TV press release, there were two pilots made for the original “Star Trek” series. The first Trek pilot, “The Cage” was filmed in 1965. William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk is not in this pilot episode, as the Enterprise is led by Captain Christopher Pike, who is played by Jeffrey Hunter. Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock is in the first filmed pilot, along with Majel Barrett (who married series creator Gene Roddenberry in 1969), who played “Number One” in the first pilot of the series.
Scenes from “The Cage” were later recycled into “The Menagerie”
The first pilot was rejected by NBC, and the majority of footage from the “The Cage” was recycled into the two-part episode (episode 16), “The Menagerie,” which aired on the peacock network in Nov. 1966. Actor Sean Kenney was cast as an injured Captain Pike in the two-part episode.
According to the CBS Syndication logbook* (formerly known as the Paramount Syndication Bible), the first pilot was never seen until it aired for the first time in a syndicated special.
Rediscovery of “The Cage”
In 1988, Paramount Pictures produced (and syndicated) a retrospective series on the Star Trek franchise, titled “The Star Trek Saga: From One Generation to the Next.” The special was hosted by Patrick Stewart (who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the second Trek series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” from 1987-1994).
For the first time, “The Cage” aired in its entirety as part of the special (from the original color negatives).
Be sure to watch Svengoolie’s Salute to “Star Trek”
Svengoolie’s special presentation of the rare first “Star Trek” pilot, “The Cage,” is perfect for Trekkies, fans of science fiction and Sven’s program. You will not want to miss it, as it is one of many perfect opportunities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek.”
Sat., Sept. 10 at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central, Me-TV Network
In Frederick, MD/Washington, D.C.: Comcast 204/WJLA-TV 7.2
In Baltimore, MD: Comcast 208/WBAL-TV 11.2 (may be delayed due to a special 10 p.m. edition of TV-11’s newscast on their Me-TV subchannel)
Nationwide list of Me-TV affiliates (and cable channel availability)
*CBS obtained the rights to the “Star Trek” franchise as part of then-parent Viacom’s corporate split in 2006. CBS inherited the broadcast television/syndication holdings of Paramount Pictures/Viacom that same year (excluding the post-48 Paramount feature films, which are still held by the studio).
SIDEBAR (For all posts): The author of this site does not endorse any WordPress political advertisements.
Concerned filmmakers, classic film fans and architectural preservationists are working to save an iconic Hollywood landmark from the wrecking ball.
The RKO Globe: Paramount is planning to demolish the iconic mark as part of a studio-wide renovation project
According to the Los Angeles Visionaries Association, Paramount Pictures proposed a master plan to remodel their large studio complex in Hollywood. When the plan was revealed in Oct. 2015, the studio is planning to tear down eight stages, along with several other buildings on the lot.
One of the buildings that are planned for demolition is stage 21. On the exterior of that building, it features the old RKO globe facade. The building (with the globe) faces the corner of Gower Street and Melrose Avenue.
The globe on the building originally contained a radio tower sculpture with “RKO” in neon lettering, in the spirit of the opening logo for RKO Radio Pictures, which featured a model radio tower atop the globe beaming out a Morse code signal with the phrase, “An RKO Radio Picture” (or in the studio’s earliest releases, “A Radio Picture”).
A brief history of the RKO lot (and Paramount’s involvement)
Several years before RKO Radio Pictures (or Radio-Keith-Orpheum) was formed in 1928, the lot was originally part of Joseph P. Kennedy’s Film Booking Offices of America, which was located next to rival studio Paramount. According to the 1987 BBC documentary “The RKO Story,” Kennedy’s film organization would merge with the Keith-Albee-Orpheum theater chain, along with David Sarnoff’s Radio Corporation of America (RCA), which held in interest in the newly-formed company (to showcase the growing technological firm’s entry into sound motion pictures).
1948: Industrialist Howard Hughes would acquire RKO (and the studio properties). From that point on, Hughes’ ownership would plague the company.
1955: Hughes sold RKO to General Tire’s broadcasting subsidiary, General Teleradio (which would be renamed RKO General). General Tire was interested in purchasing RKO for its backlog of vintage films to show on the company’s TV stations.
1957: Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball purchased the RKO lot (and additional RKO studio facilities) from General Tire. The couple’s production company, Desilu wanted to expand the company’s production facilities (the former RKO lot would complement Desilu’s other production facility on Cahuenga Boulevard, now home to RED DIGITAL Studios). Before hitting it big with “I Love Lucy” and Desilu Productions in 1951, both Arnaz and Ball were RKO contract players in the 1940s (where the two met together).
Paramount acquired the adjacent lot from Lucille Ball in 1967, as part of Gulf+Western Industries’ purchase of Desilu Productions (G+W absorbed the ailing Paramount studios one year earlier, so that the conglomerate’s motion picture subsidiary could enter network television production in addition to expanded feature film productions on the combined lot).
The studio would exit network television production and syndication in early 2006, as part of Paramount’s parent (Viacom) being split into two companies. The former Paramount/Viacom broadcast television holdings reside with CBS. While the studio still owns the old RKO/Desilu side of the lot, the company recently went back into television production.
Change.org Petition: Save the RKO Globe from Destruction
Recently, a petition was created on Change.org, titled “Save the RKO Globe.” Launched by independent filmmaker Tim Hull, over 2,064 people have signed the petition to let Paramount studios know that they should not destroy Hollywood history.
According to updates on the companion Facebook site, Hull has contacted officials from The Hollywood Bowl to relocate/restore the old RKO globe (if Paramount dismantles it from stage 21).
Sidebar: To all fellow readers
If you’re a fan of vintage/cult film and television (whether it was produced by RKO, Desilu, Paramount or other production companies)- the author of this site highly encourages everyone to sign the petition to save the RKO globe from destruction.
After being in the motion picture business for 104 years, one would think that Paramount and its affiliated companies would know better by preserving Hollywood film and television history. The iconic RKO globe on the Paramount lot should not be lost- it should be preserved for all generations.
Fans of vintage horror will be in for a treat this weekend, as another vintage horror flick will be shown on TV.
Svengoolie Presents: “Island of Lost Souls” (1932)
The film, which was adapted from H.G. Wells’ novel, “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” which is about an evil scientist who turns wild animals into human beasts. This was the first film adaptation of Wells’ story, and was remade in 1977 (under the title of Wells’ story, with Burt Lancaster and Michael York) and 1996 (with Marlon Brando, directed by John Frankenheimer).
Erle Kenton began his film career with Mack Sennett’s Keystone Films and played one of the “Keystone Kops” in silent comedies for Sennett’s company. After “Island of Lost Souls,” Kenton would direct several horror features for Universal Studios, including “The Ghost of Frankenstein” (1942), “House of Frankenstein” (1944) and “House of Dracula” (1945).
Around the same year that Kenton directed “The Ghost of Frankenstein,” he would also direct two comedies featuring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello- “Who Done It?” and “Pardon my Sarong” (both 1942).
The cast of “Island of Lost Souls” (1932)
The film features Charles Laughton as Dr. Moreau, Bela Lugosi as Sayer of the Law, Richard Arlen as Edward Parker, Leila Hyams as Ruth Thomas, Arthur Hohl as Montgomery and Kathleen Burke, who was only billed in the opening title credits (and advertisements) as “The Panther Woman.”
According to a 1932 Paramount press book, Burke was chosen out of 60,000 actresses to play the part of Lota (“The Panther Woman”) in a studio-sponsored talent search. One year later, Burke starred in the Paramount thriller ”Murders in the Zoo,” which also featured Charlie Ruggles and Lionel Atwell (that aforementioned film was also shown on “Svengoolie” back in April of this year).
“Island of Lost Souls:” One of the definitive horror greats
Though it was deemed controversial when it was first released in 1932, the film has remained a cult horror classic, and was the inspiration for the name of the debut album for the rock band Devo (taken from Bela Lugosi’s memorable line in the film- “Are We Not Men?”).
Some 84 years after its general release, “Island of Lost Souls” still gives chills to modern audiences, and Svengoolie will present the film with his trademark sketches in-between commercial breaks. You won’t want to miss it!
Sat., June 26 at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central on Me-TV Network
In the Frederick, MD/Washington, D.C. area: WJLA 7.2/Comcast 204
In Baltimore: WBAL-TV 11.2/Comcast 208 (time-delayed to 11 p.m. due to TV-11’s special 10 p.m. newscast on their Me-TV subchannel)
“Island of Lost Souls” is available from The Criterion Collection on DVD and Blu-Ray (in conjunction with Universal Studios, owners of the pre-1948 Paramount sound features)
There will be more in store on “Silver Screen Reflections” where more posts will published starting next week (after a short break).
“Coming Soon” to “Silver Screen Reflections:”
Here is a small sneak peek of upcoming posts for the remainder of June:
A post related to the field of cinema exhibition (and the Frederick area): A must-read on this site.
The future of Washington’s “Screen On the Green” Classic/Cult Film Series: Two corporate backers decided to pull out of the long-running outdoor cult/classic film festival on the grounds of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
“Sensurround-“ Universal’s short-lived motion picture sound enhancement system that was featured in several of the studio’s film releases in the mid-1970s.
And much more! Stay tuned for more exciting posts on “Silver Screen Reflections.”
May 19 is Father’s Day- Happy Father’s Day to all fathers out there from “Silver Screen Reflections.”