Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mute

You can find just about anything online these days. As I spend a ridiculous amount of time in the company of laptop, I will often look for approximately 25 minutes of visual entertainment to amuse me whilst I scarf down the edible simulation of a mid-day meal.

Today, I discovered the original Twilight Zone on the CBS website! (This was one of those classic moments where I could perfectly visualize someone in your typical office environment. They’d log onto this show and that classic opening Twilight Zone theme would blast from their cubicle/office for all to inadvertently hear. Gotta love that imagination!)

I picked what was evidently a “classic eppy” where an impoverished woman has her rural home invaded by little teeny spacemen. For anyone who cannot believe I haven’t seen this eppy, what can I say? I am pitifully behind the times…at least I’ve seen the one about the librarian and the apocalypse. That’s something, right?

(Author’s note: If you don’t want to know what happens in this particular episode, stop reading now….and go steal that jerk Thomson’s strawberry banana yogurt from the fridge instead….you know you want to.)

So. This impoverished woman lives alone, see? And she has no running water…and no utilities. No cable, no internet….no toilet to flush…although, it’s 1960* so we don’t actually see her use the facilities or anything.

You know I’m gonna use some creative license to fill in the blanks on this plot…right? ‘Kay…just checking.

So, she’s making her traditional Tuesday evening gruel with…what? potatoes?….and possibly…maybe...yams?...something round and very, very hard. She’s making every effort to convey this to her viewing audience…she’s also grimacing as she works, so you get the sense that she’s not a big fan of this particular Tuesday-gruel. The director makes a massive effort to make sure we understand that the 3 knives she’s got hanging from the wall are critical to the plot of this eppy…the actress makes a point of showing that the first one is too dull and she must go with the one on the far right. Got that?

Things progress….she hears something land on the roof….winds up climbing some rickety wooden ladder to the trap door which leads to the attic to take a lookie-see. Well. There’s a freakin’ spaceship up there! It looks to be about 2-3 feet in diameter…but STILL. During all this intense drama, I am struck by the fact that the actress is completely mute, aside from some grunting in exertion and the occasional gasp of surprise. I’m talking to the screen at this point, my tuna sandwich all but forgotten…and I’m saying “WTF?” and “Why aren’t you talking, lady? There’s no-one around for miles…I’d be talking to the rafters by now.”

Shortly thereafter, a small 6” toy robot emerges from the spaceship and the woman freaks out and kicks it down the hatch door and into her house. She seems relieved by this narrow escape of certain death until she hears the pitter-patter of yet another little robot-guy...and this one’s pissed! It’s shooting little red laser-thingies, as seen by the little red light blinking on and then off and the lady is shouting in pain and clutching her arm, so you know she’s been HIT!

I am now officially choking on my tuna sandwich….and Connor (12) enters the room to perform the Heimlich maneuver. He wound up staying to watch the rest of the show, as he was curious to see what could be so hilarious that his mom almost bought the farm over it.


The lady was basically terrorized by these little metal assassins…and she spent the lion’s share of the show chasing ‘em down with some kind of homemade broom...or may it was an axe. We weren't sure. One robot-ette turned up (wiggling like a kitten) in her bed, where she summarily beat it to death and threw it in the fireplace. Another somehow managed to blow a hole in her stone foundation and cut her with her very own (missing from the far right) (very sharp) knife! Connor was quick to point out that she’d miraculously healed by the next scene, however, where she continued to fight the fight.

In the end, she wound up back in the attic (on the roof? I could never be sure…) where she beat the crap out of that spaceship. You then hear a voice-over as she’s hacking away and it’s saying “INHOSPITABLE GIANT CREATURES ON THIS PLANET! EVERYONE’S DEAD! ABORT MISSION! ABORT, I SAY!!” or something to this effect. The scene ends with a close-up shot of that spaceship…and it has the words “United States NASA” on it.

This went straight over Connor’s head. When I explained that the aliens were really US and the lady was the giant alien on another planet, you saw that look of grudging respect appear on his face for those long-ago writers of this classic, campy series.

We watched through the credits and learned the woman (who never uttered a word) was Agnes Moorehead (remember Samantha’s mother from Bewitched?) and it was made in MCMLX….which it took me a full two minutes to decipher meant 1960*.

And that, faithful readers…..was that.

susan F said...

Well, that brings back old times! Same thing with Alfred Hitchcock. I caught one of those shows not too long ago, and wondered why they seemed so scary when I was young!

Nicole said...

I've gotta start reading your blog in order. Make a Bewitched comment in one, only to find you've referenced Agnes Moorehead in another - du du du du du du du du du du du (Twilight Zone theme) difficult to convey in print.

Kathryn said...

Sue: It's so campy, it's actually back IN!
Nicole: Then, you'd betta get reading, girlie....you've got a LOT of catching up to do!!

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