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Strange Paradise 1969 - 1970

Nov. 22nd, 2016 | 09:46 pm
posted by: mystic_scribe in cult_tv_lounge

Strange Paradise was Canada's foray into the Gothic supernatural daytime soap opera, due, in part, to the success of Dark Shadows. Set on the private island of Maljardin in the French Caribbean, the story revolves around the troubled Jean Paul Desmond, an immensely wealthy businessman who is, essentially, lord and master of his island. The story begins immediately after the death of his beloved wife, Erica. Jean Paul adored her and, not ready to let her go, denounces God and has her cryogenically frozen, keeping her in the subterranean crypt of the mansion amongst his ancestors. Erica was pregnant when she died, and her sister, Dr. Alison Carr, is concerned when she hasn't heard from her for a month, so she, along with Desmond's lawyer Dan Forest, head to the tropics. Meanwhile, the grieving Jean Paul opens the grave of ancestor Jacques Eloi Des Mondes, who died 300 years prior, and removes the "silver sword" from an effigy's head, releasing the evil spirit of Jacques Eloi — who proceeds to torment his descendant from a portrait and occasionally take possession of him. Alison eventually arrives on the island and learns the fate of her sister, and a small group of others also come to inhabit the island of the "Garden of Evil." Among them are runaway heiress Holly Marshall and her selfish mother, Elizabeth; Rev. Matt Dawson, conflicted by his attraction to the just-shy of 21 Holly, and painter Tim Stanton. Add to the mix Raxl, the housekeeper who practices an ancient form of religious magic, and the lumbering mute Quito, a gentle giant servant.

The show ran for only a year, 1969 - 1970. I've watched about a month's worth of episodes on YouTube (the entire series is posted) and am really enjoying it. The early scripts by Ian Martin have some fun, snappy dialogue. Colin Fox, in the dual roles of Jean Paul and Jacques Eloi, is entertaining, and he seems to relish camping it up as the 300 years dead scandalous scoundrel. Whereas Dark Shadows did entire storylines set in the past, Strange Paradise has occasional flashbacks within an episode that only last five minutes or so. And speaking of Dark Shadows, after about 40 episodes, the writer and executive producer left the show, due to poor ratings, and DS producer Bob Costello came on board, leaving his show in the middle of its 1897 story arc. How Strange Paradise changes, I'll have to wait and see. For now though, it's a lot of fun.

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classic TV westerns

Oct. 26th, 2016 | 06:46 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

I was never much of a fan of TV westerns years ago. Like most people I watched the odd episode of Bonanza and Gunsmoke and I have very dim memories of Maverick and Have Gun - Will Travel and The Rifleman (OK, l all I remember about The Rifleman was the opening sequence).

In the past few years I’ve started to appreciate the western genre more. So maybe I should start checking out some of the classic television westerns of the 50s, 60s and 70s? Anyone want to offer any recommendations?

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October Cult TV blog updates

Oct. 10th, 2016 | 11:29 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

October Cult TV blog updates:

The Sandbaggers, season two (1980) - I found myself enjoying this more than season 1 for some reason.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979) - even more cerebral and in some ways even more bleak than The Sandbaggers but thoroughly absorbing and very impressive.

The Owl Service (1969) - very ambitious British children's series that is really much more suited to adults than children. Interesting but not entirely successful.

Dangerous Knowledge (1976) - gritty but excellent British six-part spy thriller series.

Father Brown (1974) - superb adaptation of Chesterton's classic detective stories, with Kenneth More as the definitive screen Father Brown.

Francis Durbridge Presents - The Doll (1975) - a thoroughly enjoyable and well-crafted BBC mystery thriller.

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Cult TV blogging July

Jul. 3rd, 2016 | 03:36 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

Cult TV blogging July:

Sir Francis Drake (1961) - one of the great TV adventure series.

The Baron (1966-67) - pretty entertaining for all its flaws.

It’s Dark Outside, season one (1964) - very odd and incredibly uneven British cop show.

Also an excellent episode from Brian Clemens' 1970s Thriller series, Night Is the Time for Killing (AKA Murder on the Midnight Express, 1975) and a very good 1969 episode of the BBC's sci-fi anthology series Out of the Unknown - The Last Lonely Man (1969).

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May Cult TV blog update

May. 23rd, 2016 | 11:37 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

May Cult TV blog update:

The A-Team, season 1 (1983) - very silly but it's supposed to be and it's great fun.

Paul Temple (1969-71) - superb stylish action adventure series from (surprisingly) the BBC.

The Protectors (1964) - not the later and better-known ITC series of that name but an earlier and far superior British ABC series about insurance investigators.

Tales of the Unexpected (1979-88) - very uneven anthology mystery/horror series with most early episodes based on Roald Dahl's stories.

Plus classic episodes of other anthology series - The Invaders (from The Twilight Zone), Pigeons from Hell (from Thriller) and The Sixth Finger (from The Outer Limits).

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April Cult TV blog update

Apr. 13th, 2016 | 11:06 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

April Cult TV blog update:

The Professionals, season 1 (1977) - gritty British espionage series which I'm liking more now than I used to.

Zodiac (1974) - quirky but rather appealing British detective series combining humour, romance, astrology and crime.

The Twilight Zone - The Invaders (1961) - perhaps the best episode of the entire series.

Rivals of Sherlock Holmes - The Case of the Mirror of Portugal and The Duchess of Wiltshire's Diamonds - two excellent 1971 episodes featuring villainous Victorian private detectives.

Columbo - Dagger of the Mind and Requiem for a Falling Star (both 1972) - Columbo investigates murder in the worlds of the theatre and Hollywood. Great fun.

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doubles in 60s television

Mar. 15th, 2016 | 11:48 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

I’m just watching an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea in which the villain creates an evil double of Admiral Nelson. This surely has to be the single most used plot device in 1960s television. It seems like every spy series and every science fiction series of that era used it at least once. Some used it more than once. Some used it again and again!

So what is your favourite 1960s television use of the evil double plot device?

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Sad news

Feb. 29th, 2016 | 12:29 pm
posted by: mystic_scribe in cult_tv_lounge

I just learned today that actor Humbert Allen Astredo died earlier this month. Though not a known name, he was active in American soap operas and theater, including touring with Elizabeth Tayor in a production of The Little Foxes in the 1980's. He's best known for the cult soap Dark Shadows, where he played the devilishly urbane warlock, Nicholas Blair, as well as the Satan worshiping, black-magic practicing lawyer Evan Hanley. He was one of my favorite actors on the show and could recite evil incantations like he meant it! His character, Nicholas Blair, became a nemesis of the beautiful witch, Angelique. Upon meeting again unexpectedly after she threw him under the bus with their "Master" (Satan), he had a great line; "At the risk of sounding banal...it's a small world, isn't it?" Such panache.

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February Cult TV blog updates

Feb. 29th, 2016 | 11:48 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

February Cult TV blog updates:

Man in a Suitcase (1967-68) - superb and surprisingly gritty ITC crime/espionage action adventure series.

Burke’s Law, season one (1963) - debonair playboy millionaire cop Amos Burke solves crimes among the rich and famous. One of my all-time favourites. Great stuff.

Dynasty (1981-89) - yes it's trash but it's fun trash. Plus Joan Collins!

Public Eye, season 5 (1971) - magnificent British series featuring television’s least glamorous private eye.

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Strange Paradise

Jan. 29th, 2016 | 02:48 pm
posted by: mystic_scribe in cult_tv_lounge

I was wondering if anyone has seen the old Canadian supernatural soap opera Strange Paradise? It only ran for about a year between 1969-1970. Initially set on a Carribbean island, it follows the Desmond family and involves deals with the devil, resurrecting the dead, possession, voodoo and other supernatural goings-on. I've found someone who's selling the entire series on DVD-R, but can't decide if I should invest or not. I'm a fan of Dark Shadows and this is, obviously, similar (the DS producer jumped ship to SP, along with a couple of writers). It could be a blast. Should I take the plunge?

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