Friday, March 29, 2024

Twilight Zone Versus the Ants (The Outer Limits)

For some, the issue of which is the better television series is of the utmost importance. I like both equally, and, they are actually two different shows once one gets past the anthology format, which both share equally.

The Twilight Zone (1959 - 1964)
More fantasy than science fiction.

The Outer Limits (1963 - 1965)
More science fiction than fantasy.

I have a first-hand story regarding that great often-fought interdimensional and interstellar battle.

Years ago I was visiting my neighbour. The food and drink came out, but nobody got drunk. The ensuing discussions were of the type expected at a friendly get together.

It happened. Scott, boyfriend of my neighbour, seemed to have a problem with my holding The Outer Limits in the same esteem I did The Twilight Zone. "Oh, come on, man. The Outer Limits was so bad. There was that episode that was so typical. The one with the robot boxer."

A challenge! I was thrown straight into the ring: "That episode was called 'Steel'. It starred Lee Marvin. And it was a Twilight Zone episode."

Passion. The fists flew.

Well, he pointed: "You're wrong." And continuing variations on that theme.

I went back to my apartment, and from my bookcase I pulled The Twilight Zone Companion (Marc Scott Zicree).

Back to the battlefield!

With the book opened at the proper page, the chapter on "Steel", Scott's jaw dropped. In the manner expected of a soul converted by a well-placed "K.O.", he emitted a feeble, but emotive: "This is a conspiracy." (Emphasis his.)

On such matters, don't argue with Uncle Simon.

No. "Uncle Simon" is a Twilight Zone episode.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

An Answering Machine Easter Egg

Many years ago my roommate at the time and I decided to have some fun: we recorded a message for answering machine which could be best described as "daring".

Dave had a four-track audio recorder; it used cassette tape, the kind of tape used as the 'outgoing' message on my Panasonic answering machine. Inspiration hit the two of us fast and hard. We wrote the script quickly and prepared to record the message. In my music collection I have a CD titled "Hollywood's Greatest Hits Volume Two". On one track Dave and I laid down Elmer Bernstein's theme from the 1956 opus The Ten Commandments, specifically, the pastoral passage right after the bombast proper ― the background music we hear playing under the voice of God.

Next: Dave's recording of the voice of God. His voice was better than my nasally own for this important document. After we had the two tracks down it was a matter of giving the commanding orator some reverb. (A dry voice track would inspire no one, no matter how persuasive the text.)

We were very happy with our effort.

As the British would say, "the show went out".

The reaction was much greater than what we were expecting. Callers who got the outgoing message thought it was very funny, hilarious. What happened was the word quickly got around about our answering machine commandments. People would call just to hear the message, and since Dave and I were busy guys, chances were that they would get the machine.

A mutual friend went into hysterics when we gave him a live playback, but after he regained his composure, he told us his concern that some folk might not find our commandments humorous.

After some time Dave and I pulled the work. Unfortunately it's gone; we know not where.

Here is a transcription, not scripture:

"Luuuke. I mean....Mosesss. Thou shalt leave a message at the tone. Leave thy name and numberrr... (at this point Dave's voice speeds into a 'Maxwell Smart') ... And when I get a chance, I'll call you back!"

Friday, March 22, 2024

The Cuban Missile Crisis: At The Brink (PBS, 1992)

Tonight while looking for 'history' videos to watch on YouTube, I stumbled upon the above hour-long program. First broadcast by PBS (Public Broadcasting System) on October 14th, 1992, thirty years after the events it covers, The Cuban Missile Crisis: At The Brink is a solid and fascinating look at how close humanity came to the checkout counter.

During that toggle-switch crisis I was a wee one, so I have no memory of it, but my mother told me years later just how scary those events were for everyone.

Just like now....

William Shatner Turns 93 Years Young

Canadian actor and author William Shatner is, quite simply, the coolest man in this galaxy. Happy Birthday to a fellow Montrealer.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

A Flip on an RCAF/CAF C-130 Hercules

Some images take us way back. The photo above, which I grabbed from Wikipedia, flew me to my "brat" youth. The Lockheed C-130 Hercules has served the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) for decades. In my day, the "Herc" was painted in the livery illustrated above, which only help feed the pangs of nostalgia.

The route of CFB Lahr to Gatwick Airport, and back again, was my trip; my "flip".

Monday, March 11, 2024

Star Trek ― Series Proposal ― March 11, 1964

click to enlarge

This ol' Trekker saw a tweet minutes ago by designer Michael Okuda. He noted that it was sixty years ago today that Gene Roddenberry produced (had typed up) his first presentation paperwork for a proposed television series. It would be, and was always called, "Star Trek".

The first pilot episode, "The Cage", would go before the cameras that November. Desilu, Lucille Ball, especially, had faith in the series concept. Lucy's star shined brightly, and still does.

Star Trek

Created by:

March 11, 1964


A one-hour television series.

Action  -  Adventure  -  Science Fiction.

The first such concept with strong

central lead characters plus other

continuing regulars.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Reading: The Canadian Constitution (Dodek)

"We can identify a 'Canadian constitutional model.' Our Constitution is the envy of the world and Canadians have been involved as advisors in constitution-making in places such as South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Israel. Yet our constitution is much more than the written documents that are contained in this book. It is the living, breathing experience of Canadians in their daily lives. It is the spirit of democracy and tolerance that makes Canada the great country that it is."

Author Adam Dodek explains in his preface why he decided to write The Canadian Constitution. His educational background ― which included McGill University and law school in the States ― along with his travels, allowed him to study the constitutions of various countries. As Mr Dodek states, he kept coming back to our own.

I'm but a few chapters in, but this document is fascinating.

Postscript: a few years ago I read Robert A. Dahl's How Democratic Is the American Constitution? Fascinating stuff.