Category Archives: Forgotten Television


marcstrange 0001THE MANIPULATORS (1970) – The words “gritty” and “streetwise” seem never to be used when describing vintage television programs from Canada but they certainly apply to The Manipulators (Originally the title was to be The Clients).

If you enjoyed underrated Canadian shows like The Beachcombers or Police Surgeon you might like The Manipulators, an hour-long dramatic series about parole officers and the men and women they were responsible for.

Compared to 21st Century television, which seems infested with law enforcement procedural shows 24/7, this program would have seemed much less derivative for early 70s viewers.    Continue reading


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Peter TorkMonkees member Peter Tork is dead. Not since the infamous Day The Music Died has the rock world suffered such a loss. I’m kidding! Still, though, here’s a Balladeer’s Blog goodbye to the one and only member of the Monkees whose name always puts me in mind of the measure of a force’s tendency to produce torsion equal to the product of the force vector and the radius vector from the axis of rotation to the point of application of the force.

I think you’ll agree.

Anyway, I considered reviewing the Monkees’ movie Head or maybe even the motorcycle flick Torque but instead I’m going with this look at the NEW Monkees show from 1987. 

New MonkeesThe New Monkees are remembered as the most pointless re-launch of a band in history AND as one of the worst television shows in history. I’ve never listened to their one and only album so I can’t say if they make it a Hat Trick with one of the worst albums in history, too. 

The premise sounds like a comedy sketch from the glory days of SCTV but unfortunately this thoroughly bizarre attempt to recapture the flukish charm of the original Monkees was 100% real.

Let’s look at the debut episode of The New Monkees‘ 13 episode run in 1987. Everything you’ve heard is true: We get Rocky Horror Picture Show lips voiced by a black lady, a weird sci-fi mansion home for the title foursome, a built-in diner and their annoying butler, Manford.

The laugh track does NOT go off during the few things that seemed funny, like a couple of apparently ad-libbed jokes by the New Monkees during their screen test footage, but instead goes off during lame, obvious jokes that not even small children would laugh at. Continue reading


Filed under Bad and weird movies, Forgotten Television, humor


1a randy and richard

Randy (right) and Richard way down on Level 31 hosting The Texas 27 Film Vault

Today is the 34th Anniversary of the very first episode of The Texas 27 Film Vault from Saturday, February 9th of 1985. My psychotically obsessive research on the show has yielded a lot of info over the years but I have now worn out every source I could find.

Even the show’s co-host and co-creator Randy Clower has been bled dry of information on the show by me. Over the years other fans of the show – and a special shout-out goes to “the Cap’n” – have provided info here and there that often led me to concrete source material.

Anyway, here are some movies that we have general, varied reason to believe were shown on The Texas 27 Film Vault but I need original broadcast dates, info on comedy sketches or movie ticket give-aways, etc. Episodes aired for 2 and a half hours Saturday nights from 10:30pm to 1:00am in Texas and Oklahoma.

Fiend without a faceFIEND WITHOUT A FACE (1958)

The Film: “Thought Monsters” leech into atomic energy, then extract human brains and spinal columns to use as their corporeal forms. This is a Bad Movie Classic remembered largely because of the scenes where the flying brains, sporting antennae, attack their prey, with their spinal cord “tails” streaming along behind them.     

Serial Episode: No idea, for now.

Reason for believing it was shown: Some of the Flying Brain Creatures are on the 1987 Texas 27 Film Vault poster.

Earth vs the Flying saucersEARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS (1956)

The Film: The title says it all for this fun but weird black & white time-waster.

Serial Episode: Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe.

Reason for believing it was shown: Tex (Ken Miller) announced it was to be the movie “Next time on The Texas 27 Film Vault” on one of the surviving episodes that I have.  Continue reading


Filed under Bad and weird movies, Forgotten Television, Movie Hosts


Prisoner 1Recently Balladeer’s Blog wrapped up an in-depth examination of all 17 episodes of Patrick McGoohan’s pioneering 1967 series The Prisoner. Before Lost, before The X-Files, before Twin Peaks, there was this innovative British series which was equal parts science fiction and existentialism.

PROLOGUE: My look at the themes and issues addressed in the series. CLICK HERE

ARRIVAL – After abruptly resigning from British Intelligence a man is abducted to a futuristic prison city called the Village. This inescapable dystopia is an Orwellian nightmare with bits of Kafka, Ionesco, Pirandello and more than a little bit of Alphaville tossed in for good measure. CLICK HERE 

DANCE OF THE DEAD – The Prisoner becomes more acquainted with the oppressive nature of the Village, including the seemingly mad Head Games to which the Villagekeepers subject the Villagers, their human guinea pigs. CLICK HERE    

THE CHIMES OF BIG BEN – After Number Six meets a female prisoner who knows where the Village is located he puts into motion an elaborate plan for escape. The Village’s Art Festival will serve as cover. NOTE: INCLUDES MY TAKE ON THE ALTERNATE VERSION OF THE CHIMES OF BIG BEN. CLICK HERE

CHECKMATE – A degrading game of chess using human beings as the pieces leads to the Prisoner meeting an Aristocrat fallen from power and now held captive in the Village. The pair gather co-conspirators around them in hopes of a mass escape. CLICK HERE Continue reading


Filed under Forgotten Television, Prisoner (tv series)


BFall Outalladeer’s Blog CONCLUDES its  examination of the 1967 science fiction/ existential drama The Prisoner. For Part One, in which I examined the themes and concepts at play in the series click  HERE

Episode Title: FALL OUT

Madness and death reign supreme in the still-controversial series finale of The Prisoner.

We’ve arrived at the 17th and final episode of this innovative Patrick McGoohan series. Last time around, in Part One of the two-part conclusion, we at last learned why the Prisoner resigned from British Intelligence. The significance of the Penny-Farthing Bicycle symbolism was explored, too. (FOR MY REVIEW OF ONCE UPON A TIME CLICK HERE  )

Fall Out brings the entire saga to a close. Continue reading


Filed under Forgotten Television, Prisoner (tv series)


Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the 1967 science fiction/ existential drama The Prisoner. For Part One, in which I examined the themes and concepts at play in the series click  HERE

Once Upon A TimeEpisode Title: ONCE UPON A TIME … This installment is PART ONE OF THE TWO-PART SERIES FINALE.

This time around we at last learn why the Prisoner resigned from British Intelligence, PLUS the significance of the Penny-Farthing Bicycle symbolism becomes clear.

NOTE: This episode is sometimes confused with The Girl Who Was Death because that episode began with a child’s story-book being opened and the title Once Upon A Time understandably puts some viewers in mind of that opening.


pennyfarthing bicycle no wordsLeo McKern returns as the same Number Two he portrayed back in The Chimes of Big Ben. The Number Twos are the rotating series of executives who manage the prison-city called the Village. The midget Butler (Angelo Muscat), the only character besides Patrick McGoohan to appear in every episode of the series, serves McKern breakfast right there in Number Two’s office inside the Green Dome.

Number Two is too fidgety to eat and continues studying the viewscreen, with live surveillance footage of the Prisoner pacing like a caged tiger in his residence. At length McKern reacts to Number Six’s unflagging intensity and indefatigable sense of purpose by calling him on the cordless phone.

Prisoner behind bars“Why do you care?” he asks our protagonist when he answers. (I’d have preferred the more specific question “Why do you STILL care?”) McGoohan makes it clear he recognizes the voice and when Number Two asks the same question again he tauntingly replies “You’ll never know.”

Number Two settles back into controlled fuming as he continues watching our hero pacing. As I mentioned in another recent episode the advantage in the war of nerves between the Prisoner and the Villagekeepers has definitely shifted to Number Six at this late stage. Continue reading


Filed under Forgotten Television, Prisoner (tv series)


Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the 1967 science fiction/ existential drama The Prisoner. For Part One, in which I examined the themes and concepts at play in the series click  HERE

It's Your FuneralEpisode Title: IT’S YOUR FUNERAL … In the ongoing debate over the exact ordering of the 17 episodes of The Prisoner I place this one 3rd from the last. 

*** So after this review all we have left is the two-part series finale. ***  For those readers who have requested SPOILERS on who wins in a given episode our hero the Prisoner wins this round.

pennyfarthing bicycle no wordsIt’s Your Funeral centers around an assassination attempt in the Village and features how our main character’s rebellious nature has begun inspiring assorted other Villagers to commit their own subtle acts of defiance to the Villagekeepers.

I’ll also take a brief look at The Stranger/ Stranded in Space, a failed pilot movie for a Prisoneresque sci-fi series in 1973. Cameron Mitchell even delivers a speech straight out of The Prisoner at one point.

THE STORY: Continue reading


Filed under Forgotten Television, Prisoner (tv series)