Arlen Schumer on LinkedIn: For those of you still watching the TWILIGHT ZONE MARATHON on the Heroes &… (2024)

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    THIS WEDNESDAY, July 10 @ 5:30pm EST:DR. NO Connery-Bond Behind-the-Scenes webinar via NY Adventure Club!"Pop culture historian Arlen Schumer (author/designer, Visions from The Twilight Zone and The Silver Age of Comic Book Art) presents a multimedia webinar about the first Sean Connery James Bond film, 1962’s DR.NO, that will weave together rare, hard to find production and promotional photos, advertising and documentary films (often shot by Bond crew members themselves), with the 'greatest hits'—trailers, film clips and stills—from what many Bond aficionados consider one of the best Connery Bond films, the fabulous and fantastic foundation of the longest-running series in film history."TIX: https://bit.ly/3L7Fj23*CAN’T watch it LIVE? Buy a ticket and get to watch the video recording for a full week!

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    FOURTH of JULY? Nope, the FIFTH of NOVEMBER needs to be our REAL "Independence Day"!arlenschumer.com

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    STARTING NEXT WEDNESDAY, JULY 10:THE SUMMER OF BOND!The first 4 Sean Connery James Bond films--Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love ('63), Goldfinger ('64), and Thunderall ('65)--will be celebrated with 4 behind-the-scenes multimedia webinars via New York Adventure Club on 4 consecutive Wednesdays in July: 10, 17, 24, and 31, all at 5:30pm EST!Hosted by pop culture historian Arlen Schumer (author/designer, Visions from The Twilight Zone and The Silver Age of Comic Book Art), each webinar will weave together rare, hard to find production and promotional photos, advertising and documentary films (often shot by Bond crew members themselves), with the “greatest hits”—trailers, film clips and stills—from what many Bond aficionados consider the best of the Connery Bond films, the fabulous and fantastic foundations of the longest-running series in film history!TIX: bit.ly/3L7Fj23*CAN’T watch it LIVE? Buy a ticket and get to watch the video recording for a full week!

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    TONIGHT on ME-TV @ 12:35am EST, one of the GREAT episodes of THE TWILIGHT ZONE:"THE LATENESS OF THE HOUR"(Written by Rod Serling, directed by Jack Smight, originally broadcast December 2, 1960) While The Twilight Zone has easily traced thematic, conceptual, and narrative roots in the 20th Century science fiction, fantasy, horror, and surrealism that preceded it, the series’ tremendous influence on TV, film, modern art and popular culture that followed it is trickier to detect, because the impact of the series is so pervasive as to be almost invisible.But that’s not the case with the Serling-scripted “The Lateness of the Hour," because one can draw a straight through-line from this episode to the recent (2016-22) HBO drama Westworld, its ‘73 film forebear, various sequels, and lesser-known TV stints.In “Lateness,” Serling posits domestic service robots so lifelike, so unmistakably “real,” complete with their own manufactured memories of the past, and authentic, individualized personalities in the present. They’re the “hosts” to the elderly Dr. and Mrs. Will Loren, the “guests” in this Westworld analogy—though the husband who created them is their master, in the mansion where they all reside.Along with the star of the episode, their adult daughter, Jana, who resents her robotic manse-mates, actively, vocally, rebelling against her parents’ hermetic, stifling, idling life of robotically-assisted leisure.For the balance of the episode, Jana’s quest to break free from her parentally-imposed lockdown lifestyle, and live her own life in the “real” world outside of what she derides as a mausoleum of a mansion, can be seen as Serling’s prescient preview of the generation gap between America’s burgeoning Baby Boom youth and the older Establishment that would erupt in the many counter-cultural clashes of The Sixties to come.At the same time, “Lateness” is one of many Twilight Zones eerily clairvoyant of our 21st Century Covid crisis, because they deal with the series’ recurring episodes of (forced) isolation, loneliness, and solitude, the same existential vacuums that plagued us all during the pandemic shutdown—Jana even pleads with her father to go outside and eat in a restaurant!Her dawning acceptance of her own true nature as just another one of her father’s “highly complicated toys” is heartbreaking, as Stevens’ own stunning, statuesque beauty makes the transition from human to robot that much more convincing. “No pain at all!” Jana cries, as she slams her invulnerable, robotic wrist repeatedly into the handrail of the mansion stairway—but we feel the pain, watching her finally transformed by her father into just another doting, robotic maid, massaging Mrs. Loren in her easy chair, just as the episode began.https://lnkd.in/eqZfihEThis is one of the episode essays that will be in my Fall '24 Bear Manor Media book (bearmanormedia.com), "The Five Themes of The Twilight Zone"! Stay tuned for more!

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    TONIGHT on ME-TV @ 12:35am EST, one of the GREAT episodes of THE TWILIGHT ZONE:"NICK OF TIME"(Written by Richard Matheson, directed by Richard L. Bare, originally broadcast November 18, 1960) Pre-Star Trek William Shatner’s first Twilight Zone episode, season two’s “Nick of Time," has him portraying a young husband ceding control of his life to a small town luncheonette’s demonic fortune-telling machine—literally demonic, as it’s topped with a devil’s head, one of The Twilight Zone’s kitschiest but foreboding totems, a bobbling Beelzebub that (almost) steals the show from the magnetic Shatner.Writer Matheson puts an early-‘60s young, American, upwardly mobile newlywed couple, Don and Pat Carter (a terrific Patricia Breslin), under his Twilight Zone microscope, when their car breaks down in (fictional) Ridgeview, Ohio, en route to New York City, where a possible office promotion awaits an anxious Don. Of all the Twilight Zone episodes that fall under the theme of “Science and Superstition,” this one might be the most clear-cut illustration of it, mostly due to Matheson’s vehement, episode-long anti-superstition stance. He even equates superstition with alcoholism, when Don, after sheepishly admitting to his wife that he’s superstitious, adds, “It’s like you married an alcoholic, isn’t it?"Don keeps insatiably feeding the fortune-telling Devil, its pithy pronouncements increasingly confirming his superstitions, to the mounting chagrin of Pat, aghast—as we, the audience, are too—at the sight of a feverish Don clutching the Devil-head machine in his arms in an almost sexual embrace (now known as “mechaphilia,” a sexual attraction to machines), pleading to Pat, “Do you think I could just walk away from it?” Pat recapitulates Matheson’s episode theme when she delivers an ultimatum in response: “What matters is whether you believe more in luck and in fortune than you do in yourself!” Her words break the Devil-head’s spell, and Don, his composure regained, embraces Pat, and together, they leave the luncheonette, turning back to the infernal machine with the kiss-off line, “...and go where we wanna go—anytime we please!”That might have made for a satisfying, upbeat ending to the episode—the Carters ride out of Ridegeview, their young marriage bond strengthened—but Matheson follows it with a stunning, chilling Twilight Zone ending. After the Carters exit, an older couple enters the café, looking worn, tired, haggard. They sit at the same booth the Carters were in, drop a handful of pennies on the table, and with palpable desperation, begin to ask “The Mystic Seer” their questions, beginning with:“Will we be able to leave Ridgeview today?”https://lnkd.in/eqZfihEThis is one of the episode essays that will be in my Fall '24 Bear Manor Media book (bearmanormedia.com), "The Five Themes of The Twilight Zone"! Stay tuned for more!

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    TONIGHT on ME-TV @ 12:35am EST, the single GREATEST episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE:"EYE OF THE BEHOLDER"(Written by Rod Serling, directed by Douglas Heyes, originally broadcast November 11, 1960)In "Eye of the Beholder," the deft direction by Douglas Heyes and stunning camerawork by Twilight Zone Director of Photography George T. Clemens, meant to obscure, until the end, the doctors’ and nurses’ pig-like faces, which are nothing if not artistically audacious, is utterly unforgettable. Their bulbous, porcine snouts and grotesquely curled upper lips look at once both ridiculous and terrifying, riding that thin, difficult line between comedy and horror that The Twilight Zone always successfully traveled.And Maxine Stuart, playing the bandaged Janet Tyler (the revealed Tyler was Donna Douglas, soon to be Elly May Clampett on television’s The Beverly Hillbillies), another in a string of strong Serling female leads in The Twilight Zone, had to act with her expressive hand gestures and distinctive, rough-hewn voice only, reciting Serling’s dialogue almost like spoken-word poetry—she actually shed tears under the mask—and created a performance for the ages.After the stunning reveal of the blonde, almost-Marilyn Monroe-looking Douglas, the flood of pig-faced portraits and scenarios by Heyes and Clemens are equally unforgettable, from the first closeup of the doctor uttering “Needle, please!"As Serling’s voiceover outro begins, a gauntlet of all the hospital’s pig-faced personnel, feeling they failed Tyler, look forlorn as she and Smith walk away, feeling sorry for the poor, “disabled” couple, shaking their porcine heads in pity. One orderly even sheds a tear. POSTSCRIPT: Chances are when “Eye” was originally telecast in 1960, three days after John F. Kennedy was elected President, the bandaged Tyler, threatened with segregation with those of “her own kind” in “a ghetto designed for freaks” if her 11th facial surgery failed, might have been seen as Serling’s poster child for the burgeoning civil rights movement (he even said in his onscreen intro that "Patient 307," Janet Tyler, "...is not just a woman"); certainly, the antiseptic whiteness of the hospital milieu helped concretize the metaphor. When Tyler shouts at the doctor, “The State is not God! It hasn’t the right to penalize somebody for an accident of birth” and “It hasn’t the right to make ugliness a crime,” insert “being black” for “an accident of birth” and “ugliness.”“Eye of the Beholder,” Serling’s eternal message of tolerance and compassion, finally reveals that we are all Janet Tylers beneath our bandages, faceless and invisible to a society that would prefer nothing more than to render our individuality—to paraphrase another definitive Twilight Zone episode by Serling—“obsolete.”https://lnkd.in/eqZfihEThis is one of the episode essays that will be in my Fall '24 Bear Manor Media book (bearmanormedia.com), "The Five Themes of The Twilight Zone"! Stay tuned for more!

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    TONIGHT on ME-TV @ 12:35am EST, one of the GREAT episodes of THE TWILIGHT ZONE: "A WORLD OF HIS OWN"(Written by Richard Matheson, directed by Ralph Nelson, originally broadcast July 1, 1960) The institution of marriage, as portrayed in so many episodes of The Twilight Zone, is a crumbling one, if its pillars are standing at all. Unlike the romantic and blissful marriages shown in most other media and entertainment of the America of the 1950s and early ‘60s, with dominant husband and submissive wife, marriages in The Twilight Zone were miserable from the get-go. And adultery, divorce, spousal and even child abuse rear their ugly heads, too, taboo subjects years, even decades, ahead of their time.“A World of His Own” is writer Matheson’s lighter-hearted sister episode to his parallel-themed “A World of Difference.” Here, a playwright, Gregory West brings his characters to flesh and blood life by speaking them into literal existence via his tape recorder (based on Serling himself, who similarly voiced his scripts into a Dictaphone), exclaiming to his disbelieving wife, “Fictional characters come alive! They come alive so vividly that they make decisions of their own! A playwright may have worked out some kind of move for them, but they refuse to do it! They become so strong, that sometimes, they take over the whole story!”The contast between West's wife and his conjured mistress is as clear-cut as Archie Comics’ Betty is from Veronica. Revealed through Matheson’s sharp dialogue is the history of Gregory’s marriage to Victoria, that Matheson sees as the plight of many a young man: they search for the “perfect” woman, and if they think they’ve found her, up on a pedestal she goes—which only ends up diminishing themselves as inferior. West even admits to Victoria, “I feel so inadequate compared to you,” adding bluntly, “like a worm.”So West creates his ideal mistress descriptively on his tape recorder, written by Matheson as the wish-fulfillment woman of the post-Playboy, pre-Women’s Liberation American male: “Her name is Mary. She’s thirty, five feet-six inches, blonde hair, nicely built, clear complexion. She’s a plain, unassuming female, with that inner quality of loveliness that makes a woman truly beautiful. She is dressed in a soft pink blouse, old-fashioned brooch, flowing skirt. Her hair is attractively arranged. She is in her husband’s study, preparing him a drink.”Over six decades later, that rather reactionary description of the ideal woman/wife is still one that the bulk of American men who identify as conservative—and plenty who don’t—desire as much as Gregory West did. They just wish that they, too, had magic Twilight Zone tape recorders.https://lnkd.in/eqZfihEThis is one of the episode essays that will be in my Fall '24 Bear Manor Media book (bearmanormedia.com), "The Five Themes of The Twilight Zone"! Stay tuned for more!

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    In honor of JUNETEENTH, video of my webinar on JOHN HENRY, "The Steel-Drivin' Man," whose legend was based on fact, and is the original model, the template for the American Superhero:https://lnkd.in/eeR43FMw

    JOHN HENRY webinar by Arlen Schumer

    https://www.youtube.com/

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    TONIGHT on ME-TV @ 12:35am EST, one of the GREAT episodes of THE TWILIGHT ZONE:"A PASSAGE FOR TRUMPET"(Written by Rod Serling, directed by Don Medford, originally broadcast May 20, 1960) One of Rod Serling’s best descriptions of The Twilight Zone itself, spoken by a very special character in “A Passage for Trumpet,” describing the posthumous, purgatorial state of Joey Crown, trumpet player and alcoholic, after he commits suicide by jumping in front of a speeding truck: “You’re in a kind of limbo...you’re neither here nor there...you’re in the middle, between the two...the real...and the shadow.”Crown, a once-great trumpeter, was distraught over losing gigs—and his trumpet to a pawn broker—because of his habitual drinking, a sorry state that Serling so empathetically evokes in Crown’s earlier soliloquy, which serves to explain to a lay audience the rationalizations that have always accompanied artists and alcohol (or any drug):“Because I’m sad...because I’m nothing...because I’ll live and die in a crummy one-roomer with dirty walls and cracked pipes. I’ll never even have a girl. I’ll never be anybody. ‘Cause half of me is this horn. I can’t even talk to people, ‘cause this horn, it’s half my language. But when I’m drunk...oh, when I’m drunk, boy, I don’t see the dirty walls or the cracked pipes, I don’t know the clock’s going or that the hours are going by...”And then a classic bit of Serling foreshadowing: “‘Cause then I’m Gabriel...oh, I’m Gabriel with a golden horn. And when I put it to my lips, it comes out jeweled. Comes out a symphony. Comes out the smell of fresh flowers in the summer. Comes out beauty. Beauty. When I’m drunk...only when I’m drunk.”The post-suicide, ghostlike Crown, after experiencing being invisible to and ignored by the living, returns to the back alley of his favorite jazz club (one of The Twilight Zone’s most stunningly designed—yet simple—sets, a skeletal framework of scaffolding lit in chiaroscuro by suspended construction lights), and hears some beautiful trumpet being played, coming not from inside the club, but from somewhere in the alley. Playing that trumpet is that “very special character,” acted by the avuncular John Anderson. After letting Joey take a toot of his horn, he proceeds to gently counsel Crown, coaxing him to a broader understanding of himself and of life; that Joey Crown was more than just a great trumpet player, that he had more to offer both himself and the world around him.The Anderson character bids Joey goodbye, and walks away, horn in hand, down the scaffolded walkway into the darkness, but stops when Crown calls out to him, asking for his name. Anderson turns around, bathed in a halo-like aura from the hanging light above:“Call me Gabe...short for Gabriel.”https://lnkd.in/eqZfihEThis is one of the episode essays that will be in my Fall '24 Bear Manor Media book (bearmanormedia.com), "The Five Themes of The Twilight Zone"! Stay tuned for more!

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Arlen Schumer on LinkedIn: For those of you still watching the TWILIGHT ZONE MARATHON on the Heroes &… (2024)

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