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The Bookworm Turns

BatmanAs Bruce and Dick watch in horror, Commissioner Gordon is apparently murdered on live TV at the opening of Gotham City’s new suspension bridge…and Dick spots the Bookworm milling about in the crowd. Batman and Robin arrive at City Hall to begin gathering information on the heinous crime…and both they and Chief O’Hara are stunned when Commissioner Gordon walks into the room, unaware of what has transpired. An attempted bombing of the Batmobile confirms that the Bookworm has plans to write the end of Batman’s story.

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Rik Vollaerts
directed by Larry Peerce
music by Nelson Riddle / Batman theme by Neal Hefti

BatmanCast: Adam West (Batman), Burt Ward (Robin), Alan Napier (Alfred), Neil Hamilton (Commissioner Gordon), Stafford Repp (Chief O’Hara), Madge Blake (Mrs. Cooper), Roddy McDowall (The Bookworm), Francine York (Lydia Limpet), John Crawford (Printer’s Devil), Tony Aiello (Pressman), Jan Peters (Typesetter), Byron Keith (The Mayor)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

While Gotham City Burns

BatmanWith Robin tied to the clapper of the biggest bell in Gotham City, time is literally running out for Batman to free him. With Chief O’Hara’s help, the Boy Wonder is rescued, but before anyone can catch their breath, the Bookworm has set another trap in the form of a giant cookbook blocking a major street in Gotham City. Though it’s almost certainly a trap, the Dynamic Duo opens the cover, only to find that they’re on the menu.

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Rik Vollaerts
directed by Larry Peerce
music by Nelson Riddle / Batman theme by Neal Hefti

BatmanCast: Adam West (Batman), Burt Ward (Robin), Alan Napier (Alfred), Neil Hamilton (Commissioner Gordon), Stafford Repp (Chief O’Hara), Madge Blake (Mrs. Cooper), Roddy McDowall (The Bookworm), Francine York (Lydia Limpet), John Crawford (Printer’s Devil), Tony Aiello (Pressman), Jan Peters (Typesetter), Jim O’Hara (Police Sergeant)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Planet Of The Apes

Planet Of The ApesA crew of four American astronauts, launched in 1972, is en route back to Earth after a deep space exploration mission. Thanks to hibernation and the time-dilation effect of the ship approaching light speed, the astronauts fully expect 700 years to have passed on Earth by the time they return – everyone who was originally associated with the mission will have died long ago by their return. Expedition commander George Taylor is the last to put himself into hibernation for the voyage home, but when he awakens, the ship’s return has gone disastrously wrong. The ship has crash-landed in water, and at some point a breach in a hibernation unit caused the death of Dr. Stewart, the only female member of the crew. With fellow crewmembers Dodge and Landon, Taylor abandons ship; each man has only a backpack of tools and supplies, and the spacesuit on his back, as the three survivors set out to explore whatever planet they’ve landed on. Before bailing out of the ship, however, Taylor takes note of the chronometer: instead of returning to Earth in a few centuries, the astronauts have arrived on an unknown world two millennia later.

The three escape aboard an inflatable life raft and row their way to dry land, finding an arid desert with few signs of plant life. Eventually they cross into a jungle region and find signs of intelligent life, eventually stumbling across a group of primitive humans. But the astronauts are stunned when the humans scatter at the sound of approaching hooves: apes, riding on horseback, clothed and armed, are hunting the humans. Taylor and his crewmates are captured in the brutal hunt, with Dodge taking a fatal shot from an ape’s rifle and Taylor suffering a glancing blow to his throat which robs him of his voice.

Taylor finds himself caged and treated like an animal, in a facility where several of the primitive humans are kept in captivity. Unable to speak, he’s treated no better than any of the barely-civilized humans in the other cages. Dr. Zira, an ape animal behavior expert, is fascinated by Taylor, nicknaming him “Bright Eyes” and closely watching his attempts to communicate with her. She’s unable to convince her superior, Dr. Zaius, of the value of her continued attempts to communicate with the new arrival. She discovers that he can write, and she and her fiancee, an ape archaeologist named Cornelius, learn of his true origins, though they find his story implausible. Taylor decides to make a break for it, escaping from his cell and trying to find his crew. He does find Dodge – stuffed and cleaned up to serve as part of a museum exhibit about primitive humans. The apes catch up with Taylor just as he recovers his ability to speak, rocking every belief the apes hold about the humans they enslave.

A hearing is called in which Dr. Zaius and other elders of the apes’ society not only demand to know more about Taylor, but call Zira and Cornelius to account for the time they’ve spent with him. But since Taylor’s very existence contradicts both the science and the religious beliefs of the apes, he is sentenced to die regardless of what he says to them. Zira and Cornelius quietly break Taylor out of his cell that night to make an escape, but he refuses to leave without a primitive human woman he called Nova, who he has befriended. The two ape scientists are now on the run as well, facing charges of heresy, so they venture with Taylor back to his ship’s landing site, in the desert area the apes know as the Forbidden Zone, where Cornelius once took part in an archaeological dig.

But Dr. Zaius and a group of ape soldiers follow the fugitives. Taylor manages to stave off the imminent hostilities long enough to discover that Cornelius uncovered evidence that the humans on this world were once far more advanced and civilized. Though this contradicts the apes’ belief that they have always been the superior beings by divine birthright, Zaius begrudgingly admits that he has known of this evidence all along. Taylor bargains for his freedom and takes Nova with him to explore further in the Forbidden Zone, and much to everyone’s surprise, Zaius grants him that freedom, knowing that Taylor will soon realize that he’s closer to home than he dared to imagine.

Order the DVDsscreenplay by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling
based on the novel by Pierre Boulle
directed by Franklin J. Schaffner
music by Jerry Goldsmith

Cast: Charlton Heston (George Taylor), Roddy McDowall (Cornelius), Kim Hunter (Zira), Maurice Evans (Dr. Zaius), James Whitmore (President of the Assembly), James Daly (Honorious), Linda Harrison (Nova), Robert Gunner (Landon), Lou Wagner (Lucius), Woodrow Parfrey (Maximus), Jeff Burton (Dodge), Buck Kartalian (Julius), Norman Burton (Hunt Leader), Wright King (Dr. Galen), Paul Lambert (Minister)

Notes: Rod Serling, who wrote the first draft of the screenplay in 1964 (and is also famous for creating the influential SF anthology series The Twilight Zone), also contributed ideas to the ultimately short-lived early ’70s television spinoff of the Apes movies. Pierre Boulle, the French author whose 1963 novel formed the basis of the movie, wrote another draft of the screenplay that went unused.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Night Gallery

Night GalleryThe Cemetery: Upon discovering that he is the sole heir in line to receive the inheritance of an elderly uncle he didn’t even know he had, Jeremy Evans wants to speed things up a bit, to the disgust of everyone in his uncle’s employ. Portifoy, the old man’s butler for 30 years, can barely keep himself from uttering his opinion of Jeremy out loud, but thinks better of it. When the old man dies (thanks, in no small part, to Jeremy’s intervention), Jeremy is adamant: he wants it all, and wants it all now. His uncle’s last painting, framed on the staircase of the house where Jeremy now lives, depicts a nearby cemetery…and Jeremy is certain that the painting is changing somehow. Is his uncle’s retribution at hand, or is someone else trying to drive him over the edge?

Eyes: Wealthy Miss Menlo is all but completely blind. She has located a living donor willing to give up his eyesight in exchange for enough money to clear his gambling debt and get loan sharks off his back, but in order to find a doctor willing to take the eyes from a living man, she has to resort to blackmail. Moments after she opens her new eyes for the first time, Miss Menlo is plunged into darkness, unaware that the city is in the grips of an electrical blackout. Convinced that she has been swindled, she vows to destroy the career of the surgeon who performed the transplant, but will her attitude toward him and everyone else in the world change with the rising sun?

Escape Route: A former Nazi war criminal goes into hiding in South America, and even so many years after the war he is paranoid about being seen and recognized. He becomes fixated on a painting in the local art gallery, one which appears to show him in a fishing boat; he also meets a man who claims to have survived Auschwitz, and thinks he looks familiar. Once recognized, he can either become the hunted, or fall back on his experiences as a concentration camp guard. He seeks an escape route, and while the one he gets may not be the one he wants, it may be what he deserves.

written by Rod Serling
The Cemetery directed by Gene Levitt
Eyes directed by Steven Spielberg
Escape Route directed by Barry Shear
music by Billy Goldenberg

Cast: Joan Crawford (Miss Claudia Menlo), Ossie Davis (Portifoy), Richard Kiley (Arndt / Josef Strobe), Roddy McDowall (Jeremy Evans), Barry Sullivan (Dr. Frank Heatherton), George Macready (William Hendricks), Sam Jaffe (Bleum), Norma Crane (Gretchen), Barry Atwater (Carson), George Murdock (1st Agent), Tom Bosley (Sidney Resnick), Tom Basham (Gibbons), Byron Morrow (George J. Packer), Garry Goodnow (Louis), Shannon Farnon (1st Nurse), Richard Hale (Doctor)

Notes: This was Steven Spielberg’s second television directing credit. He went on to direct an episode of Columbo and TV movies such as Duel before becoming one of the late 20th Night Gallerycentury’s most prolific movie directors (Jaws, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Raiders Of The Lost Ark and its sequels, E.T., The Color Purple, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report, Lincoln, Ready Player One). Tom Bosley would go on to become one of the definitive TV dads of the 1970s as Howard Cunningham in Happy Days, a role he played from 1974 through 1984. Unlike the series proper, the Night Gallery pilot movie incorporates the painting representing each story into the stories themselves; when Night Gallery was picked up as a series, the paintings would only appear in Rod Serling’s introduction segments.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Beneath The Planet Of The Apes

Planet Of The ApesTaylor and Nova explore further into the Forbidden Zone, beyond the ruins of the Statue of Liberty, where a gigantic wall of fire stretches across the horizon and sudden earthquakes rip through the ground at their feet. Taylor goes to explore onward, telling Nova to find Dr. Zira if he fails to return. Taylor is unaware that another expedition has been launched to find his missing ship and crew, and that disaster has befallen them as well: astronaut Brent and his crew are sucked into the same time anomaly and arrive on the future Earth. Brent survives the violent landing and discovers Nova roaming on her own, following her back into ape territory. There, he witnesses not only the evolutionary advancements of the apes, but an all-too-familiar sight: the apes are divided over whether to strike into the heart of the Forbidden Zone, or face a famine that threatens their food crops. General Ursus calls for war, and demands support from Dr. Zaius. The scientific elite – mainly evolved chimpanzees – are concerned about the rallying cry for war, while the gorilla military considers calls for peace to be a sign of weakness. Dr. Zaius is cautious: nobody even knows what’s in the Forbidden Zone, or indeed if there’s anything or anyone upon which to declare war. Despite his earlier mistrust of Dr. Zira and Cornelius, Zaius leaves them in charge and reluctantly joins the military advance into the Forbidden Zone.

Brent, still trying to fulfill his mission objective of finding Taylor’s expedition, flees from ape country into the Forbidden Zone. They find a subterranean complex there, filled with the sound of machinery: obviously the product of some kind of intelligent life. While Brent is relieved to finally meet (apparently) human beings underground, he’s horrified by what they tell him: they worship their god – an atomic bomb that survived the Earth-consuming holocaust intact – and they’re not afraid to unleash their god’s fury upon an invading force of apes, even if it leads to a chain reaction that could wipe out the entire world. The final revelation is even more disturbing: despite their outward appearance, these humans have been mutated almost beyond recognition. They throw Brent in a cell with Taylor, but the reunion is anything but a happy one: in order to take out both the apes and the mutants, Taylor is more than ready to detonate the holy bomb himself…

Order the DVDsscreenplay by Paul Dehn
story by Paul Dehn and Mort Abrahams
directed by Ted Post
music by Laurence Rosenthal

Cast: James Franciscus (Brent), Kim Hunter (Zira), Maurice Evans (Dr. Zaius), Linda Harrison (Nova), Paul Richards (Mendez), Victor Buono (Fat Man), James Gregory (General Ursus), Jeff Corey (Caspay), Natalie Trundy (Albina), Thomas Gomez (Minister), David Watson (Cornelius), Don Pedro Colley (Negro), Tod Andrews (Skipper), Gregory Sierra (Verger), Eldon Burke (Gorilla Sergeant), Lou Wagner (Lucius), Charlton Heston (Taylor)

Original title: Planet Of The Apes Revisited

Notes: Charlton Heston wanted the first Planet Of The Apes sequel to be the last – he agreed to appear in only as many scenes as could be shot in a two-week period, and only if the character of Taylor was killed off. If you noticed that new star James Franciscus bore more than a passing physical resemblance to Heston’s appearance in the majority of the first film, it’s no accident: 20th Century Fox hoped that, in trailers and other advertising for Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, Franciscus’ strong resemblance would help them conveniently gloss over the fact that Heston was putting in little more than a cameo appearance. Also absent from the cast, due to being booked for other projects, was Roddy McDowall – the only Planet Of The Apes live-action project of the 20th century from which he was absent.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Escape From The Planet Of The Apes

Planet Of The ApesWith the danger of an imminent war looming ahead, Cornelius, Dr. Zira and Dr. Milo make their way back to Taylor’s spacecraft and coax it into orbit – just in time to witness the destruction of Earth by the mutants’ holy bomb. This also causes their ship to spiral out of control back through time, reversing the time anomaly that brought Taylor and Brent’s ships to the ape-dominated Earth of the 3900s. The three surviving apes splash down on Earth in 1973. At first reluctant to divulge their identities, their origins or indeed their true intelligence, their trip is not without peril: Dr. Milo is killed when he upsets a caged gorilla, and the humans are initially extremely suspicious.

A Presidential commission is appointed to study Cornelius and Zira, and they quickly become public celebrities as well, but the discovery that Zira is pregnant curtails their public appearances. So too does the overzealous curiosity of Otto Hasslein, a government scientist who, after hearing Zira and Cornelius talk about the future that awaits Earth, thinks that terminating Zira’s pregnancy, sterilizing both apes and perhaps even killing them would be best for the future of humanity. This doesn’t sit well with Dr. Lewis Dixon, an animal behavior expert who has been the apes’ main point of contact, who argues passionately that Zira and Cornelius – and their offspring – should live on, regardless of what it portends for man’s future. It’s only when Hasslein secures an order to abort the offspring that Cornelius finally decides to defend his mate more aggressively. Dixon hides the two apes away at a zoo, where Zira has her child in relative peace, but Hasslein isn’t far behind. Knowing that they can’t stay on the run forever and raise their child, Cornelius and Zira must trust their son’s future to at least one of the humans…

Order the DVDsscreenplay by Paul Dehn
directed by Don Taylor
music by Jerry Goldsmith

Cast: Roddy McDowall (Cornelius), Kim Hunter (Zira), Bradford Dillman (Dr. Lewis Dixon), Natalie Trundy (Dr. Stephanie Branton), Eric Braeden (Dr. Otto Hasslein), William Windom (The President), Sal Mineo (Milo), Albert Salmi (E-1), Jason Evers (E-2), John Randolph (Chairman), Harry Lauter (General Winthrop), M. Emmet Walsh (Aide), Roy E. Glenn Sr. (Lawyer), Peter Forster (Cardinal), Norman Burton (Army Officer), William Woodson (Naval Officer), Tom Lowell (Orderly), Gene Whittington (Marine Captain), Donald Elson (Curator), Bill Bonds (TV Newscaster), Army Archerd (Referee), James Bacon (General Faulkner), Ricardo Montalban (Armando)

Original title: Secret Of The Planet Of The Apes

Notes: Though it may cleverly pick up the story with the only characters who can possibly have survived the carnage at the end of Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, Escape is actually more of an attempt to “reboot” the Apes movies in a cheaper modern-day setting: not only are contemporary locations cost-effective, but reducing the ape population to only three also eliminates the elaborate makeup needed for the first two films’ hordes of background apes. Though it’s made very clear that Zira, Cornelius and Milo escaped future Earth in Taylor‘s spacecraft, it might have made more sense for them to have used Brent‘s vehicle, which had the benefit of being both relatively intact and not submerged beneath the sea.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes

Planet Of The ApesIn the year 1991, seven years after the death of Cornelius and Dr. Zira, apes have gradually attained the beginnings of the sentience displayed by the displaced apes from the future, only to become the slaves of humanity. While the subservient apes are viewed as a convenience by those who don’t want to perform menial tasks, they have relieved many humans of low-paying jobs and a virtual police state has arisen to deal with the resulting security issues among both species. The child of Cornelius and Zira, has been secretly harbored and raised by circus ringmaster Armando. In public, they still pretend to be human master and simian slave, and his ability to speak and read is carefully kept secret; any indication of this kind of intelligence could doom the evolving ape race, as the government still intends to prevent the rise of ape-kind (and the subsequent fall of man) at all costs. Still, it is known that the child of Cornelius and Zira survived the parents’ deaths, and Armando is still suspected of hiding the child years later – and maintains his innocence and ignorance of the accusations. But that changes when Armando’s charge is unable to contain his disgust at the mistreatment of an ape a pro-human-labor demonstration, shouting “Lousy human bastards!” Armando covers for him and is taken into custody for disturbing the peace. Left alone, Armando’s ape is taken in and becomes just another part of the ape slave trade, this time for real. He witnesses first-hand the torturous conditioning to which his fellow apes are subjected, but he keeps his intelligence hidden, even after he is sold at auction to Governor Breck, who has Armando in custody. Breck amuses himself by allowing the ape to name himself by pointing to a random word in a book; the name he picks for himself is Caesar.

Armando isn’t exactly treated gently either, as his interrogation by Breck’s men becomes more brutal. Finally, faced with the authenticator – a lie detector which will reveal that he was covering for Caesar all along – Armando leaps out of a skyscraper window to his death. This is the last straw for Caesar; he has already been organizing a campaign of deliberate disobedience and property destruction. But with Armando’s death, Caesar rallies the ape slave population toward a more violent form of revolt. Caesar himself is captured and tortured, but he has left an impression on a member of Breck’s staff, who helps him fake his own death and escape. Surviving his “execution” at the hands of Breck’s Ape Management bureau gives Caesar’s followers the push they need: the real revolt begins in earnest, and Ape Management is the first agency to fall. An armed response from the governor’s troops only incites more violence, and Caesar leads his brethren into battle. The overwhelmed human police forces are but the first casualties in an all-out massacre; they’re expecting barely-domesticated animals who will scatter at loud noises, not an organized fighting force. But is the last night of humanity’s rule of the Earth simply going to start the countdown to the inevitable end of the apes?

Order the DVDsscreenplay by Paul Dehn
directed by J. Lee Thompson
music by Tom Scott

Cast: Roddy McDowall (Caesar), Don Murray (Breck), Natalie Trundy (Lisa), Hari Rhodes (MacDonald), Ricardo Montalban (Armando), Severn Darden (Kolp), Lou Wagner (Busboy), John Randolph (Commission Chairman), Asa Maynor (Mrs. Riley), H.M. Wynant (Hoskyns), David Chow (Aldo), Buck Kartalian (Frank – Gorilla), John Dennis (Policeman), Paul Comi (2nd Policeman), Gordon Jump (Auctioneer), Dick Spangler (Announcer), Joyce Haber (Zelda), Hector Soucy (Ape with chain)

Notes: After playing human zoologist in Escape From The Planet Of The Apes, Natalie Trundy returns as a different character (in full ape makeup). Where Escape From The Planet Of The Apes had reduced the size of the “ape” cast and rebooted the film series in modern-day settings to save money, Conquest ironically has more extras in full ape makeup than any of the previous Apes films, along with a not-inexpensive “near future” redress of its L.A. locations.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Battle For The Planet Of The Apes

Planet Of The ApesThe riots started by Caesar’s uprising were only the beginning; a bloody war followed in which humanity’s great cities were razed to the ground. Reduced to a primitive state, humans and apes try to co-exist peacefully according to Caesar’s wishes, and according to a simple set of laws: ape must never kill ape, and no human may ever say “no” to an ape again. But the truce is an uneasy one, and Caesar constantly has to keep the peace. With his human confidante MacDonald and an ape scientist named Virgil, Caesar decides to set out for the radioactive ruins of Los Angeles to retrieve archived video recordings of his parents, Cornelius and Zira, who are rumored to have spoken extensively of Earth’s history – effectively revealing the future. But L.A. isn’t unoccupied: Kolp, formerly Governor Breck’s security chief, has taken charge of a city of radiation-scarred human militants. When Caesar’s scouting party trips the alarms, Kolp’s men try to capture them, at first orders to capture them alive, but he then orders his men to shoot to kill. Caesar and his party escape, enraging Kolp. Kolp decides to form his own search party, to find Caesar’s people and wipe them out.

Returning home, though, Caesar is accosted by General Aldo, the gorilla leader of the apes’ security forces. Aldo demands to know where Caesar went and why, and is clearly not satisfied by Caesar’s cryptic explanation. That night, when his pet escapes, Caesar’s son tries to track it down and overhears Aldo rallying the gorillas for a takeover of the ape community; Aldo discovers this and critically injures the boy. While Caesar is distracted, the humans mount their first attack on the apes, and Aldo uses this as an excuse to imprison all of the humans living peacefully in the ape city and seize power by force. Kolp’s attack is routed, but Aldo’s thirst for revenge isn’t satisfied so easily: he wants even the peaceful humans in the city executed. When Caesar learns the truth about what happened to his son, he attacks Aldo, seeking vengeance…but in doing so, has Caesar merely sown the seeds of distrust that will eventually destroy the world?

Order the DVDsstory by Paul Dehn
screenplay by John William Corrington & Joyce Hooper Corrington
directed by J. Lee Thompson
music by Leonard Rosenman

Cast: Roddy McDowall (Caesar), Claude Akins (Aldo), Natalie Trundy (Lisa), Severn Darden (Kolp), Law Ayres (Mandemus), Paul Williams (Virgil), Austin Stoker (MacDonald), Noah Keen (Teacher), Richard Eastham (Mutant Captain), France Nuyen (Alma), Paul Stevens (Mendez), Heather Lowe (Doctor), Bobby Porter (Cornelius), Michael Stearns (Jake), Cal Wilson (Soldier), Pat Cardi (Young Chimp), John Landis (Jake’s Friend), Andy Knight (Mutant on motorcycle), John Huston (The Lawgiver)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Escape From Tomorrow

Planet Of The ApesA human spacecraft launched in 1980 is captured in a time warp and thrown into the far future. It comes in for a landing on Earth again, over a millennium later in the year 3085; humanity has been reduced to frightened scavengers, with highly evolved apes as their overlords. Of the three crewmen aboard the vehicle, only astronauts Alan Virdon and Pete Burke survive, and they are moved to a place of safety by an old man named Farrow shortly before their ship is found by apes.

Virdon and Burke are captured and brought to trial before the apes’ high council, and while the apes’ leader, Dr. Zaius, believes they must be kept alive to learn the secrets of their technology. Urko, however, feels that the humans are a threat to the ape way of life and wants them executed now – and he demonstrates the use of a human-made grenade to make his point. But the humans’ scientific knowledge intrigues Zauis’ curious assistant, Galen. When he dares to speak on the humans’ behalf, Zaius silences him. Galen then learns that Urko is plotting to kill the humans regardless of Zaius’ wishes; when Galen goes to warn the humans, he winds up in a life-or-death struggle with one of Urko’s guards, and accidentally kills him. Galen is imprisoned, and is stunned when Virdon and Burke arrive to mount a jailbreak.

No longer welcome among his own kind, Galen tags along with the two humans as they try to get their ship ready for a relaunch. The arrival of Urko’s soldiers cuts the repairs short, and when Urko destroys the spaceship, Virdon and Burke are trapped in this time – with only Galen as their guide.

Season 1 Regular Cast: Roddy McDowall (Galen), Ron Harper (Alan Virdon), James Naughton (Pete Burke)

Order the DVDswritten by Art Wallace
directed by Don Weis
music by Lalo Schifrin

Guest Cast: Royal Dano (Farrow), Woodrow Parfrey (Veska), Mark Lenard (Urko), Booth Colman (Zaius), Biff Elliot (Ullman), Bobby Porter (Arno), Jerome Thor (Proto), William Beckley (Grundig), Alvin Hammer (Man)

Notes: Where the TV series fits into the continuity of the films is uncertain; Zaius mentions a previous visit from human astronauts “10 years ago,” an adventure in which the astronauts were killed, almost certainly referring to the original film. However, since Beneath The Planet Of The Apes takes place immediately after that film, and ends with the destruction of all life on Earth, there are two possibilities: the nuclear holocaust from which Cornelius and Zira escapes in Escape From The Planet Of The Apes may have been overstated, or, as strongly hinted in Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, history has been changed as a result of Cornelius and Zira going into the past. This latter theory is strongly reinforced by the fact that humans have the power of speech and the English language has survived. While that is likely dictated by production realities – the series would’ve been boring at best if Virdon and Burke were the only humans capable of speaking – it would seem to indicate that, while the incident with Taylor did happen, it took place in a parallel timeline in which humans had retained their intelligence; as Zaius later says that the last human visitors didn’t live long enough for him to learn their names, it would seem that Taylor’s visit unfolded even more violently than chronicled in the first movie, again suggesting an alternate timeline.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Up Above The World So High

Planet Of The ApesVirdon, Burke and Galen spot something unusually large flying overhead; the two humans immediately recognize it as a primitive hang glider, which would represent a huge step forward for humans. The glider has also attracted the interest of the apes, however: Dr. Zaius sees great potential to enforce ape law from the air, while General Urko dismisses the glider as a toy. Its inventor is determined to keep developing it regardless of the risk, but when Virdon and Burke demonstrate some knowledge of flight, he instantly regards them with suspicion. And there’s someone else involved too – someone who sees the glider as the perfect way to drop bombs on the apes.

Order the DVDsteleplay by S. Bar-David and Arthur Browne Jr.
story by S. Bar-David
directed by John Meredyth Lucas
music by Lalo Schifrin

Guest Cast: Joanna Barnes (Carsia), Frank Aletter (Leuric), Martin Brooks (Konag), Mark Lenard (Urko), Booth Colman (Zaius), William Beckley (Council Orang), Ron Stein (Gorilla Guard), Eldon Burke (2nd Trooper), Glenn Wilder (Human Driver)

Planet Of The ApesNotes: This was the final live-action Planet Of The Apes project until the 2001 remake movie directed by Tim Burton, and the last Planet Of The Apes media to feature Roddy McDowall (1928-1998). With declining ratings, and the show’s increasing tendency toward controversial subject matter (including an entire completed episode that CBS deemed unsuitable for air), CBS opted not to order further episodes of the series.

S. Bar-David is a pseudonym frequently used by writer Shimon Wincelberg; he also used this pseudonym on episodes of the original Star Trek. Director John Meredyth Lucas was a frequent writer and director on that show as well, and was a name often seen in one of those capacities in 1960s TV credits. He also wrote episodes of The Starlost and Logan’s Run.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Fantastic Journey

The Fantastic Journey

  1. Vortex
  2. Atlantium
  3. Beyond The Mountain
  4. Children Of The Gods
  5. A Dream Of Conquest
  6. An Act Of Love
  7. Funhouse
  8. Turnabout
  9. Riddles
  10. The Innocent Prey

In the 1970s, the mysticism and alternative spirituality of the 1960s, combined with the cynicism of a country that had gone through the excesses of the Vietnam War and the revelations of Watergate, resulted in a cultural sea change in the United States. Popular fiction produced conspiratorial tales that made pre-’70s conspiracy fiction like The Manchurian Candidate seem almost tame and simplistic. We now knew to what length certain rogue actors within our own government would go to cover up the truth. The evil that men do was no longer just the evil that other men do.

Science fiction in the early ’70s was bleak as a result, reflecting the disenchantment that the viewing audience was dealing with. From the TV incarnation of Planet Of The Apes to the slightly watered-down children’s series Ark II, the starting point of much TV SF was that the world would be destroyed; no one’s best intentions would be able to stop it. The ’60s optimism that had sparked Star Trek was gone. Along with the rising tide of belief in wide-ranging conspiracies came a marked increase in interest in the paranormal and unexplained phenomena: even nature itself was conspiring against us. This was the era of Bigfoot and Loch Ness Monster sightings, theories about the lost continent of Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle, and even the end of the world itself (a near-obsession sparked by the publication of the book “The Late Great Planet Earth”, in which – for what would be far from the last time – the book of Revelations was picked over and analyzed to “prove” the author’s theory that the Biblical end times were upon us).

The Fantastic JourneyIt was in this environment that Bruce Lansbury Productions initiated production on a movie-of-the-week pilot for what it hoped would be a new series, The Fantastic Island. The Fantastic Island would follow a group of modern-day adventurers in their quest to survive and escape the perils of an unknown island in the Bermuda Triangle – with hints that the island might be Atlantis, or somehow related to Atlantis. A father-and-son duo led the team, which would start out as a surprisingly large ensemble cast prior to being whittled down to a more manageable number by the island’s many dangers. A man from the future, also stranded on the island, would befriend the explorers and help guide them, but being from a pacifistic future (perhaps a hint that Star Trek’s optimism wasn’t regarded as completely passe), he would not fight for them except in defense; any adversaries met along the way would have to be dealt with by means of present-day wits or present-day fists, whichever the writers thought was more exciting during a given week.

But The Fantastic Island, which underwent a title change to The Fantastic Journey along the way, had a journey ahead of it that was The Fantastic Journeyevery bit as troubled as the quest it depicted.

NBC executives’ notes to the show’s producers were not kind. If The Fantastic Journey had any chance of being picked up as a series, major changes to the format would be required, not the least of which was the elimination of several characters, including the show’s father figure. The man from the future, played by Jared Martin (later to star in the late 1980s TV version of The War Of The Worlds), was an exciting and mysterious character, but most of the explorers would be exploring no further. The writers, with story editor and Star Trek veteran D.C. Fontana, regrouped to try to meet the network in the middle with its proposed changes.

Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising of these changes was that young Scott Jordan, played by Ike Eisenmann (who had also starred in Escape From Witch Mountain and would later gain another footnote in genre history by appearing as Scotty’s The Fantastic Journeydoomed nephew in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan), would stay on the show, while his father would be one of the characters jettisoned at NBC’s behest. Despite an explanation that hinted strongly that Scott’s father was not given the option of taking his son home with him, added to the pilot in hastily-scripted scenes filmed at the beginning of production of the weekly series, this notion strained the show’s credulity as much as any mention of men from the future or the Bermuda Triangle. The only other characters retained from the pilot movie were Martin’s character, Varian,and Dr. Fred Walters, played by African-American actor Carl Franklin.

Added to the show’s format in the first post-pilot episode would by Liana, played by Katie Saylor, an all-purpose woman of mystery and vaguely-defined abilities that verged on superpowers, including a telepathic bond with a cat who could act as her eyes and ears. The following episode would introduce yet another character, one which the writers constructed with actor Roddy McDowall in mind, in the hopes that he’d commit to appearing in the series every week. Bearing a vague resemblance to Lost In Space’s Dr. Smith, McDowall’s character was an eccentric, amoral scientist named Willaway who was The Fantastic Journeyas likely to act in the group’s interests as he was to act in his own. Impressed with the character’s ambiguity, McDowall signed on for his first regular series TV role since Planet Of The Apes.

The production was almost immediately beset by problems. The turnaround between NBC’s acceptance of the altered pilot and the show’s first airing was mere weeks, meaning that production had to be ramped up, and new scripts written, on extremely short notice. Mere weeks into the show’s run, there was little indication that a significant audience had latched onto the adventures of Varian and friends; the show was removed from the schedule for a month and then returned intermittently. Katie Saylor was reportedly too ill to appear in the last story shot before the series was cancelled. The The Fantastic Journeyfinal episode produced, The Innocent Prey, was quietly aired in June 1977 – by which time Star Wars had premiered and completely changed the audience’s expectations of speculative fiction.

Much of the writing and production staff from The Fantastic Journey immediately moved on to a new TV project, a television adaptation of the 1976 movie Logan’s Run, which would premiere in late 1977 on CBS, featuring another band of adventurers roaming through the post-apocalyptic wilds of southern California.

NBC, however, wasn’t done visiting Atlantis: in March 1977, while The Fantastic Journey was on its first hiatus, another TV movie premiered starring TV’s Patrick Duffy as the titular Man From Atlantis. The success of these four movies made a weekly series almost inevitable, though the series really just overlaid the Atlantis mythology onto Duffy’s character in what was otherwise a fairly typical globe-trotting adventure story with some spy trappings. The weekly series of Man From Atlantis premiered in the fall of 1977, after The Fantastic Journey had become little more than a memory.

The cast and crew of The Fantastic Journey moved on to other projects, with Ike Eisenmann eventually giving up acting to work in sound editing, though he still does voice work in projects such as the English dub of Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Carl Franklin became a respected director, with such movies as Devil In A Blue Dress, Nowhere To Run, One True Thing and episodes of series such as Rome and The Riches under his belt. Katie Saylor died of cancer in 1991. Aside from extremely infrequent reruns in syndication, The Fantastic Journey has not been repeated or released on DVD.

Beyond The Mountain

The Fantastic JourneyVarian, Scott, Liana and Fred arrive in a windswept desert through the portal; shortly afterward, Sil-L, the cat with whom Liana shares a telepathic bond, arrives too. But they soon run into a new problem – a pulsating red cloud, not dissimilar from the green cloud that stranded them on the island. The men wind up in a swamp, surrounded by green-skinned people who seek help for their malaria-stricken leader, while Liana finds herself in a compound populated by attractive people in identical jumpsuits. She meets Professor Willaway, who seems to rule over these people, and he is instantly smitten with Liana, deciding that she must stay to marry him, whether she wants to or not. All of his “sons” and companions turn out to be androids, originally built by the species that has been forced into the swamp; Willaway, a radical scientist from 1963, reprogrammed all of the androids to serve him. But his desire for human companionship is driving him from radical to treacherous. When Fred, Varian and Scott leave the swamp and find their way to Willaway’s village, Varian quickly realizes that their inquiries about Liana’s whereabouts are being answered with lies. And no longer hampered by their leader’s health, the beings who created the androids are now returning to reclaim what is rightfully theirs, leaving Willaway to seek refuge with Varian’s group.

The Fantastic Journeywritten by Harold Livingston
directed by Irving J. Moore
music by Robert Prince

Cast: Jared Martin (Varian), Carl Franklin (Fred Walters), Ike Eisenmann (Scott Jordan), Katie Saylor (Liana), Roddy McDowall (Willaway), John David Carson (Cyrus), Marj Dusay (Rachel), Lester Fletcher (Chef), Frank Coresntino (Toren), Joseph Della Sorte (Aren), Ron Burke (Robert), Brian Patrick Clarke (Daniel), Bud Kenneally (Veteran), Crofton Hardester (Michael), The Felix Team (Sil-L)

The Fantastic JourneyNotes: Actor Brian Patrick Clarke is credited as “Brain.” Roddy McDowall joins the show in this episode, playing a part that was written specifically to attract him to the show. His genre credits already included the Planet Of The Apes films and their short-lived TV spinoff. Writer Harold Livingston also penned episodes of Mission: Impossible, Future Cop, The Six Million Dollar Man and the William Shatner series Barbary Coast, but his most famous genre gig was, of course, the unenviable job of coming up with a coherent script for Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979, a job Livingston didn’t relish as it put him into conflict with Gene Roddenberry (Livingston later claimed that his rewrites were being rewritten and sabotaged by Roddenberry). This episode is contains rare references to the pilot, with Fred comparing the red cloud to the green one in the Bermuda Triangle, and Varian noting that the traveling party is almost as large as the original group of shipwreck survivors. Sil-L conveniently hides for almost the entire duration of the episode, appearing only at the beginning and the end; presumably he was marking his territory in Willaway’s outdoor planters the rest of the time.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Children Of The Gods

The Fantastic JourneyVarian and the other travelers find what appear to be Greek ruins of a kind that Willaway thinks are at least 3,000 years old. They set up camp for the night, but trouble soon finds them: a young boy races over a hill and collapses near a stream, sweaty and exhausted. Even Scott can’t get the boy to talk about what he’s running from. When the boy tries to sneak away from the ruins, Scott follows him and they are both captured by older boys and brought back to an underground command center. A young man named “Alpha” rules here, and serves up harsh punishment to anyone who defies his style of ruling by fear. Adults long ago extinguished themselves in a war, and Alpha has discovered a cache of advanced weapons left over from that conflict. Willaway is caught entering a temple at the ruins, and Alpha sentences him to death. With his friends’ lives in the balance, Scott challenges Alpha to a duel, with the survivor earning the right to lead.

The Fantastic Journeywritten by Leonard Katzman
directed by Alf Kjellin
music by Robert Prince

Cast: Jared Martin (Varian), Carl Franklin (Fred Walters), Ike Eisenmann (Scott Jordan), Katie Saylor (Liana), Roddy McDowall (Willaway), Mark Lambert (Alpha), Bobby Eilbacher (Sigma), Cosie Costa (Delta), Stanley Clay (Beta), Richard Natoli (Gamma), Al A. Eisenmann (Omega), Michael Baldwin (Rho), The Felix Team (Sil-L)

Notes: This is the first TV gig that IMDB shows for actor Cosie Costa, who did guest shots on numerous ’70s and ’80s shows, including Galactica 1980. One of his last entries for Costa in that same internet-based trove of showbiz knowledge is an appearance in the first season of Babylon 5.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

A Dream Of Conquest

The Fantastic JourneyThe travelers arrive just in time to witness the brutal capture of an ape-like animal by guards in futuristic armor. Varian and the others are captured, but when they’re taken to the leader of the human hunters, Tarrant, he orders their release. The travelers are invited to rest in Tarrant’s compound, where they find a power struggle brewing; the actual leader of these humans is a dying man named Luther, who Fred later discovers has been poisoned. Willaway inveigles his way into Tarrant’s inner circle, offering his scientific expertise in a program to develop advanced weapons, but when Tarrant suspects that Willaway is double-crossing him, he locks him up. Fred devises an antidote to Luther’s poisoning, which could interfere with Tarrant’s plans to seize control without the limitations of being a mere interim leader. Now Varian, Fred and the other travelers are real obstacles to Tarrant’s power grab, and must be eliminated.

The Fantastic Journeyteleplay by Michael Michaelian
story by Bruce Lansbury
directed by Vincent McEveety
music by Dirk DeBenedictis

Cast: Jared Martin (Varian), Carl Franklin (Fred Walters), Ike Eisenmann (Scott Jordan), Katie Saylor (Liana), Roddy McDowall (Willaway), John Saxon (Tarrant), Morgan Paull (Argon), Lenore Stevens (Lara), Robert Patten (Luther), Johnny Doran (Nikki), The Felix Team (Sil-L), Bobby Porter (Neffring)

Notes: The first pre-empted episode of the show’s brief run (and not the last), this was the first episode to feature a new narration over the main title music, a request ordered by NBC to try to explain the show’s backstory and characters to new viewers who hadn’t tuned in for earlier episodes:

  • Lost in the Devil’s Triangle, trapped in a dimension with beings from the future and from other worlds, a party of adventurers journeys through zones of time back to their own time.
    Varian, a man from the 23rd century, possessing awesome powers.
    From 1977, Fred, a young doctor just out of medical school.
    Scott Jordan, the 13-year-old son of a famous scientist.
    Liana, daughter of an Atlantean father and an extraterrestrial mother.
    And Jonathan Willaway, rebel scientist from the 1960s.
    Together they face the frightening unknown on… the Fantastic Journey.

The Fantastic JourneyThe narration was performed by actor Mike Road, who had provided the voice of the Source in the show’s first two episodes.

Actor John Saxon was a mainstay of TV and film in the ’70s, often cast as a villain, with appearances in Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, Kung Fu, Fantasy Island, Gunsmoke, The Rockford Files, Starsky & Hutch, and many, many others; on the big screen, Saxon appeared in Enter The Dragon opposite Bruce Lee, A Nightmare On Elm Street 3, and Battle Beyond The Stars; two years before his appearance here, he had co-starred as the criminal mastermind trying to shake off Joe Don Baker in the movie that formed the core of one of Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s most famous “experiments,” Mitchell. Bobby Porter, who has a long history as a stunt coordinator working on such shows as The A-Team, Tales From The Crypt, the American version of The Office and both TV episodes and movies in the Planet Of The Apes franchise, had a recurring role in the 1991 remake of Land Of The Lost; mere months after his appearance here, he’d make the first of his many appearances in the metal suit of Andy the robot in the Buck Henry SF spoof Quark, a series with an even shorter run than The Fantastic Journey.

Vincent McEveety directed several key episodes of the original Star Trek, including Miri, Balance Of Terror and The Spectre Of The Gun, along with dozens of episodes of Gunsmoke, The Untouchables and Simon & Simon, and a few episodes of Buck Rogers In The 25th Century.

The Fantastic JourneyThe “futuristic” model of the Alpha 2 spaceship from Scott’s future is indeed from the future… a few years in the future. It’s a model of the Space Shuttle, attached to its external tank with solid rocket boosters, with an exotic red-and-white paint job. Though the Shuttle’s design was well known in 1977 (if Scott was the child of someone who moved in scientific circles, he really should’ve recognized it), the test orbiter Enterprise was only just getting off the ground for proving flights to test the Shuttle’s ability to glide to a safe, unpowered landing at the time that The Fantastic Journey was on the air. The first Space Shuttle launch wouldn’t happen until 1981. Also, the highly advanced futuristic audio surveillance equipment used by Tarrant’s underlings has a prominently-positioned, highly advanced futuristic parallel port. As the first mass-market home computers didn’t arrive until later in 1977, this would’ve been an exotic piece of equipment to most TV viewers.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

An Act Of Love

The Fantastic JourneyThe travelers materialize in the shadow of an erupting volcano and immediately seek shelter in a nearby cave. Awoken by a disturbing dream, Varian wanders away from their camp and meets a woman he saw in that dream. When he sees his friends again, Varian has big news: he’s giving up his travels to marry the woman he dreamed of and then met. Scott and the others find this shocking, but they’re not as shocked as Varian is to discover that, as the groom, he’s expected to allow himself to be sacrificed to the volcano to appease the “gods” that govern its eruptions.

The Fantastic Journeywritten by Richard Fielder
directed by Virgil W. Vogel
music by Dirk DeBenedictis

Cast: Jared Martin (Varian), Carl Franklin (Fred Walters), Ike Eisenmann (Scott Jordan), Katie Saylor (Liana), Roddy McDowall (Willaway), Ellen Weston (Maera), Christina Hart (Gwyneth), Jonathan Goldsmith (Zaros), Vic Mohica (Baras), Belinda Balaski (Arla), Jeffrey Byron (Heras), Jerry Daniels (The Guard), The Felix Team (Sil-L)

Notes: For someone who knows that you can’t make a deal with a volcano, Willaway should’ve warned his fellow travelers away from seeking shelter from a volcano in a nearby cave; any cave-like structure in close proximity to an active volcano would be likely to be, or have been formed by, an equally active lava tube – perhaps not the safest structure available.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Funhouse

The Fantastic JourneyScott is excited to spot a carnival full of rides in the distance, and against Willaway’s misgivings, Varian agrees that the travelers should investigate. They soon meet the proprietor of the carnival, Marcus Apollonius, who offers the weary travelers a chance to relax and amuse themselves. But the invitation is too good to be true: Marcus and his underlings plan to trap the travelers, and possess their bodies and minds to escape this time zone. Marcus chooses Willaway, and Varian instantly detects that something is different about him and tries to help Willaway expel the evil spirit and regain control. This only angers Marcus, who now decides that the travelers who aren’t chosen as new host bodies are expendable.

The Fantastic Journeywritten by Michael Michaelian
directed by Art Fisher
music by Robert Prince

Cast: Jared Martin (Varian), Carl Franklin (Fred Walters), Ike Eisenmann (Scott Jordan), Katie Saylor (Liana), Roddy McDowall (Willaway), Mel Ferrer (Marcus Apollonius), Mary Frann (Roxanne), Richard Lawson (Barker), Christina Hart (Gwyneth), The Felix Team (Sil-L)

Notes: A vision of Gwyneth, Varian’s doomed wife from An Act Of Love, appears briefly. Considering all the gunfire from the possessed shooting gallery guns and the other mayhem around him, Sil-L again proves that he’s the calmest cat in the universe.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Turnabout

The Fantastic JourneyThe travelers’ latest stop brings them to a male-dominated realm, where Liana is kidnapped by the local men. Sil-L returns to the base camp to lead Varian and the others to the futuristic city where Liana has been taken. The thuggish leader of this society is elusive when asked about Liana’s whereabouts, but soon Varian and his fellow travelers have a new problem: all of the men vanish into thin air, sucked into the inner workings of the computerized Complex that controls the city. The women, tired of being treated like slaves, have revolted and reprogrammed the Complex, though the computer immediately starts trying to correct its programming. Liana has been freed, and may now be the only chance her fellow travelers have to survive in a society that is now harshly dominated by women.

The Fantastic Journeywritten by D.C. Fontana and Ken Kolb
directed by Victor French
music by Robert Prince

Cast: Jared Martin (Varian), Carl Franklin (Fred Walters), Ike Eisenmann (Scott Jordan), Katie Saylor (Liana), Roddy McDowall (Willaway), Joan Collins (Halyana), Paul Mantee (Morgan), Julie Cobb (Adrea), Beverly Todd (Conell), Charles Walker II (Orbil), Amy Joyce (Masel), The Felix Team (Sil-L)

The Fantastic JourneyNotes: Despite her seemingly pivotal role in the story, Liana isn’t seen much in this episode, reportedly due to actress Katie Saylor’s illness at the time. Joan Collins was still the queen of the guest stars at this point in her career, having already appeared in Star Trek, Space: 1999 and the first segment of the Hammer Studios film version of Tales From The Crypt; Dynasty was still four years away. Guest star Julie Cobb was married to episode director Victor French at the time of production. The Complex’s “robot” minions are a familiar prop: they’re the lower half of a studio camera pedestal, complete with casters to ensure smooth “dolly” movement of the camera across a studio floor… minus, of course, the upper half of the pedestal and the camera, making it unrecognizable to anyone who doesn’t work in a studio. Studio camera pedestals were also turned into robots on Quark.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Riddles

The Fantastic JourneyThe travelers arrive in a new time zone without Liana, who has remained at their last stop and will catch up with them later. A man on horseback approaches with a cryptic, almost poetic clue about the way to Evoland, the point at which everyone can supposedly return to their own time. Varian and Fred follow a running man as instructed by the horseman, but they lose track of him when he uses a strange power to cause an avalanche to slow them down. Willaway and Scott find the safe house also mentioned by the enigmatic horseman, finding a man and a woman living there with their servant; when Varian and Fred catch up, they recognize the man: the man with strange powers who they were told to pursue. Over dinner, Scott realizes that the man he sees is not the man that the others see: they see a healthy younger man, while Scott sees a much older man. Willaway later has a similar experience with the house servant: he sees a much older man than the others do. When it becomes apparent that their wandering guests have seen through their disguises, the occupants of the house drop any pretense of hospitality: Varian, Fred and the others are trapped and subjected to a series of their own nightmares. But what secret are their hosts concealing?

The Fantastic Journeywritten by Katharyn Michaelian Powers
directed by David Moessinger
music by Robert Prince

Cast: Jared Martin (Varian), Carl Franklin (Fred Walters), Ike Eisenmann (Scott Jordan), Katie Saylor (Liana), Roddy McDowall (Willaway), Dale Robinette (Kedryn), Carole Demas (Krysta), William O’Connell (Simkin), Dax Xanos (The Rider), Lynn Borden (Enid Jordan)

Notes: Due to Katie Saylor’s illness, Liana is mentioned but does not appear in this episode outside of the opening credits. She has supposedly stayed at the travelers’ last stop (possibly the time zone visited in Turnabout), and it is said that she will catch up with the others at a later date, implying that Saylor was expected to return to the show. (In any case, production on the series was halted, and the show was then cancelled, during her leave of absence.) The aliens in this story have been banished from a world of youth where one of the highest crimes is growing old: a coincidental prediction of the next project most of The Fantastic Journey’s writers and crew would find themselves working on later in 1977 – the TV version of Logan’s Run. Enid Jordan returns as Scott’s mother, the only instance of a member of the ousted cast of the pilot returning to play the same role in the series.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Innocent Prey

The Fantastic JourneyVarian, Scott, Fred and Willaway are awakened at their campsite by a brilliant light in the sky which slams into the ground in the distance. They find a crashed space shuttle with several injured astronauts inside, and they help them to find shelter in a nearby village inhabited by otherworldly beings with incredible powers and no knowledge of humanity’s dark side. Rayat and his people know nothing of the human concept of committing a crime, preferring instead to use their telekinetic powers to pursue higher purposes. Astronaut York, supposedly the shuttle’s commander, tells a story that doesn’t quite add up, and seems to be actively trying to silence his fellow crewmembers. Varian and Willaway discover that the shuttle was a prison transport which had been taken over by the inmates. They go to warn Rayat, and confront York, only to find that the psychopath who took over the shuttle now has a hostage: Scott.

The Fantastic Journeywritten by Robert Hamilton
directed by Vincent McEveety
music by Robert Prince

Cast: Jared Martin (Varian), Carl Franklin (Fred Walters), Ike Eisenmann (Scott Jordan), Katie Saylor (Liana), Roddy McDowall (Willaway), Richard Jaeckel (York), Nicholas Hammond (Tye), Cheryl Ladd (Natica), Lew Ayres (Rayat), Gerald McRaney (The Co-Pilot), Burt Douglas (The Pilot), Jim Poyner (Roland)

Notes: In keeping with a previous episode’s depiction of a space shuttle as an alien spacecraft, this episode’s “mid-21st century space shuttle” returning to Cape Canaveral is shown to be a The Fantastic Journeyfamiliar flying saucer design. Willaway says he once worked for NASA. This is the second episode not to feature Katie Saylor; there’s no mention of Liana’s whereabouts, even though she remains in the opening credits. This was one of the last guest starring roles for Cheryl Ladd before she became one of the stars of Charlie’s Angels, while fellow guest star Gerald McRaney was still a few years away from gaining fame as one of the stars of Simon & Simon. The Innocent Prey is a rare example of The Fantastic Journey trying to step into Star Trek’s issue-based storytelling, in this case touching on the hot-button topic of capital punishment. This was the final episode produced, and it aired nearly two months after the rest of the series.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Green Girl

It's Supertrain!

SupertrainHarry is less than enthusiastic about a televised, high-stakes international poker tournament to be held aboard Supertrain, but he’s at least relieved that Wayne is the one who has to keep the high-rollers happy. With a $100,000 buy-in, only the five best poker players in the world can even afford to ante up…and one of them doesn’t make it to the station in time to meet the train, replaced instead by a woman who claims to have won that player’s invitation by beating him at poker. Wayne is immediately smitten with the unexpected substitute player, but his personal feelings become a liability when it’s discovered that hundreds of thousands of dollars in the game’s pot of cash has been swapped out with counterfeit bills, leaving the unexpected new arrival at the poker table as the only real suspect.

written by Stephen Kandel
directed by Cliff Bole
music by Bob Cobert

SupertrainCast: Edward Andrews (Harry Flood), Ilene Graff (Penny Whitaker), Harrison Page (George Boone), Robert Alda (Dr. Lewis), Joey Aresco (Wayne Randall), Rebecca Balding (Ellen Bradford), David Huddleston (Duke Burnside), Henry Jones (James Malinson), Clyde Kusatsu (Shimaju Fukuda), Cleavon Little (Preacher Ross), Roddy McDowall (Talcott), Chip Fields (Preacher’s Lady), Maggie Jean Smith (Talcott’s Entourage), Laura Grayson (Talcott’s Entourage), Leigh Walsh (Talcott’s Entourage), Ross Bickell (Milburn)

SupertrainNotes: Wayne says that conductor Harry Flood has ascended to the position of CEO of Supertrain (apparently he’s taken over from Winfield Root sometime since episode one); Boone worked at a bank for three years prior to his stint on Supertrain. This episode is another smorgasbord of ’70s TV royalty, with Chip Fields (from The Amazing Spider-Man) scouting out Supertrain ahead of her Spider-Man co-star Nicholas Hammond’s appearance the following week, and no less than Roddy McDowall (Planet Of The Apes, The Fantastic Journey) putting in a guest shot. (Since Robert Alda is already a regular, this series is a John Saxon guest shot away from peak ’70s TV.) Director Cliff Bole (1937–2014) was early in his very busy career here, having already helmed 11 episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man, one episode of The Amazing Spider-Man, and numerous installments of Charlie’s Angels, Baretta, and BJ And The Bear. He would go on to rack up two dozen directing credits on Fantasy Island, as well as episodes of V, T.J. Hooker, MacGyver, Star Trek: The Next Generation (including the fan-favorite two-parter The Best Of Both Worlds), Star Trek spinoffs Deep Space Nine and Voyager, The X-Files, M.A.N.T.I.S., Millennium, Harsh Realm, and Supernatural. And, of course, Supertrain!

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Black Hole

The Black HoleIn the 22nd century, the crew of the small deep space probe Palomino find themselves dangerously close to an enormous black hole. VINCENT, the ship’s all-purpose robot, spots the silhouette of another space vessel against the enormity of the black hole, identifying it as the U.S.S. Cygnus, the largest American manned deep space mission ever launched, which stopped reporting back home twenty years before. More intriguing than the discovery of the Cygnus is the fact that the enormous ship is holding its own against the black hole’s gravity. Trying to investigate the Cygnus, the Palomino is caught in the gravity field of the black hole and sustains major damage. Forced to seek refuge near the Cygnus, the crew discovers a field of zero gravity around the large ghost ship. An even bigger surprise awaits when the Cygnus lights up without warning, after failing to respond to numerous attempts at communication from the Palomino. Palomino Captain Holland, along with scientists Kate McCrae and Alex Durant and blustery reporter Harry Booth, explore the ship with VINCENT, but it soon becomes apparent that someone – or something – is leading them carefully to the bridge of the ship and keeping them from other parts of the ship. The bridge is populated by robed robots, much to the disappointment of Kate, whose father was part of the original Cygnus crew. An enormous red robot appears and threatens the crew, and VINCENT puts himself between his crewmates and the menacing machine. A voice from the dimly-lit captain’s chair calls the robot off, and welcomes Holland and his crew aboard. It is Dr. Hans Reinhardt, the Cygnus’ legendary eccentric commander. Reinhardt tells the story of the Cygnus encountering a disaster which forced the crew to abandon ship, and caused the death of McCrae’s father. Reinhardt also reveals that he has developed the anti-gravity field that allows the Cygnus to maintain its position to study the black hole, but in the course of further conversation it also becomes apparent that Reinhardt may be mentally unstable. And despite Reinhardt’s order to help the Palomino crew find parts to repair their ship, his robot Maximillian makes no secret of the fact that it would like nothing more than to turn VINCENT into scrap metal.

VINCENT finds an old robot called BOB, a much earlier version of his own design, in charge of the ship’s equipment stores. BOB has been obviously been terrorized and brutalized by Maximillian in the past, but finally reveals some vital information to VINCENT: Reinhardt’s crew mutinied against him when the scientist took it upon himself to rewrite the mission of the Cygnus, and Kate’s father was murdered in retaliation. The rest of the crew is still aboard – their minds wiped and reprogrammed by Reinhardt, they are, in fact, the legions of shrouded “robots” who solemnly attend the ship’s stations. Alex becomes intoxicated by Reinhardt’s misguided genius, and Harry sees nothing less than the story of the century (with his byline, of course). VINCENT warns Holland, Pizer and Kate of the deadly secrets of the Cygnus, and when Kate tells Alex, Maximillian kills him. Reinhardt’s new mission is to defy the laws of nature, drive the Cygnus through the black hole, and find out what – if anything – is on the other side. And he wants his visitors to help him…or die.

Download this episodescreenplay by Jeb Rosebrook and Gerry Day
story by Jeb Rosebrook and Bob Barbash & Richard Landau
directed by Gary Nelson
music by John Barry

Cast: Maximilian Schell (Dr. Hans Reinhardt), Anthony Perkins (Dr. Alex Durant), Robert Forster (Captain Dan Holland), Joseph Bottoms (Lt. Charles Pizer), Yvette Mimieux (Dr. Kate McCrae), Ernest Borgnine (Harry Booth), Roddy McDowall (voice of VINCENT), Slim Pickens (voice of BOB), Tommy McLoughlin (STAR)

Notes: Early in the movie, when VINCENT has to fire a tether out of his back to secure himself to the hull of the Palomino, the sound heard is quite familiar – it’s the sound of the Enterprise’s turbolift doors opening from the original Star Trek.

LogBook entry and review by Earl Green Read More

The Expeditions

The Martian ChroniclesJuly 1976: Viking 1, an unmanned space probe, lands on Mars and transmits the first pictures of its surface back to Earth. No life is found, confounding centuries of speculation about canals and the aliens who might have constructed them.

January 1999: The first manned mission to Mars lifts off from Cape Canaveral, carrying a team of three astronauts to Mars. Unknown to them, their arrival has been anticipated by an advanced race of Martians whose presence went undetected by the Viking probes. When the astronauts from Earth land, a xenophobic Martian kills them before they even have a chance to walk on Martian soil.

April 2000: A second manned mission is launched to Mars, and its three-man crew is stunned when the Martian dust clears to reveal a very Earthlike environment. But it’s not the true Martian civilization exposed at last; instead, it’s an illusion tailor-made to emulate memories plucked out of the Earthmen’s minds. At first the astronauts are taken in by the illusion, but when they begin to question it and try to escape it, the Martians show their true form and intent, allowing the astronauts to die without getting a message off to Earth about life on Mars.

June 2001: Despite the tragedy, a more extensive follow-up mission is launched, with a larger crew commanded by Colonel John Wilder, who has overseen the previous missions from Earth. Almost immediately upon landing, evidence of a Martian civilization, seemingly abandoned, is found. There’s no longer any denying the presence of life there, though the monuments seem to be abandoned, perhaps evidence of an extinct civilization. Major Jeff Spender, Wilder’s right-hand man on Earth and hand-picked to join him on this mission, ventures off into the Martian ruins himself and comes back a changed man. But changed into what?

teleplay by Richard Matheson
based on the novel by Ray Bradbury
directed by Michael Anderson
music by Stanley Myers / electronic music by Richard Harvey

Cast: Rock Hudson (Colonel John Wilder), Gayle Hunnicutt (Ruth Wilder), Bernie Casey (Maj. Jeff Spender), Christopher Connelly (Ben Driscoll), Nicholas Hammond (Arthur Black), Roddy McDowall (Father Stone), Darren McGavin (Sam Parkhill), Bernadette Peters (Genevieve Seltzer), Maria Schell (Anna Lustig), Joyce Van Patten (Elma Parkhill), Fritz Weaver (Father Peregrine), Linda Lou Allen (Marilyn Becker), Michael Anderson Jr. (David Lustig), Robert Beatty (General Halstead), James Faulkner (Mr. K), John Finch (Christ), Terence Longdon (Wise Martian), Barry Morse (Peter Hathaway), Nyree Dawn Porter (Alice Hathaway), Wolfgang Reichmann (Lafe Lustig), Maggie Wright (Ylla), John Cassady (Briggs), Alison Elliott (Lavinia Spaulding), Vadim Glowna (Sam Hinston), Richard Heffer (Capt. Conover), Derek Lamden (Sandship Martian), Peter Marinker (McClure), Richard Oldfield (Capt. York), Anthony Pullen-Shaw (Edward Black), Burnell Tucker (Bill Wilder)

The Martian ChroniclesNotes: A lavish co-production between NBC and the BBC, shot on “otherworldly” Lanzarote (a volcanic island where the BBC would also later shoot the 1984 Doctor Who story Planet Of Fire), The Martian Chronicles was intended to be the major draw to NBC’s fall 1979 season. But Ray Bradbury himself, the author of the original stories the miniseries was based on, torpedoed that launch by calling the TV adaptation out as “boring” in a publicity appearance. With the creator of its major premiere alerting the public to a stinker, NBC rescheduled the miniseries to run during the winter doldrums of January 1980, before the ratings sweeps month of February (for which NBC already had a dire forecast, since the 1980 Winter Olympics would be airing during February on rival network ABC, likely trouncing anything scheduled against the games by NBC or CBS). The BBC didn’t air The Martian Chronicles until August 1980.

The show’s decks are stacked with genre veterans, including Roddy McDowall (Planet Of The Apes), Maria Schell and Barry Morse (Space: 1999), and Darren McGavin (Kolchak: The Night Stalker). Robert Beatty had appeared in pivotal episodes of Doctor Who (The Tenth Planet) and Blake’s 7 (The Way Back). Bernie Casey would appear in both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5 during the 1990s. (Tangentially, Rock Hudson had starred in 1971’s creepy non-genre movie Pretty Maids All In A Row, written and produced by one Gene Roddenberry.) Director Michael Anderson also had a well-known genre credit under his belt, the 1976 SF cult classic Logan’s Run, while one of composer Stanley Myers’ earliest TV music credits was for the 1964 Doctor Who story Marco Polo.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Settlers

The Martian ChroniclesFebruary 2004: Even with the high cost in lives of the third manned mission to Mars, full-scale colonization of the red planet begins. Mankind is still unaware of the ongoing Martian presence. Mining begins on Mars, supporting the construction of buildings and roads. The invasion from Earth has begun.

The Martians stay hidden, observing and plotting, and occasionally trying to walk among the humans in disguise. One such disguise – the dead son of a couple who have moved to Mars – gives the secret away. A pair of monks nearly die in an avalanche, only to be saved by Martian intervention, though one of the monks is certain that it’s a sign of God, not a sign of alien life, and nearly goes mad trying to prove it. At a greasy spoon cafe established by one of Wilder’s former landing party members, a Martian appears in full ceremonial robes, only to be shot at point blank range. Another appear, seemingly surrendering any claim on nearly half of Mars. What no one on Mars realizes is that the red planet is soon to become humanity’s permanent home.

teleplay by Richard Matheson
based on the novel by Ray Bradbury
directed by Michael Anderson
music by Stanley Myers / electronic music by Richard Harvey

Cast: Rock Hudson (Colonel John Wilder), Gayle Hunnicutt (Ruth Wilder), Bernie Casey (Maj. Jeff Spender), Christopher Connelly (Ben Driscoll), Nicholas Hammond (Arthur Black), Roddy McDowall (Father Stone), Darren McGavin (Sam Parkhill), Bernadette Peters (Genevieve Seltzer), Maria Schell (Anna Lustig), Joyce Van Patten (Elma Parkhill), Fritz Weaver (Father Peregrine), Linda Lou Allen (Marilyn Becker), Michael Anderson Jr. (David Lustig), Robert Beatty (General Halstead), James Faulkner (Mr. K), John Finch (Christ), Terence Longdon (Wise Martian), Barry Morse (Peter Hathaway), The Martian ChroniclesNyree Dawn Porter (Alice Hathaway), Wolfgang Reichmann (Lafe Lustig), Maggie Wright (Ylla), John Cassady (Briggs), Alison Elliott (Lavinia Spaulding), Vadim Glowna (Sam Hinston), Richard Heffer (Capt. Conover), Derek Lamden (Sandship Martian), Peter Marinker (McClure), Richard Oldfield (Capt. York), Anthony Pullen-Shaw (Edward Black), Burnell Tucker (Bill Wilder)

Notes: Michael Anderson Jr. is the son of director Michael Anderson; he also appeared in Land Of The Giants, Psi Factor and an episode of the Highlander series.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Martians

The Martian ChroniclesNovember 2006: Colonel Wilder flies a solo return mission to Earth, hoping to find survivors or some remnants of civilization, but nuclear war has wiped out the birthplace of the human race. The only surviving humans now live on Mars, and no further supply missions from Earth are coming. Wracked with guilt, Wilder returns to Mars.

As the human settlers eke out a meager existence trying to live off the Martian land, though some are seemingly oblivious to Earth’s fate. Wilder lands near the home of a brilliant scientist who, in despair, has turned his talents toward recreating his dead family members with robots. Returning to the Martian ruins that drove Spender mad, Wilder encounters a Martian – or perhaps a recorded message from one – who urges him to make peace with the destruction of Earth and accept that people from Earth are the new Martians.

teleplay by Richard Matheson
based on the novel by Ray Bradbury
directed by Michael Anderson
music by Stanley Myers / electronic music by Richard Harvey

Cast: Rock Hudson (Colonel John Wilder), Gayle Hunnicutt (Ruth Wilder), Bernie Casey (Maj. Jeff Spender), Christopher Connelly (Ben Driscoll), Nicholas Hammond (Arthur Black), Roddy McDowall (Father Stone), Darren McGavin (Sam Parkhill), Bernadette Peters (Genevieve Seltzer), Maria Schell (Anna Lustig), Joyce Van Patten (Elma Parkhill), Fritz Weaver (Father Peregrine), Linda Lou Allen (Marilyn Becker), Michael Anderson Jr. (David Lustig), Robert Beatty (General Halstead), James Faulkner (Mr. K), John Finch (Christ), Terence Longdon (Wise Martian), Barry Morse (Peter Hathaway), Nyree Dawn Porter (Alice Hathaway), Wolfgang Reichmann (Lafe Lustig), Maggie Wright (Ylla), John Cassady (Briggs), Alison Elliott (Lavinia Spaulding), Vadim Glowna (Sam Hinston), Richard Heffer (Capt. Conover), The Martian ChroncilesDerek Lamden (Sandship Martian), Peter Marinker (McClure), Richard Oldfield (Capt. York), Anthony Pullen-Shaw (Edward Black), Burnell Tucker (Bill Wilder)

Notes: Producer Milton Subotsky was one of the founders of ’60s British horror powerhouse Amicus Films, which also released the two ’60s big-screen adaptations of Doctor Who starring Peter Cushing. (Since the Amicus name was associated so closely with horror films, a fictitious production company called AARU Films was credited for the Doctor Who films.) Amicus also released the first filmed adaptation of the Tales From The Crypt comics, predating the HBO series by 17 years.