Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Big Video Wednesday - Ghost Writer

Yes, still with the 50's TV. "Ghost Writer" is from later in the series, and I noticed that the credits no longer mention the Science Fiction League of America, which may be a reason why the writing on this episode is so bad. The episode stars Leslie Nielsen, three years before his star turn on "Forbidden Planet." Actually, Nielsen was apparently a favorite of the show. He appeared in six episodes.

In "Ghost Writer," Nielsen plays Bert, a former ad agency man who has given up corporate life to try to be a writer. He's in the middle of a big novel that he is beginning to despair about ever finishing or whether it will be any good when he does (been there). He's worried about going broke while chasing his dream. His wife Joan tries to cheer him up, but there's a whiny quality to her voice that makes her sound insincere even when she means it. But then, she may be repressing. Maybe she's got her hands in her pockets to keep herself from strangling her husband.

Also, a fashion note: Joan has this weird (to me) thing she does with her pearls. Instead of wearing them like a normal necklace, she ties the string around her neck. She wants a pearl necktie!

Bert has answered an ad seeking a writer and gets a reply from one Lee Morton, an author who's seeking a collaborator. Joan doesn't think Bert should dilute his talent by working with someone else. She makes him promise not to work with Morton, then heads back to her job. Before she leaves, she gives him some money so he can buy something nice for himself. Bert, frustrated at being just a trophy husband, decides to visit Morton and make his own money.

When we see Lee Morton's home, the Ominous Mobile of Doom signals us that all is not well in Chez Morton.

Morton himself is even more ominous. You can tell he's up to no good, because he's got the Crazy Eyes.

The rest of the story is some nonsense where Morton turns out to be the Devil or Death or something. He pays Bert $500 per story to end stories for him. Bert does two stories and giddily shows his wife the $1000 he earned. She's upset that he went to Morton when he said he wouldn't and insists he give the money back. Because she's apparently making so much money at her job, which is hard to figure out. Nielsen says something about her working behind a cigar counter, but when we see the place, it looks more like a newsstand. Except that they also sell shirts. On the plus side, every shirt gets its own titty rub.

Seriously, if Dillard's had women doing this to every shirt they sell in Men's Clothing, they wouldn't be having to close so many stores. Especially if the women looked like, say, Sherilyn Fenn. Men would never shop anywhere else.

So anyway, blah-blah-blah, the stories Bert writes gruesome endings to come true in real life, Joan makes him promise to return the money, but Morton convinces him to do just one more, Joan finds out Bert has reneged on his promise and decides to go home to her parents in a cab which crashes, thereby making Bert's newest ending about a distraught wife dying in a car crash come true. Irony!

The story was pretty bad and made no sense in about twenty different ways. In fact, the most interesting thing about it, for me, was this.

That's a picture of big band leader Paul Whiteman, in a promo for his Saturday night show, TV Teen Club. But what's with the eagle?

Turns out that was ABC's logo at the time.

I'm guessing the eagle was to put the American in American Broadcasting Company. But I think it's kind of creepy and martial for a corporate logo, especially for the network that would someday give us Happy Days and Donny & Marie.

Here's the whole episode, if you want to watch.

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