post, I've been feeding my nostalgic little soul recently with trips to youtube.com in order to watch old made-for-television movies. Pared of their commercials, these delights only run about an hour and fifteen minutes, give or take, and feature many of the stars I grew up loving. It's been so much fun to revisit these (or, in most cases, see them for the very first time!) You may view them yourselves by clicking on the titles of these telefilms.
Haunts of the Very Rich. In it, seven people are on board a well-heeled airliner with room to spare. They are headed for a luxury resort which promises to fulfill their desires in a very individualized way. (This telefilm is very much, at least in scheme, like a precursor to Fantasy Island right down to the tropical setting and host Moses Gunn's all white clothing and mystique-filled manner.)
The Screaming Woman for some time and finally got around to it. Here, we have Miss Olivia de Havilland as a wealthy, recently released mental patient who happily goes for a horse-drawn ride in her buggy until stumbling upon a whining, digging dog. When she goes to investigate what's wrong, she hears a woman moaning for help UNDER the ground! This sends her into hysterics and she runs all the way back to her mansion for help.
Unfortunately for her, her sap of a son (Charles Robinson) and her scheming daughter-in-law (Laraine Stephens) don't believe her far-fetched tale and actually would love to see de Havilland sent away for good so that they can sell her property for a hefty profit. Land developers are building family homes in the neighborhood and want a nice chunk of hers. These neighbors are a source of potential help as de Havilland ignores her family's (and her doctor's) warning and strikes out to rescue the trapped woman.
Skyway to Death. I was even more excited when I saw that the cast consisted of Stefanie Powers, The Mod Squad's Tige Andrews and former teen idol Bobby Sherman. The project also starred Ross Martin, Nancy Malone, John Astin and amusing little old lady Ruth McDevitt.
The Failing of Raymond, in which Oscar-winner Jane Wyman portrays a teacher on the verge of retirement who is confronted by a one-time student harboring an intense hatred for her over a long ago test score. It seems that one day as a substitute, Wyman had just broken up with a married boyfriend and was unduly distracted and out of patience. The student (played in the past and present by Dean Stockwell) misunderstood the test and she didn't allow him to fix it, so he failed.
The older gentleman is Paul Henreid, playing a doctor of psychiatry (trading somewhat on his long ago role in 1942's Now, Voyager opposite Bette Davis.) The girl, a fellow patient of Stockwell's won the role (her screen debut) thanks to the fact that her father was the director, though she did go on to carve out some acting success on her own. The director of this movie was Boris Sagal and this girl is his daughter Katey Sagal of Married with Children (1987-1997) and 8 Simple Rules (2002-2005.)
The Bait. In it, someone is ritualistically raping and murdering pretty young women and the police have thus far been impotent in stopping it. Undercover policewoman Mills, who most often works in drug sting operations and surveillance, volunteers to help lure the maniac into coming after her, hence the movie's title. Her superior, Michael Constantine, sets her up with a showy apartment and a job in the district where the attacks have occurred.
The Victim, starring Elizabeth Montgomery. In the wake of Bewitched's cancellation that same year, Montgomery was keen to reestablish her reputation as a dramatic actress and began a lengthy string of serious telefilms, the first of which was this one. (Later, she would star in A Case of Rape in 1974, The Legend of Lizzie Borden in 1975 and the remake Dark Victory in 1976, to name just a few.)
Here, she plays a wealthy woman who is concerned about her younger sister (Jess Walton, who later spent many years on The Young and the Restless as Jill Abbott.) Walton lives in a handsome lodge, practically in the middle of nowhere, and is having serious marital problems. On a whim, Montgomery decides to make the drive to be with her, but unfortunately a major storm is brewing. She arrives at the house, drenched by the torrential rainfall, only to find it empty but for the family cat.
The Astronaut was aired. This one concerned a mission to Mars (set in the future, but under ten years so) in which one of the astronauts is felled my a mysterious condition. Due to fear that the space program's budget will be cut as a result, a few NASA execs (Jackie Cooper, Robert Lansing and Richard Anderson, who would soon be part of another top secret mission on The Six Million Dollar Man) conspire to cover up the man's death.
They, with the dead astronaut's prearranged blessing in the event of his death, hire a man who looks much like him (Monte Markham plays both parts) and put him through both surgery and an intense training program. Thus, when the one living astronaut (James Sikking) comes back to Earth, they can slide the imposter into the rescue helicopter and proceed as if nothing is wrong! The one snag is that the real astronaut has a pregnant wife (Susan Clark) who cannot be upset for fear of losing the baby.
Heatwave! In it, the city of Los Angeles begins to experience a series of record-setting high temperatures, rendering its citizens into sweaty, faint, agitated, powerless people who have little to no way of escaping the broiling conditions. Young married couple Ben Murphy and Bonnie Bedelia wake to find their air conditioner on the fritz and the tap water brown with muck. (Even though he isn't naked in this short to the right, I like to pretend he is!) For a while, his stock brokerage office remains open, but eventually can no longer operate. Meanwhile, she, pregnant with their first child, collapses at an overcrowded laundromat.
Once they've finally reached the cabin, they discover a couple of teenagers have already taken up residence there (!), but they come to an understanding about that. Still, with Bedelia suddenly forced into premature labor, things get quite dicey, though there is a kindly doctor (Lew Ayres) nearby who may be able to help. What really creates a problem, though, is that Murphy and Bedelia's premature baby is in dire need of an incubator, but not only isn't there one around, but there isn't electricity or fuel to run it anyway!
The Missing Are Deadly. (A better copy, but annoyingly broken into parts begins here.) In it, Peyton Place's Ed Nelson and Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy are dueling scientists, attempting to combat a deadly bacterial plague, but going about it in different ways. Nimoy, against Nelson's advice, proceeds to work on fighting it with a virus injected into laboratory mice and things get out of hand when Nelson's sons (George O'Hanlon Jr & Gary Morgan) come to the lab and one of them (Morgan, who is mentally challenged) steals one of the infected mice! The caretaker for the boys, by the way, is Irene Tedrow, known to millions as cat-owning Mrs. Elkins of Dennis the Menace from 1959 - 1963.
The Day the Earth Moved. The title graphics on this one are amusing because after the name of the movie comes up, the letters crack and then fall apart! This one concerns Jackie Cooper as a pilot who co-owns an aerial photography business with Cleavon Little of Blazing Saddles, released this same year! The two, along with Cooper's dog (“Dog is My Co-Pilot??”) are surveying a stretch of desert for plans to build a retirement community and they fly over a rickety, one horse town. Later, Cooper is driving back home on his own and is ticketed for speeding through that town. He has $20 on him, but the fine is over $100! So he is forced (like something out of an old western!) to work the fine off by clearing rocks, garbage and other debris out of a run-down, immensely-dilapidated former tourist attraction with a Christmas theme.