Can I say something about an episode?

Joined: March 26th, 2018, 7:14 pm

May 19th, 2018, 1:00 pm #1

I just watched “It’s All Done with Mirrors.”  Holy smokes! In that stunning, climactic scene, Kelly failed to shoot Scotty, but he blew me away. I don’t think there are many actors who could have pulled that off credibly. (For giggles, imagine William Shatner trying it.) I can’t even imagine the level of concentration required to maintain that trance-like state while staying on-script. Fans in a Wild Wild West forum would gasp to hear me say it, but I believe Ross Martin couldn’t have done it better. (He was the costar on that show, and the major reason it’s my favorite. He and Mr. Culp could have gone toe-to-toe as actors, and it would have been a joy to see. Alas that it never happened.)
 
Then the following scene is so jarring, everyone making nice when Karolyi is basically guilty of attempted murder. You would think he’s the one Kelly wants to kill. I felt like I missed something. I find these episodes sometimes lack connecting scenes that explain how Our Heroes get to the place they need to be. Maybe the contrast of the two scenes was intentional--after all, poor Kelly has been so confused, maybe the viewer should have to feel that way too!
 
Carroll O’Connor played an even slimier villain, sans accent, on Wild Wild West. (As you might expect, there’s a lot of overlap in the guest star list. For me it’s natural, and fun, to compare the two shows. They might have more in common than you would think.) I think Karolyi was a pretty tough part to make credible--I hear Kelly muttering about “mad scientist,” and I wonder whether that was an ad-lib. But whatever he may have thought about the script, Culp certainly gave it his best in terms of performance. I’m seeing that all the time. You could never tell from his on-screen manner that he thought the scripts were dismal.
 
Quote
Share

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 20th, 2018, 6:00 pm #2

Hi Karen,
 
I enjoyed your comments. Yes at times, some scenes just didn't seem to flow or follow quite on track.
 
There could be several explanations. One is connected to Sheldon Leonard's unhappiness with the guys' ad-libbing or "improvising." As Ernest Frankel wrote, when he so kindly answered a bunch of questions from the FORUM in 2002. This was after Culp's commentaries on the original DVD set had come out ... (which included some disparaging remarks about his view of writers on I SPY in general).
 
Ernie explained that it was not Culp and Cosby's improvisation (ad-libbing) that Sheldon didn't like, but what occurred because of it. Among several other things, he included ... "the elimination of plot points that left the viewer scratching his head with confusion, the inability of his stars to understand that both drama and comedy have to be set-up with transitional scenes containing some clear exposition, so the primary scenes following will have impact."
 
So apparently some story elements went missing along the way, with some connecting moments that may have tied essential parts of some scripts together.
 
As we have often said I SPY was truly a family, that lived and traveled together, but was in fact a dysfunctional one. BUT it was the pooled mix of the unique talents that each one contributed that made I SPY the sparkling gem it was --- and if any one "faction" had had full sway, I SPY would never have achieved the heights it did.
 
Also another reason for lack of flow and story continuity at times, for many of us who watched I SPY re-runs (if we were lucky enough in those days to be in one of the few places where it was airing at all - and always in the wee hours of the morning), the episodes shown were sliced and diced to smithereens to be able to stuff in more commercials. 
 
When I first got involved with the FORUM, I was watching I SPY on those late, late night re-runs. I later learned that whole, entire scenes were cut out to cram in even more commercials. In fact one of my first early postings on the FORUM was asking about "1000 Fine." The episode I saw had the ending as Kelly walking off to get on the plane to be with Jean in Ohio. That was it - THE END!!?? I asked if that was the series finale???? It didn't make any sense. 

1000 Fine - Kelly leaving end -BB.jpg
1000 Fine - Kelly walking off to airplane.jpg

And Scotty and Kelly, the original FORUM founders, explained to me that the scene following that is Kelly returning to Scotty in the pink jeep, where Scotty is tearing up Kelly's resignation letter. Ummm ... not the swift-ist editing (or butchering) job to lop off the very ending scene. I can't tell you how delighted I was to finally see all the "complete" episodes years later.
 
All my best,
 
Tatia :-)



 
Quote
Share

Joined: March 26th, 2018, 7:14 pm

May 21st, 2018, 7:01 pm #3

I would think the YouTube episodes are uncut, as there are no time limits, but I don't know. I don't think this is a problem of ad-libbing. It's not just something the actors don't say; it's something we should see. Of course, on an hour-long show there's a certain amount of story shorthand, in which it's assumed that the viewer gets what happened without being shown. As soon as Scotty stops Kelly from killing himself, we're supposed to understand that Kelly is all back to normal now, thus in the next scene he can act like nothing ever happened. (I would find it satisfying to see Kelly have a bit of recovery time.) So maybe I'm asking to be spoon-fed, but I just found it quite a large leap in plot to go from the climactic scene straight to this ending that reverses everything that's been set up in the episode. But other shows do these big plot leaps too, maybe all of them of that vintage. 
Quote
Share

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 22nd, 2018, 6:15 am #4

I very much liked the ending scene of It's All Done With Mirrors, where the disgusted but pragmatic Kelly views Karolyi's defection with the final comment "And we'll take him too." 
IT'S ALL DONE WITH MIRRORS TRIO.jpg

We don't know how long after the previous scene between Kelly and Scotty this ending takes place. They certainly had time to get a team together to handle the arrests. And Scotty had made the definite point earlier to his superiors that Karolyi only had time to work on Kelly for a very short period. Scotty was willing to bet everything that his long developed relationship and loyalty to each other would override any programming.
 
If you haven't seen A Room With A Rack yet Karen, I definitely recommend you add it to your "see now" list. 
ROOM WITH A RACK TRIO.jpg

This episode shows much of what you felt was missing in It's All Done With Mirrors. It shows the long after-effects of a broken Kelly - physically and psychologically broken. Much of the early scenes take place in a hospital. Visually much of this episode is surreal and haunting (a bit of an "Avengers" feel), and Culp was truly amazing in this one.
 
And there is one other excellent "brain-washing" episode to check-out - Anywhere I Hang Myself Is Home. This one highlights the early training days of Kelly and Scotty.
ANYPLACE I HANG MYSELF TRIO 2.jpg

These were all paying homage to the original "Manchurian Candidate" film - the Laurence Harvey, Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury classic.
 
These are probably 3 of my favorite non-Culp written episodes. And the level of acting was elevated in each of them - especially with the wonderful guest stars that appeared in them that added so much. 
 
As ever,
Tatia :-)
Quote
Share

Joined: March 26th, 2018, 7:14 pm

May 23rd, 2018, 12:01 pm #5

I have seen those episodes and quite enjoyed them. I tend to like stories with a psychological aspect, and in I Spy it's about as close as we get to a fantasy theme. (Practically all my favorite shows have been fantasy/sci-fi.) I particularly enjoyed the scenes played differently from Kelly's memory and Scotty's in Anyplace I Hang Myself. It's true that people remember things differently, so this was both realistic and surreal.
Quote
Share

Joined: March 10th, 2013, 6:21 pm

May 24th, 2018, 3:58 am #6

When I was trying to get into I SPY years ago, I kept seeing parts of the same three episodes, "So Long Patrick Henry," "Laya," and "Mainly on the Plains."  All of them were edited for commercials.

And when I finally got into the series hardcore, I again viewed a version of "Mainly on the Plains," which ended with the good professor slumped over the steering wheel, seemingly dead.  I thought, given DON QUIXOTE that was an appropriate ending.

Imagine my surprise when I watched it on the DVD and found the tag where the professor lives!  Of course, I was glad to see the professor have a happy ending, but GEEZ!  What a silly thing to cut out!  It completely changed the meaning of the episode.

I also own a script that gives us a version of "Little Boy Lost," which is completely different from what made it to air.  In that version it is Scotty who is sympathetic to Alan while Kelly is less so, but perhaps more tantalizingly, it ends with Kelly saying the whole experience makes him want to call his Dad.

HIS DAD.

You know, the guy who according to "Bridge of Spies," has long since passed away?   Could you imagine if we met Kelly's Dad?

For all his roles, we never saw Robert Culp play a son (except for his first appearance on CAIN'S HUNDRED).  I always wondered what he would have done with that.

Love...Xen
Quote
Share

Joined: March 26th, 2018, 7:14 pm

May 24th, 2018, 12:20 pm #7

xenobia219 wrote:For all his roles, we never saw Robert Culp play a son (except for his first appearance on CAIN'S HUNDRED).  I always wondered what he would have done with that.
Ooh, interesting point. In the GAH episode "The Lost Diablo," Bill's former partner Harlan is clearly Bill's father figure, just as Bill is Ralph's father figure. Bill is extremely protective of this frail elderly man, to the point that he lies to Ralph when it's not necessary. (Surely, if he had simply told Ralph what he wanted the gold money for, Ralph would have gone along with it, probably with enthusiasm because Ralph loves helping people.) Maybe Bill also doesn't want anyone to see him in the position of a son rather than the guy in charge. He's so very attached to being the guy in charge. (Yeah, I love analyzing characters, can't stop myself.) 
Quote
Share

Joined: March 10th, 2013, 6:21 pm

May 25th, 2018, 1:26 am #8

Looking back, albeit quickly, many of Culp’s characters liked being in control if not in charge, which is hard to do when there is another alpha dog around.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Quote
Share

Joined: April 17th, 2018, 4:34 pm

June 14th, 2018, 10:59 pm #9

KarenMF wrote:
xenobia219 wrote:For all his roles, we never saw Robert Culp play a son (except for his first appearance on CAIN'S HUNDRED).  I always wondered what he would have done with that.
Ooh, interesting point. In the GAH episode "The Lost Diablo," Bill's former partner Harlan is clearly Bill's father figure, just as Bill is Ralph's father figure. Bill is extremely protective of this frail elderly man, to the point that he lies to Ralph when it's not necessary. (Surely, if he had simply told Ralph what he wanted the gold money for, Ralph would have gone along with it, probably with enthusiasm because Ralph loves helping people.) Maybe Bill also doesn't want anyone to see him in the position of a son rather than the guy in charge. He's so very attached to being the guy in charge. (Yeah, I love analyzing characters, can't stop myself.) 
Just a friendly disagreement here. I do not think that Maxwell is supposed to be or is portrayed as Ralph's father figure. If anything maybe an Uncle, when in Fire Man they masquerade as nephew and uncle.  I think they were more shown to be friends from opposite spectrums of thought merging together into a close, effective working team.  
However, Maxwell caring for his blind mentor, Harlan was very touching and brought out aspects of Maxwell that made the audience really continue to realize put him in an incredibly positive light.  

Mona
Quote
Share

Joined: April 17th, 2018, 4:34 pm

June 14th, 2018, 11:00 pm #10

KarenMF wrote: I just watched “It’s All Done with Mirrors.”  Holy smokes! In that stunning, climactic scene, Kelly failed to shoot Scotty, but he blew me away. I don’t think there are many actors who could have pulled that off credibly. (For giggles, imagine William Shatner trying it.) I can’t even imagine the level of concentration required to maintain that trance-like state while staying on-script. Fans in a Wild Wild West forum would gasp to hear me say it, but I believe Ross Martin couldn’t have done it better. (He was the costar on that show, and the major reason it’s my favorite. He and Mr. Culp could have gone toe-to-toe as actors, and it would have been a joy to see. Alas that it never happened.)
 
TOTALLY agree about Ross Martin. He was the star of "Wild Wild West" for me as well!  He was a great actor and I loved his character on the show.  
Quote
Share