Horror on TV: Ghost Story 1.5 “The Summer House” (dir by Leo Penn)


On tonight’s episode of Ghost Story, Carolyn Jones and Steve Forrest play a couple who spend their summers in a vacation home that appears to be haunted as well.  This was one of Carolyn Jones’s final roles.

This episode originally aired on October 13th, 1972.  Director Leo Penn is perhaps best known as the father of actors Sean and Chris Penn.

Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 1.5 “Isaac the Groupie / Mr. Popularity / Help! Murder!”


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Wednesdays, I will be reviewing the original Love Boat, which aired on ABC from 1977 to 1986!  The series can be streamed on Paramount Plus!

Just remember …. the Love Boat promises something for everyone.

Episode 1.5 “Isaac the Groupie / Mr. Popularity / Help! Murder!”

(Directed by Peter Baldwin, Tony Webster, and James Sheldon, originally aired on October 22nd, 1977)

This episode was all about mistaken identities.

Robert Tanner (Jim Nabors) is the most annoying man to ever set sail on the Love Boat.  All he does is talk and talk about what he had for dinner.  Unfortunately, he’s had the same liver and onions dinner for several years now so it’s not like he has much to say that would be considered to be new.  Everyone on the ship avoids Mr. Tanner but Captain Stubing insists that Julie figure out a way to keep him happy.  (No, not like that….)  Fortunately, two passengers read an article about an international jewel thief named Roscoe Toler and they decide that Tanner must be Toler.  (What?)  Suddenly, everyone is hanging out with Mr. Tanner and listening to his stories.  I’m not sure why being mistaken for a criminal would make everyone want to hang out with Tanner.  I mean, aren’t they worried about their jewelry? 

While that’s going on, Isaac is excited because his favorite singer, Roxy Blue (Diahann Carroll), is sailing on the boat.  She’s using an assumed name.  Not even the rest of the crew know that she’s onboard.  But Isaac recognizes her as soon as she sits down at the bar and soon, the two of them are having a ship-board romance.  Good for Isaac and, even more importantly, good for Ted Lange, who gives a really likable performance in this episode.  Unfortunately, once the cruise ends, Roxy will go back to her life as the world’s most famous singer and Isaac will once again be the ship’s only bartender.  This is one of those storylines that would be unthinkable today.  Just try to imagine any celebrity managing to sneak on a boat (or anywhere) without the world knowing.

Finally, in our third and final storyline, Bert Fredricks (David Groh) wants to throw a surprise party for his wife, Denise (Michele Lee).  Unfortunately, his wife spots him talking to Julie and decides that Bert is cheating on her.  Then she overhears Gopher talking about “blowing up” something and she decides that Bert is going to kill her!  (Gopher was actually talking about the photographs that Bert had asked him to secretly take of his wife.)  Everything is eventually worked out but seriously, how bad was their marriage that Denise had absolutely no doubt that Bert was going to kill her so that he could run off with a cruise director that he had only known for a day?  

Anyway, this was another one of those mixed episodes.  The Isaac storyline was nice, largely because of the chemistry between Lange and Carroll.  The other two storylines were both examples of the type of thing that drives me crazy, where everything could be resolved if people just talked to each other and used a little common sense.  That said, Michele Lee had a few funny moments of panic.  I’d like to have a surprise birthday party on a cruise ship.  That’s the important thing.

Horror on TV: Ghost Story 1.4 “Bad Connection” (dir by Walter Doniger)


On tonight’s episode of Ghost Story, Karen Black plays a widow who starts to get mysterious phone calls from a man who sounds just like her late husband.  Black later expressed some regret that she ended up getting typecast a horror actress but she definitely did a good job in these roles.

This episode was co-written by Richard Matheson and originally aired on October 6th, 1972.

Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 1.4 “Family Reunion/Voodoo”


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Tuesdays, I will be reviewing the original Fantasy Island, which ran on ABC from 1977 to 1996.  The entire show is currently streaming on Tubi!

Smiles, everyone!  We have two very strange fantasies this week and a few memorable guest stars!

Episode 1.4 “Family Reunion/Voodoo”

(Directed by George McGowan, originally aired on February 18th, 1978)

Finally!  After four weeks of trying to figure out how exactly the island works, I finally watched an episode that explained what Tattoo’s actual job is.  Apparently, Tattoo is an accountant.  It’s his job to keep track of how much money the island has in its treasury and to order stuff for the resort.  It’s also his job to rent things for the fantasies.  This episode, he mentions that it’s not cheap to rent a bear.  Mr. Roarke gives him a slightly disapproving look but no matter.  Tattoo’s correct.  Bears are not cheap.

As for the fantasies, they’re both kind of strange in this episode.

The more peaceful of the fantasies involves Tony (Tom Fridley) and Ann (Kathy Kurtzman) and their desire for their parents, Harry (John Gavin) and Evelyne (Juliet Mills), to get back together.  The fantasy involves tricking Harry and Evelyne into returning to the summer camp where they first met and having them fall in love all over again.  (Yes, it’s The Parent Trap, all over again.)  Unfortunately, Harry and Evelyne are accompanied by their new significant others, Stuffy McBorington (David Hedison) and Slutty LaGolddigger (Mary Frann.)  Actually, I guess those weren’t really their names but they might as well have been.  Fortunately a sudden rain storm and a visit from the expensive bear convinces Harry and Evelyne to dump Stuffy and Slutty and give love another chance.  Yay!

Meanwhile, on the other side of the island, Mr. Roarke has recreated a Haitian rubber plantation!  Jane Howell (Lauren Tewes, who I’ve also been watching on The Love Boat) is an amnesiac who might be the daughter of the plantation’s owner.  She, her adoptive parents (Howard Duff and Marjorie Lord), and her fiancé (Gary Collins) spend the night at the plantation.  However, it turns out that they’re not alone.  Mr. Roarke has also brought over a voodoo priest (Ernie Hudson!) who is determined to drive Jane mad!  It’s a really weird story that ends with not one twist but two.  It’s also an effectively creepy story, which makes it all the stranger that it’s paired with a light-hearted Parent Trap homage.

To me, the most interesting thing about this episode is that so many of the guest stars were veterans of the horror (or at least, the supernatural) genre.  The Family Reunion storyline features Juliet Mills (Beyond The Door), David Hedison (The Fly), and John Gavin (Psycho).  (Interestingly enough, David Hedison played Felix Leiter in two James Bond films while Gavin would have played Bond in Diamonds are Forever if Sean Connery hadn’t agreed to return to the role.)  Meanwhile, Voodoo features Lauren Tewes (who appeared in Eyes of a Stranger and Twin Peaks: The Return) and Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters).  It’s an interesting mix of actors and it’s fun to see them all wandering around the island at the same time.

I enjoyed this episode.  Family Reunion was agreeably silly while Voodoo was creepy and melodramatic.  Add to that, Ricardo Montalban seemed to be having a genuinely good time as the mysterious Mr. Roarke.  He made the island seem like a fun place to visit, even with the bears and the voodoo hijinks.

Next week, more fantasies!  And more smiles!

Horror On TV: Ghost Story 1.3 “At the Cradle Foot” (dir by Don McDougall)


On tonight’s episode of Ghost Story, James Franciscus plays a father who discovers that trying to change the future isn’t as cut-and-dried as it seems.  When Paul (Franciscus) dreams that his daughter is going to be murdered 20 years in the future, he moves to the town from his dream to try to prevent it.  He ends up falling in love with Julie (Meg Foster), who happens to be engaged to man named Ed (Karl Swenson) who looks just like the man who Paul dreamt was going to murder his daughter!

This episode originally aired on September 29th, 1972.

Retro Television Reviews: Hang Time 1.9 “Stranded” and 1.10 “The Sweat Shack”


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Mondays, I will be reviewing Hang Time, which ran on NBC from 1995 to 2000.  The entire show is currently streaming on YouTube!

I’ll always remember, me and my friends at Hang Time!

It’s time to check in and see what’s happening at Deering High!

Episode 1.9 “Stranded”

(Directed by Howard Murray, originally aired on November 4th, 1995)

“Great!” Sam announces halfway through this episode, “we’re all stuck together and we hate each other!”

And yes, it is true.  After a terrible loss, Coach Fuller makes the team come in for a Saturday morning practice.  Only a few members of the team make it due to the fact that it’s snowing and those who do make it end up getting trapped in the gym by the blizzard!  Way to go, Coach!

This actually wasn’t a bad episode.  For one thing, memories of the 2021 Texas blizzard are still fresh on my mind so, for once, I could relate to what the characters on the show were going through.  I actually have been snowed in, with the power going on-and-off.  Fortunately, I wasn’t trapped in a gym.  I was in my house, with a book to read.

The majority of the episode was taken up with a group therapy session, in which Fuller tried to get the team to open up about both the loss and their feelings to each other.  And while I initially groaned when the scene started, it was actually handled fairly well.  We got to hear each character’s inner thoughts and it turned out that most of them were just as tired of Julie being the center of every storyline as the viewers undoubtedly were.  Add to that, a new member of the cast made an appearance when one brave boom mic made an appearance, hovering over the group.

While everyone tried to figure out how to survive being stuck in the gym overnight (did none of these high school students have parents trying to dig them out?), Julie and Chris debated whether they could both date and be teammates and Mary Beth, who was in the gym despite not being a member of the basketball team, tried to take care of the fake baby that she had been assigned for a class assignment.

As I said, this was not a bad episode.  Chris and Julie were still an amazingly boring couple but, with this episode, it felt as if the cast had finally come together as an ensemble.  Still, it’s strange that the episode ended with Michael saving everyone in the high school as opposed to say the parents who were undoubtedly wondering to where their children had disappeared during the worst blizzard in Indiana history.  Did the adults in town just not care about their high school basketball team?

Episode 1.10 “The Sweat Shack”

(Directed by Howard Murray, originally aired on November 11th, 1995)

This was a weird episode.  Mary Beth’s father demanded that she get a job so, somehow, she ended up as manager of the Sports Shack (which is the store in the mall where most of the characters work).  At first, Mary Beth is too lenient of a boss.  Then she become too strict of a boss.  All of her employee go on a strike but is there really a Sports Shack union?  Is the strike even legal?  Couldn’t everyone be arrested for disturbing the peace and, even more importantly, why can’t Mary Beth just fire all of them and hire cheap replacements?  That would definitely cut down on payroll.

Meanwhile, Coach Fuller is in charge of a new exchange programs where members of the basketball team pair up with girls from Russia and …. wait, WHAT!?  Earl gets a Russian who loves hanging out with him.  Michael gets a Russian who is overweight so, of course, the audience goes, “Whoa!”  “You are fresh prince,” the Russian tells Michael, on account of the fact that Michael appears to be the only black student at Deering High.  “Hah hah hah!” the audience responds.  Eventually, Michael learns an important lesson about not judging Russian mail order brides by their weight.  It’s all more than a little cringey but it is kind of sweet that Earl’s exchange student even follows him around while he’s working his security job at the mall.

Anyway, this one of those episode that kind of felt as if it was just a mix of scenes and storylines that had been cut from other episodes.  Perhaps it would have been better if everyone had been trapped at the mall by another blizzard.  Seriously, blizzards bring out the best of this show.

Horror on TV: Ghost Story 1.2 “The Concrete Captain” (dir by Richard Donner)


In the 2nd episode of Ghost Story, an important lesson is learned.  If you’re going to bury a sea captain, do not bury him in concrete because his spirit belongs to the ocean.  Upset his spirit and he’ll basically ruin whatever hopes you have of bringing tourists to the seashore!

This episode stars Gena Rowlands and Stuart Whitman and it was directed by none other than Richard Donner.  Donner, of course, would go on to direct such films as The Omen, Superman, and Lethal Weapon.

Enjoy!

(Despite the weird thumbnail, this video should work if you click play.)

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 9/25/22 — 10/1/22


Not only did I spend this week preparing for Horrorthon, I also ended up watching quite a bit of television.  Here’s some thoughts on what I watched.

Abbott Elementary (Wednesday Night, ABC)

This week, Janine tried to get Abbott a computer and Ava got to host a Shark Tank-style competition.  Ava is such a great character.  This episode may not have matched the premiere but it was still pretty funny and a good example of how Abbott Elementary is able to deal with the realities of public education without losing sight of the comedy.

The Amazing Race (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of The Amazing Race here!

Atlanta (Thursday Night, FX)

This week’s episode of Atlanta took a break from the surreal with a straight-forward but very funny episode about Earn and Al’s family.  Earn’s mother “kidnapped” Grandpa while Earn’s father made the mistake of buying a hat and allowing himself to get delayed in the mall.  While Aunt Jeanine called the police and demanded that her sister by criminally charged, Earn and Al looked for a way to escape the studio.  It was funny and enjoyably cringey.  Give Isiah Whitlock, Jr. an Emmy.

Bachelor in Paradise (Monday Night, ABC)

It’s a new season of Bachelor in Paradise!  All of the people who couldn’t find love on the main show get to hang out on the beach.  Bachelor in Paradise is actually more fun than The Bachelor because it’s honest about being a totally and completely shallow production.  Nobody is there for the right reasons and it’s great.

Apparently, Jesse Palmer is going to be the host for the entire season so I guess last season’s rotating host gimmick has been retired.  That’s probably for the best.  I actually like Jesse as the overall franchise host.  He doesn’t bring a lot of extra drama with him like Tayshia and Kaitlyn did and he seems to understand that his job isn’t exactly the same as being a brain surgeon.

That said …. where’s Meatball!?

Big Brother (Sunday Night, CBS)

Big Brother 24 finally came to a close on Sunday night.  Taylor Hale not only won the game but she also won America’s Favorite Player.  Considering the way that Taylor was bullied by the other houseguests at the start of the season, her victory was popular with the show’s fans.  Personally, I think both Monte and Turner played a better game but knowing that Taylor’s victory upset some of the worst people to ever appear on the show was still a satisfying feeling.  Knowing that Ameerah, Nicole, and Daniel were probably upset made the past few months worth it.

I wrote about this season over at the Big Brother Blog.

Bubblegum Crisis (NightFlight+)

80s cyberpunk!  Man vs machine!  The Sabre Knights vs a pack of robots known as the Boomers!  The main character, Priss, is also a rock star!  I had no idea what was going on when I watched this show early on Saturday morning but the animation was interesting to look at and Priss was undeniably cool.

CHiPs (Weekday Afternoons, Get TV)

I watched one episode of this old motorcycle cop show on Tuesday.  The cops kept the peace at an anti-nuke rally and Erik Estrada provided counseling to a child who was being abused by his parents.  I can’t say that I really paid that much attention.  I did like the bass-heavy theme song however.

Concentration (Weekday Afternoons, BUZZR)

This was an old gameshow from the 70s and the 80s.  I watched an episode on Friday while I was doing some work around the office.  The most interesting thing about it was that it was hosted by Alex Trebyk, who came across as being far more relaxed and casual about things than when he hosted Jeopardy.

Full House (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

Uncle Joey (you know, the one with the mullet) tried to teach Michelle how to ride a bike but he wasn’t very good at it and Michelle was humiliated when she fell off her bike at the park.  At first, Michelle blamed Joey but eventually she got over it.  What a brat.

This was followed by an episode in which poor DJ (who, really, deserves to nominated for sainthood for putting up with her family) has to take her two obnoxious sisters with her on a date.  Everyone learned an important lesson about sneaking into the movie and lying.  Don’t do either of them but, if you do sneak into the movie, don’t get caught.

Ghosts (Thursday Night, CBS)

The second season premiere of Ghosts was as charming as ever, with the ghosts spying on the B&B’s first guests and Jay discovering that, despite his near death experience, he still cannot see the ghosts.  I felt bad for Sam, as most of the stuff that the guests complained about when it came to her was the same stuff that people tend to complain about when it comes to me.  I cheered a little when she stood up to them.  The whole “Our yelp account was hacked!” ending was perfect.

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night, FOX)

Hell’s Kitchen is back!  This season is going to be 40-something chefs vs 20-something chef.  To be honest, the gimmick doesn’t matter.  I’m just looking forward to Chef Ramsay yelling at people and losing his temper at the potentially lethal incompetence around him.  Who will be the first to try to send out raw chicken?  Sadly, the premiere episode did not feature a dinner service but, according to the previews, it’s coming up next week!

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

Last week’s Law & Order was pretty good.  This week, sadly, was one of those middling, lefty political episodes that the franchise often does in an attempt to remain in the good graces of those who would otherwise dismiss the whole thing as being copaganda.  It’s always funny to me how the Law & Order franchise is full of blue collar, Catholic cops who sound like they spend all of their time watching Joy Reid and Chris Hayes as soon as their shift is over.

On last night’s Law & Order, the victim was the daughter of the governor of Texas so, of course, we got this whole big thing about how the governor is always criticizing New York City as being crime-ridden.  “Why does the governor of Texas care about New York?” one of the detectives demanded and that’s when I started to tune this episode out.  One could just as legitimately ask why people in California and New York always feel the need to comment on what’s happening in Texas.  Law & Order always errs on the side of going overboard when it attempts to deal with politics.  This was especially true this week, as Law & Order waded into the abortion debate and came up with an ending that was both so heavy-handed and so predictable that I felt embarrassed for the show’s writers.

Law & Order: Organized Crime (Thursday Night, NBC)

With the start of a new season, Stabler got a new partner and a new crooked family to investigate.  From what I’ve seen, Organized Crime is the least interesting of the Law & Order shows and often feels more like it should be a part of NCIS franchise than Law & Order.  It was difficult for me to watch because Stabler really does seem like he’s going to give himself a heart attack if he doesn’t figure out a way to relax.

Law & Order: SVU (Thursday Night, NBC)

This week’s episode of SVU opened with an extremely disturbing scene in which a teenage girl was gang-raped on a subway while, just a few feet away, the rest of her family was hacked to death with machetes.  This scene reminded me of why I don’t regularly watch this show.  It’s undeniably well-acted and usually well-written, except for when it tries to be overly political.  But Good Lord, are the cases ever disturbing!

Mike (Hulu)

I wrote about Hulu’s disappointing Mike Tyson miniseries here.

Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head (Paramount Plus)

Inspired by a holy nacho chip, Beavis went on a spiritual journey and learned nothing.  This was a unique episode in that it told one story instead of the usual two.  It’s become obvious that Beavis, with his odd moments of clarity and his desire to actually be something more than just a sidekick, is a far more compelling character than Butt-Head.

Monarch (Tuesday Night, FOX)

This show gets sillier and sillier with each episode but it’s kind of worth it for the scenes of Trace Adkins glowering in the shadows while holding a gun.  I don’t really care much about which Roman daughter is crowned the next queen of country music but I definitely do what to know who Trace has been burying for the past three episodes.

Night Flight (NightFlight+)

From the 80s, it was a look at women in rock, from Janis Joplin and Grace Slick to Stevie Nicks.  I watched on Friday night.  The music was good.

Password (Weekday Afternoons, BUZZR)

I watched two episodes of this old game show on Tuesday.  Apparently, the aim was to try to guess a word and win money.  The episodes I saw were from the mid-70s and the most interesting thing about them was how cheap and run-down the show’s set looked.  One got the feeling that the whole studio probably reeked of cigarettes and spilled beer.

Saving Grace (Weekday Nights, Start TV)

On this show, which apparently ran for three seasons, Holly Hunter played an Oklahoma detective who, after she accidentally ran over a pedestrian after a night of drinking, was told by a fallen angel named Earl that she was going to go to Hell unless she changed her ways.  So, apparently, the rest of the show was about Grace solving crimes and talking to Earl.  How have I never heard of this show before?  It aired from 2007 to 2010 and Hunter was even nominated for two Emmy awards for playing Grace.

Anyway, the episode that I watched on Wednesday night featured Grace trying to solve a murder while another angel (F. Murray Abraham) tried to convince her to abandon Earl and work with him.  It was odd but Holly Hunter is always good and the show took place in Oklahoma so, as someone who spent some time in Oklahoma while she was growing up, I felt like I could relate to most of the characters.

Super Password (Weekday Afternoons, BUZZR)

I watched two episodes of this show on Tuesday.  It was just like Password, except the set looked cleaner.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

Horror on TV: Ghost Story 1.1 “The Dead We Leave Behind” (dir by Paul Stanley)


During the month of October, we like to share classic episodes of horror-themed television.  That was easier to do when we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens because every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.

However, there is some good news!  Twilight Zone may be gone but there are other horror shows on YouTube!  For instance, I’ve discovered that, in 1972, there was a horror anthology series that was originally called Ghost Story.  It was produced by William Castle and each episode featured a different guest star having to deal with the supernatural.

The show made its debut on September 15th, 1972.  In this episode, Sebastian Cabot (playing the role of the mysterious Winston Essex) introduces a story about the mortality and technology.  Jason Robards and Stella Stevens are a married couple who discover that their television cannot only predict the future but that also one of them is going to die!

Enjoy the first episode of Ghost Story!

Retro Television Review: California Dreams 1.9 “Mother and Child Reunion” and 1.10 “Romancing The Tube”


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Saturdays, I will be reviewing California Dreams, which ran on NBC from 1992 to 1996.  The entire show is currently streaming on YouTube!

Last week, California Dreams dealt with both racism and misogyny.  It was two heavy episodes, featuring important lessons about the problems of the world.  Would the trend continue?  Let us find out!

Surf dudes with attitude, feeling mellow, let’s get on with it….

Episode 1.9 “Mother and Child Reunion”

(Directed by Don Barnhart, originally aired on November 7th, 1992)

It’s been over a month since the Dreams last had a gig.  Maybe they should break up!  Matt thinks that they just need to practice more.  (Of course, being a music camp kid, he would say that, wouldn’t he?)  Sly thinks that the band need to change its image and be less beach-y.  Considering what was going on in music in the early to mid-90s, Sly probably has a point.  Anyway, Sly goes out and buys a smoke machine so that the Dreams can use it to change their middlebrow image.  Maybe they just need a new lead singer.  WHERE’S JAKE!?

Now, the smoke machine and the edgy image stuff is actually kind of cute but the majority of the show revolves around Tiffani and her mom.  It turns out that Tiffani’s mom essentially abandoned her when Tiffani was only six.  For ten years, Tiffani’s mom worked as a dancer in New York.  Now, she’s back in California.  At first, everyone is shocked by the fact that Tiffani doesn’t seem to be angry at her mom but it turns out that Tiffani is angry and that anger finally comes out at Tiffani’s 16th birthday party when her mom suggests that Tiffany come live with her for a year.

By the standards of California Dreams’s first season, this wasn’t a bad episode.  Kelly Packard did a good job of portraying Tiffani’s anger.  Plus, this episode did have one good joke, in which Sly tried to rename the band The California Nightmares in an attempt to change their image.  They should have stuck with the new name.

Episode 1.10 “Romancing The Tube” 

(Directed by Don Barnhart, originally aired on November 14th, 1992)

This was a weird episode.  I’ve seen plenty of episodes of California Dreams but somehow, I never knew that Sly and Tiffani were a couple for an episode.  Apparently, Tiffany and Sly fell for each other while Tiffany was teaching Sly how to surf.  It all led to a “Surf Soul Swapping” ceremony, which was overseen by Peter Tork of the Monkees.  However, at the last minute, Tiffani realized that she was just using Sly as a rebound to help her get over her ex.  And Sly never really wanted to be in a committed relationship to begin with.  So, they broke up and I guess it all worked out in the end.

Meanwhile, Matt, Jenny, and Tony were supposed to paint a room in the Garrison House in return for Mrs. Garrison paying them $300 so they could get a new lighting system.  But then they got bored and abandoned the job.  Fortunately, the new lighting system turned out to be a bust so they tricked Mrs. Garrison into taking it off their hands.  No one learned a thing, which was probably about as realistic as California Dreams ever got.

Weird episode.