Thursday, March 10, 2011

TZ Promo: “Static” (3/10/1961)

“Static” (3/10/1961)
Season Two, Episode 20 (#56 overall)
Cayuga Production # 173-3665

50 years ago tonight, Charles Beaumont brought us a charming tale of nostalgia which, by the end, magically transforms into a tale of unrequited love and second chances.

In "Static," Ed Lindsey is an old man, wiling away his last days in an old folks’ home (today we’d call it an assisted living facility). The other inmates (oops, residents) pass the time watching mindless TV shows, but he’ll have none of it. He crankily drags his big old radio out of the basement and holes up in his room, listening to the glorious programs of old. Lucky some local station broadcasts those old shows… right?

You already know what’s coming, don’t you? There’s no station broadcasting the old shows. The radio, through unspecified means, is picking up radio signals from the past. That’s the first of two supernatural elements in this episode. Discussing the second supernatural piece would require me to spoil the ending, which I’d rather not do. I will say that the episode gradually reveals itself to be a rather sweet love story, and leave it at that.

Leading the cast is the wonderful Dean Jagger, who (to me) will always be the gruff-but-loveable Major General Thomas F. Waverly in the Bing Crosby-Danny Kaye classic White Christmas. It’s required viewing in my house around the holidays, and I choke up every time. My most recent viewing was especially great, because I got to experience the film in high definition (on blu-ray) for the first time. It looked spectacular.

Blu-ray capture shamelessly stolen from... well, it's pretty obvious.

“Static” is one of season two’s six videotaped episodes. As such, it looks crummy. High definition does nothing for it. Too bad. The story is good, though, and the performances are great. It’ll never be counted among the series’ high points, but it rises above its technical handicaps well enough. It’s certainly worth a look. I haven’t seen it in many, many years, so I’m looking forward to tonight’s 50th anniversary viewing.

Next week: Repeat city, baby (it’s season one’s “The After Hours,” which deserves multiple viewings). Two weeks from tonight, we’ll take a road trip to Vegas with two small town guys, one of whom happens to be telekinetic. Roll the dice and check it out.

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