Monday, July 30, 2012

Well, shit.

I periodically browse the Entertainment Earth website, partly because they have so much cool stuff, but also to monitor when Twilight Zone merchandise becomes available.  I spotted the following last week:

My heart sank.  Followers of this blog are aware of my crush on Maya the Cat Girl, and I liked to believe that my championing of her to my contact at Bif Bang Pow! had something to do with their decision to create an action figure of her.  I wasn’t nearly as concerned about Henry Corwin/Santa Claus because, frankly, it’s an action figure of Santa Claus, which would look awfully strange on a display shelf eleven months out of the year.  I emailed my contact (hell, I’m gonna go ahead and call him a friend) at Bif Bang Pow!, and he brought me up to speed on a story that was even more far-reaching and tragic than I could have imagined.

Going forward, they’re essentially prohibited from using any human likeness in their Twilight Zone products.  Not just actor/actress likeness.  HUMAN LIKENESS.  This means that if a character has a human face, it cannot be adapted to action figure or bobblehead form.


We already knew that securing actor likenesses was both a legal and a monetary issue, which is why BBP! was focusing on CHARACTER likenesses (for example, the Three-Eyed Venusian action figure is easily identifiable as such without looking expressly like Barney Philliips, the actor who portrayed him).  I can only presume that an actor (or their estate) took issue with this approach and demanded remuneration despite the fact that their specific likeness was sidestepped.  It all comes down to dollars, kids, and Bif Bang Pow! doesn’t have bottomless pockets like Hasbro.  I am not privy to the details, of course, so this is only my presumption, but I’m sure I’m not too far off.

This effectively kills both the action figure and bobblehead lines, and here’s why:  there are hardly any Twilight Zone characters that don’t have human faces, even the aliens, and they’ve already done most of them.  I can (almost) count the remaining candidates on one hand:

Janet Tyler (with bandaged face) (from “Eye of the Beholder”)
Old Ben in Alien Disguise (from “The Fugitive”)
Emily Harper (from “The Masks”)
Wilfred Harper (from “The Masks”)
Wilfred Harper Jr (from “The Masks”)
Paula Harper (from “The Masks”)

And… that’s it.  Every other character in the series --- be them human, alien or monster --- has an identifiable human face, which makes them impossible to render in action figure or bobblehead form under the current restrictions.  This means Maya the Cat Girl and Henry Corwin/Santa Claus had to be cancelled (along with the delayed Clown from “Five Characters in Search of an Exit”), despite the fact that they were already in production.  This also means the quiet death of dozens of future possible items too.  Unless something changes, both the action figure and bobblehead lines have been effectively killed.

Here's Bif Bang Pow!'s official press release on the subject.  It's cool to see some of the figures they were planning but hadn't announced yet (including Anthony Fremont from "It's a Good Life" and Marsha the Mannequin from "The After-Hours"), but the tragedy of the whole thing wrecks said coolness.  Fuck, fuck, fuck.

However, we still have four previously announced figures to look forward to in the next few months, none of which have recognizable human faces:

Nurse (from “Eye of the Beholder”)
Alicia (from “The Lonely”)
Alien (from “Hocus-Pocus and Frisby”)
Cyclops (from “The Fear”)

We may also see reappearances of some earlier figures that are now sold out, notably Dr. Bernardi from “Eye of the Beholder” and The Invader, both of which certainly deserve another run.  And Old Ben from "The Fugitive" is in bold above for a reason:  an action figure is currently in production!  I’ve been granted first scoop rights, so pardon my gloating while I post the following:

That is a seriously amazing sculpt.  Of course it is.  BBP does great work.

This whole thing is just plain heartbreaking, not to mention maddeningly frustrating.  We can hope that something changes, but as things stand right now… the end is in sight.  Of course this wasn’t going to last forever, but to have these wonderful lines abruptly ended like this is just awful. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Repeat Report – Summer 1962 (Part 2)

The second half of the summer 1962 reruns reached way back into the series’ first season with “People Are Alike All Over” on 7/27/62.  This would be the last time season one would rear its beautiful, brilliant head on prime time TV.  The rest of the repeats covered here came from season 2.  As always, click on the screenshots to see ‘em in full-sized high-definition.

Original air date:  3/25/1960

Nick of Time (rerun)
Original air date: 11/18/1960

The Silence (rerun)
Original air date: 4/28/1961

Original air date: 12/23/1960

A Hundred Yards Over the Rim (rerun)
Original air date: 4/07/1961

The Whole Truth (rerun)
Original air date: 1/20/1961

The Invaders (rerun)
Original air date: 1/27/1971

Why the hell was “The Night of the Meek” repeated in August?  They should’ve repeated it AT CHRISTMAS TIME, for God’s sake.  And why the hell was “The Whole Truth” repeated at all?  Ugh.

Season 3, all 37 episodes of it, was never seen again until the show reappeared in syndication.  Hard to believe in our modern world of internet streaming and blu-ray boxed sets, but if you missed an episode in 1962, you were essentially outta luck until several years later.  Imagine having your power go out two minutes into “To Serve Man” and having to endure your friends and coworkers raving about it the next day.  *Shudder*

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bif Bang Pow! brings The Twilight Zone to SDCC!

The title says it all.  Have a look... see anything new?

That's right, the Doctor Bernardi (from season two's "Eye of the Beholder") bobblehead is glimpsed here for the first time.  Predictably, it looks great.  Nearby is the "Invaders" diorama, plus a nifty TZ license plate bracket (which I just might put on my car).

Also seen for the first time here (but previously announced) is the Cyclops action figure (from season five's "The Fear"), standing between the "Eye of the Beholder" Nurse and Alicia (from "The Lonely").  I bitched at length about this figure a few months back, but I can't deny that the figure actually looks kinda cool.

And here's a nice display featuring the color and monochrome versions of the highly-coveted Mystic Seer replica.  It's probably a good thing that I'm not there... I might've busted the glass and snagged one.

*Pictures stolen without remorse from Action Figure Insider.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

SyFy's 4th of July Twilight Zone marathon 2012

If you like your Twilight Zone blurry, scratched up, missing scenes and interrupted by frequent commercial breaks, then SyFy's 4th of July marathon is for you!  Here's the schedule (all times are eastern):


08:00 AM Probe 7 Over And Out
08:30 AM Caesar And Me
09:00 AM The Old Man In The Cave
09:30 AM Mr. Dingle, The Strong
10:00 AM A Kind Of Stopwatch
10:30 AM A Hundred Yards Over The Rim
11:00 AM Little Girl Lost
11:30 AM A Game Of Pool
12:00 PM Long Distance Call
12:30 PM A Most Unusual Camera
01:00 PM Stopover In A Quiet Town
01:30 PM Number Twelve Looks Just Like You
02:00 PM I Sing The Body Electric
02:30 PM Five Characters In Search Of An Exit
03:00 PM Night Of The Meek
03:30 PM Kick The Can
04:00 PM Where Is Everybody
04:30 PM Dead Man's Shoes
05:00 PM The Hitch-hiker
05:30 PM The Dummy
06:00 PM The Invaders
06:30 PM The Bewitchin' Pool
07:00 PM Living Doll
07:30 PM The Howling Man
08:00 PM Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up
08:30 PM The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street
09:00 PM Nightmare At 20,000 Feet
09:30 PM Time Enough At Last
10:00 PM To Serve Man
10:30 PM A Stop At Willoughby
11:00 PM Eye Of The Beholder
11:30 PM The Obsolete Man


12:00 AM The Midnight Sun
12:30 AM The Odyssey Of Flight 33
01:00 AM The Masks
01:30 AM Third From The Sun
02:00 AM It's A Good Life
02:30 AM Nick Of Time
03:00 AM Night Call
03:30 AM A Penny For Your Thoughts
04:00 AM The After Hours
04:30 AM The Little People

Now, if you prefer your Zone complete and uncut, in pristine high definition and supplemented with extensive bonus features, treat yourself to Image Entertainment's wonderful blu-ray treatment of the series (no, I'm not gonna stop harping on this until every one of you takes the plunge).  The complete series is available as I type this for $230.95 from Amazon, which is a helluva deal.

I've emailed Image Entertainment to see if early purchasers of the individual season sets (like yours truly) can possible get that gorgeous outer box, perhaps for a nominal fee.  I'll report back after they've (hopefully) answered.

Happy 4th, folks!