Sweet, Sweet Rachel (1971 TVM)

US / 71 minutes / color / ABC Dir: Sutton Roley Pr: Stan Shpetner Scr: Anthony Lawrence Cine: James Crabe Cast: Alex Dreier, Pat Hingle, Louise Latham, Steve Ihnat, Brenda Scott, Chris Robinson, Stefanie Powers, Richard Bull, Mark Tapscott, John Hillerman, William Bryant, John Alvin, Rod McCarey.

This was the movie that gave birth to the TV series The Sixth Sense, which ran for two seasons, totaling 25 hour-long episodes, in 1972. Sweet, Sweet Rachel is often described as the series’ pilot, but as far as I can ascertain—TV is decidedly not my field—this wasn’t the case: it was more a matter of the series being developed from a successful TV movie, as would happen a while later in a somewhat related area of fiction with The Night Stalker (1972) and the 1974–5 Kolchak series based on it. Unlike the case with Kolchak, the transition from TVM to series saw a complete change of personnel and character names.

While playing ESP games using tarot cards, millionaire Paul Stanton (McCarey) has a vision of beloved wife Rachel (Powers) in a cemetery, pleading for his help. Believing he’s rushing through the cemetery gate to her side, he plunges from a high window to his death.

Stefanie Powers as Rachel.

Call for university parapsychologist Dr. Lucas Darrow (Dreier) and his blind but psychically gifted protégé Carey Johnson (Robinson). It doesn’t take them too long to realize that malevolent ESP is at play, but who could be Continue reading

snapshot: Date Bait (1960)

US / 72 minutes / bw / Marathon, Filmgroup Dir & Pr: O’Dale Ireland Scr: Robert Slaven, Ethelmae Wilson Page Story: O’Dale Ireland, Robert Slaven, Ethelmae Wilson Page Cine: Larry Raimond Cast: Gary Clarke, Marla Ryan, Richard Gering, Carol Dawne, Jon Lindon, Gabe De Lutri (i.e., John Garwood), Michael Bachus, Mildred Miller, Steve Ihnat.

A rock’n’roll exploitationer that’s light on the exploitation—unless the sight of baby doll pajamas floats your boat—and indeed on the rock’n’roll (despite Reggie Perkins singing the title song, “Date Bait,” and Johnny Faire singing “Purple Pleated Bermuda’s” [sic]), yet works rather well as a minor, borderline film noir.

Teenagers Danny Logan (Clarke) and Sue Randall (Ryan) are so in love you can practically hear them squeak when they walk. They hang out and dance at the burger’n’jive joint Sanchio Pancho’s (I know, but that seems to be the intended spelling), which is where all the cool kids in this particular Continue reading