Wednesday, December 7, 2016

TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED - Roald Dahl - Season 01, Episode 01 - "The Man From The South" (1979)

 So, if this isn't what you expected, then you've come to the right place!
Welcome to Dwrayger Dungeon where the unexpected comes naturally, because even we,
 don't know what we're doing!

"Tales Of The Unexpected" was on British TV from 1979 to 1988, and I just heard about it last week for the first time from our Berlin epistolarian, Lord Litter!
What a guy!! 
"The Man From The South" was the first episode of the first season!

 Roald Dahl was a very interesting cat, and hopefully is enshrined somewhere for all his contributions to Pop Culture over the last 50 years that most people don't even know about!  Let me try and fix some of that!

Roald Dahl is an enigma indeed! He wrote tons of thriller/horror short stories, and he was the host of the Pre-Twilight Zone TV series, that I still think is one of the weirdest TV shows ever produced, 
He also wrote Children's stories like the original "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," of which he was stripped of his duties for failing to make the deadline, and after it was completed by David  Seltzer, Roald disdained the rewrite so much that he would have nothing further to do with it!
He was said to have coined the word 'gremlin' during World War II, and he made up nonsense words that are now part of the English language like 'Oompa Loompa,' and 'Scrummdiddlyumptious!'

This is a completely different kind of  unexpected tale from 1961, and has nothing to do with this show at all!

 Accept respect, expect decept!

                     What exactly did you expect?

 I'm watching this show, and suddenly something happened that was totally unexpected!
It was like some kind of deja vu! I knew I had seen this before, but the problem was that I knew the story, but I didn't recognize any of the characters! So you start wondering how senile you really are, before you realize that this is a remake! 

 "The Man From The South" was written by Roald Dahl and is the exact same story that was portrayed on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" starring Steve McQueen and Peter Lorre in 1960, but back then, who was gonna notice that 19 years later? The scene has changed from Las Vegas to Jamaica, but the story is the same!

 José (Dracula's Dog, Dune) Ferrer has the role that Peter Lorre had, and Michael (Twin Peaks) Ontkean has Steve McQueen's role!

 It's a very simple story about a sucker bet, with the winner getting a Jaguar, and the loser ending up minus a pinky!

 Both versions include these two accessory characters! This time, it's Cyril (Dr. Who) Luckham, and Pamela (Superman III, Spitting Image, Bloodbath At The House Of Death) Stephenson!!

 Honestly, I don't even like this story! It's okay, but the first version was good eough! I'm looking forward to seeing what else Roald Dahl has to offer!

 So, light the lighter 10 times and win the Jag, or get your little finger cut off!



 And up pops the wife, as played by Mexican actress Katy (High Noon, One-Eyed Jacks) Jurado!
She chides her husband for being a moron, and tells the kids that he doesn't even own the Jaguar, she's the owner........

 .......And she's got the keys to prove it!!!

I've got over 50 more episodes  of "Tales Of The Unexpected" to watch, so I suspect you can expect to to be unexpected again some time real soon!
I guess you can call anybody anything, because I always though that William Castle was the "Master of the Macabre!" Kind of like those signs that say 'Coldest Beer In Town,'
who really knows, and how do you prove it?


TC said...

I thought I had seen this one, but then it said that Katy Jurado comes in at the end as the wife with the car keys (but missing some fingers). The way I remembered, it was Kim Novak. So, for me, the ending was somewhat "unexpected."

So I looked it up, and it turns out that the one I saw was yet another remake of "Man From the South" in 1985. It was an episode of NBC's Alfred Hitchcock Presents. That show did remakes of the old episodes, with the original introduction segments (hosted by Hitchcock) colorized. In the 1985 version, Steven Bauer (whoever that is) played the gambler (the part previously played by McQueen and Ontkean), Melanie Griffith played his girlfriend, John Huston played the Lorre role, and Kim played the wife.

But the idea of Ontkean as the gambler and Ferrer as the guy who makes the bet with him still seems familiar. I think I read an article about the show in an issue of Fangoria (a horror movie magazine) in 1979 or '80.

I saw a rerun of the original, with McQueen and Lorre, years later. Neile Adams, who later married McQueen, played his girlfriend. There was a scene at the end where, after the bet was over, he tried to light a cigarette for her, and the lighter fizzled.

Ontkean was a co-star of The Rookies in the 1970's, and, IIRC, he was in the hockey comedy Slap Shot, with Paul Newman.

TC said...

I did see at least one episode of Tales of the Unexpected. It had Susan Strasberg as a fortune teller who married a customer (Max Gail, who played Detective Wojohowicz on Barney Miller) because the tarot cards predicted that he would get rich quick, then die soon afterward. Naturally, the scheme backfired.

EEGAH!! said...

I think you're going to be seeing a lot more in the future TC! Now I want to see the version with Melanie Griffith in it! Thanx!

Greg Goodsell said...

Roald Dahl, the author children's books like "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" followed the lead of another author of children's books, Dr. Seuss, by carrying on in an extramarital affair! Poor Patricia Neal ....

EEGAH!! said...

You know that's just what happens when you take the 'n' out of Ronald!

Grant said...

I've been lucky enough to see all three versions of the story mentioned here, but this is the first one I saw, so I'm funny about it. Plus, I'd like just about ANYTHING with Jose Ferrer in it.

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