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 Post subject: Playhouse 90: Season 1, Episode 1 - Forbidden Area 1956
PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:38 am 
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Michelangelo

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Forbidden Area 1956 Charlton Heston, Vincent Price , Playhouse 90: Season 1, Episode 1

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Charlton Heston, Vincent Price ,Richard Joy....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHPdXQwRnoc

:cheers:
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 Post subject: Re: Playhouse 90: Season 1, Episode 1 - Forbidden Area 1956
PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:44 pm 
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Great find! Chuck and Vincent Price, cool!

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You know, McKay, you're a bigger fool than I thought you were. And to tell you the truth, that just didn't seem possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Playhouse 90: Season 1, Episode 1 - Forbidden Area 1956
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:33 am 
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I finally checked out this episode - it was the first one for Playhouse 90, a live show which aired in 1956 (according to other websites, most of the episodes were done live; about every 4th one was filmed normally to give the show a break from the stress of doing it live).

Wow, this is really like some found treasure in terms of old classic TV and early unknown Heston work. You get Heston as a military man with an eye-patch (like an earlier version of Nick Fury and a precursor to Heston's own Trilby character in True Lies; the difference is that Heston's Col. Price here has the patch over his right eye, while Fury & Trilby have it over their left eyes). You get Jack Palance introducing the episode. You get Vincent Price as Heston's rival & superior in a military think tank. You get a Soviet agent hidden within the American military plotting diabolical sabotage. You have Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame writing the script. And you have John Frankenheimer directing, like an early version of Seven Days in May (also written by Serling).
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Sure, this isn't a big budget film and is constrained by the format of live TV, but there was some heavy suspense for me in the final act when it's up to Heston to figure out the Soviet plot and also uncover the secret Soviet agent, as well as his bomb. Would Heston and his people get blown up? Will America fall to the Soviet Union? You'd have to watch it to find out...! This, like Seven Days in May, was a cold war thriller with a slight sci-fi angle, a suggestion that it took place a few years in the future when the USA and USSR would lock horns and turn the war hot abruptly. The next episode was the famous "Requiem For a Heavyweight" starring Palance.

I think I read somewhere a long time ago that the actor introducing an episode of this series would star in the next one, but I could be wrong. Also, weird to see Heston & Price together in this; Price was The Last Man on Earth 8 years later and of course Heston would essay The Omega Man in 15 years. And, they were both in The Ten Commandments the same year as this TV episode.


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 Post subject: Re: Playhouse 90: Season 1, Episode 1 - Forbidden Area 1956
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:20 am 
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El Cid
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My work colleague burnt a copy of FORBIDDEN AREA for me and I watched it last night.

Wow ... was it good!


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 Post subject: Re: Playhouse 90: Season 1, Episode 1 - Forbidden Area 1956
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 1:14 pm 
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El Cid
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Here are some interesting reviews from IMDb on FORBIDDEN AREA.

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PLAYHOUSE 90: FORBIDDEN AREA (TV) (John Frankenheimer, 1956) ***1/2
Author: MARIO GAUCI ([email protected]) from Naxxar, Malta
11 May 2011
This is a superb drama that offers a typical "What If" scenario of the Cold War era; with this in mind, it can be somewhat heavy-going and decidedly paranoid – but the intelligent script (by Rod Serling), taut direction and all-round fine performances by a star-studded cast make this a gem, as well as a sure-fire example of the quality (often eclipsing the cinema work of many of those involved!) of TV productions during the medium's Golden Age.

The narrative revolves around the decision-making or, rather, theoretical suppositions emanating from a special branch within the U.S. Joint Chiefs Of Staff offices, bringing together experts from various Departments involved in the nation's security. They are led by a typically supercilious Vincent Price and, apart from Secretary Diana Lynn, include among its members Victor Jory and, the youngest, one-eyed former pilot Charlton Heston; the latter is really in his element here (his customary larger-than-life figure, especially with the added facial make-up, complementing the 'big theme' being treated) and I would venture to say that it is one of the best – albeit unsung – roles he ever had!

Anyway, here we have a number of futuristic planes mysteriously crashing, so that the rest are grounded to be inspected; earlier models are intended to replace them for the duration but require maintenance to be fully operational and, therefore, the U.S. suddenly finds itself without an Air Force – which would make the current time ideal for enemy invasion! And that is just what Heston envisions, especially since Christmastime is approaching and no-one will be expecting it!; of course, while he manages to persuade most of his colleagues, he cannot get past Price (incidentally, the two would clash again that same year on the big screen in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS). Our hero then finds solace in Lynn's arms (after he had initially been apprehensive of her role), also because her own kid brother had been one of the 'sabotage' victims.

The film actually opens with Tab Hunter and another man sipping drinks and being grilled by a barman about American baseball stars of a previous generation. An apparently everyday occurrence, the scene then takes a sudden detour into fantasy as, while Hunter does well in the test and is asked to go 'higher up', his companion does not and takes it very badly! It transpires that Hunter is a Communist indoctrinated in American culture so as to convincingly take his place at a military base and carry out the enemy's nefarious and insidious plan! Incidentally, the notion of booby-trapped coffee-flasks (Hunter assumes the job of kitchen aide, with the blabbering cook being played by Jackie Coogan!) comes off as rather amusing but one would certainly never have thought of it…and, in fact, the revelation occurs through a veritable fluke!; when Hunter is ultimately exposed, Heston has to detain his men from tearing him apart. Another notable character is that of Charles Bickford, Heston's ex-Commandant, to whom he turns for support in presenting his 'wild' theory to the Washington big-wigs (their relationship actually anticipates that in William Wyler's epic Western THE BIG COUNTRY {1958}); eventually, since he is directly responsible for the planes, Bickford takes to the air himself to discern what he thinks is the mechanical flaw that is destroying his crafts – little does he know that it is upon craving coffee that his doom is spelled!

While it may not retain the immediacy it must have had at the time, the film makes for a gripping 77 minutes: being the inaugurating "Playhouse 90" episode (introduced by Jack Palance!) and the first of Frankenheimer's TV efforts that I have watched, I can see how he honed his artistry on them and would expand on some of their topics in his cinematic oeuvre (in fact, he would re-unite with Serling on the similarly fanta-political SEVEN DAYS IN MAY {1964}). Incidentally, this predates the three most famous Cold War movies – DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1963), FAIL-SAFE (1964) and THE BEDFORD INCIDENT (1965) – by almost a decade (though the ending eschews the nihilism of later efforts for an optimistic/pacifist outlook), while reminding me of another impressive and star-studded 'Depressing Yuletide' show i.e. Joseph L. Mankiewicz' CAROL FOR ANOTHER Christmas (1964; also scripted by Serling and which I watched during that festive season last year).

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If their going to blow up the world lets have a good time before it happens!
Author: kapelusznik18 from United States
17 April 2015
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

****SPOILERS*** Very first "Playhouse 90" TV broadcast introduced by Jack Palance is much like the end of the world, through nuclear annihilation, movies like "Doctor Strangelove" and "Fail-Safe" released eight years later but far more believable in its storyline as well as its serious not comedic, like in "Doctor Strangelove", or unintentionally hilarious, like in "Fail-Safe", acting. The movie has to do with a plan by the Soviet Union to attack the United States in a surprise attack, much like Pearl Harbor, on Christmas Eve 1956 using it's fleet of some 300 nuclear submarines to do it. What's so unusual about this planned attack is that it actually starts days before in having the US Strategic Air Command's, SAC for short, first strike of state of the art, in 1956, bomber fleet of 100 B99's grounded in order to make the Soviet sneak attack a success. Using Soviet NKVD officer and all American looking Stanley Smith which is obvious a made up name, played by then blond and baby blue eyed teenage heartthrob Tab Hunter, to get a job done an enlistee in the US Air Force as a cook and coffee delivery boy in order to sabotage the B99's. That's by Smith planting a number of coffee thermos on the B99's loaded with high explosives and set to go off either when their opened or when the planes reach 25,000 feet in altitude!

It's the one eyed, he lost in a daylight bombing raid over North Korea, Col. Col Jesse Pierce, Charlton Heston, who suspects that the sudden and unexplained loss of a number of B99's is part of a plan by the Soviets to have them grounded and thus be unable to prevent the massive nuclear strike planned by them to take place within the next 48 hours. It's Smith's toothache that gives him away in his cook helper, played by former child star Jackie Coogan, noticing that the filling he has is steel, which is only used for tooth fillings in the USSR, not silver. Tricking Coogan to take a swim while off duty has Smith drown him by puncturing his life jacket in order to keep his mouth shut; but that soon alerts Col. Pierce to his motives. It was also Col Pierce who noticed just how desperate Smith was in making sure the coffee thermos', that he leaded with explosives and timers, was put on the B99's before they took off as if they were the most important items, even more then the payload of 20 megaton nuclear bombs, that they had on them.

****SPOILERS**** Tension packed ending with the US military getting the jump on the USSR nuclear subs and with the now in the air B99's doing a king size job on them by helping, together with the US Navy,sink a number of them before they could launch their deadly cargo's of nuclear missiles. With the Soviet Union now soundly defeated the President, who would have been at that time Dwight Eisenhower, wisely chooses against his general and admirals advice to order the attacks to cease and allow the Soviets remaining subs to return to their home ports. That in order to give peace a chance in having a peace settlement with the Soviet Union and prevent millions of lives, on both sides of the battle-line, to be lost for no good reason at all but a false sense of national pride in hitting them when their down and out already.



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Beautifully done Cold War drama
Author: reprtr from New York, NY
24 January 2015
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've seen this production, and it was outstanding, as much for what it doesn't show as what it does -- Tab Hunter is chilling in the role of the spy/saboteur, and Charlton Heston is intensity personified as the spark-plug of the cast and cast-of-characters, all of whom are first- rate. And there's an off-screen moment that still haunts me, which I'll say no more about. The drama itself stems from a time when there was wide-spread fear on the right and center-right that we were too soft in dealing with and containing the Communist threat, and one reason that I believe more people don't know about this early John Frankenheimer- directed effort is that its underlying politics were out of fashion in the 1960s and beyond. Oh, and that basic plot . . . it was later re- used for an excellent episode of the series 12 O'Clock High entitled "R/X For a Sick Bird."


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 Post subject: Re: Playhouse 90: Season 1, Episode 1 - Forbidden Area 1956
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:47 am 
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SPOILERS THROUGHOUT!
------------------------------
At 9.30 p.m. on Thursday 4 October 1956, the good citizens of America settled down to watch a much publicized new television series on C5, "Playhouse 90." The premiere episode FORBIDDEN AREA boasted a heavyweight cast: Charlton Heston, Vincent Price, Tab Hunter, Charles Bickford, Victor Jory, Jackie Coogan and Diana Lynn, who was the only female in a cast of 60. The credits also included John Frankenheimer, who was widely regarded as television's top directorial talent of the 1950's, and the writer Rod Serling later gained cult status for the much acclaimed TWILIGHT ZONE series.

Jack Palance introduced the show, and with suitable solemnity, as befitted his bow-tie and suit, informed the audience that "Tonight television takes a giant step." Coincidence or not - Palance had been terribly scarred in WW2, suffering severe facial burns when his plane was shot down - and was now introducing a teleplay in which the lead character, played by his old ARROWHEAD nemises Charlton Heston, had lost an eye in the Korean war due to his plane being shot down and who was left with a huge facial scar.

The live footage begins in what we assume is a typical 1950's American bar. The bartender (Robin Morse) is quizzing two guys about the 1930 Cincinnatti baseball teams. Stanley Smith (Tab Hunter) seems to know plenty, but the other guy gets a couple of questions wrong and the atmosphere suddenly turns intense. The phone rings, the barman sends Smith into another room, nicknamed "Little Chicago," which is in fact a Soviet base for spies, situated just 104 miles from Moscow. Stanley Smith was born Stanislaus Lazinoff in Smolensk, but for the last two years he had been trained to think of himself as Stanley Smith, who had allegedly been born in Glebe City, Iowa. The choice of his birthplace, like everything else in his manufactured past, was no accident. The courthouse at Glebe City had burned to the ground, along with all its records, some years before. An account of the fire had appeared in the Chicago newspapers, and had been clipped and forwarded to Moscow by a farsighted agent of the NKVD, attached to the Russian consulate in a clerical post. Smith will be a cook when he is sent to America, but his real occupation is explosive expert.

Meanwhile, in Washington, a group of top brass officers of all four branches of the U.S. Air Force are discussing defence in a top secret room known as the Forbidden Area, and are attempting to work out if, and when, Russia will launch an attack on America. Notes are taken by Katherine Hume (Diana Lynn) who isn't trusted by the newest member of the group, Colonel Jesse Price (Charlton Heston) who lets his emnity towards her known to the others at the table. Price is quickly informed that Kathy has Q clearence, and that "her shorthand is a recipe for survival."

Pre-filmed footage of two Russian spies in a submarine as they set off in the Baltic Sea and skin dive off the Florida coast is shown.

Its now a year later. Jesse Price and Kathy Hume are alone in the Forbidden Area and have their first conversation on a personal level. "Twelve glorious months, and nobody says Happy Birthday" Price jokes to Kathy (the irony of this line was not lost on me as this was being filmed on live tv on Heston's 33rd birthday). They are attracted to each other, "Thats the first time I saw you smile," Price says, and offers her a lift home. Before leaving, Kathy destroys all the doodle notes on the table, her 100% security really impresses him. Back at her apartment, the small talk gets off to a shaky start. A record is playing and Kathy tells the Colonel that he doesn't "look like the dancing type," which offends Price, who is blind in one eye and wears an eye-patch. To rub salt in the wound, she enquires how he lost his eye. "I didn't lose it - I know exactly where its buried!" he snaps and then kisses her abruptly. After apologizing for his hasty advance they relax again and Price explains that it happened in Okinawa in 1951. They part on good terms.

The Control Centre loses radar connection suddenly over the Gulf of Mexico with another B99 plane. Soon after, four more disappear, one of the pilots being the brother of Kathy, who seeks consolation in Price's arms after breaking down. Back at the Orlando base kitchen Cookie (Jackie Coogan) tells Stanley Smith that every inch of all the B99's have been inspected thoroughly, which shocks Smith, who is already in a bad mood because of his terrible toochache. Cookie tells Smith that his younger brother is a dentist in Des Moines, Iowa, and Smith becomes agitated when Cookie enquires, "Say, thats where you come from isn't it - what's it like out there?" Smith barks an answer, but then calms down and blames his sudden temper on his toothache and the pressure of all the lost pilots. Cookie takes a look at Smith's cavity, and jokingly says "Hey, I thought the Russians only used stainless steel on teeth!" which seals his fate. Smith suggests they go for a midnight swim, but Cookie refuses, as he cannot swim. Smith is insistant, and tells him he has a life jacket and that he'll "look like Buster Crabbe in it" and that they would probably meet some chicks and go for a ride in the convertible - with the top down. In a really strange and shocking scene, off camera, Smith stabs the life jacket, and as Cookie drowns screaming, Smith, in close-up, bloodily removes the aching tooth made of stainless steel with a pair of plyers.

Another plane explodes but a survivor parachutes to safety. Heston questions the badly burned pilot (Marland Messner) who only manages to splutter out his dying words, "I want a cup of coffee."

Heston has a hunch that pressure bombs are being used to blow up the B99 planes, and Bickford agrees with him. He warns that "Christmas Eve is the right time to destroy the United States" but Clark Simmons (Vincent Price), who represents the State, rejects Heston's plea to sound a warning because it would cause total panic across America. Meanwhile, Russian submarines are heading for the American coast.

Kathy, who knows Jesse Price is right about the impending Russian attack pleads, "If its three days away ... why don't we enjoy them?" Heston erupts angrily at her suggestion, and reminds her "that kid brother of yours was burnt to a crisp!" She wants to live a little before the Christmas annihalation and confesses that she has fallen in love with him.

Bickford, the Air Force Chief of Staff, is told by the senator that there will be no attack at Christmas, and in the best scene in the whole teleplay, Heston and Bickford go head-to-head in a tremendous acting tour-de-force. Bickford finally agrees with Heston and decides to fly a B99 himself to finally resolve, one way or another, what is causing the planes destruction. Heston and the others are in the Control Centre monitoring every inch of the flight. "Stay at 15 thousand - 25 thousand is when they blow" Heston warns Bickford. All this tension make Heston thirsty and he sends for some coffee. Fensky (Arthur Batanides) messes up the coffee making machine so grabs a flask that Smith has just prepared (with explosives in it). Smith panics when he notices the flask is missing and rushes to the Control Centre and nervously makes an excuse that the flask is full of cold coffee. Grabbing the flask away from Joe (Eddie Ryder), Heston suddenly susses that something is amiss, and batters the truth out of Tab Hunter. But the tension mounts at this precise moment, up in the plane Bickford is about to open his flask just when Heston dashes to the phone and screams at him "Don't touch that coffee!"

Smith is arrested and attacked by the men but is led away to safety, proudly announcing that, "I'm an officer in the Red Army."
"Well, if your an officer in the Red Army - you're in the wrong uniform!" Bickford barks at him, and Smith is dragged away to be given a truth serum which will make him "sing like a bird."

Bickford wants to destroy all the Russian subs, but the President of the United States quotes what the Japanese said after they surrended, about "fairness and peace".

The film ends with Kathy and Price looking to the skies as Christmas bell chime.

"Merry Christmas Jessie"
"Well, we made it!" says Heston, and they look forward to a rosier future.

FORBIDDEN AREA is vastly superior to Heston's other 1950's tv productions. Chuck was becoming a Cold War Warrior of the Silver Screen (coincidentally Heston died on the 57th anniversary of the Rosenberg's been sentenced to death). In ARROWHEAD he battled with frightening intensity against Red Indians; in THE NAKED JUNGLE Chuck took on billions of Red Soldier ants, and in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, with DeMille's introductory comments, we are left in no doubt that the movie parallels a Russia vs America scenario. THE BIG COUNTRY has often been described as a 'Cold War Western,' and in SECRET OF THE INCAS, an adventure tale set in Peru, has a Communist refugee fleeing from the horrors of the Iron Curtain. Heston's wife Lydia Clarke made her film debut in the wonderful Cold War drama THE ATOMIC CITY. Chuck played an atomic scientist in the half hour tv show "Danger!" in 1954, filmed on location in New York, entitled FREEDOM TO GET LOST.

Vincent Price, who had just appeared with Heston in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, was at that time under suspicion of being a 'commie.' On 30 September 1955 Price sent a letter to the head of CBS, in which he enclosed an FBI document which stated that he was exonerated of communist leanings, in an attempt to clear himself so he could work for the television studio again. Price and Heston later did two very different versions of I AM LEGEND, and they also both played Robert Devereux and Cardinal Richelieu. Price went hunting for Inca gold in GREEN HELL, 14 years before Chuck in SECRET OF THE INCAS.

I was very surprised to discover that Tab Hunter was such a good dramatic actor. His performance as a Russian spy leading a double life as an American military chef was outstanding. At that time, Hunter was also leading a double life personally. He had to pretend to be dating Debbie Reynolds and Natalie Wood to conceal that he was gay - being gay in 1950's Hollywood was almost as bad as being a Communist. Tab Hunter and Heston were nearly reunited in March 1957 when Warner Brothers announced that Charlton Heston was being cast as William Darby in DARBY'S RANGERS. On April 26, just prior to the start of production, Warner Bros. balked at Heston's demand for 5% of the profits, and cast James Garner instead, which incited Heston to file a $250,000 lawsuit against the studio for breach of contract. Hunter was down to play Lt. Dillman but he quit before filming began and was replaced by Eddie Byrnes.

Tab Hunter wrote about FORBIDDEN AREA in his autobiography: "The project excited me because, for the first time, I got to play the villain, a Communist "mole" trying to blow up a bunch of air force fighter planes. Heston was the good guy, a military investigator who exposes me as the culprit in the last act. Our director was a dynamic New Yorker with dozens of television credits already under his belt - John Frankenheimer. He was enthusiastic, resourceful, and inventive, a wonderful talent. Having worked with old-timers like Heisler, Dupont, Wellman, and Walsh, it was exciting to be directed by someone my own age".

FORBIDDEN AREA resurrected the career of former child star Jackie Coogan. Producer Martin Manulis remembered how impressive he was during rehearsals 18 months before in a "Climax' tv show. His part was virtually cut out in that episode but he was so memorable that the producer wanted him for the role of the comical Air Force cook. Frank Sinatra happened to catch FORBIDDEN AREA that night on tv and hurriedly phoned the director Charles Vidor.

"Turn on your tv set: I've found our Swifty," Sinatra said. Vidor had been watching the show and agreed with Sinatra. Coogan was immediately signed to play Joe E. Lewis' pal, Swifty Morgan, in THE JOKER IS WILD.

Heston was excellent as the prototype 1950's square-jawed hero. Heston had the option of starring in FORBIDDEN AREA or REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, though he chose the former one, he had no regrets, telling Richard Maynard ("Emmy" magazine), "It's hard to imagine being as good in Requiem as Jack Palance was."
Heston also told Maynard, "The first time I ever saw network people on a set was when we were rehearsing Forbidden Area. We were incensed over this intrusion, so the entire company entered into a conspiracy with John Frankenheimer." Heston, Tab Hunter and the rest kept lowering their voices, making the CBS executives come closer to hear them. When they were close enough to touch the actors, the cast then yelled out their lines.
"Big joke, pretty juvenile, but it showed how we resented this invasion of our creative space by executives," Heston said.

Heston wasn't too enthusiastic about the show, as he reports in his journals on 4 October 1956-

The show was something else again, less than I hoped, especially since I'd practically given in to an out-of-sequence cold. We finished the live show and then went over to the large party the sponsors threw. The one Vincent Price gave later was better.

Chuck also mentioned that "Daily Variety" gave the show a lousy notice. So too did Jack Gould of "The New York Times" on 5 Oct 1956-

Mr. Serling had a choice of several spy stories from the plot at his disposal, but he must have been watching too much television recently. Every cliche in the book of elementary video dramaturgy was employed.

TV critic John Crosby, "Sarasota Journal," 17 October 1956, wasn't very impressed with Heston or Diana Lynn's performances but he liked Tab Hunter-

As the guy chiefly responsible for foiling the enemy, Mr. Heston was a shade too tight-lipped, taut-muscled and laconic to be quite human but I must admit this sort of acting has the power and authority which this sort of large scale drama needed. Diana Lynn was also pretty tight in the muscles as the love interest and somehow I couldn't quite believe a lass like this would have Q clearance. Tab Hunter, one of the younger crop of Hollywood muscle men, was better than I dared to expect.

Television critic Jack O'Brian was more upbeat, though, writing on 5 October 1956.

We know a sweeping statement when we make one, and here one comes: FORBIDDEN AREA, the first play of CBS-TV's new "Playhouse 90" series, was the finest serious drama we've seen so far on television. We realize the future will bring along items of deeper dramatic significance, just as all art forms deepen and improve, but this one was an amazing merger of all the techniques now available to tv. It had in the first place the galvinic wallop to "live" performance by an ensemble of actors who would do high credit to any stage or screen marquee. Its play was another, higher feature in the already well-tufted cap of brilliant TV writer Rod Serling "patterns," to mention just one of his many triumphs.
The play was about a planned Russia version of Pearl Harbor scheduled to wipe out the U.S. on Christmas Eve. It traced that terrible possibility with some of the finest, most credible marginal detail we've seen on screen or TV. As for the performances, they were almost uniformally magnificent. Tab Hunter played a Russian saboteur placed craftily inside the "Forbidden Area" with as much excitement as possibly could be crammed into his role. Charlton Heston as a Colonel laden with some of the heaviest military secrets, gave depth, size and attractiveness to his role. Director John Frankenheimer's job was managed to a superb rising pitch of excitement, near to perfection. Jackie Coogan, the bald middle-ager Air Force cook of the piece, was absolutely right for his role in looks and performance. It was fine acting, with qualification. Charles Bickford extended his type-casting with sincerity and depth. Diana Lynn did not give a bad performance, but amid all this excellence, her own special brittleness of style and voice did not precisely blend. Of all the cast she alone seemed a little too actorial, slightly self-conscious as if at some nervous edge. It was total performance of a television play which must be called, simply, "important."
It was a tremendous wallop dramatically. On the very basic premise of craftsmanlike excitement and intelligent construction and detail, it's tension was as explosive and nail-biting as you'll find anywhere. It's total "feel" had a mood of important simplicity so seldom encountered in the young medium. There is a Jerry-built look to even some of the most elaborate TV shows, but the free flow from "live" to excellent films and the same expert ensemble performance gave this really fine drama the best premiere of any we have seen in our years of sometimes difficult dedication to TV.


Charles Mercer in "New Era," 10 October 1956, defended the film when he was previewing REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, a week later-

It would be easy to adopt a highbrow view that FORBIDDEN AREA , the program's first show last week, was an implausible ever-inflated melodrama. Several usually astute critics have said that it was. But I found it first-rate, absorbing television entertainment.

Mostly all of the critics rounded on Diana Lynn, who tragically died aged 45 of a stroke. They were easy on her compared to her first husband who divorced her because she was "an emotional idiot and detrimental to his architectural career." Nice guy!

Pat Frank, the author of FORBIDDEN AREA, candidly admitted he had little to do with the tv version of his book.
"Rod Serling did the adaptation and did it so well I made only a dozen or so minor corrections, or suggestions. Granted the big thing is that a good story must exist, the mechanics of television drama are amazing. The viewer probably accepts what he sees without much, if any, thought to work, planning and artistic sweat involved."

CBS compelled Producer Martin Manulis to recast the voice of the U.S. President, because the original actor sounded too much like Adlai Stevenson, then a candidate for office.

Last bit of trivia: A recording of FORBIDDEN AREA was shown to the Ground Observer Corps on Tuesday 27 October 1957 at Jupiter, Palm Beach, Florida. It would have been interesting to find out the opinions of all the military personnel present, but we will never know, will we?


Last edited by James Byrne on Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Playhouse 90: Season 1, Episode 1 - Forbidden Area 1956
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2015 2:59 pm 
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Chuck rehearsing for FORBIDDEN AREA -- picture taken on September 21, 1956.

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_________________
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I know this Man!


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 Post subject: Re: Playhouse 90: Season 1, Episode 1 - Forbidden Area 1956
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:51 pm 
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itsjudah24 wrote:
Chuck rehearsing for FORBIDDEN AREA -- picture taken on September 21, 1956.

Image


The photo doesn't show up, Judah!

Here is another fine review of FORBIDDEN AREA from the IMDb-


When The Sky REALLY Might Have Fallen.

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ([email protected]) from Deming, New Mexico, USA
8 July 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Great line. Colonel Charlton Heston, USAF, and Executive Secretary Diana Lynn, are two of a group of half a dozen top-echelon members of a committee housed in the Pentagon's "forbidden area." They've worked together for three years but there isn't any intimacy among this group of intellects trying to figure out how the Soviet Union might take out all of the United States and still survive.

Finally, Heston and Lynn wind up having drinks in her apartment. Humorless Heston wears a scar down his cheek and a black eye patch. Lynn is staring at it and asks, "How did it happen?" "How did what happen?" "How did you lose your eye?" "I didn't lose it. I know just where it's buried." It took me a while to get there, but it's still a worthy line.

There are other semi-cute lines. Diana Lynn's brother is in the Air Force too. "He has quite a thing for bombers. He believes there should be two in every garage." (No laugh track, and very little musical score.) Oh, and another one. Tab Hunter, the spy, has wangled his way into the Air Force base as a mess sergeant and appears to be planting an explosive device in the thermos for the pilots. Five "B-99s" have disappeared. "It's the least I can do," Hunter tells the cook as he packs the thermos in with the other flight gear. "That's what you do best -- the least." Diana Lynn is pretty attractive, by the way She has an extraordinary nose, what there is of it. And Charlton Heston, as always, looks as if he just came from Mount Rushmore. Tab Hunter looks like a male model, despite the distortion imposed on the images by the TV lenses.

And what a cast. Tab Hunter as a Russian spy. And the other members of the forbidden area team include Victor Jory, Vincent Price, and Charles Bickford, among other familiar faces. The writing is by Rod Serling. That was before MTV. Watching this, a viewer sees how much more difficult live television was in 1956 than shooting a feature film.

You don't blow a line. You have only a few sets. Since the director can't call "Cut" and go to a new set up, the camera has to be carefully positioned to include everyone in the shot, and if they move, the camera must adjust to their new positions. As in a ballet, the movements of the performers must be exact, so they have "marks" on the floor that they hit. Cue cards off screen help if they've forgotten a line. There is interpolated stock footage of shoppers, cars, airplanes, submarines. John Frankenheimer directed, who later went on to "The Manchurian Candidate", "The Train," and a few other doozies.

The plot has to do with the Soviet Union's plan to disable America's ability to respond to a nuclear attack. It's a real flag-waver and has a couple of loop holes, but it's also filled with tension as the deadline for the attack approaches and the experts argue. It's a fine example of what live television could be like.


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 Post subject: Re: Playhouse 90: Season 1, Episode 1 - Forbidden Area 1956
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 2:25 pm 
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El Cid
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Here is a fascinating interview with Jason Wingreen, who had minor role in FORBIDDEN AREA. I have only copied a small portion of the interview, connected with Heston, but the interview, in two parts, is well worth reading, particularly if you are a fan of Steve McQueen.

That was the beginning of the big move for me. I was here for about five months, and it also led to Playhouse 90. I was in the very first Playhouse 90 when that series came on, because Ethel Winant, who was the casting director at CBS, [had been] an agent in New York, and I knew her from New York. So she cast me in a small role as a pilot in the first episode. It was a script written by Rod Serling.

What I did on Playhouse 90, which was awfully good at the time, was to assist with the blocking of the show. The casts were all high-octane stars, name actors. Well, we rehearsed for fourteen days for each episode, and you don’t have these people available for fourteen days. You only bring them in after a show has been blocked for them, and then they take over. So I would assist the director in blocking. I’d have the scripts of the various characters. Whatever had to be done, I would run the lines and the movements while the camera crew is watching, making their notes, and while the director is watching and making corrections and so on. In each case, in addition to that, I would be given a small role to act in that show. So I got double salary. I got paid by the hour for the blocking work, and I got paid by the role in the acting part. It worked out wonderfully for me, because as I can recall, that I did about twelve of them during that period.

Then I got homesick. I wanted to go back and see my wife again. She was doing a play, The Iceman Cometh, at the Circle. My wife was very unhappy that I did not go back as a producer at the theater. She never made a big deal out of it, but she was disappointed that I said no. We never made a big thing out of it, but that was the way she felt.

So I went back to New York, and then the next year, which was 1957, I got a call again from Hollywood. Ralph Nelson, who was one of the producers of Playhouse 90, wanted me back to play a small role in a production of “The Andersonville Trial” that he was doing, with Charlton Heston and Everett Sloane. I was to play Everett Sloane’s associate prosecutor on “The Andersonville Trial.” [This was actually “The Trial of Captain Wirtz,” an episode of Climax, a dramatic anthology that was, like Playhouse 90, broadcast from CBS Television City. It was produced by Ralph Nelson and likely directed by Don Medford. – Ed.]

I did the show, and what did I have? One word! Six thousand miles back and forth just to say one word. Charlton Heston makes a great, long-winded speech in this trial, and Everett Sloane turns to me and says – I’m sitting next to him at the table – he says, “What do you think of that, fella?” And I reply with one word. I have to tell you, unfortunately, I don’t remember what the word was. It was not a short word, it was a long word, but I don’t remember what it was. And that is what I was summoned three thousand miles to do.



https://classictvhistory.wordpress.com/ ... -part-one/


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 Post subject: Re: Playhouse 90: Season 1, Episode 1 - Forbidden Area 1956
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:52 am 
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El Cid
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Chrysagon wrote:
I finally checked out this episode - it was the first one for Playhouse 90, a live show which aired in 1956 (according to other websites, most of the episodes were done live; about every 4th one was filmed normally to give the show a break from the stress of doing it live).

Wow, this is really like some found treasure in terms of old classic TV and early unknown Heston work. You get Heston as a military man with an eye-patch (like an earlier version of Nick Fury and a precursor to Heston's own Trilby character in True Lies; the difference is that Heston's Col. Price here has the patch over his right eye, while Fury & Trilby have it over their left eyes


Charlton Heston also wore an eye patch in THE FUGITIVE EYE, as well as FORBIDDEN AREA and TRUE LIES.

THE FUGITIVE EYE premiered on 17 October 1961 on "Alcoa Premiere", and later, 17 July 1963, on "Kraft Mystery Theatre.

I love silly trivia, and as a great Heston fan it made me smile to discover that William O'Connell played a character called Private Benson in THE FUGITIVE EYE. William turned up briefly in THE WAR LORD as a volunteer rejected by Chrysagon (Heston). Also in the cast as a nurse tending Heston was Elizabeth Allen who, a year later, was in DIAMOND HEAD with Heston.


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