CineSavant Column

Tuesday December 27, 2022



For New Yorkers familiar adjacent to Westchester County, here’s a Sci-fi alert for January 15. Film restorer (and excellent public speaker) Scott MacQueen will be at the Bedford Playhouse screening the newly rejuvenated classic Invaders from Mars in 4K.  Jimmy Hunt is Our Guy for battling Martians.

The show always played extremely well with an audience. Full information on the presentation is available at the Bedford Playhouse  Invaders from Mars  page.

Bedford comes first in our hearts, of course, but the film and MacQueen’s lecture play separately at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art the day before, on January 14: Martians and Devils: Searching for Souls in the Cinema.



This link from Eric Wilson re-immerses us in the early live TV delights of Kukla, Fran and Ollie, the unscripted puppet show with Burr Tillstrom and Fran Allison that started in Chicago in 1947 and moved to the NBC network in 1949. The rediscovery this time is a particular episode inspired by a popular Sci-fi movie of 1950: Kukla, Fran and Ollie do “Destination Moon”. Note the nifty space helmets.

Do any CineSavant readers remember these shows live?  Ms. Allison’s bright personality is infectiously endearing, no question. Being a little younger, she was a few seasons before my time. I suspect that I only think I remember Howdy Doody, but I was definitely in love with Shari Lewis at a tender age.

Eric Wilson reminds me that the Kukla, Fran and Ollie shows are still being remastered from old kinescopes, a project headed by Mark Milano. They’re halfway through 700 shows, and a GoFundMe page remains active. A Facebook page has some nice images and discussion of the restoration activity.



And it’s been a week or so since Joe Dante circulated this ‘Center for the Study of the Public Domain’ link titled Public Domain Day 2023. Let the Joyous news be spread: January 1, 2023 is Public Domain Day . . . Works from 1927 are open to all!

The list of newly liberated creations includes a lot of music, but we immediately note the presence of Fritz Lang’s legendary epic Metropolis. I’m assuming that ‘Public Domain’ doesn’t mean we can start duplicating existing discs and selling them — the Giorgio Moroder music score is surely not PD, and even if the original Gottfried Huppertz score is PD, its 2009 recording is surely not. On the other hand, clips from Metropolis have been used everywhere, for ages . . . do you think music videos bothered to pay royalties?  And who to?

As a fan of Fan Cuts, I know my kids would like to see the Moroder version ‘revised’ with improved video. I showed it to them so many times when they were kids, that they need the disco music.

I’d like to know if some enterprising video wrangler has found a way to slow the show down to 20 or even just 22 frames per second, to restore its ‘heavy’ impact.  Gee, all this thought just makes me want to see it again.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson