CineSavant Column

Tuesday January 17, 2023



Our announcement of an Invaders from Mars screening at New York’s Bedford Playhouse over the weekend paid off — a couple of CineSavant readers took the cue to see it, and three in all wrote in to describe the screening. Correspondents Ralph Coviello and Christopher Rywalt saw the show in what were described as ideal conditions — “a gorgeously restored theatre with a state-of-the-art projection and sound system, which made for an overwhelming presentation.” Ralph repeated an anecdote related by film restorer-host and Q&A answerer Scott MacQueen:

Jimmy Hunt and his mother visited the set where the crew was setting up a scene with the Martian intelligence. Mrs. Hunt recognized the ‘monster’ in the glass bubble and offered a greeting: “Hello Luce!”  It turned out that Mrs. Hunt and the actress Luce Potter had gone to school together.

Chris Rywalt took some photos. The one above with Scott MacQueen (left) makes the seating in the Bedford Playhouse look pretty cozy. Tom Weaver attended as well, and wrote to add that the Bedford Playhouse has ‘VERY good popcorn, by the way!’



Next up: the ever-searching Gary Teetzel reports on an interesting episode of Playhouse 90 found on the web, entitled Project Immortality.  Quoth Gary:

“I watched the “Project Immortality” episode because the plot has a sci-fi element. Scientists developing a way to replicate a man’s brain and thought patterns work to preserve the mind of a dying genius, Lee J. Cobb. The script doesn’t delve deeply into the sci-fi angles, and is instead more of a character piece on how Cobb chooses to live his life, how he faces death, how his family copes, etc.”

“The cast also includes Michael Landon and Patty McCormick and, in a small role, Joseph Sargent. It’s introduced by our old pal Dr. Frank Baxter and scored by that talented up-and-coming composer Jerry Goldsmith. In terms of the sci-fi content, there is an odd scene where Cobb and McCormick playfully re-enact the movie Frankenstein, although they aren’t especially faithful to it. The teleplay was directed by Fielder Cook.”



And the news over the weekend from correspondent Tom Weaver is that film collector and home video pioneer Wade Williams has passed away. Williams collected rights to various titles and was one of the first to market them on VHS tapes. He was noted for altering some as well, famously revising shots in the 1950 Rocketship X-M, and editing hybrid versions of Invaders from Mars for theatrical reissue. Williams became an associate producer on the Invaders from Mars remake, and produced a remake of his own, a 1992 version of the classic Detour starring actor Tom Neal’s son.

Williams owned or controlled much of the filmic work of Edward D. Wood Jr.. He was a controversial figure to archives and film restorers, closely guarding the rights he claimed to numerous titles. CineSavant friend Bill Shaffer met Williams and attended screenings at his house in Kansas City, and reported that he was a private person but a very enthusiastic film fan, something that struck most people who had even brief contact with him. We hope to learn more about Wade Williams, and the future for his film holdings, in due time.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson