This is why I hang on to at least some of my old magazines from umpteen years ago – sometimes unexpected treasures lurk within!
It all started yesterday, when, while down in the historical archives (aka the basement storage locker), on a whim I grabbed my 1982 issue of Moving Images, “The magazine for film and video-makers”, to finally give it a proper read. The many years that have passed since I first acquired it added a heavy layer of nostalgia to its content – especially the ads, touting breakthrough features like 8-hour VHS tape (“33% more recording time!’) and a front-loading VCR (it even lets you “directly select your channel, skipping the ones in between!” aka “Express Tuning”).
But then something really jumped out at me.
The “Home Cinema” reviews focus on new-to-video 50’s sci-fi, and they rave over a particular episode of “Tales of Tomorrow”, a live 1953 anthology show. Titled “The Window”, they say it is “one of the most extraordinary TV programs ever aired… I can’t say anything more without spoiling it –except, “See it!”
Well, with a rave like that, I had to check and see if it was out there. And thanks to the Internet Archive, it was!
This 25-minute drama starts off with a rather long ad for the sponsor – but it’s really part of the show. Then the show proper begins – or does it? What follows turns out to be a boldly inventive idea that is quite creative and genuinely boundary-pushing for the time – and even for today, really.
By the end, they’ve told two (three?) interlocking stories, broken the fourth wall of a genuine 1950’s TV studio, and given us a hair-raising race against time.
The credits reveal one of the actors to be a big star in an early role – and that the TV production crew basically played themselves!
One final note. The ad on the left in the magazine image above shows new-to-VHS sci-fi movies, priced at… wait for it… $59.95 each! I’m sure “Tales of Tomorrow” was similarly priced. But all I had to do was wait 38 years, and voila – a few keystrokes and I’m enjoying “The Window” for free.
I recommend you do the same!
P.S. The director’s son wrote about this episode here.