I fucking hate TV, but that never stops people from going on and on about "The Twilight Zone."
I like to read books, you see, and so they say:
"Oh, remember the one where that sad bank man just wants to read all day long and then he breaks his glasses after the Apocalypse? What irony! What wit!"
I say: Roald Dahl has a short story about a man who is addicted to betting on his own fingers.
He has a short story about heroic measures to save infant Hitler.
He has a short story about a man who convinces his best friend to secretly swap wives with him for a night, only to realize that his friend is much better at fucking than he is, and that his wife will forever want him to "do that thing he did" because his friend was the first person to ever make his wife come! She had been faking it his whole marriage! And now their lives are ruined!
What irony...what wit!
ROALD DAHL WROTE A NOVEL ABOUT HIS UNCLE OSWALD WHO TRAVELED EUROPE IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY EXTRACTING SEMEN FROM FAMOUS PEOPLE AND FREEZING IT IN ORDER TO SELL IT TO WOMEN WHO WANTED GENIUS-BABIES FOR A SCAM CALLED THE NOBEL SPERM BANK. HIS UNCLE OSWALD HIRES A SEXY YOUNG PROFESSIONAL SEDUCTRESS TO DO THE EXTRACTING, AND THE CLIMAX OF THE NOVEL IS WHEN SHE HAS TO DRESS UP LIKE A MAN TO GET SPERM FROM MARCEL PROUST. THE BOOK IS CALLED "MY UNCLE OSWALD" AND IT IS PURE EVIL!
Anyway, What I DIDN'T know was that Roald Dahl actually had a television show that only lasted fourteen episodes because it was in direct competition with that smug California asshole Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone" novelty act. What I DIDN'T know was that Roald Dahl was one of the first casualties of television, and that his show "Way Out" was one of the last stabs at drama from New York.
Friday nights in 1961 were black and white and Dahl.
The ratings for the show sucked. The stories were too weird, too dark, too disturbing, and too "high-brow" for their pre coke and acid audience. Metropolitan audiences liked it; everyone else was simply revolted. One show featured a woman extracting the brain from her articulate and brutal husband and sticking it in a tank with nose-holes and ear-holes so that she could play loud jazz in his "ears" and blow smoke in his "face" as comic revenge. He could not speak; he could only make buzzing noises in an oscilloscope.
One show featured a man destroying people's faces with magic solvent that he applied to their photographs. And then his finger slips and he destroys his own face! Oh no!
One show is about a guy who turns people into frogs at cocktail parties. Just because. Just because he CAN. What...malice. What...a strange thing to write. No moral? Why isn't there a moral?
The show was replaced by something called "Schlitz Playhouse," which I guess was the television equivalent of bad beer. I bet there is a bar somewhere called the "Schlitz Playhouse" where you can find people who really like old "Twilight Zone" episodes.
I know you guys are going to go to YouTube to try and find "Way Out" so you can watch it and be mesmerized, and I know I can't stop you. I'll go ahead and tell you that yes, "Way Out" is there. But -- instead -- you should go pick up a Dahl short story collection, or pick up a copy of "My Uncle Oswald" so that it never, ever goes out of print.
All fourteen episodes of "Way Out" are also available at the "Paley Center for Media" here in New York City. For ten dollars you can watch an hour's worth of old TV.
If you are spending ten dollars an hour to watch TV in New York, tell me who you are so that I can personally come and end the pain of your life, or send people to do it if I am busy reading a book.
I will pay them ten dollars an hour.
Posted by miracle on Wed, 26 Mar 2008 09:09:53 -0400 -- permanent link