I want to start off by saying I love Burgess Meredith. He’s exceptional in just about everything he ever did. If you wanted Burgess Meredith, you got Burgess Meredith as – the Penguin in Batman, as Henry Bemis, the man who breaks his glasses after a nuclear apocalypse, as the “Dingle” here, as “The Obsolete Man” at the end of this season (which we will also be reviewing), as the Devil later on … just a top-notch actor, he has a mischievious almost youthful, innocent feel about him, about his performances.
I guess this is a crazy what-if story. You have aliens observing us. Two aliens from Mars walk into a bar – sounds like a bad joke, right? You have Dingle, this guy who I guess is a pleasant mensch, a regular guy, likes to come down to the bar, have a drink and relax while he’s trying to sell vacuum cleaners. You have Don Rickles, arguing baseball with another guy. They bring in Dingle to give his two cents, but Rickles doesn’t like his opinion, and punches him – he’s such a dick, seriously. This is how you settle differences? He asked his opinion, and then he punches him when he disagrees? The only reason Rickles gets violent with him is because he’s Burgess Meredith. Now if Dingle looked like Charles Bronson – that’s another story.
“Mr Dingle, the Strong” premiered March 3rd of 1961, written by Serling, directed by John Brahm, and was followed by the episode, “Static”, written by the great Charles Beaumont, directed by Buzz Kulik, and starring Dean Jagger. You remember Dean Jagger? One of those great, old character actors. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Twelve O’Clock High (1949), Dark City, Rawhide, Warpath, The Robe, White Christmas, King Creole, The Nun’s Story, Cash McCall, Elmer Gantry, Game of Death – later in life, he appeared in Alligator, soon to be a Vintage Cable Box classic, with Robert Forster, directed by Lewis Teague, written by John Sayles. Great movie!
So Dean hates television, and his complaint is nothing new. I’ve heard so much about how television is a soul-sucker, a mind-sifter, some kind of a false god worshipped by mind-numbed zombies, but I think those arguments tend to come from an older generation raised on radio, so it’s a biased view – these older folks want to go back to a time when they were young, it’s nostalgia. I remember listening to radio. We had a show, WCBS in Philadelphia, weekends, I was 9 years old, and I listened to Radio Classics, which would broadcast “Abbott & Costello”, “Fibber McGee & Molly”, “The Shadow”, “The Whistler”, “Great Gildersleeve”, I used to love those shows. I had room in my heart for both media, television and radio. Dean is going back to a time when he was, I suppose, a young man. He’s living in – not a, I don’t want to say Old Folks Home, but he is living with a bunch of old people in a house. They love their TV. He hates it.
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Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Mark Jeacoma
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering
Introduction Music: “Do You Remember Rock ‘N Roll Radio” (Ramones) by the Ramones. “Do You Remember Rock ‘N Roll Radio” (Ramones) by KISS.
Audio Clips: The Shadow, created by Walter B. Gibson, and developed for radio by David Chrisman and Bill Sweets, Fibber McGee and Molly, created by Jim Jordan, Marian Jordan, and Donald Quinn, Abbott and Costello: “Who’s on First?”, Fireside Mystery Theatre, created by Gustavo Rodriguez and Ali Silva, “Mr. Dingle, the Strong”, “Static”.
Recorded August 24, 2016
© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2016 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. Original Music © Alex Saltz copyright 2016. This podcast, “That Twilighty Show About That Zone” is not affiliated with CBS Entertainment, the CBS Television Network, or The Rod Serling Estate. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well. If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember, there is no actual pie. We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot compensate you. If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind. I do this ’cause it’s fun, and nothing else.
Running Time: 32:54
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