EVERYONE! Tonight Is Hans Conried Night!
I only discovered this like minutes ago, but TCM (Turner Classic Movies)
is having late-night double feature staring one of my favorite old school comedians and character actors Hans Conried
, starting at 11:15 PM Pacific Time (please check YOUR local listings)!
You may have never herd of his name before, but you've certainly heard Mister Conried's voice in classic animation fair, or seen him in guest spots on various older sitcoms. Most notably as the voice of Captain Hook
in Disney's "Peter Pan"
(1953), and as Snidely Whiplash
on "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show"
Because of his pitch perfect theatrical voice, impeccable diction, and 'highly intelligent eccentricities', Hans Conried had a really good knack for portraying comedic villains on film and television. As well as an equally active career on radio and the stage.
In fact, Hans Conried himself was one of the main influences behind the character of The Robot Devil
, and you do see that in some of the villains own personality quirks and love of ridiculously overacting.
And Hans is also the inspiration for two original characters of my own...but more on those two, when the time comes.
1953 was a very busy year for Hans; in addition to Captain Hook, he also appeared and virtually started in the low-budget sci-fi comedy "The Twonky
, and the Dr. Suess produced fantasy musical "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T"
. And both of which will be in the double feature playing tonight on TCM
These two films, despite they're respective flaws ("The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T"
was actually a box office failure on its first theatrical run), I grew up with both of them, during multiple airings on TNT. And I still love them both dearly to this day. And would very much like to share and / or recommend said films with you guys, if you have the time and TCM cannel of course.
And if you don't have TCM, than thankfully "The Twonky
is currently available on YouTube. And is the slightly more charming of the two, despite a painfully obviously low budget, when compared to the colorful and lavish "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T"
Han Conried plays Kerry West
- a philosophy teacher at a small-town college, whom during one fateful weekend, becomes the unlucky owner of the titular television-robot, that's time traveled here from the future.
And I do mean unlucky, as The Twonky hails from a future so overbearingly 'perfect' (read; pleasant tyranny), that poor Kerry West finds himself a virtual slave under the robot's constant supervision, and forceful acts of controlling his life."The Twonky"
was certainly not the only science fiction comedy from fifties, but it was among the few to be played with a straight face, instead of obvious, cartoon-style turns that you'd see in something like Abbott and Costello Goes To Mars"
(1953). Or the admittedly more fun "Have Rocket, Will Travel"
(The Three Stooges, 1959).
This might have to do with the fact that "The Twonky"
was based on a short story of the same name, written by authors and married duo Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore
. The movie follows the original short fairly closely, though the live action film proceedings were lighten up quite a bit, as the original, yet still offbeat tale, was much darker by comparison.
As for the title robot itself, The Twonky is one of those movie monsters who has a great back-story and related origins, but often gets overlooked or outright ignored, by the monster-doubting public at large. You know, those same sort of people who'd kill the insectoid peacemaker Mothra
, just because she's an easier target, and don't want to admit that more monstrously evil Godzilla, secretly scares the weenie pants off them.
Yeah, I'm bitter towards these types...what of it?!?!
The Twonky is a highly advance, possibly even living machine from the distant future, where the freewill of humanity has been disregarded, both purposely by a passive aggressive one-world government, and by the equally passive, technology loving masses. And as such, The Twonky is less enforcer robot, and more of a very strict super nanny. Complete with an unlimited ability to fix all 'bad things' through matter-altering laser.
In addition to that, The Twonky, once accidentally transported to 1950's America, finds itself in a television manufacturing plant. And in order to keep up the pre-programmed status quo, uses the available parts to give itself into an acceptable television set form / body. And later, gets itself sold to an unsuspecting Kerry West (Hans Conried).
Unfortunately, this scene is never presented in the film itself (and only hinted upon in the original short story). And because of which, most film critics assume that the producers couldn't afford a proper robot prop, and turned a television set into a marionette instead.
Again, the monster-doubting public...they'd hatefully persecute Hellboy
for saving their behinds from a killer plant giant, if they could!
That said, The Twonky is one of those fictional monsters whose dangerous and antagonistic not because it is evil, but because it really can't help itself. And you do feel somewhat sorry for the time displaced robot, even if you're still totally on Hans Conried's side, as he tries to free himself from the little Twonky's 'extreme care taking'.
Hmmm...The Twonky and Songbird
would make very good friends, now thinking about it!
Again, "The Twonky"
isn't a great film, but an entertaining watch, largely thanks to the offbeat yet charming premise, some funny characters (the surprisingly scientific minded Coach Trout), and of course Hans Conried, as our hapless protagonist. And at just a little over an hour in length, you're time isn't going to be wasted too badly, so please check it out in the following link below."The Twonky" Feature Presentation: [link]
Alternative YouTube Link: [link]
Some other Hans Conried related videos, and sadly the only ones I was able to find easily on YouTube:
Rod Serling Interviewed by Hans Conried: [link]
Two Tidbits from "I Love Lucy"
Two Musical Tidbits from "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T"
(in order): [link]