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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
The Movie Makers
Plot:
A man is driven to suicide after obsessively watching several video recordings of his whole life. The wife enlists the assistance of his friend to uncover the truth behind her husband's passing, and the mysterious company that provided him with the films.
Episode:
1038
Air Dates:
First Run - December 12, 1979
Repeat - April 3, 1980
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
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14 Responses to Episode 1038


(Could also be called "The Norman (as in "Truman") Show".) Norman Rose plays a brilliant scientist who, at show's beginning, has committed suicide. Before his death, he'd been developing a technology called "space heat" (if one can get past thinking of "space heaters") that if used as a weapon could literally set the world on fire. His behavior had been strange lately...he was losing parts of his memory and was forgetting old friends. His wife (nicely done, again, by Marian Seldes) opens their safe and is going through his personal papers after the funeral, and makes a startling discovery. He'd been contacted by a firm called "Life films, Inc." and had been given an amazing opportunity to view every single moment of his life from birth onward. Rose's character became immersed and practically addicted to the moments when he could view his past... Russell Horton and Earl Hammond also played double duty, as both friends and the two mysterious employees of the film company he meets.

A scientist who conceives a super-weapon capable of destroying the Earth finds himself distracted by a corporation which claims to have made a movie of his life—not just a biography, but a visual record of his day to day life. Why would anyone bother to do such a thing?

This is an interesting story; pretty sure I'd heard it before but quite a long time ago. Much of it seems pretty repetitive, what with the husband/scientist talking about his obsession to watch his movie . . . for almost two full acts! So maybe it's padded, but somehow it didn't rankle me the way other overly padded stories sometimes do. The pity/pathos of the ending is worth the time it takes to get there. The wife's final wish is, by that time, predictable. But I still liked the story, the sad-sweetness of it. The tragedy of it. Not that the "Movie Makers" themselves were particularly sympathetic or fleshed out; don't know how I feel about them . . .

This is an epsiode which has "haunted" me for a long time. Like many of you, I used to tape RMT off the radio. It was in April of '80 I tried to get a copy of this particular episode. But, to fit RMT onto a 45 minute tape side, one has to edit out the commercials. While listening to this episode, I fell asleep about half--way through and the ending got cut off! For twenty years, I always wondered how this one played out. Now, I know. I like the opening of this one, I always had. The creepy, Sci-Fi music they played-- when Vera is first reading through his diary-- is extremely effective. The premise of the whole tale is quite intriguing. But, I have to agree, the aliens needed to be fleshed out more and I thought the wife forgave them a little too easily (afterall, they were directly responsible for her husband's suicide!) I liked the fact the aliens had to stop his theory, but were forbidden to kill him themselves. A very typical theme in many Sci--Fi's but, effective, none-the-less. Norman Rose and Earl Hammond both delivered strong performances in this one. Earl Hammond was always effective on RMT. He can create many different voices and characterizations. Almost on level with Bob Dryden, but not quite. Interesting little Sci--Fi, very much had a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits feel to it. Until Next Time........

I loved this story. It was an interesting mix of sci fi and romance soaked in nostalgia. The premise, being able to replay the events of your life, is irresistible. The alien angle surprised me and strengthened the story. The story ended fittingly although the aliens were perhaps a bit too bland. The story is strong even without the alien plot element. The idea that his will to live was drained by reliving his life was interesting. Although there was a bit of padding, this show was offbeat and enjoyable with a distinct feel to it. Yet another good "aliens invade or threaten to invade" episode.

What's so cool about "The movie makers' " eerie music bed is how it just slips in there. Marian Seldes is reading the diary with a somber, orchestrated (as always, well placed) music bed behind her when all of a sudden she hits the part where her late hubby learned he could see films about his past, and right then the music (spliced together? - knowing how radio used to be) immediately and seamlessly goes into that weird one-of-a-kind accompaniment. Also, what music bed are you talking about in "The long, long sleep?" Is it the one where Larry Haines' character is on the operating table? (If so, it is pretty cool yet disquieting. It was also used extensively in one of my RMT favorites "The vampire plant".)

It's been awhile since I listened to "The Long, Long Sleep", but I think it's when he's describing seeing all the planets and the whole of the universe. I have to listen to it again. It's the sound effects that were used as Bowman (In "2001") is passing through the Stargate in the final act of the film. At least it sounds pretty darn close....... Until next time............

It seems to me that the creepy music you speak of when Vera was first reading through his diary was only played in this episode - can't remember hearing it elsewhere. BTW, it's interesting to think how WORTHLESS that "space heat" weapon Rose's character developed (and that the aliens had an interest in, or not) was as a military tool, unless one wanted to bring on Armageddon for everyone.

I feel as you do, but in some different ways. My thoughts: Quote: "Can you imagine a mind...EMPTIED by that thing?" Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek episode "Dagger of the mind" - When is an non-Elspeth Eric episode like an Elspeth Eric episode? For awhile I thought it was this one, but then I re-listened a few times and believe it to be creepier than most of her shows, save "Star Sapphire" and "A horror story". - While (unlike in other episodes) I'm not convinced that a TV show inspired an RMT episode, I found the concept of what was happening to "Dr. Saville" (Norman Rose's character) much like what happened to those who got caught in the psychiatrist's chair, er, neural neutralizer in the "Star Trek" episode referenced above. While indeed that device worked differently in that it made people vulnerable to the suggestions of whomever was operating the controls, the end result was still very much the same, IMO. I found this concept to be quite plausible, which brought me to the interesting thing to ponder; - I thought this episode could also have been named "Alien assassination". Isn't it interesting how a race so devoted to peace had to use these means to ostensibly keep the same on Earth? There are some interesting parallels one could draw today. (And FWIW, I'm very much a "hawk" when it comes to national security. Come to think of it, even though he had a Federation "prime directive", Captain Kirk could blast a few phasers to keep the peace if he needed to.) - As for the music, listen to how it changes from that somber cello-and-clarinet ensemble to the weird electronic effects as Marian Seldes' character reads the letter from "Life films, Inc." (What an oxymoron.) Sounds like a "Space DJ" scratching records, er, whatever. - As for Ms. Seldes...I wonder how this show could have been done if she'd turned angry at the men who killed her husband in the end rather than simply doing what she did? - And in the end...did you notice how, where in some RMTs we get the plot twist/payoff in as little as three spoken words of dialogue at the end (Listen to the RMT's "Blood will tell" for a perfect example of this) but here it took almost the entire third act to explain this? Again, one wonders how this could have been handled differently, although this wasn't the worst way it could have been handled. - BTW (to echo Chris's comments) regarding that "Space heat". Can any of you think of a worse "Mutually Assured Destruction" device than "a planet wrapped in flame"? I guess if our military turned completely suicidal it would make a good weapon, but in the meantime it reminds me of another "Star Trek" episode (and I won't go there now, boldly or not...):

Henry Slesar is probably my favorite CBSRMT writer, and he certainly deserves the title of "most consistent." He had more background in this type of material than any other of the show's major scripters, having penned many episodes of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS and countless mystery/suspense short stories; as a result, a Slesar episode is more or less guaranteed to be at least competent, as this one is...At least until the last few minutes. It's too bad that this otherwise fascinating, thought-provoking plot is thrown away at the climax by the revelation that it's all a completely ludicrous alien plot. Really, can anyone possibly imagine, in their wildest dreams, aliens from another world coming up with this? "Gee, let's make this guy believe that he's watching movies of himself, let's bring him in week after week, and then as he remembers his old life he'll forget all about that deadly Space Heat! Man, what a ¤¤¤¤¤in' way to save our planet!" The only other ending this catastrophically stupid I can think of offhand is that of the movie SIGNS, in which aliens who are instantly destroyed by water decide to land on Earth, which is...9/10ths water. That said, 9/10ths of "The Movie Makers" is a gripping episode. The idea can't help but generate the listener's own speculations: If we could watch movies our earlier lives, what moments would we choose to see? Would the moments be as we remember them? Would it prove to be exhilarating to see our lives play out on a movie screen, or horrifying? (Or a little of both?) What's more, are we so sure we would want to see any such images at all? Or would we come to realize that the past is best left where it is already--safely and privately tucked away in our memories?

I don't believe that music was ever used anywhere else in the series. On a side note.... I've noticed in the episode "The Triangle" and "The Long, Long Sleep" they briefly use music from the Stanley Kubrick film "2001: A Space Odyssey" and in "The Special Undertaking" they use the music (at least it sounds the same) that Kubrick used in "The Shining" when Wendy and Danny are first wandering through the maze. This music was also used in a very entertaining radio series which only lasted 8 episodes in 1961-62 called "Macabre" (So this particular score predates "The Shining"). "Macabre" is a really excellent series that I bought from a old-time radio catalogue. Just some musical "observations"...................

This is one of my favorites! When I first heard this episode, It stired up all kinds of discussions about what if?... Makes you wonder doesn't it. it's kind of like the Robin Williams movie "The Final Cut" (ok a bit of a streach, but it's cool too.) Good episode!!

i too really enjoyed this pick. i'd heard it a while back, but it was great to revisit and was as strong as i'd remembered. i had a high school math teacher, who was kinda off-the-wall but a nice guy in his own right, who used to pose questions like this... as well as: "what if when you die, you go to the pearly gates and they make you watch the movie of your life and base your entrance to heaven on what was seen?" or "would the movie of your life be a comedy, a drama, a horror movie, a tearjerker, a thriller, or an action film?" i think my own movie would be a cross between "dude, where's my car" and "my dinner with andre."

I thought this was a pretty cool show. Guess I should have figured out about the telepathy part, but I was thinking time travel or something like that. I liked the music and the sound effects and the ending pretty much came as a surprise. Marian Seldes was especially good as Vera and there were some good transitions between her and John in the flashback sequences. Throughout, the show reminded me of the old TV show The Invaders, where a seemingly innocuous house or shed or basement would conceal some type of infernal installation. The aliens were quite well done although one of them had an accent that was middle-eastern or something and a bit out of place, though it didn't detract from the story.

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