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The Twilight Zone

Unlocking the Door to

a Television Classic

By Martin Grams

The only bad movies are those that bore or offend you. There’s so much going on in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians that you need at least two viewings to take it all in. Sure, it’s low-budget with bad production values. Some of the acting is pretty bad. The makeup is silly. But if you go into it knowing what to expect, you’ll still be entertained. We all agree on that here.

What do you want when you sit down to watch a film out of your collection? Superb entertainment? Sure. Laughter? Something you’ll love so much you never get tired of watching it? Maybe even something that has some historic value? Oh, I could list more things that you want to get out of it and they’d all apply to the art of Buster Keaton. You can’t go wrong with Buster Keaton. One of the best collections of his works you’ll ever find is this set of all his silent short films from 1920 to 1923.

We at Fielding’s Review always strive to give you readers coverage of what you request, and this is one time we fully agree with your emails. There are no silent film series funnier or more ingenious than these nineteen shorts Keaton made between 1920 and 1923, which includes all of Chaplin’s Keystone comedies.

There is a dimension to The Twilight Zone beyond that which is known to fans. It is a dimension as vast as 1080p and as timeless as the series itself. It shows off the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the sides of the set’s enclosures and the surface of its DVDs. This is the dimension of blu-ray. It is a dimension which we call The Twilight Zone: Season 5.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians Keaton's Silent Shorts Twilight Zone blu-ray 4 Twilight Zone book

Fielding’s Review has always encouraged its readers to experience silent film history in as many ways as they can. We’ve tried to pass along all the links online that lead to silent’s history and films, most recently Thanhouser films. Thanhouser’s history and films are easily experienced on the Thanhouser website. Some remarkable actors worked for Thanhouser without the kind of recognition actors are accustomed to today. In the sad case of Thanhouser’s biggest star, Florence La Badie, there’s less of a physical presence than even we get to mark out time  on earth: she has no headstone.

La Badie was an enormously popular actresss who worked for Thanhouser from 1911 to 1917, when she was killed in an auto accident. She was buried in an unmarked grave at the Green-Wood Cemetery on Wednesday October 17, 1917. You can read more about her here, but first we want you to know that she was one of the most prominent fundraisers for the World’s Statue of Liberty Illumination Fund. Who would deny that life’s most basic memorial be given to her? Now, nearly a hundred years after her death, some important fundraising is being done in her behalf.

According to the press release from Thanhouser, “Through the cooperation of Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc. and the Green-Wood Historic Fund, a campaign is being launched with the goal to raise funds to install a monument to commemorate her historic career. Thanks to the generous support of the Green-Wood Historic Fund, all contributions will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $2,000, doubling the impact of donations.

Donors will receive a keepsake for their support to the memorial campaign and e-mail updates for a celebration of life during the installation of Florence’s memorial, currently targeted for the spring of 2014. Recommended contribution levels are $10, $25, $50, $100, or more.

Contributions for the Florence La Badie Memorial Fund may be made through Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc. (thanhouser.org) and The Green-Wood Historic Fund (green-wood.com). The campaign will begin accepted donations starting August 1st and will close October 13, 2013; 100% of all contributions will be used to fund the memorial and all contributions are tax deductible.” Discover all you need to know here. Let’s all get behind this and give it our support!

Thanhouser Films’ prolific actress needs memorial stone.

<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/70965199?byline=0" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/70965199">"Fearless Flo" Memorial Video</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/thanhouser">Ned Thanhouser</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>