Sunday, April 22, 2018

When Television City Went Too Far

As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.

Some things are so disturbing that they are once tried to shock, but are so troubling that no one speaks about them again, and they are never attempted again.

The Lame Cherry provides this exclusive in an event which not on of you will remember to have witnessed or even registered in your minds, but it happened on CBS in 1975 AD in the year of our Lord.


CBS in that era of shock television embarked upon a two series episode which encompassed two of their private detective series in William Conrad as Frank Cannon and Buddy Ebsen as Barnaby Jones. The episode was called  The Deadly Conspiracy and first aired on September 15th on Cannon and concluded on September 17th on Barnaby Jones.
What is difficult in this is, historically my favorite actors are William Conrad, Buddy Ebsen, and the guest stars of Charles Durning and someone all of you have seen as she has been in everything from MASH to Quincy to Simon and Simon in the beautiful Lynette Mettey.


What took place in the final moments of the Deadly Conspiracy was deeply troubling, because of the powerful portrayal of Charles Durning. Durning who is compelling, an immense presence and lovable in most of his portrayal, in this feature plays a truly evil man and he became the complete murderous brute. That is lost in the few words explaining this, but picture in your mind the pretty Lynette Mettey, dress on, completely feminine and alone in a room with Durning, as Durning closes in on her as his victim that he knows he has to murder, and in that he punches Mettey in the stomach, to which she recoils gasping and helpless.
It was the lion and the lamb, and the most startling portrayal of murder on any screen, as these actors captured what a real murderous attack is, and how helpless it all felt as life was stolen.

Nothing was ever said of this episode in the press or industry, but an attack on a woman like this in punching her like a man in the gut by the complete sadist which Durning brought to life was never attempted again, anywhere on television or cinema. It was that troubling that in a town where perverts rape little children, even they did not want a scene like this ever revisited.
It has been 43 years and no one ever got a script past a studio to repeat something this heinous.

In a world of the worst perversions always featured on screen, it is a testament to Charles Durning and Lynette Mettey in what they brought to life in something so disturbing, that the only thing that ever came close was the hideous anti American drama by Steven Spielberg in Saving Private Ryan, where he has a helpless American slowly murdered by a German sliding a knife slowly into his heart as another American coward cowers nearby.

This is a piece of cinematic history which no one knows of in how it changed everything and still does. It was one of the most defining performances ever and it never won an award.

Once again, another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.