Sunday, July 27, 2014

Don't Make a Scene: Twilight Zone: The Movie

The Set-Up: You wanna see something really scary?

This "prelude" in Twilight Zone, the Movie started out as a short-film idea that John Landis had—at a time when there was no market for short films.  It easily inserted itself as the start of this homage to Rod Serling's ground-breaking fantasy show, and served a  second purpose: to familiarize those who might have been living "in the pit of man's fears" for the last three decades and might not have been familiar with the program that inspired this rare American anthology movie. The story is slim, but one could not do better than to have two masters of the ad-libbed arcane in the drivers' seats.

The Story: Two dudes in flannel (Albert Brooks, Dan Aykroyd) are driving in the twilight, and the Driver is testing his Passenger's limits by showing him something scary—driving in the dark with his head-lamps off.  "The chicks really dig it." But, not the passenger, who only relaxes once the lights are back on.  And, then he said...


DRIVER: Hey!  You like trivia?
DRIVER: Okay.  Wanna play "TV Theme Songs?"
DRIVER: You know how to play that?
DRIVER: I'll hum a theme song.  If you guess it, you get to hum one.  If you..if I..if I guess it, I get to have it back.  
DRIVER: If you get three in a row, you win.
PASSENGER: Okay, I'm good at that.
DRIVER: Okay.  Okay, I'll start.
DRIVER: (Singing): BAH-Dah-dah-dah (hunh-hunh-hunh-hunh).  Bah-dah-dah-dah (hunh-hunh-hunh-hunh) Want a hint?

Driver starts to burble the theme by vibrating his lips with his finger.
DRIVER: (Singing): Bah-dah-dah-dah(burble)
PASSENGER: "Sea Hunt."
DRIVER: "Sea Hunt."  Go.
PASSENGER: Alright (Singing) Bum-bum-bum-bum DooDOOOO-do-DO...DooDOOOO-
DRIVER: "Perry Mason!"
PASSENGER: You got it.
DRIVER: (Singing) Ba-papadah-dah-bapapadah-Pa-PAH-PAH!
PASSENGER: "Bonanza!"  Alright.
PASSENGER: (Singing) ba-ba-ba-dadadadadadaDah-dadadadadadadah
DRIVER: "The Real McCoys!"
PASSENGER: No! DadadadadadadadadadadadadaDAAAAH..Fred-Gwynne-was-in-this....
DRIVER: "The Beverly Hillbillies."
DRIVER: "Car 54."
PASSENGER: That's it.
DRIVER: Alright.  Thanks for the "Fred Gwynne."
PASSENGER: Absolutely.  Absolutely.
DRIVER: Alright? How about this one? (Singing): Ba-da-dah-DAH-da. Ba-da-dah-Hoo-Dah-da-DAH-da-dah.
DRIVER: Know it?
DRIVER: (Singing): Ba-da-dah-DAH-da. Look-at-that-fos-sil/It's stuck over there in-the-tar (Boom Boom)/ Look-at-that-OLD man/He-looks-like-an old ape (Boom Boom)
DRIVER: What is it?
PASSENGER: ....No...
DRIVER: (Singing): Look-at-that-OLD-bone/It-could-be-worth-some-bucks.(Boom Boom) What is it?
PASSENGER: Mmmm.  I really don't know.
DRIVER: (Singing): Look-at-those-TWO-apes/This-must-be-where-they-live (Boom Boom)
DRIVER: Look-at-that-ci-ty/Let's-con-ti-nue-to-DIG What is it?
DRIVER: It's "National Geographic."
DRIVER: "National Geographic."
PASSENGER: Okay. Alright.
PASSENGER: Aaaaah, okay, I got one for ya.
PASSENGER: (Singing) BOOM-Ba-BOOM-chikka-chikka-Ba-BOOM
BOTH (Singing): BAH-bababa-BAH-BAH-BAH-bababa-BAAH-
BOTH (Singing): BAH-bababa-BAH-BAAAAAH
PASSENGER (Cracking up): What IS it?
DRIVER: I don't know, but you're doing it GREAT!
PASSENGER: (Singing) BAH-bababa-BAAH-
DRIVER: Sounds like it was on CBS!
PASSENGER: (Singing) BAH-da-da-da-dadadadah
DRIVER:(Singing) BAH-da-da-da-dadadadah-dah-I-don't-know...
PASSENGER:(Singing) Bah-dadada-daaah. 
DRIVER: You know what?  I don't know...
PASSENGER: "Book em, Dan-o"
DRIVER: "Book 'em, Dan-o"
PASSENGER: "Book em, Dan-o"
DRIVER: "Book 'em, Dan-o"
DRIVER: One more hint.
DRIVER: What was the locale?
PASSENGER: Surfboards!
PASSENGER: (Singing) An island in the Pacific Ocean.
DRIVER: "Gilligan's Island!"
PASSENGER: (Singing) I-i-i-i-t starred Ja-a-ack Lord...
DRIVER: "Hawaii 5-0!!"
DRIVER: Oh, Jesus, I thought I was good at this...
PASSENGER: Did you ever watch "The Twilight Zone?"
DRIVER: Doo-doo-doodoo-Doo-doo-doodoo...
BOTH: Hoo-doo-dah-dah-Hoo-doo-dah-dah...WHIING! Bah-dah-dah-dah-BAH-da-DAH!
DRIVER:: Oh God.  Remember the "Twilight Zone" with Burgess Meredith?  'Member?  He-he-he loved to read, and there was a nuclear war, and he had no friends ANYWAY...
DRIVER:...and he was down in the basement of the library...
DRIVER: YES! He was the last man and he broke his glasses!
DRIVER: This thing freaked me out.  When I was 7 years old, I bought another pair of glasses just in case that would happen.
PASSENGER: Ah, those shows.  They were so good.  They were so scary.
DRIVER: Yeah, yeah.
PASSENGER: They were great.
PASSENGER: Remember the one where the guy had the stopwatch? Somebody in a bar gave him a stopwatch and he was this real obnoxious guy? And he took the stopwatch and he hit it, and everybody else in time froze but him...
DRIVER: That's an "Outer Limits."
PASSENGER: No, that was a "Zone."
DRIVER: It's an "Outer Limits."*
PASSENGER:  That was a "Zone."
DRIVER: Oh, they had the one about the mannequins...
DRIVER: ...that got two weeks off and they turned into humans and they were allowed to go out and shop for two weeks on their own? And this one came back and it was over two weeks, and the other mannequins went "Come over here for a minute" and turned her back into plastic.
PASSENGER: Boy, they were scary.  They were great.
DRIVER: I loved it.
PASSENGER: Hey! want to see something really scary?
DRIVER: You bet!
PASSENGER: Okay, this is really, really scary now.
DRIVER: I trust ya.
PASSENGER: Okay, pull the car over.
DRIVER: Pull the car over?  Oooooo...
PASSENGER: Ya wanna see it?
DRIVER: Well, show me while I'm driving.
PASSENGER: No, no, I can't. I can't tell you about it.  It'll only take a coupla seconds.
DRIVER: Alright.  Two seconds.  Okay?
DRIVER: What is it?
PASSENGER: Just pull it over.
PASSENGER: I'll show you.
DRIVER: Alright...
Driver pulls off to the side of the road.
DRIVER: Scare me.
PASSENGER: Are you ready?
DRIVER: Okay. Go ahead.
DRIVER: What are you doin'?
("Twilight Zone" Theme up)

Twilight Zone The Movie

Prologue: Words by John Landis (and Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks)

Pictures by Stevan Larner and John Landis

Twilight Zone the Movie is available on DVD from Warner Home Video

* Dude!  It's a "Zone."  Follow the link. (Dude! Really!  Agree with him, I'm warning you!)

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