NBC Movie of the Week, Originally aired May 21, 1977
One of the last gems I found on YouTube in the ‘08/’09 period was this tv pilot which I thoroughly enjoyed. As a more casual Star Trek fan I was also intrigued by the fact that this was created and written by Gene Roddenberry and it’s unfortunate it didn’t make into a series.
Robert Culp plays William Sebastian, a brilliant and well known criminologist who has been dabbling in and researching the occult. His theory is that the more heinous murders committed by humans that had no definable logic in motive must have been committed due to other more powerful and unseen forces. As a result of his flirtations with the dark side and backing out of a deal with the devil, he has just one minor problem: He has a hole in his heart, like a dagger or some object has been shoved through it.
A little healing black magic from his housekeeper, Lillith (Mrs. Gene Roddenberry – Majel Barrett), Sebastian is able to continue to live and walk around. But the spell does not offer a permanent fix. Sebastian has to find the doll that the object is impaled in.
He has been asked to look into a case in England at the request of Anitra Cyon (Ann Bell), who believes her brother, Geoffrey (James Villiers), is under the influence of evil supernatural forces which has contributed to his sudden and extensive wealth. In order to proceed with the case, Sebastian will need help from his former partner, Dr. “Hamm” Hamilton (Gig Young.) The movie opens with Hamm’s arrival at Sebastian’s home – having been requested there by telegram – and this great voice over to set the tone for the movie.
“I come here to meet a man I vowed never to see again. He was vain, arrogant, selfish, but his brilliance was still irresistible. He was also dangerous – never to me – but this evening began for both of us, a slide into horrors unimaginable, a descent into a corner of hell….”
Sebastian explains about the hole in his heart and asks for Hamm’s help with the case in England. Initially Hamm says no, after all, he has some issues of his own going on including a more than casual drinking habit and is facing an inquiry by the hospital he works for. He reconsiders after learning about Sebastian’s condition but suggests that Sebastian didn’t need a compulsive drinker as an assistant. The good doctor’s drinking habits, however, were corrected by Lilith.
You know, I like to think that somehow through the cosmos, somebody there picked up on my “I’m-really-torked-with-NBC-because-this-Culp-clip-won’t-play” vibe while I was banging out my previous letter just last night. I know though that it’s just coincidence and timing. Because after I posted it this morning and then went about my merry way, I checked my email.
And what did my jaded eye see? Another link in Google alerts to NBC.com for a clip of Robert Culp on SNL. This time for the “cold opening” of the show, the sketch with Eddie Murphy.
Hmm… Having been down this road once already I had no high hopes, but I clicked. Yeah, right, I bet this won’t play either….
But it did! It played! WOOHOO!
Thank you NBC!
Now, um, you think you get that monologue bit posted too? Pretty please?
Oh NBC. Famed NBC, original home of one of the most ground breaking television shows in history, “I Spy” starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby. Can we talk for a bit here? I gotta small problem.
See, back in 1982, Robert Culp hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live. Without going into any commentary about the state of SNL back in the early 80s and ignoring any suggestions that the episode isn’t worth seeing to begin with, I have nonetheless, searched for any clips or segments from this program. Particularly, any clips or segments involving Robert Culp.
To date, I’ve been teased and deceived in regards to this television appearance of Mr. Culp’s. Hulu.com has it under their HuluPlus subscription but you can see the first 90 seconds of the program. (Part of the opening sketch involving Culp with Eddie Murphy, a spoof of sorts to I Spy and to Cosby’s various product endorsements at the time.) To see the rest though involves signing up for HuluPlus and paying a subscription rate and, well, dammit, Hulu’s supposed to be free viewing! Supplemented by limited commercial interruption. I have no problem with the few commercial breaks, what’s with this monthly subscription crap?
Ahem. Sorry, I’m getting away from my original problem here.
Those 90 seconds? A total tease. I mean, seriously, lookit….
Emboldened by such, I continued to search. I then found an online review of the episode which included screen caps of the “bumpers,” images of Culp in and around New York City.
The review was less than enthusiastic on some of the sketches but it gave me a good idea of what the entire episode entailed. Okay, I’ll admit I wasn’t all that interested in most of it, only the parts involving Robert Culp. (Hey, this a Culp dedicated website. This should not be a surprise to anyone).
More recently my Google alerts started giving me links to what, I thought, was this episode on YouTube. But the subsequent video on YouTube had nothing to do with SNL…other than to try to direct me to another website to “watch the episode free and in it’s entirety.”
Right. I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck ya know. I know internet spam junk when I see it.
Not long after this, another link showed up in my Google alerts. Only this time…*gasp!* it’s from NBC! The famed NBC! A legitimate link! YES!
So I clicked and, of course, ended up at your website. Ooo, lookit, Robert Culp’s monologue from this episode of SNL! Sweet!
So I waited a few moments as the NBC logo came up and it appeared as though the clip was loading.
But what I ended up seeing, was this….
VIDEO NOT FOUND?! What?!
I clicked OK. I hit refresh. I clicked the link below in the Video Clips section again, trying to get it to load.
Video Not Found!
I was able to play other clips. But alas, not the Robert Culp clip.
NBC, I implore you. This isn’t funny. If you could please either find the video and put it back, or remove the link entirely so that I may no longer be tortured by this, I would greatly appreciate it.