Movie Diary 6/29/2020

comewanderwithme“Come Wander with Me,” The Twilight Zone (Richard Donner, 1964). The final TZ episode filmed (though not the last broadcast), with Gary Crosby, son of Der Bingle, as an opportunistic rockabilly singer visiting the backwoods to steal local songs. I’ve always had the impression that it’s not considered a great installment in the series, but I hadn’t actually watched it in a long time. So it turns out to be intriguing and atmospheric, and even Crosby, a generally annoying presence, is well-cast here and certainly no stiff. Also, allow me to blow your mind: I propose that “Come Wander with Me” found its way into the imagination of the Coen brothers, and sits somewhere in the mulch of Inside Llewyn Davis, with its folk-music backdrop and the inclusion of an eternal-return scenario. Crosby’s character, gifted with the awesome name Floyd Burley – a Coen moniker if ever I heard one – is constantly being told he’s been through this storyline before, always with the same outcome, which he could apparently change if he would only make a different choice along the way. Surprisingly, the show does not end with Burley’s story starting over, although one expects that to happen. “If it was never new, and it never gets old, it’s a folk song,” as Llewyn Davis has it. The spooky woodland lass who sings a haunting song is played by Bonnie Beecher, who married Wavy Gravy the next year and drifted out of acting. There’s also a cranky-geezer role for Hank Patterson, of Petticoat Junction and Green Acres renown. Writer Anthony Wilson had a long and fruitful career – he wrote the first episode of The Invaders and created the series Cade’s County and Banacek, both worthy star vehicles. He died at 51, but lives on in some time loop, or at least in the twilight zone.

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