Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Cube (1969)

Jim Henson fans, go find this treasure!!

For old school television nuts (like me), Jim Henson’s The Cube has been something of a Holy Grail. Before the days of the Internet, a video freak would really have to hunt through every video store backroom VHS bootlegger to find themselves a copy (of a copy of a copy…) of this highly original TV production. Thankfully, with obscure video and DVD outlets all over the web, we video hounds can hang up the leashes and press the play button on the DVD remote.

The Cube was an hour long teleplay, created by Jim Henson, that aired only twice as part of the 60s weekly anthology series NBC Experiment in Television. It featured Richard Schaal (Chuckles the Clown from Mary Tyler Moore) as an unwitting every-man who finds himself trapped in a stark white, cube-shaped room. With no knowledge of how he got there or of how he can escape, the Man is visited by a parade of strangers who enter through hidden doors and hatches that are, he discovers, not accessible to him. Each visitor poses something of a conundrum for the Man, never being able to provide him with answers to where? what? or why? but instead piling on even more questions, mostly about philosophical uncertainties of identity, time, and about reality versus illusion.


Henson (creator of the Muppets) directed the trippy teleplay from a script co-written with longtime Muppet’s writing pal Jerry Juhl (Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas). In nostalgic retrospect, The Cube is an excellent example of the type of creative and thoughtful (as well as thought provoking) programming that used to be available to television audiences. It’s also a dismal reminder that the writing on today’s television is no longer in the hands of skilled scribes who have honed their craft through years of work and practice, but rather by sycophants who want to show off their hip pop culture references and (not really so) clever dialogue. If only TV Land (the cable channel, that is) would forget trying to latch onto the unreachable IPod audience and turn everyone else on to the long lost television shows like The Cube.


one good place to find this (in B/W and in Color) is at A Different City

6 comments:

Inkydog said...

Thanks for this post! For years I have had a scene from this movie playng in my head. It is a little girl on a tricycle riding through the cube singing "You're never going to get out..." I had no idea when it aired or what network, so I really appreciate the info. I was 8 at the time this thing originally aired. I'll have to go scrounge up a copy now.

PopCereal said...

Yer welcome Mr. Inkydog! Check out adifferentcity.com for two great editions of this flick -- one in B/W, the other in Color.

Rebecca said...

Hello!

Nice site - you have some great information about Jim Henson. I thought you'd be interested to know "The Cube," one of his early directorial forays into scifi, is now available for download on iTunes.

This experimental film depicts a man who finds himself in a white cubical room and has no idea how he got there. Although anyone can enter the cube, the man cannot leave. Panels in the cube open temporarily to admit various visitors, some of whom seem to know the man or want to offer advice.

Add the link to “The Cube” to your site to let others know:
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Or, add the iTunes Button linking to the film using the HTML generated here: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZSearch.woa/wa/itmsLinkMaker

For larger, customizable Apple iTunes Buttons, download these: http://www.docurama.com/digitalassets/ituneslogo.zip

Earn 5% of sales by becoming an iTunes affiliate! Go to: http://www.apple.com/itunes/affiliates/

I can set up free downloads for contest giveaways. Please let me know if you are interested.

Thank you!
Rebecca Cianci

New Video Digital
902 Broadway, 9th Fl
New York, NY 10010
rcianci@newvideo.com
646-259-4136

AndrewRex said...

I just saw it. Its such a fucked up stupid show. Only old retards like yourself will enjoy it. Such a lame attempt at philosophy.

Portero said...

This movie/show has freaked me out since I first saw it at the age of 9, in 1970, on a PBS station. The song of the kid on the tricycle rings through my head to this very day.

Anonymous said...

"I just saw it. Its such a fucked up stupid show. Only old retards like yourself will enjoy it. Such a lame attempt at philosophy."

What a lame attempt at a COMMENT.
You kiss your daddy with that foul mouth? Yeah, probably.
Jerk.

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