Monday, October 31, 2011

Signal From Space

I noticed that Forbidden Planet was on TCM today, and remembered that it was Steve Friedman's favorite movie. I used to listen to Friedman's Mr. Movie radio show on 1210AM late at nights, driving home after a weekend with Kathy. The long gaps for commercials would drive me crazy, but in the days before podcasts, it was a radio talk show I found interesting and engaging, and it kept me awake and on the road when I needed it. Steve was an old-time movie fan, and I'd be lying if I said I always agreed with his opinions, particularly about newer films. But he kept me listening, and kept me interested, and I always learned something about some older movie or star that I hadn't known before.

So when I saw the listing for Forbidden Planet, I looked him up, to see if he was still doing his late-night program. Sadly, he passed away in 2009, shortly after recording a show. Though I'm out of broadcast range, Philadelphia radio (not to mention the many stations he was syndicated on) is a little less colorful without him, I'm sure.

Anyway, the news, old though it was, and his love for the film, finally inspired me to watch Forbidden Planet today. And it's a fine movie, full of mystery, adventure, and grand, bold ideas. (Plus, it has an awesome robot in Robbie and a gorgeous actress in Anne Francis, both of whom I'm sure Steve appreciated.) I'm glad I finally saw it; I can't believe it took me so long.

Thanks, Steve.



Don said...

And a dashing Leslie Nielsen! This is one of my favorites.

Rob S. said...

Yeah, I can't believe how long it took me to see it!

It's been a heck of a great week for movies, though:

Paranormal Activity
The Thing
The Fly
Forbidden Planet

and Feast.

Brian R Tarnoff said...

I met Steve Friedman when I worked briefly at Channel 57, the latecomer to the UHF Philly market, circa 1987. He was one of the program directors there. I was slightly unnerved by the fact that he seemed to remember me from the one time I phoned his radio show, months before, thinking that I had stumped him.

It was friend and regular listener Chuck Esola who had egged me on to call in on Steve's show that time. Steve had correctly stated that Psycho III was Anthony Perkins first time as director. I got my wires crossed with the fact that Perkins had co written The Last of Sheila with Stephen Sondheim, which Hal Ashby directed. Pre IMDB we only had our memories or perhaps a dogeared copy of Halliwell's to go by. I was cocky, and had my comeuppance on air. Didn't really listen to him much after that.

I did have a couple of more friendly chats with him about movies as I was constantly working late on an impossible database project, which for some obscure reason Channel 57 had decided must be done in Lotus Symphony using macros and formulas. It could never have worked, and it caused the PCs of the time to grind a very long time before not working. I got a lot of overtime, but also the dissatisfaction of working on a poorly specified IT project, something worth getting used to in my subsequent IT career.

Rob S. said...

Wow, that's cool. Friedman definitely had an excellent memory for movies, and I'm sure you weren't even the only caller he corrected in even that broadcast.

And come to think of it, remembering a caller from 6 months before shows he had a damn good memory for everything!