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Posts Tagged ‘bill howell’

Nightfall #38: “All-Nighter”

Don FrancksWe close the first season with another of the creepiest episodes of the series: Graham Pomeroy's "All-Nighter".

When it comes to serial-killers, NIGHTFALL's have some of the weirdest MOs. In "Dark Side of the Mind", it was Carl recording responses from his victims before killing them, then playing back the appropriate responses when needed to assuage worried friends and relatives. In this one, a cleanliness-obsessed murderer is compelled to wash and dry his victims in the large-capacity machines at all-night laundromats.

Elva Mai Hoover plays Cheryl, a worker at one of these laundromats who first encounters evidence of the murders, and Le Femme Nikita's Don Francks (photo left) plays Officer Charlie Burns, the local beat patrolman who takes on the investigation.

This episode is also a classic example of producer Bill Howell's fascination with using synth-rock production music in his soundtracks. It's one of the things that establishes NIGHTFALL's unique style.


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All-Nighter

Air Date: 6/5/1981
Writer(s): Graham Pomeroy
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Elva Mai Hoover, Don Francks, Linda Sorenson, Ruth Springford, Budd Knapp
Commercial Synopsis: A 24-hour laundromat is the scene of a series of psychotic murders.


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

Nightfall #37: “Breaking Point”

Jayne EastwoodThe last of Max Ferguson's scripts for the series and an extremely creepy one. I didn't see the twist ending coming at all.

Also the first of four appearances by actress Jayne Eastwood (photo left).

 

 


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Breaking Point

Air Date: 5/1/81
Writer(s): Max Ferguson
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Jayne Eastwood, John Stocker, Ken James, David Hendlin, Frank Perry, David Calderisi
Commercial Synopsis: A little murder at the circus…and it's the best trick in the show.


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

Nightfall #36: “The Fatal Eggs”

Mikhail Bulgakov

One of the best adaptations of the series. Features a number of NIGHTTFALL regulars in the cast.

 

 

 

 


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The Fatal Eggs

Air Date: 4/17/81
Writer(s): Arthur Samuels (adapted from the 1925 novel by Mikhail Bulgakov)
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Douglas Campbell, Neil Dainard, David Calderisi, Nonnie Griffin, Marian Waldman, John Stocker, Arch McDonnell, Jon Granik
Commercial Synopsis: Satire and horror blend in this incredible tale of a research scientist who discovers that a mysterious red ray can accelerate organic growth, and his secret process falls into the hands of ambitious bureaucrats.


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

Nightfall #35: “Mkara”

Michael McCabeThis week we present the second of two adaptations by Graham Haley of a story by South African actor/playwright Michael McCabe (photo left).

It is 1943 and Dr. Ray Park has come to eastern Africa at the behest of his friend Sylvia to help her husband, famous hunter and naturalist Charles Woodley (Chris Wiggins), who fervently believes he is dying as the result of a curse. The curse was put on him in Tanganyika five years earlier by Mkara, the brother of a local witch doctor, after Woodley shot and killed the Great Bull of El Haza, an elephant worshiped by the regions tribes as the God of all Elephants. Woodley is convinced he is going to die and nothing will make him think otherwise, until Ray offers to take the curse upon himself.

The introductions of Luther Kranst throughout the first two seasons of NIGHTFALL range from dark and tongue-in-cheek to pithy and profound. The one for this episode is pretty typical of the rest of them, but it tends to stick with me for some reason: "Tonight's story takes us to the interior of Ethiopia, where nowadays they have bounties on virtually all wildlife…except for the human soul." Ah, Luther, I miss you.


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Mkara

Air Date: 4/3/81
Writer(s): Graham Haley (adapted from a production by Michael McCabe)
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Mkara
Featuring: Chris Wiggins, Maya Anderson, Eric House, David Hendlin, Graham Haley, Henry Ramer (Narrating as Luther Kranst)
Commercial Synopsis: Mkara, an Ethiopian native, hunts down two British ivory hunters warning them of dire consequences should they harm the God of All Elephants, the Great Bull of El Haza.


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

Nightfall #34: “The Book of Hell”

Lynne DeragonWell, here it is. Another episode that I know many of you have been waiting for me to post on: Mavor Moore's "The Book of Hell".

On fans' lists of favorite episodes, this one often vies for the top spot with "Welcome to Homerville" and "The Repossession", and for good reason: it's Creep Factor builds pretty much from the beginning.

Two editors (Nonnie Griffin, Patrick Young) and the president (Budd Knapp) of a failing publishing house find themselves in over their heads when they receive a bizarre manuscript from a reclusive author…who's been dead for two years. The book appears to be a first-person account of a soul's experiences in Hell: an account which could make millions and revive the company. But there's only one problem: the book can't be printed. It can't be photocopied. It can't even be recorded.

As the widow of the now-deceased author A. J. Yanovsky, actress Lynne Deragon [photo left] (Falling Skies, Queer As Folk) manages to fully establish the mood for the rest of the episode. Her character calmly makes startling revelations in a soft, gentle voice with a Spanish accent: an effect which makes the listener all the more uneasy, especially with this particular little gem: "That book will never be published…because it is probably true."

In one scene, passages from the book are read aloud. Now I'm sure most people will have a certain expectation of what a first-person description of hell might be like, but mine certainly didn't come anywhere close to the one Moore lays out in this script. It is just chilling. And Bill Howell's choice in background music (some of which was used to the same effect in "The Willoughby Obsession") only adds to the feeling of despair.

An interesting note about this episode: Mavor Moore was not at all happy with the final production. Between an e-mail exchange we had in 2004 and my subsequent research trip to Toronto, it seems the entire script was rewritten. But it wasn't that anything was changed in terms of story. The changes were all cosmetic. The dialog seemed to have been revised to make it more "accessible" to the average listener. In Mavor Moore's archives at York University, there are copies of both the production script and his original (the production script has a snarky little caveat on the front cover: something to the effect of "Rewritten (poorly) by the hand of another." The original script might be described as more "high-brow", but I felt it was just was effective as the one that was produced.

 


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The Book of Hell

Air Date: 3/27/81
Writer(s): Mavor Moore
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Budd Knapp, Nonnie Griffin, Patrick Young, Lynne Deragon, Hugh Webster, Allen Doremus
Commercial Synopsis: A mysterious manuscript purporting to be a first-person account of what it's like in Hell has the editors of a publishing house in an uproar.


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

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