Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Overlooked TV -- The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo was a syndicated TV series in 1956.  There have been others since then, but I've been watching a few episodes of the 1956 version on YouTube, so that's the one I'm writing about.  It's not exactly based on the book.  It's sort of a series of sequels.  Now that Edmond Dantes is all settled in as the Count, he's a sort of do-gooder in various trouble spots in Europe.  Sometimes this doing good involves lending money from his vast fortune (he's a banker now), and sometimes just performing rescues when evil relatives want to take over a kingdom from the rightful heirs, or that's the way it's been in the episodes I've seen, which include numbers 1, 3, and 5

The star of the show is George Dolenz (Mickey's dad!), and his two sidekicks are played by Nick Cravat and Fortunio Bonanova.  You might think that with an acrobat like Cravat in the cast there'd be some great stunts.  But you'd be wrong.  Cravat seems just wasted.  He has little to do, when he's in action, it's usually short and uninspired.  Which reminds me that the fist fights in this show have to be some of the lamest ever.  Nobody comes within a foot of a jaw with a fist.  The sword fights, while not entirely lame, are just mediocre.  Maybe things got better in the later episodes.  All that being said, I kind of liked watching the show.  It's a reminder of the way things were in a different era, which is something I always enjoy.

7 comments:

James Reasoner said...

I don't believe I even knew this show existed.

Bill Crider said...

It wasn't shown in my area in the old days, but someone clued me in about it not long ago.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Mickey Dolenz's dad as the Count? I'm with James. Never heard of this one either.

Fred Blosser said...

I remember watching it as a kid on WSAZ-TV out of Huntington, WV, and Dolenz in the lead, but nothing about the stories. IMDB says it was a Lew Grade production. I believe it ran in syndication around the same time as other swashbucklers like ROBIN HOOD, LANCELOT, and THE BUCCANEERS.

Eric Jamborsky said...

I remember watching this as a kid in Knoxville, Tennessee, back in the fifties. Got a bunch of episodes and it definitely did not live up to the memories. Still, there have been some interesting plots, but execution was weak. This was the era of the syndicated series; The Adventures of Robin Hood, The 77th Bengal Lancers, Topper, The Vise, and shows featuring various Arthurian knights. Robin Hood was definitely the best buckler of swashes on TV.

Todd Mason said...

Well, as one looks at, say, the tv listings in, say 1957 in NYC, or Chicago, but particularly NYC, the DuMont station has just lost its network, and Channels 9 and 11 are confirmed independents (and will remain so till UPN and the WB roll in) and Channel 13 is just beginning to launch its short-lived network, the NTA Film Network...and those commercial stations, and the bigger network stations all have primetime holes to fill (because there are at least a few half-hour gaps in all the big three's programming weeks)...so there's quite a flood of Ziv TV and imported British and other half-hours in syndication popping up all over the schedules...WGN in Chicago mixes enough syndicated and NTA programming with such local productions as GOOD MUSIC FROM CHICAGO to have a primetime slate that doesn't look Too different from those of its large-network competitors, without resorting to the usual theatrical films each night the New York stations use along with the syndie items. (A few years later on, particularly after NTA dies, they start using the big film packages as well.)

Don Coffin said...

I don't think that ever aired in Indianapolis...if it did, I never knew about it, because I would have wanted to watch it. Now, however, I suspect I might find it somewhat lacking.