July 15, 2017
1234.) Vintage: I’ve been a devoted follower of Robert Altman’s work for a few decades now, and have been very happy to share some moments from his films on the show. This week I offer scenes from two Altman rarities, both TV productions that haven’t aired on TV in decades. The first is Nightmare in Chicago, an episode from the Kraft Suspense Theater (originally titled “Once Upon a Savage Night,” 1964). The show blends a formulaic police procedural with some rather nasty moments showing the serial killer lead doing away with his female victims and some nice nighttime Xmas cityscapes. The cast includes Altman pal Robert Ridgely, Ted Knight, and Barbara Turner (scripter of Altman’s The Company and mom of Jennifer Jason Leigh). The second show is “Rattlesnake in a Cooler,” half of the 2 by South cable recording of Altman’s staging of two short one-acts by playwright Frank South. The play is a tour de force for its one performer, Leo Burmester, as he incarnates cars and barrooms full of pissed-off gentlemen. It’s a great example of Altman’s art at its sparest.