Friday, October 30, 2015

The Martian has a secret

Long before the current movie, Ray Walston played a real - okay, Hollywood real - Martian in the 1960s sitcom My Favorite Martian. I vaguely recall the silliness, especially Walston's goofy antennas.

Almost everything that was ever on TV ends up on DVD, and this sitcom is no exception. At Google News I found this rave review of the recently released My Favorite Martian DVD set. The game show angle? The review mentions Ray Walston's turn on I've Got a Secret, included as an extra on the DVD release.

The IGAS ep happened on October 26, 1964, according to the superb I've Got a Secret episode guide. By then Steve Allen had taken over the show, which had about two-and-a-half more years to run. Walston's secret for the Halloween show was that he had a jack o' lantern that lit up in response to audience applause. Maybe not the best secret in the show's history, but they can't all be super winners. The panel was the regular crew: Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Bess Myerson and Henry Morgan.

The real point of Ralston's appearance was to plug his movie Kiss Me, Stupid, where he played opposite Dean Martin and Kim Novak. One of Billy Wilder's lesser efforts, the flick bombed with critics and audiences. After My Favorite Martian closed in 1966, Ray Walston played many character roles in TV and movies. He died on New Year's Day, 2001 at age 86.

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