Friday, January 23, 2009

The "Magic" of Video - Part I;
DR. STRANGE - 1978 TV Movie.
a Sanctum Sanctorum Vidz presentation.

As a new feature film for Doctor Strange is, once again, rumored to be in production, I thought it best to go over the many versions of Doctor Strange that have made it to the (small) screen thus far.

First up would be this; the 1978 made-for-tv pilot movie:


The first mass media appearance of the Marvel Comics character; DOCTOR STRANGE, outside of comics, magazine cameos (such as ESQUIRE Magazine in 1966) and the occasional piece of merchandise, this made-for-TV movie was the pilot for what was hoped to be an ongoing television series.

Based, loosely, upon the work and characters of creators; Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, this film was
Written and Directed by:
  • Philip DeGuere

  • Peter Hooten as Dr. Stephen Strange
  • Clyde Kusatsu as Wong
  • Jessica Walter as Morgan Le Fay
  • Eddie Benton (later Anne-Marie Martin) as Clea Lake
  • John Mills as Thomas Lindmer

  • Philip Sterling as Dr. Frank Taylor
  • June Barrett as Sarah
  • Sarah Rush as Nurse
  • Diana Webster as Head Nurse
  • Bob Delegall as Intern
  • Larry Anderson as Magician
  • Blake Marion as Department Chief
  • Lady Rowlands as Mrs. Sullivan
  • Inez Pedroza as Announcer
  • Michael Clark as Taxi Driver
  • Frank Catalano as Orderly
  • Michael Ansara as Ancient One (voice, uncredited)
  • Ted Cassidy as Demon Balzaroth (voice, uncredited)
  • David Hooks as The Nameless One (uncredited)
Trippy 1970's mod music by:
  • Paul Chihara
Produced by:
  • Alex Beaton
  • Philip DeGuere
  • Gregory Hoblit

Released by Universal (an MCA company) on CBS TV on Wednesday, September 6th 1978, from 8 - 10 pm Eastern Time, it was up against heavy competition as it aired the same time as a re-broadcast of a segment of the very popular mini-series: 'ROOTS'.
As such, the Master of the Mystic Arts had met the ultimate foe.
Neither Dormammu... Nor Mordo... Not Nightmare... Or even Death itself, but instead; the NIELSEN RATINGS monster.

The film gets lambasted and little respect by critical comic fans, however, I must state that it stands head and shoulders above much of the output of that time-frame, comic-related or otherwise.

One of the points of contention among die-hard fans is that it posited some reinterpreted characterizations.

- Stephen Strange is more of a "slacker, horn-dog", (But a CARING, slacker, horn-dog) Psychiatrist / MD with a mini-fro, than the "driven and avaricious egotistical surgeon" we know from the comics.

- Clea is "Clea Lake"; a college student.

- Wong is able to cast spells.

- And the "Ancient One" is Thomas Lindmer; a more 'modern-day Merlin-type' of mystic than the Eastern lama who taught the comic-version of Strange the ways of sorcery.

The film also suffered from budgetary and effects constraints, and some of the acting is less than Emmy worthy, but no one involved can be accused of phoning it in.

With some interesting cinematography, clever editing (the Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein segments help tie together the characters' separate worlds) and effective settings (especially within the Sanctum Sanctorum), it's a very entertaining film and one that is enjoyable even after many multiple viewings.
It's cheese. But, it's GOOD cheese!

While, next time, we'll be going over all the assorted goodies associated with this film, it's best to just have the movie stand by itself.

And so, without further ado... Hit the lights, please...

Originally presented on CBS.
Their own "EYE" of Agamotto shining upon the project.


Sanctum Sanctorum Comix blogThe Sanctum Sanctorum Comix blog

and Sanctum Sanctorum Vidzpresents a Sanctum Sanctorum Vidz presentation

- of -


"There is a barrier that separates the known from the unknown.
Beyond this threshold lies a battleground where forces of good and evil are in eternal conflict.
The fate of mankind hangs in the balance and awaits the outcome..."

"In every age and time,
Some of us are called upon
to join the battle..."


part I


part II


part III


part IV


part V


part VI


part VII


part VIII


part IX


part X


Check back next time for a showcase of many items, pics, and goodies associated with the film.

Feel free to discuss the merits of the film in the comments section.

(my apologies for the moderate quality of the film. I HAVE a higher quality version that I was going to use, but my video editing software was cursed by Asmodeus, so I resorted to these back-up files, pre-edited by others. If I ever get it back up and running. I'll re-edit and re-post here for posterity.)


Holly said...

I actually didn't think this was as bad as it could have been at all. I really expected worse, haha. I think the BEST part though is the actual way they portrayed the Sanctum Sanctorum, it's pretty damn cool inside with all the weird swirling walls and books and such, and the outside too!

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Sanctum was the best part, and the way the anomaly rue looked in the floor. I actually liked the way the glowing magic bolts were done too.

It was a shame (as it always is) that they made key changes needlessly. Of course, the BIGGEST shame is that this is all we fans have to go on with live-action. *sigh*

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