The prime time movies of the week back in the ’70s tended to be pretty solid. The studios supplying the networks eventually fed the maw by creating TV movie units. Like the B-movie units the studios ran back in the ’40s, these churned out films that were generally inexpensive and derivative but also professionally crafted. Both also drew from pools of familiar character actors that again added at least a sheen of competence to the proceedings. Yesterday’s feature, for instance, starred David Janssen, Bradford Dillman, Barbara Rush, Geoffrey Rush and Royal Dano. I’m sure there were other faces I’d recognize, even if not more names.
Today’s subject, however, came from the even cheaper, late night skein ABC ran under the rubric Wide World of Mystery, a subhead of their more general Wide World of Entertainment. These were even cheaper than the prime time movies, and I suspect, often shot on video rather than film, which was generally only true of soap operas back then. (Hence the poor image quality of the still above.)
Yesterday’s flick might have scanted the werewolf action, but this one was downright goofy. It did field a few names (at the time, anyway), but not nearly as many as the ones cited above. Meredith MacRae was on hand, being one of the stars of Petticoat Junction the decade before. The star, Michael Parks, had toplined the shortlived ‘Finding America’ show Then Came Bronson, and remained a busy TV guest actor. He remains busy working even today. The cop in the show was played by Harold Stone, one of the most familiar of familiar character actors of the time.