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"Johnny Midnight" Vintage TV Series Dilemma


lilypond
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I have located some DVDs for sale of the Edmond O'Brien private eye detective series, "Johnny Midnight".    CIGARJOE  had mentioned this show and directed me to some episodes on youtube.   The show is in the public domain, apparently.

Predictably, the technical quality of the episodes of this 1960 series is not good.  Yet the premise, and the presence of fab Edmond O'Brien makes the show a must-see.  He's Johnny Midnight, a terse but clever ex-actor,  who still owns a theater, has an improbable New York penthouse, and plenty of time to investigate crimes that often have a some kind of theatrical connection....

There are no "official" DVDs,  and the ones I found were made by someone who states they are "direct transfers",  and he has not tried to stuff many episodes on one disc, etc.  etc.   He sounds like he is earnestly trying to do a good job with it, but the quality will vary according to the quality of the original, and so on.   I can't imagine that the quality will be worse than some of the youtube videos-- some of them are horrible, yet the show beguiles.

Hubby and I are both huge fans of E. O'B.,  so we both want to watch but don't relish having to peer in tandem at a small youtube screen.  Besides, youtube only has about 12 of the episodes in toto, whereas there are a total of 32 available on disc.

Am wondering if anyone has had experience with this kind of unofficial recording?   Do you think it's worth trying?   The series is not expensive.

If anyone has any input, thanks! 

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Hmmmm,  that's two from the "little to lose" camp.  It does makes sense, since I know I like the series already, and I can't really imagine the quality being WORSE than the youtube videos.  I was willing to persevere through them, even with faces at times almost obscure, and sort of "dragging" across the screen....

While on the hunt for these, I found another series O'Brien did in '63, called "Sam Benedict" in which he is a San Fran. attorney.  It is an "official" set of DVDs,   so I've snapped it up!   Any way to see more of E. O'B.  is welcome.  What a super voice he had;  I think I read he was Shakespeare-trained.

My long held theory proves out, that anything remotely suspense or noir related that has "Johnny" in the title, is good.

Thank you both for your feedback--  I kept see-sawing back and forth, but we're leaning to ordering "Johnny Midnight" now,  and hang the consequences!  

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I'd get the discs, LILYPOND, if they're not very expensive.  As long as they're watchable that's all you really need!

ALSO: 

Edmond's last movie was 99 and 44/100% DEAD! (1974) and his last television appearance was in "Police Story", also in 1974.  After that, the early on-set Alzheimers made it impossible for him to remember his lines.  He was only 58 when his entertainment career was effectively ended by the disease.  (He was born Sept. 10, 1915).   

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Very interesting about his last performances, MR. GORMAN, thanks.   Oh, whenever I think about his decline, it's so bleak.  I read some detailed comments from his daughter that were heart-rending.  Rather wish she had not seen fit to share them!   He packed so much talent and vibrancy into his productive years, which were short but significant.

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I do believe Edmond had suffered from diabetes for two decades or so prior to his forced retirement due to Alzheimers so that surely could not have helped him health-wise.  Or appearance-wise.  He looked 70 when he was 58.  He died at 69 after having been in that sanitarium for quite a number of years prior to his death in 1985.

He made a horror/suspense movie I've not seen called DREAM NO EVIL (1970).  I've got a tape of it, but have not watched it yet.    

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The only movie Edmond appeared in that I positively don't like is OBLIGING YOUNG LADY (1942).  If I had the means I'd re-cut the film and eliminate every single moment of that "Heinie Manush" bit that irritates that absolute stuffing out of me.  When that movie comes on it's a guaranteed channel-changer.

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Ha, just from your description, MR. GORMAN, that sounds like that one would be a non-starter for me too.

Ironically, I haven't seen him in all that much.  Have my faves, of course.   Naturally, that intense, careening, flamboyantly perspiring, tour de force performance in D. O. A.--- love that, it goes without saying.

And, in "Seven Days in May",  his wry, hard-drinking Senator-- that was a treat, just savor that shrewd performance.   And that part in "White Heat"-- can't remember that much since I sort of cringe through the movie, despite loving Jimmy Cagney.   Amid all the baroque, criminal craziness, E. O'B. was an island of smarts and law enforcement normalcy, if I'm recalling correctly....   

 

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  • 3 months later...

I love O'Brien but I watched a few episodes of Johnny Midnight and thought it was not worthy of the man. Mike Mazurki hits him in the face with a chair and he's fine. They gave him lines such as "Talk, sugar, and talk fast!" Johnny Staccato did TV noir better.

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