Review of Dream on Monkey Mountain on NBC's Experiments in Television, February 15, 1970.
Johnny Cash and Raquel Welch Einstein. O'Neill's brooding drama of the regulars. ibsence Of Color Reduces Program 'Life' By CYNTHIA LOWRY AP Television-Radio Writer NEW YORK (AP) - It is a rare television program today that is not made in color. Producers of programs think in terms of color, rely on it, build effects on it. Yet 60 per cent of the nation's television homes still can see only black and white pictures. This viewer, with a color set hospitalized for , emergency treatment, found many black and white programs, particularly weekend sports shows, lacking a vital, enlivening ingredient, like salt in soup. The initial program of this season's "Experiment in Television" on NBC Sunday afternoon was not an hour that, in any event, would be every viewer's DONALD DUCK choice. It was a fantasy, "Dream on Monkey Mountain," full of the dreams and hopes of a West Indian black man. It was filmed in Trinidad and performed by a talented native cast. The story was built on the framework of the last days of an old mountain man who has recurrent visions that he is an African king, freeing his people from oppression. What really happens is that he smashes a village bar and is thrown in an island jail. The drama moves from grim reality to his grandiose visions and nightmares, with village people assuming other roles. However, the native color and scenery would have provided an extra dimension that might have helped fix the viewer's mood and, perhaps, helped his comprehension. "Uncle Sam Magoo," an NBC special, was a cartoon show-that actually was more experimental, in TV terms, than the earlier program. The familiar little near-sighted character, dressed in an Uncle Sam suit was the viewer's guide on a roller-coaster ride of American history. It started with Leif Ericson and Christopher Columbus and wound up with our astronauts landing on the moon. In between, a chronological mixup of Americana wandered wildly and widely from the arrival of the Pilgrims to Teddy Roosevelt's San Juan Hill charge and all wars. Mostly the program was done in cartoon style with near-sight ed jokes, but the Civil War period was covered with old lithographs and drawings animated to show the cannons belching flame, and attempts at humor were, happily, temporarily abandoned. A.'ir,, color woi.ikl have added some 5'l per cent to the viewing pleasure. But humor, history, patriotism and cartoons did not seem to mix comfortably. "Survival on the Prairie." an NBC nature soecial Friday nh'.hl was, without the addition ef coior, just another travelogue-type hour with a self-consciously poetic script. It specialized in dramatic shots of great expanses of prairie grasses bending to the wind, of snow and of rushing streams. By Wait Disney , , s volTmean" J NO!j (DOLLS FOS VOUR ) A DOLLAR FCU BECAUSE ) BEAUTIFUL?) ( RA?E.' X S THOUGM-TS.DfcSv.' J I MY THOUGHTS.' ) HEVCE ' Tfl ' , Z l- HOW COME ,- LIKE ' X - 1 , S'l-u WANT i ( I OaAND ( V-E LAW ' V-E LAW