Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Avengers – A Forty-Year Intermission

When I was a kid, I was a big fan of the TV show, “The Avengers.” How cool was Patrick McNee as John Steed? How hot was Diana Rigg as Emma Peel? There is one episode that has stayed with me, that I have remembered since I saw it and what I now know must have been in the summer of 1967.

The episode began with a man apparently being attacked by an enormous cat. The camera angle was from the attacker’s point of view, and we saw in slow motion the victim being mauled by enormous claws. I don’t know what it was, but that scared the living daylights out of an eleven-year-old Kent Mitchell and my brothers. Then, my parents did something ill-advised. They made us go to bed without seeing the end of that episode. Man, was I scared that night! I never did find out how the episode ended. Well, knock me over with a feather. I was surfing through a BBC channel on cable, and lo and behold, got to see the episode, “The Hidden Tiger,” to its conclusion after a 40-year intermission.

I discovered that the nefarious villains were the People United for the Restoration and Rehabilitation of Cats. Or “PURR”. The resident mad scientist, Dr. Cheshire, (with his lovely assistant Miss Angora), had invented a device which transformed house cats into enormous man-killers. (Don’t ask me how it works! I didn’t write the episode!)

It was a mind-boggling experience seeing the same episode as a middle-aged man forty years later. What had terrified me in 1967, I now saw as tongue-in-cheek comedy.> > The moral of the story: Parents, if your kids see something scary on TV, do not send them to bed until they get to see the resolution.

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