DATELINE: Reel History
First Gen Android
In 1973 Michael Critchton envisioned several theme parks, including a trip back to the nostalgic days of the Wild West. The inspiration of sci-fi meeting the West came in Westworld, which came 40 years after Gene Autry’s Phantom Empire, about Atlantis hiding underground.
Because TV’s vast wasteland had featured dozens upon dozens of TV westerns for a generation of Baby Boomers, it seemed like the most popular environs for a theme park populated with life-like androids.
There were also standbys like Medievalworld, and Ancient Romanworld. Later, they added Futureworld, a stand-alone movie.
Jonathan Nolan’s new west seems to hint at other parks for the new season of 2018’s Westworld.
Our attention has been diverted to the charming past of the grandfather of all androids-gone-wild, and we don’t mean Spring Breakworld, nor Mardi Grasworld.
The early trip back featured the always-smarmy Richard Benjamin as Everyman of New York, and James Brolin, so much cuter than his son Josh, who grew into Mr. Barbra Streisand.
But the old Westworld belonged fully to Yul Brynner. No one else could convey the menace of an android obsessed. He played a variation on his own character from the mythic Western about the Magnificent Seven. You might have cast any of a dozen TV western stars in role, but you needed a dubious bad guy in the Lee Van Cleef, Jay Silverheels, or Jan Merlin mode.
(Note to Jonathan Nolan, only Jan Merlin from those days still is around and active enough to play your villain.)
However, Yul is unstoppable in his performance; neither acid, fire, nor power failure, can close down his android robotic computer.
Imagine how advanced that power is for your computer, tablet, and smartphone today when a little wetness, power outage, or overheating, can stop those robotic items deader than a Westworld overload.
Hi-yo, Tonto. Return to the thrilling days of yesteryear in the original Westworld. Now streaming for your delight.
We will be evaluating every episode of the new season!