Endeavour Returns for a Sixth Season

DATELINE:  Wonderland of 60s Crime

'stache Shaun in Sixties Mode!

“Pylon” is the title for a dandy reboot of the great youngish detective Endeavour, transferred out of his element to the world of uniformed cop. PBS has conscripted to show a miniseries of murder again this summer. They are the best of British crime imported to give us a throwback to the Swinging Sixties.

With Morse demoted from Oxford to red brick schoolhouse, you know a mind is a terrible thing to waste. It’s a misuse of genius to have Shakespeare write advertising jingles, but that’s what has happened to the operatic fantatic played by Shaun Evans, now in mustache mode.

He’s not alone: all his kindred spirits are also out of sorts. Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) has been reduced to a secondary role under a twit. No one has been cast in a proper role in the new season, set in summer of 1969.

What have we as issues? Nothing short of a smorgasbord of current trendy crimes:  pornography, child abuse, murder (as always), genetic criminal traits, wrongful death penalty, falsified police evidence, heroin addiction, police brutality, and on and on.

Into this mix, Morse is overstepping his bounds as a cop on the beat in a small backwater, using his skills to uncover clues that range from Lewis Carroll to Black Beauty. Clever smarty-pants Morse does put lesser police detectives to shame—and they pull rank often.

A uniform isn’t paid to think, and the ones paid to think are thoughtless imbeciles.

Oh, the equestrian angle is a throwaway of red herrings. We are glad to find Endeavour back in force on the force.

 

 

 

Ancient Aliens: an Elemental Approach

DATELINE:  Return of Bob Lazar

out there

“Element 115” was once a fantasy of UFO metal worker Bob Lazar, but now it has come true like a Cinderella story.

Giorgio sort of falls by the wayside for this show, and more attention is given to Nick Pope and David Childress as commentators. However, the latest addition to the expert gang is some producer of a Bob Lazar documentary. They clean this guy up, but he is still creepy.

So, Ancient Aliens recycles footage from Bob Lazar’s recent new documentary interview, which featured a raid by FBI/NSA/CIA and other alphabet acronyms. It appears he suggested he had kept a sample of this highly unstable element.

According to Ancient Alien theorists who have been taking the road to the stars for over a decade, this stuff was deliberately given to mankind to help join the member community of space patrols across the galaxy.

The notion is posed that two UFO crashes in 1947 were staged in Russia and the US in order to magnanimously bestow each with another reason to compete.

This allegedly will lead to peaceful exploration of outer space by providing humans with a fuel that alters the time/space continuum.

Ancient Aliens gives the show over to author Mike Bara and Travis Taylor to visit a Hollywood special effects lab and analyze some recent UFO footage released (suspiciously) by the Pentagon. They contend the government is giving us the drip by drip information that we are not alone.

The upshot is that, if the new Element 115 can be made to remain in a shot glass for more than a gulp or two, we can conquer the solar system and beyond.

We’ll drink to that.

Those about to Die: Remain Calm

 DATELINE: What a Life!

emily watson Fictional Emily Watson?

 

The sheer horror of Chernobyl grows as the coverups are uncovered. Minor bureaucrats dispute the severity of nuclear destruction, out of sheer willful self-protection.

By the time this crisis is tossed into Gorbachev’s lap, as the head of the Soviet Union, he is faced with horrible options. As the second episode shows him dealing with giving a death sentence to three workers who must sacrifice their lives to go into a radioactive cavern on fire.

Jared Harris is the physicist who is indignant and ultimately convincing. Emily Watson first appears in this episode as the woman nuclear physicist who best understands what annihilation the world is facing.

Alas, she is a complete fiction as a character, being a composite of a half-dozen female scientists. It is another means of demeaning women while pretending to elevate one to heroic levels. There could never be a half-dozen heroic women.

The evacuation of the city around the burning radioactive power plant is quite impressive, after the authorities learn that the equivalent of millions of X-rays is hitting everyone with a few miles to start.

By seventy-two hours, they could be facing the deaths of 60 million people in the Kiev area.

The grim atmosphere of Russian society is enhanced by its poor living conditions and helpless population. As the opening show indicated, enough lies told will inoculate people to feelings about truth.

There are not enough iodine pills—and there is nowhere to go: the silent and invisible radiation is shooting skyward to come down with the rains.

This is dramatic and horrifying to say the least, and a lesson in how close to self-destruction the human race came in 1986.

Watching this five-part series is not uplifting, or educational. It is simply numbing.

 
 

 

Chernobyl: Name of Infamy

DATELINE: Episode Starts  Off with Bang!

jared harris Jared Harris, Chain-smoking Star

If you had no historical or geographic knowledge of Chernobyl, you might think it was located outside of Liverpool, simply based on the accents of the actors in all the key roles. HBO, not History Channel, has taken on the 30-year old horror of history.

The main character, a scapegoat played by Jared Harris, hangs himself in the opening minutes of the mini-series. It’s a Vertigo moment in a horror story.

If you think that the dour and drab social world of 1986 is strictly limited to the Soviet Union and its failed policies and diminished treatment of the individual, you might be partially right. The onerous opening tones signal the problem with lies.

Hearing enough of them makes you give up on truth. That was true in Chernobyl in 1986 or the White House in 2020.

The HBO series has been hailed for its verisimilitude: every small detail seems apt and metaphorical. It’s only the big details that make one queasy.

The horror of radiation poison and radiation burns are brought to ugly effect while leaders and small-time bureaucrats deny, deny, deny, that there is a melt-down in their future.

We suspect idiocy was never meant to be limited to the Soviet government. Delays and misinformation might be handled as much the same in the United States. Containing the problem was a better solution than saving the public.

The blame game in the Soviet Union in 1986 was even as deadly as Germany in 1944 or under Stalin around the same time.

Episode 1 is hideous for all its creepy mortality whose name no one dares to speak. Only when everyone is throwing up their guts and birds fall from the sky do we realize that lies are only tiny part of a melt-down.

 

 

 

Civil War Gold Turns Booth into a Mason!

DATELINE:  Color Him Unreal?

color him unreal Fake Stanton?

Old wine is seldom put in new bottles. Civil War Gold missed the key point that the mummy of John Wilkes Booth toured in carnivals until the 1930s. Now, maybe there’s gold in his fillings.

If you happen to be the History Channel and their latest attempt to find plots, you start to delve into Wilkes Booth escape myths, conspiracies, to package them into alluring entertainments.

The idea that John Wilkes Booth died in Enid, Oklahoma, in 1903 is not new. Of course, the Curse of Civil War Gold wants to tie in the Masons; Booth was no Mason, and he likely would have not been appreciated by men like Hackley. Booth was more likely assisted by Col. John Mosby and his Rangers to escape the dragnet of Union soldiers at the Garrett Barn in 1865.

However, looking for escape hatches is not a bad idea, and it does lend some intrigue to the series that has gone far afield from its original mission: finding the stolen Confederate treasury that was in partial possession of Jeff Davis.

As a sidebar, more tunnels are being researched by the second-tier team in Muskegon. In fact, there are apparently more tunnels in that Michigan city than in the New York subway system. And, every tunnel between buildings was meant to move gold bullion secretly.

No other possibility is ever considered.

The Curse remains unexplained, but the Civil War Gold never helped John Wilkes Booth or Edwin Stanton. That fact is indisputable, no matter what you hear on the series that has been hijacked by Alex Lagina who coyly never admits he may be a Mason too.

Other, more peculiar theories on Booth may yet be in offing. They are there for the picking, if the show wants to veer a few more degrees off-course.

In many ways, the show is about as off-color as the fake colorized photographs of Stanton.

David Ortiz Questions Persist

DATELINE: Pardon Us!

GOATS

Boston sports media always protect their own. If you have questions, you may not always receive answers. Not even the get well wishes of a former President of the United States can hide bigger puzzlements.

Dark questions haunt the situation surrounding the hit on David Ortiz. Oh, yes, make no mistake: it was a hit that fortunately did not end Big Papi’s game. As he told doctors entering surgery, “I am a good man.” He did not want to die.

So, we wonder why the Red Sox organization decided to fly Ortiz out of the Dominican Republic as soon as possible, even before he stabilized (despite the medical opinion to the contrary).

If you think he was stable, he arrived in Boston to face immediate second surgery. Did someone botch the job in the ER of the DR?

In New York’s Post, you see the words “hit man.” This does not surprise several of his former teammates, who indeed think an assassin’s bullet is not out of the question.

You may well wonder why Ortiz returned often to the DR. Was it to see his family—while leaving his wife and children back in Boston?

You may well wonder why the assassin is tied to drugs and why his companion was a police officer. You may well wonder if the long-ago charge that Ortiz used illegal substances in his baseball career might resurface.

They removed Ortiz from the DR before another attack might finish him off: how easy it is to die in a hospital from complications after being shot up and losing your intestines, spleen, and other organ parts.

Septic poisoning is but a day away.

Big Papi’s agent thinks something odd is going on. Well, when you are spirited out of the hospital before the police can question you, there is an appearance that leaves a dubious feeling.

We can count only on the fact that the Boston media has thrown up another protective shield around David Ortiz.

Deadwood Passes Deadline

 DEADLINE:  the Un-Deadwood Movie

Olyphant Olyphant

The movie sequel to the three-season HBO series Deadwood is not dead as a doornail after all. It’s not even moribund.

HBO gunned it down ten years ago in a shootout shout-out, and it took as much time for writer/producer David Milch to resurrect it with nearly the entire original cast. (Powers Boothe left us a few years ago, and he is not noticed or mentioned here).

For two weeks we have heard the words “Shakespearean” applied again and again to this Western. Yes, they talk funny with Swearingen leading the way with swearing in iambic pentameter. Ian McShane is the scene-stealer emeritus.

An odd thing happens when a show tries to reset after the sunset: actors either look like they have aged twenty years, not ten, or others look like they had to step out of a time machine to reappear.

A few flashbacks remind us of how much the actors have changed in a decade.

We won’t spoil it by saying who looks ancient, and who held up. That may be the real suspense. Suffice it to say that boyish Timothy Olyphant has aged into Western star Sam Elliott, one of his old villains from Justified.

Others like William Sanderson and Jeffrey Jones have looked perennially old for 30 years. No news here.

As for the characters and characterizations, everyone is the same, just moreso. Perhaps that is the real secret of aging: you just get worse in your worst habits.

As for the script that has rankled some fans, you will have to understand that these kind of shows usually center upon birth, marriage, funerals, auctions, and deaths. Yup, we have them all in spades.

Deadwood’s statehood celebration is crashed by Gerald McRaney, the house villain, who returns as a California Senator Hearst who brings the 19th century Internet with him: yes, he is putting up telephone poles for profit.

Fear not. It is still the wilder West and shoot-outs are bound to occur near the local bordello.

Robin Weigert’s Calamity Jane looks like she is caked in dirt, but she was already an international celebrity by the time of this show (1889).

Many characters don’t have much to do—and do it for a few lines.

We wouldn’t have missed this reunion show for the world of kindling wood, nor dead heroes. It even beats having Marshall Dillon and Miss Kitty show up twenty years after their show Gunsmoke ended in a sequel movie.

The West never loses its allure.

Big Papi Survives Assassin Bullet!

DATELINE: Celebrities Face Russian Roulette!

ortiz

An assassination attempt on the life of Red Sox legend David Ortiz, known in the baseball world as Big Papi, is vaguely reminiscent of the attack on the life of John Lennon or Tupac Shakur.

Those two chilling actions of murder put a damper forever on how celebrities interacted with the public. Now, again, the fame or infamy of sports stars—and their relative accessibility to the general public may shut down appearances in informal settings.

David Ortiz has lived under a lucky star as athlete and pop hero. Next to Gronk, he is a New England fixture and dizzy icon.

Big Papi is enormously popular in Boston, and in fact was expected to attend a charity event in town this week. He keeps a high profile in the New England area, mainly owing to product endorsements and advertising, which likely provides income and attention.

However, Big Papi also put his local house up for sale this week in the Greater Boston suburbs. He was shot in the back in his native Dominican Republic, not Boston.

He became an American citizen a few years ago, and also defended Boston at a ceremony after the Boston Marathon bombing a few years back.

He was shot in the back by an assailant who clearly meant to kill him. The bullet went through his stomach. The shooter on a motorcycle, or someone presumed to be the gunman, was attacked by an incensed crowd at the night club where Ortiz had appeared.

Those familiar with the two countries sharing an island in the Caribbean call the DR a dangerous place. Americans have died there recently in mysterious hotel incidents.

What is clear is that the violence of the world and the social media attention celebrities receive internationally has made a new wrinkle for assaults or assassinations by deranged individuals with a sense of entitlement.

Big Papi may well survive this attack, but he will never be the same—nor will sports stars who may find themselves paying a heavy price for fame and bodyguards.

David Suchet’s Evil Under the Sun!

DATELINE:  Poirot Dandy!

Poirot cast Great Cast!

We took in an old TV chestnut from almost twenty years ago, Evil Under the Sun, from the eighth season of the off and on series of David Suchet as it attempted to film every Agatha Christie episode.

This one had the delight of Poirot being sent off to a health spa in Devon to recover from his obese condition.

Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran) insisted that Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser) accompany him. The classic regulars of the show are here in their element, perhaps beyond their element. Miss Lemon is sent by Poirot all around the countryside to do legwork for the case. Usually, Miss Lemon claims to have filing to do—and must decline any other assignments.

The other stand-up regular is Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson) more respectful of Poirot in later seasons. Though he and Hastings are now semi-regular dinner companions, they are always murder investigators.

The health spa is filled with suspicious and dubious figures who claim the place is the opposite of health. Its torturous steam boxes and daft clientele are perfect candidates for murder and murder victim.

It becomes increasingly obvious to Poirot that the place is ripe for crime, even as he is served various vegetable drink concoctions.

Sometimes murder flows trippingly on Christie’s contrived plots, though this one clunks to a finish, it is still fun to behold. We can see the roots of disgust in Poirot at the human condition, though this low-budget, low-star power TV version is a delight compared to the overblown movie with Peter Ustinov as Poirot.

Most of this is the result of a delicious ensemble cast and a deep dedication to the color scheme of Art Deco.

Gathering all the suspects in the hotel dining room for a big Reveal loses none of its luster for mystery fans. It’s a gem.

 

 

 

Caravaggio Affair, Not What You Think

DATELINE:  Them Bones, Them Bones!

Gilles Caravaggio Merisi Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisi went by the name of his hometown, Caravaggio, when he stormed the art world in the early 1600s. He was the James Dean/Charlie Sheen/O.J.Simpson of his age.

The Caravaggio Affair is an attempt to solve a 400-year-old mystery. They do not delve into his dubious sex life and appetite for young male models but do explain his use of prostitutes to serve as his saintly women.

Caravaggio was a literal back-stabber, and it didn’t sit when with the Viceroy of Naples or various Cardinals at the Vatican.

At the height of his fame, he was wanted for murder and had a bunch of bounty hunters coming after his head. Literally.  If he wanted a pardon, he had to give all his paintings to a high-ranking and corrupt Vatican cardinal.

So, you find a half-dozen beheading of John the Baptist paintings among his masterpieces. The notion of being headless played on his mind. “Off with his head” was not an empty slogan.

Wherever he went, trouble followed. Until he disappeared from history. No one is quite sure if he were murdered, died from some septic illness and discarded in a pauper grave.

He may have also faked his death and took off for parts unknown. However, the scientist biographers in this little film disagree. They bring together history, genetics, archaeology, and geology to literally dig up the truth.

A cavern of bones under a church renders a handful to be tested for age (about 40), male, suffering from severe lead poison (all those paintings, about 1000 times the dose you’d expect from an average person).

Those conditions presented half a dozen candidates. And tests seemed to indicate which one was the painter. It seems he was growing increasingly mad as a hatter, likely from heavy metals. He was erratic, violent, and sick, growing worse.

Forty was not the start of life in 1610. If you reached it, you were not long for the world. So it was for Caravaggio who was attacked, likely caught an infection, and while waiting for a pardon in trade for a bunch of paintings, he collapsed and died.

It’s quite a research trip and fills up an hour with fascinating detail.

Badlands Alberta Guardian Face

DATELINE: Intriguing Ancient Aliens!

geo Grounded 1000 feet in size.

We like to be astounded, and Ancient Aliens did its job for the second episode of the 14th season: it brought to our attention the Badlands Guardian. This giant profile face seems to be fashioned from natural foundations of terrain.

Yet, it is uniquely human—the countenance of a Native American indigenous person wearing a headdress of a medicine man. He is not a chief or warrior, but some kind of telepathic seer.

The face cannot be seen except by drone angles, and it seems consistent in different seasons. Why do we not know about this? It was discovered in 2005 by accident from a satellite, Google map.

You have here a geoglyph, or rock formation that is near a plethora of indigenously carved images by Native Americans.

The series quickly goes into its usual patter about prehistorical peoples creating geoglyphs to communicate with creatures from outer space. Indeed, the Badlands face with its features of native resident could be no older than 20,000 years and likely comes around the last Ice Age, about 13,000 years.

Why, the show asks, were Nazca Lines and other world-wide images all created around this time? Indeed, we are an inquiring mind that would like to know.

Ancient Aliens is quick to jump on the face of Mars, debunked by NASA rather unconvincingly. But the shock of the night is that the Badlands Guardian is a doppleganger of an Egyptian pharaoh, father of Tutenkahen, he of the elongated skull: Akhenaten. You better know him as the husband of Nefertiti.

A sculptor makes a three-D image of the geoglyph, and she carves out something Egyptian–was it by design?

We stand in awe of this episode, as it has provoked more skepticism and consideration of the roots of ancient civilization.

Wonderfully done and worth every attention you will provide it!

 

 

 

My Topper Time Fun!

DATELINE: Ghostly Trifecta?

Topper & His Ghosts Leo G. Carroll as Topper with Ghosts

Who said dead people don’t have fun?

If I have learned anything by my experiences at Mill Circle, I now know that my haunting spirits have a strange sense of timing and a stranger sense of humor.

One morning at 5:30 a.m., I had a trifecta of paranormal incidents. It seems they were going to drag me into the library at dawn, no matter how much I resisted.

I had on the previous afternoon replaced the batteries in the smoke detector on the ceiling in the library. One might think nothing more of that for months—however, that was not the case.

At 3am the security camera came on, alerting me on the phone. I looked in a semi-groggy state to see nothing much in the grainy black and white video, but I did hear the smoke alarm beeping. Yes, the battery was drained within 12 hours.

It continued to beep every thirty seconds or so, but I could not hear it on my other side of the house.

But, at 5:30 a.m., I decided it was light enough in there for me to venture—and take down the smoke detector and its irritating beeper.

When I reached up to remove the ceiling unit, the Titanic shelf next to me had a reaction. Two items came flying off:  first fell a four DVD documentary series about Titanic, and then came the postcard in 3D of the Munch painting, “The Silent Scream”.

My blow-up Scream doll is across the room, hanging from another model ship where a spirit set it—and I had placed a postcard of the image of the Screamer on the deck of the 3-D puzzle model of the benighted ship.

Eventually, I expected the little postcard would come down, jumping off the ship like its counterpart doll.

As I reached up to remove the smoke detector, the postcard had its moment in conjunction with the DVD. Both jumped off the bookcase.

I bent down to pick them up and replace them on their perches. As I did so, from high up came a shooting orb, past my backside and under the table with the chessboard.

I did not see it until later when I viewed the security camera footage.

Yes, it was the trifecta all right:  batteries drained, objects falling off the shelf, and then an orb shooting past.

If you want a sense of humor from my ghostly residents, this example likely comes closest. It certainly made me feel like Cosmo Topper and his household of ghosts, George and Marian Kirby.

Indeed, the complete DVD set of Topper TV series was on the bookcase where the orb flew by.  Yes, it’s all caught on tape.

Don’t ever let it be said that ghosts don’t want to have fun.

 

 

 

Lincoln Murder Conspiracy & Civil War Gold

DATELINE: More than Expected?

Nutcake Stanton Edwin Nutcake Stanton.

You could say that Alex Lagina, son of producer Marty Lagina, is picking his moments to stay clear of the series—and when to jump in to take over.

We still haven’t figured out what the Curse of Civil War Gold may be:  perhaps the show should have been configured as the Conspiracy of Civil War Gold.

In more idiocy, Kevin Dykstra seems determined to go out onto Lake Michigan when heavy waves could capsize his boat and bring physical harm to members of his search team.

You may have noticed that Alex Lagina stayed clear of this aspect of the search. He did come in toward the end, when again the Masons were made to be culprits in the Hackley scheme to steal the Confederate treasury.

Hackley now has been tied to the freemasons, and his propensity to build tunnels between his various building projects looks suspicious. Now there is an attempt to show Charles Hackley wanted to make Michigan a rival to New York as a financial capital with capitol.

As the richest man in Muskegon, Michigan, Hackley built hospitals and schools with his money (wherever it came from) and that philanthropy continues to be tainted with each show in the series.

After this night, Hackley is tied in to Edwin ‘Nutcake’ Stanton, the notorious Secretary of War under Lincoln whose mad techniques led him to suicide and/or murder. On top of this, he’s accused of being a freemason, worse than anything else.  It’s Alex Lagina who brings in another “author” and investigative journalist to liven up the stolen gold tale with assassination plots.

If this seems to be turning from a molehill of gold into a conspiracy of historical proportions, you may wonder how far afield can the History Channel take us.

Stay tuned because the plot just thickened.

 

 

 

 

Glen or Glenda: Ed or Edwina?

DATELINE:  Transvest or Transsex?

ed Glen, Ed, or Alan Young?

We never thought we’d tackle Ed Wood, figuring it was beyond anything we could tolerate.

You never know until you sample the wares. Perhaps the decades of derision about his schlock-master directing jobs, or worse, being portrayed in a movie by Johnny Depp, has left Edward Wood with a reputation in tatters. He has become synonymous with laughingstock. What a shame.

Glen or Glenda was one of his daring efforts of 1953, on the heels of Christine Jorgensen and the sex-change scandals of that socially calm time.

Looking like a version of Alan Young on steroids, Ed Wood made us think Mr. Ed will show up at any point. However, it was Mr. Ed Wood who played the outrageous Glenda in blonde wig and high heels.

Simplistic and well-intended, the film was way ahead of its time in terms of trying to present a subject that was laughable to society. He likely contributed to the snide attitudes with his masculine “woman” who dresses like his girlfriend.

Indeed, the high point of their relationship is when she understandingly gives him her beautiful angora sweater that he yearns to wear.

The notion that transvestites and transsexuals were similar is debunked here, as well as the notion that transvestites were homosexual. You have to give Wood credit. He was trying too hard to bring legitimacy to the subject matter.

On hand, inexplicably, is Bela Lugosi, sending in his performance from an armchair. You might ask why is he here? Well, box-office and a payday for him could be the answer. He talks a great deal of gibberish in his tacked-on loony scenes.

Mostly the story is a psychiatrist telling Lyle Talbot, as a sympathetic detective who has found a suicide victim (a man dressed as a woman) and he wants to understand. Talbot also added a presence to the film, as he was better known from being the neighbor friend to Ozzie and Harriet on TV!

The low-budget film is in its own way equal to anything Kenneth Anger was trying to do outside the Hollywood system. Wood works with bad actors, bad script, bad sets, and a wacky message, to present something presentable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Deco Icons: Short Brit Series

DATELINE: Casa de Orient Express

casa del rio Casa!

A man named David Heathcote is billed as a design historian of all things Art Deco, and he hosts this four-episode series. Each program is about half an hour, and the selected areas of study are not the best examples, but they will serve as a teaching tool.

Heathcote visits Claridge’s, the swank Art Deco hotel in Mayfair, London, as well as the London Transport building. He also takes in Casa del Rio, and the juiciest of all, the Orient Express train.

With long and flowing silver hair, Heathcote has a tendency not to look into the camera, which leads us to think he is talking to someone other than his TV audience.

We always want to explore other areas or spend more time in a certain place the host shows us, but we are at his peripatetic mercy. He always moves on, blithely climbing staircase after staircase. Perhaps he just wants to show us the decorative elements in hallways, but we of lazy bones yearn for an elevator.

In the first episode, Heathcote seems befuddled by a butler in his hotel suite, unpacking. And, he calls having breakfast in his hotel room a bit too much, when that is what we always prefer. We generally rise from bed when it is delivered.

Heathcote notes that the Art Deco Transport of London is quite modern and American. Indeed, some of the stations look like flying saucers, not train depots. They hold up their modernity quite well.

Not until the final two episodes does the show hit its stride magnificently.

Heathcote clearly is more comfortable with the camera and the presentation. He visits two major art deco sites: Casa del Rio and the Orient Express train.

The hacienda in England is as out of place as you might expect: it is Pickfair on the Devon, a Hollywood version of a Spanish mansion in Olde California. Of course, there were old haciendas in California, but seldom in England. It is stunning in silver, black & white tiles, verandas, and wrought iron.

The Orient Express, restored in the 1980s, used actual cars from the original train—and used in the Agatha Christie movie version. It is romantic, exciting, and delightful to observe the detailed carvings and colors.

If you want to cherry-pick your episodes, opt for the final two.