Monday, January 12, 2015

Cult-TV Theme Watch: Eyeglasses

Eyeglasses or spectacles are lenses worn in front of the eyes that, under normal circumstances, correct vision.

Throughout cult-television history, eyeglasses have actually played an important role in many TV series and stories.

One well-remembered episode of The Twilight Zone (1959 – 1964) for example, concerns eyeglasses. In “Time Enough At Last,” Burgess Meredith plays a book worm who survives the nuclear apocalypse.  Instead of being upset by vent, this turn of events, however, he is delighted that finally has time to catch-up on his reading.  He raids a library for all the books he would like to read.  

And then, of course, the punch-line: his eyeglasses shatter, leaving him with volumes of reading and no way to read them.

An episode of Boris Karloff’s Thriller (1960 - 1962) is nearly as memorable as that tale. “The Cheaters” documents the history of a most unusual pair of eye-glasses, ones which reveal a person’s true heart or soul.  The “cheaters” pass from person-to-person, over the years, always with tragic circumstances involved.

A second season episode of The Outer Limits (1962 – 1964) called “Behold Eck” involves a pair of glasses made from meteoric quartz which allow the viewer to see an alien energy creature, Eck, who exists in only two dimensions.

An episode of Quinn Martin’s Tales of the Unexpected (1977) called “A Force of Evil” involves a killer who have returned from the dead, Teddy Jakes.  Throughout the story, the mysterious Jakes wears reflective sun-glasses, a fact which makes his persona more enigmatic and frightening.

One of the most famous TV characters to wear eyeglasses is, of course, Clark Kent.  In Adventures of Superman in the 1950s, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in the 1990s, and Smallville (2001 – 2011) too, Clark Kent cloaks his identity as a super-heroic crime fighter with a pair of glasses.

Similarly, both Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) and Andrea Thomas (Mighty Isis) likewise have secret identities that involve eye-glasses.

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