Saturday, July 28, 2018

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (1973-1975): "The Curfew Shall Ring Tonight"

In “The Curfew Shall Ring Tonight,” Sigmund nearly gets caught by Zelda (Mary Wickes) while eating a sandwich in the kitchen. When the sea monster makes his escape, he also breaks her favorite salad bowl.  Now he must raise enough money to fix it, with the boys’ help.

Meanwhile, at the cave, Water Confright, the Sea Monster news anchor creature, announces on the shellovision that there is a curfew ordered for all local monsters. At the same time, in the human world, a curfew is announced by the sheriff because of “teenage trouble” in the area.

Now the boys and Sigmund must sneak out of the house by night, and go down to the monster cave to acquire Sigmund’s savings of fifty clams, to repair the broken salad bowl.

This episode of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (1973-1975), at least, doesn’t borrow a plot from The Bugaloos.  Not much more can be said for “The Curfew Shall Ring Tonight” except that Sigmund’s clumsiness again precipitates a misadventure (“Oh, I did it again!” is quickly becoming the titular character’s refrain.). And said misadventure, inevitably takes him, and his human friends, down to the sea caves at Dead Man’s Point for an encounter with the hapless monster family.

There are no new monster suit this weeks, only the some humorous new monster names to chew over. I mentioned Water Confright (Walter Cronkite) above, but we also learn that the monster sheriff of Dead Man’s Point is Sheriff Shrock.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this episode, and the series overall, is the mirror premising. What happens in the human world is almost always reflected in the tale by what is happening in the monster world. The value of this mirror premising, if it isn’t apparent, is that we see how family fears, and problems, even loves and losses, are all the same, regardless of species differences. Some families may consist of “monsters” to the eye, but be totally recognizable in terms of human foibles and phobias. In a weird way, this is a 1970’s affirmation of diversity. Sigmund’s family may consist of monsters, but they have feelings too, right?

Another truly intriguing aspect of this episode.  The episode seems to be a variation on a poem from 1867, Rose Hartwick Thorpe's "Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight."  That's a remarkably obscure literary reference to be included in a Saturday morning series about sea monsters!

Next week: “Sweet Mama Redecorates.”

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