Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Where the woodbine twineth- Dolls that may comfort and frighten

Explaining the unexplainable, someone to accompany us on a final journey.

Hitchcock film dolls Psycho
Norman and Marion Doll Set
On Borrowed Time is a 1939 film with Lionel Barrymore, Cedric Hardwicke and Beulah Bondi. Hardwicke is the Grim Reaper, an agent of Death, also known as Mr. Brink.

Mr. Brink arrives to take Gramps, Barrymore, "to the land where the woodbine twineth." 

He comes to take "folks who are worn out, ill and in pain." They can be "released from their earthly suffering."

You can find references to the woodbine twining in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and even poems by Robert Burns from the 1700s. 

Contemplation of your life and the passage of time. I wasn't able to find a definitive explanation of where the phrase originated. 

There's a song, here are some of the lyrics:
He is gone where the woodbine twineth, with the vine on the ivied wall. 'Neath the shade of the weeping willow, where its long drooping branches fall. Remember then the soldier once noble and so brave ....

Where the woodbine twineth is the name of an Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Season Three episode.

This show, which aired in January 1965, is sometimes mistakenly remembered as being a part of Twilight Zone or Night Gallery.

Nell Snyder (Margaret Leighton) is upset by the recent behavior of her orphaned niece, Eva (Eileen Baral), who has created an imaginary little person named Mr. Peppercorn. 

He and his cohorts are responsible for whatever happens, not Eva. Are these just invisible friends? Is it a phase that will pass?

Then Eva attaches herself to a doll which is in the image of a Creole girl. The doll is named Numa.

Nell is suspicious of the doll and her niece's relationship with it. There is a suggestion of voodoo magic in this episode. The ending is very memorable.

Season three also contains, among its over 30 episodes, The Glass Eye, with William Shatner, Billy Barty and Jessica Tandy. It's an unusual take on a ventriloquist story. Very well done. It fits in somewhat with the doll theme.

Actors in the season include  Peter Lorre, William Shatner, Vincent Price, Jack Klugman, George Peppard.

Directors: Robert Altman, Arthur Hiller, Don Taylor, Paul Henreid and of course, Hitchcock, himself. 

If you choose to stream the show, you can usually pick and choose which episodes you want. Sometimes you don't get credits, there may be reception issues, but there are benefits to both owning the media and streaming the shows.

Hitchcock created a one-of-a-kind Melanie Doll for Melanie Griffith

2013 marked the 50th anniversary of The Birds. Tippi Hedren was the star of the film. Her daughter is actress Melanie Griffith. 

"My daughter was presented with a box when Hitchcock took us to lunch, and it was a wooden box and Melanie opened it and it was an incredible doll of me in the green suit that I wore in The Birds," (Tippi) Hedren said. 

"The face was so perfect that it scared her to the point where she kind of freaked out. Everybody made it sound like it was Hitchcock playing a dirty trick or doing something really nasty to Melanie and that wasn't it. 

"It was supposed be a very, very beautiful gift and it just went awry. She was so affected by it that it was put away somewhere and I unfortunately don't even know what happened to it." 
 -- excerpt from The Examiner Arts & Entertainment January 2013

Mattel made a Birds Barbie version of Hedren's character in that famous green outfit, complete with black birds. 

The doll is part of their Pop Culture collection. 
Other dolls include representations of Grace Kelly characters from Rear Window and To Catch a Thief, Fay Wray in King Kong, Barbra Streisand and Carol Burnett in her Gone with the Wind parody television sketch with the curtains costume. Fun gift for a GWTW collector who has everything. 

Fans just celebrated Vivien Leigh's 100th birthday. Doll collectors might love this tribute piece as an addition to their collections.

Related Links of Interest:

Nothing in the Dark: Twilight Zone with Robert Redford, Gladys Cooper

Grace Kelly Costume Mattel Barbie: To Catch a Prince

Memorable Science Fiction Dolls 

Remembering the British Comedy Mulberry

Gone where the Woodbine Twineth song source 

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