Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kraft Suspense Theatre; The World I Want; Leonard Nimoy; Sal Mineo

Click here for the previous episode review.

Season #2, Episode #1

The World I Want

Original Air Date - October 1, 1964

Setting/Time - A modern city in the present.

Plot/Review/Discussion -

This episode is somewhat melancholy and sweet at the same time.

The main conflict in this episode is between an elderly cabinet maker and his wife. The man suspects that his wife is planning to kill him. He wants to disinherit her and leave his money to his orphaned niece. The conflict between the man and his wife escalates as the wife begins to suspect the husband's plans.

The title refers to the state of mind of the niece and the underlying conflict in the story. The niece has befriended a deaf and mute cousin that lives with the family. The growing conflict between her aunt and uncle upset her to the point that she would rather retreat into her fantasy world in which both she and the cousin are safe and happy and the conflict does not exist.

The niece takes on a larger role in the episode as the story goes on, as her fantasy world clashes directly with the aunt/uncle conflict when she and the cousin are forced into a final violent confrontation.

I am being vague as I wish to avoid plot spoilers and I have not seen this episode in well over a year. If RTV broadcasts this episode again, I will look for specific examples of scenes supporting the niece's longing for the "world" that she wants. As I recall, her desire for a different world is expressed both through her conversations with the cousin and her unhappiness with the growing strife in the household.

The underlying conflict in this story is the secret desire of the niece for her "world" versus the harsh reality in which she lives. Despite her desire for this world, the niece is not a child. I recall her being in her late teens or early 20's (as is the cousin). The outcome of the violent struggle helps determine the outcome of the niece's own desire for her world.

The idea of a separate "world" apart from the conflict of the aunt and uncle is reinforced by the living arrangements of the cousin. He lives below deck in a boat on the property of the aunt/uncle. The niece is never so happy as when she is visiting the cousin in his cramped quarters.

Halsted Welles received writing credits for this episode. His television writing credits span nearly thirty years, including four episodes of KST. His other KST episodes seemed to have the melancholy undertones that characterized this episode, although the plots were in no way similar.

Cars - I cannot remember the vehicles used in this episode, as most of it took place in and around the home. There were a few street scenes, so I am sure that cars played some role in the background. I will provide an update if RTV reruns this episode.


Albert Dekker played the uncle. He performed mainly character roles for over thirty years in movies and television, including Bonanza, Mission Impossible, Rawhide and KST spinoff Run For Your Life. He acted in 1955's East of Eden with future KST star Julie Harris and 1954's The Silver Chalice with KST actor Ian Wolfe. He had previously served as a Democrat state representative for the Hollywood district. He died in 1968 from what the coroner labeled autoerotic asphyxiation.

Jo Van Fleet played the aunt. She acted for over 35 years, including three episodes of Kraft Theatre in the 1950's and guest roles on shows such as Hitchcock, Route 66, Bonanza and Police Woman. In 1955, she acted in East of Eden with Albert Dekker.

Sal Mineo played the cousin. Mineo was 25 years old at the time. He was in a transition phase of his career. He was too old to play teen idol types and had begun playing darker characters.

Patricia Hyland played the niece. Her career appears to have been brief.

Star Trek connection -

Leonard Nimoy played the attorney that helped the uncle with his will. There were other Star Trek actors that played bigger roles on many KST episodes, but there was no KST guest star that was ever as high up on the Star Trek totem pole as Nimoy in this (and one later) episode.

1 comment:

  1. It's bizarre to think that Jo van Fleet and Sal Mineo were both cast together given their connection through James Dean in other projects.

    Could a TV programme today manage such interesting casting choices do you think?