EPISODES 29 & 30 (Parts three and four of the four-part Moviegoer series): In which our man begins to emerge from “The Black Sleep” and lift his eyes to the quiet hills. He discovers foreign films!
There was a theater on Pennsylvania Avenue between Georgetown and Foggy Bottom known as ‘The Circle’. The Circle began to show foreign films in the early 1960’s. All of a sudden, names like Sergei Eisenstein, Francois Truffaut, and Federico Fellini began to compete with Roger Corman, Glynis Johns, and “The Vampire and the Ballerina”. My friend Lloyd and I became hooked after “Battleship Potemkin”, and with a little help from Parker Tyler. Now it was about… montage.

The Circle was a hoot.  We were usually the only people in the theater on a Saturday afternoon.  Or at least it seemed that way to us. We knew we must be on to something.  And so it was.

Gleichzeitig, however, the child was still father to the man. When “Shock Theater” started on Channel Nine — always after midnight Saturday nights — we were drawn by an invisible tractor beam. 

What were we drawn to? We were drawn to the Universal horror cycle of the 1930’s and ’40’s.  We were drawn to “The Bride of Frankenstein” (1935) and James Whale, to “House of Frankenstein” (1944) and Llona Massey, and to “The Wolf Man” (1941) and Maria Ouspenskaya. We know now that we were being drawn to fairy tales in the Bruno Bettelheim meaning. But then it was just really, really cool. With our “Famous Monsters of Filmland” magazines in hand — that was all we had to learn about these magical movies — we stayed up every single Saturday night, to our mothers’  chagrin, since it fell to them to wake us up for church.

What an education: in abreaction!
Listen to “The Circle” here. “Shock Theater” goes up on Thursday!