I recently caught an episode of “77 Sunset Strip,” credited as television’s very first hour-long private eye drama. This episode, filmed and broadcast before I was born, was entitled “The Fanatics.”
The premise was about a group of terrorists from the Middle East who plant a bomb that will blow up their enemy... plus a number of innocent civilians... in a hospital while their enemy undergoes surgery.
Hmm... sound familiar?
The bomb... which looked more like a Radio Shack transistor radio than an explosive device (this was, after all, the 1960’s), was strapped to the waist of the terrorist Kemal’s fiancéé (portrayed by a very young Marlo Thomas). She was told a lie that Kemal wanted her to blow herself up for the cause.
While Kemal commiserates over his love being blown up, his mentor says that her death will be for the glory of their cause. After the good guys find and defuse the bomb, we find that Kemal’s mentor is full of khara. Kemal and his woman see the light and go on to live happily ever after (this was, after all, the 1960’s).
Despite the laughable casting of actors like Bert Convy as Kemal and Joe DeSantis as Mustafa Caleb (this was, after all, the 1960’s), it was interesting to see that the more things change, the more things stay the same.
This classic series is broadcast on the American Life Network... which is available on many cable and satellite networks.