Monday, April 3, 2023

Seven Classic Made-for-TV Movies...that you can watch for free!

In an interview in its February 2023 newsletter CMBA Today, the Classic Movie Blog Association asked me an intriguing question: "If you could program a perfect day of classic movies for TCM, what would be the seven films on your schedule?"

I tried to think of seven movies I'd like to see again as well as share with others. Assuming TCM could get the broadcast rights to these films, I’d opt for a day of classic made-for-TV movies. The 1960s and the 1970s were a “Golden era” for television films and featured stellar writers (e.g., Rod Serling, Richard Matheson, Gene Roddenberry) and good actors (e.g., Angie Dickinson, Suzanne Pleshette, Ray Milland, Myrna Loy). I’d limit my seven picks to lesser-known films that appeared on the wonderful ABC Movie of the Week (1969-75).

I've previously reviewed all but one of my movie selections on this blog. Click on a film's title to read the review. One of my Twitter friends, @CED_LD_Guy, uploaded all seven picks to his Rumble channel. Rumble is a free platform, like YouTube, that allows you to view media content online or on your TV by adding the Rumble channel to your streaming device. Click on the "watch" links below to enjoy these fascinating made-for-TV movies. Remember, these are rare films, so the video quality will vary from excellent (The Birdmen) to fair (Dr. Cook's Garden).

Milton Berle and Sean Garrison.
Seven in Darkness
(1969) watch – A plane crashes in the wilderness and only its blind passengers survive. This was the first ABC Movie of the Week and stars Barry Nelson, Dina Merrill, Lesley Ann Warren, Season Garrison, and Milton Berle (in a dramatic role).

Daughter of the Mind (1969) watch – A psychic researcher (Don Murray) investigates when a famous scientist (Ray Milland) claims his dead daughter has been appearing to him. Gene Tierney and Ed Asner co-star.

Suzanne Pleshette.
Along Came a Spider
(1970) watch  – Suzanne Pleshette headlines this twisty thriller about a widow who goes undercover to discover her husband's murderer(s).

How Awful About Allan (1970) watch – A man (Anthony Perkins) suffering from psychosomatic blindness returns home to live with his sister (Julie Harris), but thinks someone is trying to kill him.

Dr. Cook’s Garden (1971) watch – Is there a pattern to the deaths in a small rural town where a kindly physician (Bing Crosby) practices? Frank Converse and Blythe Danner co-star. Ira Levin (Rosemary's Baby, The Stepford Wives) and Art Wallace based their screenplay on Levin's short-lived stage play starring Burl Ives.

Richard Basehart as a German officer.
The Birdmen
(1971) watch – During World War II, POW prisoners try to fly to freedom by building a glider. Incredibly, part of the film really happened! The unusual cast features Richard Basehart, Chuck Connors, Doug McClure, Tom Skerritt, and Max Baer, Jr. There's about eight minutes of stock footage at the beginning--but stick with it and you'll be rewarded with a very entertaining adventure.

Assault on the Wayne (1971) watch – Enemy agents plot sabotage aboard a nuclear submarine in this Cold War thriller. The cast features Leonard Nimoy, William Windom, Lloyd Haynes, and Sam Elliott.


  1. Since your original tweet I've watched The Birdmen (outstanding), Assault on the Wayne (very good), and Seven in Darkness (okay) plus I've seen Along Comes a Spider before (very good). Working up the courage to watch Bing in Dr. Cook's Garden.

  2. How cool that these are now available to check out. I can't wait!