Thursday, February 3, 2011

"1967 Manhunter from Mars Diane Meade Promotional Still"

In late 1966, even before a script had been completed, Vulcan Productions Incorporated had begun approaching name actors to play Batman-style guest villains in the "Manhunter from Mars" film. A list of prospective bad guys had been compiled by Jack Schiff, Jack Miller and Arnold Drake through file copies and film of old Martian Manhunter stories at the offices of National Periodical Publications. Charles Bronson's agent was approached, and although the actor was then attached to The Dirty Dozen, he agreed to look at the script. Upon receiving the first draft, Bronson was said to be disinterested in the garish affair. However, his good friend Jill Ireland ended up reading his copy, and as her television series Shane was drawing to a close (not to mention her marriage to David McCallum,) her representation met with Vulcan. By that point, the script had shifted gears toward a more series bent, and Ireland was said to be impressed with the movie's politics.

Ireland was cast as Diane Meade, and as she explained in a voiceover introductory montage, her family's religion was the Middletown Police Force. Her officer father was disappointed to have never had a son, but he had raised his daughters to love, honor and respect the sacred institution of law enforcement. While her sisters opted to marry blue, Diane chose to wear it, much to her father's chagrin. In fact, once Dan Meade became the city's police commissioner, he made a point of insuring Diane be assigned an "octogenarian" partner on the safest beat in town.

However, Patrolwoman Meade was ambitious, and had become fascinated with new trends she had noted in local organized crime. Through Interpol records, Meade had come to believe the international criminal organization known as "Vulture" was easing its way into Middletown. Diane Meade made her case to Captain Harding, who insisted that her lowly rank and political pressure from above would keep her from pursuing further investigation. Charitably, Harding offered Meade the opportunity to unofficially collaborate with any plainclothes detective under his command who was willing to take on the case.

Through another montage, Patrolwoman Meade was repeatedly shot down by precinct detectives. As she would point out later, they all either disbelieved her theories, were afraid of locking horns with the commissioner, or simply disregarded her as a woman outside her place. While bemoaning her sorry situation while on patrol, Meade's partner asked if she had talked to John Jones. Meade wasn't aware of any such detective, and learned that Jones worked as something of an adjunct officer in the "dark" side of town.

Patrolwoman Meade used her status as the commissioner's daughter to intimidate her way past a secretary to the personnel files at the police station. Looking through Jones' record, she was amazed to learn that Jones had an outrageously impressive history of catching and aiding in convicting his prey. Curiously, Jones also had a knack for sniffing out suspects unjustly deterred and locating the actual guilty party. Detective Jones may just have set as many innocent men free as run down true perpetrators.

Patrolwoman Meade requested that Captain Harding set up a meeting with Detective John Jones. Harding was more than a little concerned about the position such a move could put him in, but being a fair man, he agreed. Later, Jones arrived at Harding's office to look over Meade's information. Jones believed Meade's theories had merit, congratulated her on the accomplishment, and calmly explained that he would pursue the case on his own...


Tom Hartley said...

I can imagine discovering this in one of those Mill Creek 50 movie packs.

Tom Hartley said...

The only problem is, the way you brought Jones and Meade together actually makes sense. Too much logic for a 1967 super-hero movie (or for a 1967 super-hero comic, for that matter, especially a 1960s Jack Schiff comic).

LissBirds said...

Don't worry about all that good-sense-making logic, Tom. It's nothing a few babble-talking space monkeys can't fix. Or break, rather.