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With: Dan Tobin, Joi Lansing, Rick Jason, Marjorie Bennett, Billy House, Nancy Kulp, Orson Welles
Written by: Orson Welles, based on a story by John Collier
Directed by: Orson Welles
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 27
Date: 09/16/1958

The Fountain of Youth (1958)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Serum Wheel

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Orson Welles wrote and directed this ingeniously economic half-hour short for television, based on a story by John Collier. A scientist (Dan Tobin) falls in love with a pretty showgirl (Joi Lansing) and goes away for three years to invent a youth serum. But while he's away, she falls for a tennis champ (Rick Jason). Upon his return, he presents the new, happy couple with a single sample of the serum, leaving it to them to fight over who gets to use it. Welles uses simple backdrops, still frames, swish-pans and clever uses of light to give the picture the illusion of motion, but otherwise, it's a very simple filmed set of talking heads. Welles, of course, appears as himself and narrates, sometimes even filling in dialogue for the characters. Look for a brief appearance by Nancy Kulp, who went on to fame as Mrs. Hathaway on TV's "The Beverly Hillbillies." Marjorie Bennett and Billy House also appear. I'm not sure whether this was ever actually broadcast, and the version I saw contained slugs for sponsor's messages.

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