Desilu Screen Test excerpts (film #4 on TV Turkeys (Rhino, 1987)). [Category: Early Film & TV]

One of the great things about watching stuff from the early years of film and/or tv is watching them try all different kinds of things, searching for the formats that would work in the new medium. In the early 50s, they didn't know yet what show formats would rake in the ratings, so they tried all kinds of bizarre ideas. Somebody got the idea that people maybe wanted to watch screen tests, and so "Desilu Screen Test" was born. We get to see an unbearably cute 4-year-old do the kinds of stuff such little girls do at adult parties when their parents are showing them off. She smiles, curtsies, talks about her pets, sings "Oh, Dear, What Can the Matter Be?", etc. Then it gets weird––they have her do a scene from The Bad Seed, the infamous movie about an evil little girl. She delivers her lines surprisingly well for a 4-year-old, but blows it with her facial expressions––she seems to think being evil consists of having a grouchy expression on her face, which she has a hard time holding without cracking up. An interesting obscurity.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

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