Jim Henson's "The Cube" In Color
My friend Frank introduced me to The Cube, one of his all-time favorite pieces of television. The Cube was part of NBC's Experiment In Television in the late 60's, and was only ever shown twice. Copies of this film are rare, and the few times I've come across it they've been low quality black & white copies. Just a few days ago we learned of a high quality color copy that you can watch for free on Google video.
Before Jim Henson went full time with The Muppets, he was also an experimental filmmaker. The Cube was one such experiment, an unusual project that manages to be humorous while dipping into the existential. There are no furry characters, no elaborate musical numbers... just a man trapped inside a white cube facing a lot of heavy questions about the nature of existence. The cube is infiltrated at various times by a variety of characters who only add to the mystery (Henson flexing his puppetmaster muscle?), leaving the man pondering a lot of the same questions that people have pondered forever.
The film is nearly an hour long, so pop some corn and take the phone off the hook. Fortunately this isn't a teeny YouTube copy - the Google video stream is large enough to enjoy. While you're watching you might think about this having been broadcast on a national TV network in the late 60's. Not even PBS gets this daring with content these days.
I've almost stopped wishing that TV would occasionally leave the beaten path and take a chance on viewers enjoying TV that's more thought provoking than usual. Hopefully the continuing growth of video on the internet will make it possible for online filmmakers to learn a lesson from The Cube and think outside the box.