Friday, February 06, 2009


What an evil situation this is! When it is discovered that a silver mine has penetrated an Indian burial ground, the mine becomes cursed and the workers flee. To keep it going, the mine owner and a corrupt sheriff press passers-through into service on trumped-up legal charges. Into this walks Caine. The men trapped here believe they have fallen under a curse. They have given up hope.

In classic "Kung Fu" fashion, Caine's presence in the mine redefines what it means to be in prison. After a (pretty cool) scuffle with some guards, Caine and fellow miner Meador (Don Dubbins) are punished by being placed in "the Oven," a tin shack that's unbearably hot during the day and just as cold at night. Caine survives this by meditating, and he teaches Meador to do so as well. "You are not within a prison. The prison is within you."

There's a great flashback scene with Master Po. Young Caine, curious about a locked hallway at Shaolin temple, is commanded by Po to brave it. He learns that the hallway is locked because it leads to a pool of acid where metal is electroplated, and Po wants Caine to traverse a beam over this acid pool. Looking down, Caine sees the bones of monks who have tried this and failed. Po is trying to teach Caine what Caine will later try to teach the miners about the "cursed" mine. "Superstition is like a magnet. It pulls you in the direction of your beliefs."

Ultimately, Caine's revolutionary ideas, his ability to inspire the men to shift mentally, lead to renunciation of the curse, cooperation and revolution. As is so often with this show, beating up the bad guys is not an option. Rather, Caine points the way, helps it along.

Veteran character actors round out the cast; Fred Sadoff of The Poseidon Adventure as corrupt sheriff Banack, Ford Rainey as mine owner Stern, and stuntman and character actor Roy Jensen as Rupp, one of the mine's potential leaders. Four out of four yin-yangs, IMDB is here. YouTube here.

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Blogger Capcom said...

This is was one of my favorite episodes. The lesson of The Oven was very compelling and at the time something that I had never heard of before, and it stuck with me forever. Thanks for posting it.


8:07 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

After seeing that "Oven Lesson", I started testing it out. Freaked me to pieces...IT WORKS.

This show has taught me so many profound insights, I appreciate it greatly and ALWAYS will.

peace love light

12:33 AM  
Blogger Charlie Kondek said...

No fooling! Gina, thanks for stopping by. You're so right about the show.

11:45 AM  

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