Host: David McCallum.
Words like “unsubstantiated,””interpretations,””speculations” and “conjectures” pepper NBC’s latest docu on future gazing as host David McCallum intros episodes and incidents having to do with prophesying. It’s glum news all the way, and, with no writers credited and with too many cheesy reenactments of events, McCallum has cause to look worried.
“Ancient Prophecies” turns out to be a routine roundup of everything from biblical verses and Nostradamus (in 1991 NBC delivered a special on that seer that pulled down a 16.5 rating/24 share) to Jeanne Dixon, who has troubling ideas about the future. In fact, just to titillate impressionable viewers, there’s only bad news ahead. An interesting piece on Edgar Cayce (played with some dignity by Frank Simons) includes his forecast that N.Y., L.A. and San Francisco will bite the dust before the end of this century — roughly six years — and others see different versions of an Antichrist like Napoleon and Hitler (why they’re so named isn’t explained) getting ready to make mischief.
Egypt is the source of much of the prophets’ lore, and McCallum hovers inside a supposed passage beneath the Great Pyramid of Giza. The walls look flimsy. There’s talk of secret hieroglyphics in the pyramid, and, later, word about Mabus, an Antichrist born in Jerusalem in 1962, but the subjects trail off.
The program’s casting director, Virginia Madonna Lombard, plays Madame Karmali in the first seg, one involving fortune telling, and the distinquished actor Fred Morsell shows up as a church ministerial student in an essay on Montana’s Elizabeth Care Prophet and her church.
In the collection of vignettes illustrating how word came to the various prophets, the acting’s generally earnest but subpar. Production values are minimal, and the docu is mostly exploitative.