Alien from LA, Amazing Transparent Man, Beverly Garland, Casey Adams, Catalina Caper, Curse of the Swamp Creature, Dance Hall Racket, Larry Buchanan, Lee Van Cleef, Mitchell, Movie, Quest of the Delta Knights, Racket Girls, Review, Rondo Hatton, Stock Characters, The Atomic Brain, The Magic Voyage of Sinbad, Umberto Scalli, Who is That?
One of the many things I love about visiting my uncle is the technical disconnect forced on me. He has no internet, no neighbors to even steal Wi-Fi from, and maybe one over the air TV channel. Plenty of reading and old VHS movies.
So what do you do when you have no Wikipedia or IMBD to check when you have questions about a movie you are watching? You look at books!
One my favorite movie books to flip through is a 1982 book of headshots of 1930s to 1950s characters called, “Who is That? The Late Late Viewer’s Guide to the Old Old Movie Players” By Warren B Meyers. Organized by the stock character the person played (Mothers, Femme Fatale, Business Men, Grandpas, Kids) it sort of functions as a Hall of Fame for all the familiar faces whose names you can’t quite remember. Plenty of MST3K vets in this book: Beverly Garland, Arline Judge, George Zucco, John Carrandine, Lee Van Cleef, Rondo Hatton, Nestor Paiva and, of course, Sabu. (Ok, Sabu is just a riff not a star in the MST3Kvers, but still. . .) When you resources are like this, it is understandable why the Brains thought Casey Adams was in Catalina Caper or wonder who was Merritt Stone.
The other book I love flipping through is of a much more recent vintage, but still a thick reminder of the early net days. “Video hound’s Golden Movie Retriever 2000” boast reviews and ratings for over 24,000 movies, along with other list. Nearly 1700 pages of small type for, purportedly, all movies with VHS/DVD/Laserdisc releases. Even in our age of near instant information, the scope of this book is a marvel.
A couple of MST3K related items while flipping through the pages:
There is a definite B-Movie love in the rating system (Woof to 4 bones—see, it’s a video-‘hound’. Nothing like stars at all.). Quest of the Delta Knights, The Magic Sword, Amazing Colossal Man, The Magic Voyage of Sinbad and Wild World of Batwoman all get 2 Bones. The 1st Steve Reeves Hercules gets 2 ½ Bones while Moon Men and Captive Women both rate only 1.
But you still don’t have to look hard for Woofs for MST3K featured movies. Alien from LA, Amazing Transparent Man, The Atomic Brain, Beast of Yucca Flats and Monster A-Go Go all rate the lowest possible rating.
Mitchell (1 Bone) is reviewed thusly: “Tough cop battles drug traffic and insipid script. Big screen release with that certain TV look.”
On director Larry (Attack of the the Eye Creatures) Buchanan, in the review of Curse of the Swamp Creature: “Buchanan earned his reputation as a maker of horrible films honestly.”
Two of the 3 Umberto Scalli movies are reviewed: 1 Bone for Pin Down Girl aka Racket Girls and 2 Bones for Dance Hall Racket.