Zombies On Broadway (1945)

zombies on broadway 1945

Started out like it would be a guilty pleasure but around the halfway point the slapstick and sight gags got to be too much. Bela is a mad scientist trying to use science to duplicate what the island natives can do with voodoo. Wally Brown and Alan Carney are a low rent Abbott and Costello. They wear out their welcome before too long. Still I never turn down a chance to see Bela…in this case just once.

Ex gangster Ace Miller (Sheldon Leonard) is opening a club called The Zombie Hut. Press agents Jerry Miles (Wally Brown) and Mike Strager (Alan Carney) drop circulars from a plane to publicize that the club will have a real zombie on opening night. Ace is trying to pass off a boxer names Sam as a zombie.  Radio host Douglas Walker always tries to expose Ace as a phony. When he shows up he sees Sam. They know each other. He reads part of the script he’ll use that night to make a fool of Ace. Mike and Jerry better find a real zombie or else.

They go to a museum after hours and Worthington the janitor lets them in. He takes them to the basement to see the curator Dr.Hopkins. He’s a bit batty but tells them about an old friend he hasn’t seen in twenty-five years. He doesn’t know if he’s still alive. When last heard from he was on the island of San Sebastian. His name is Dr.Paul Renault (Bela Lugosi).

Mike and Jerry decide to get out of town. While packing they don’t realize that Ace is in the room. He sends for his boys Gus (Frank Jenks) and Benny to take them to a boat leaving for the island. When they go ashore they’re greeted by a friendly Calypso singer. Watching is Renault’s assistant Joseph. When Mike and Jerry walk off the singer starts the rest of the song. It’s about doom and gloom. Joseph says he’ll let his boss know about their arrival. He also has a new serum Renault ordered.

Mike and Jerry go to a club and watch Jean La Danse (Anne Jeffreys) perform. She’s a singer and knife thrower. Lurking outside is Kalaga the zombie (Darby Jones). Renault sent him to get a victim for his new serum. Mike and Jerry scare the waiter and a few others with talk about finding a zombie. Jean leads them through the jungle to a voodoo ritual. Kalaga follows. He knocks Mike down and takes off with Jean. There are numerous sight gags and slapstick galore in the native camp as Mike and Jerry try to hide out. Joseph finds them hiding in a tree and takes them to Renault’s castle.

Inside Renault is about to inject the serum into Jean. Mike,Jerry and Joseph arrive and Renault hides Jean. Mike and Jerry talk to him about finding a zombie. Renault decides they should find out first hand. He has them dig their own graves. They just think they’re doing a favor for the doctor.

Jerry falls through the hole into the basement and sees Kalaga.  He gets back outside and tells Mike about the zombie. He doesn’t believe him.

From here on out the sight  gags really pick up and it’s no surprise Jerry is turned into a zombie. Back in New York it’s opening night. An impatient Ace is waiting for Mike and Jerry to deliver a zombie.

Bela got stuck in a lot of bad movies but he always tried his best. He had a reputation as a real pro no matter the material. This is a case in point.

Bela gets ready to turn Anne Jeffreys into a zombie

Bela gets ready to turn Anne Jeffreys into a zombie

Posted in vintage movies, Comedy, Bela Lugosi | Tagged | 4 Comments

Ma And Pa Kettle (1949)

ma and pa kettle 1949

Second entry in the popular film series starring Marjorie Man and Percy Kilbride as Phoebe “Ma” Kettle and Frank “Pa” Kettle.

The Kettles’ live in a run down farmhouse with their fifteen kids. Actually it’s fourteen since the oldest, Tom, is away at college. The Mayor and town council of Cape Flattery, Washington want the whole gang to get out because their place is an eyesore and they want to have it condemned.

Pa wins a slogan contest for a tobacco company and the grand prize is the model home of the future. All he really wanted was a free tobacco pouch.

Tom Kettle (Richard Long) has graduated and is on his way back. He’s developed a new incubator for chicken eggs. On the train he meets Kim Parker (Meg Rendall). She’s a magazine writer. They talk about rich people versus poor people and Tom puts her on by saying he’s from a very rich family. Kim ends up walking out of the dining car and away from him.

The Kettles’are taken to their new dream house. There’s even a TV interview. Inside it’s loaded with push button panels. One operates the home entertainment center complete with radio, record player and big screen TV. Some doors work by an electric eye and there are other gadgets including an infra ray oven. While the kids are unloading everything to go inside Kim shows up. She spots Tom and  he tells her he doesn’t want her articles to make fun of the family. She says he can read them before she sends them in.

Pa is chosen as director of the county fair and that gets Birdie Hicks all upset. That job used to automatically go to her. Outside the house fast talking salesman Billy Reed (Emory Parnell) pulls up. He hands out calendars. They have the same slogan Pa won the contest with and Birdie thinks Pa stole it from Billy. She reports him to the company.

Pa finally decides to shave. He wants more light and pushes a button. He doesn’t realize it’s for sun lamps over the mirror. He ends up with a bad sunburn. Ma convinces him it’s scarlet fever. Birdie returns with a company official. She spills the beans and tells Pa it’s just sunburn.

Pa has had it with the house and moves back to the farm. Ma and the kids stay. The company thinks Pa really did steal the slogan and tells Ma she and her brood have got to go. The kids get their slingshots out and Ma grabs her rifle. They’re not going quietly. Kim may be able to help as she and Tom get closer.

If you’re looking for corny fun then…here it is.

Posted in Comedy, vintage movies | Tagged | 2 Comments

Bioblast-Raymond Z.Gallun (1985)

raymond z gallun-bioblast

From scrawny kid to a Hercules like adult,Lance Tolliver could be the future of Mankind. He’s not sure what he is since he can heal the worst diseases. The book never really takes off. It’s mildly interesting but nothing to be in a hurry to read.

His parents worked in a nuke plant. His father died and then his mother committed suicide. Lance Tolliver was raised in a mental home where his mother dropped him off as a baby. He can’t read and rarely communicates. When he reaches seventeen he escapes. Two bikers think they can have some fun with him. He tears them to shreds.

He’s captured and taken to a different facility, Spruce Crest. Psychiatrists Ted Destin and Linda Abbott want to keep him there but the cops want him. Tolliver says he can communicate with his body and control blood vessels, bacteria etc. The head of Spruce Crest,Dr.Reginald Archmere wants to send Tolliver to the authorities but Destin wants to keep him for study. When he sees it’s not going to happen he and Linda take off with him.

Ted has a cousin Cara who is a naturalist and has a cabin in the wilds of subarctic Canada.  The trio meets Cara who is waiting in her camper. Over time the skinny Tolliver catches fish and eats them live like an animal. One day Cara gets a little frisky with him and he takes full advantage. Yes, they are now a couple. Destin falls seriously ill. Tolliver exchanges blood with him and cures him.

Tolliver has really bulked up and a decision is made, thanks mostly to the harsh winter weather, to go back. A search party led by Archmere finds them. Against orders the party opens fire on Tolliver. They were supposed to use rubber bullets. Tolliver is wounded in the left lung and runs off. He can’t be found and everyone returns home.

Tolliver uses his genetic talents to survive. He eats wolves raw and has given himself a bad odor to keep people away from him. It’s not long before people start Big Foot rumors. Finally he decides to turn himself in. He charges into a weather station and yells over the radio that he’s ready to turn himself in.

Back in civilization he has to face trial for murder. Before that he uses his talents to cure cancer and other serious diseases. Now it’s time for the trial. To Gallun’s credit he doesn’t stretch it out. Afterwards Tolliver goes back to curing people. Now things are going from edgy to nasty and a couple talk hosts stir up the population. There are huge demonstrations that in some cases turn violent.

The book doesn’t live up to its potential and gets more bland than digging into the story and making things really interesting. It’s a time passer if there’s not too much around but nothing to make an effort to hunt up.

Raymond Z.Gallun

Raymond Z.Gallun

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged | 2 Comments

Streets Apart (1988-89)

streets apart

Amanda Redman is Sylvia Grant and James Hazeldine is Bernie Walters. They use to be an item. Twenty years go by and they meet again and start over. Subtle comedy with a situation a lot of people wonder about how they would fare if it happened to them.

Opening episode: October 24,1988 – Bernie’s two kids are off to camp and he’s on his own for a while. Sylvia owns a literary agency. She never married and her latest boyfriend James is a dud. She catches a cab to meet a client. Bernie’s driving. After dropping her off he yells her name but she pretends not to recognize him.

Back at the office she tells her friend about meeting Bernie again and complains about her current boyfriend. He’s afraid to make any moves and Sylvia’s friend suggests trying to seduce him. That night she does her best but he’s afraid and just wants to stay friends.

The next day she’s off to meet a client. Bernie is waiting outside and “accidentally” bumps into her. She agrees to meet that night for a drink. Now they review the past years. He’s a widower who gave up dreams of a rock group and now drives his own cab. He says it’s a nice living and he doesn’t have any complaints.

She says she has to meet a client at his house but she really has him drop her at her home. She also doesn’t tell him she owns the agency. He comes on to her a bit but she’s not ready for that. The next day he calls her at the office. Time to start over again.

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Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)

sherlock holmes faces death 1943

Good entry in the Rathbone-Bruce series that takes place in a mansion with lots of wind and lightning, an eavesdropping and drunken butler and a clock that strikes thirteen. Let’s not forget secret passages. This is the sixth in the series and it’s based loosely on “The Adventure Of The Musgrave Ritual” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Dr.Watson is working at an old mansion that the family has opened for soldiers recovering from combat fatigue. The Musgrave brothers Philip and Geoffrey are always at odds. Geoffrey almost got into a confrontation with American Captain Pat Vickery (Milburn Stone) over the obvious affection he and Sally Musgrave (Hillary Brooke) have for each other.

The butler, Alfred Brunton, is eavesdropping on a conversation between Sally and Geoffrey where he’s telling her to stay away from Vickery. Philip interrupts him but of course wants to know what he heard. Stumbling into the house is Dr.Bob Saxton. He says he was stabbed outside and sure enough there’s a wound in his neck. He doesn’t known who attacked him. Watson goes to London to get Holmes.

When they arrive back Holmes notices a pile of leaves in front of the greenhouse. He investigates and finds Geoffrey’s body. Inside the house is Inspector Lestrade (Dennis Hoey). He arrests Captain Vickery.

The next day Sally has to read the family ritual in front of the fireplace with everyone in the house present. It’s cryptic and no one knows what it means. It does make Philip the head of the household.

Holmes and Watson head into town to look for Brunton. He was fired the night before by Philip for being drunk once too often. They head to the pub where the owner keeps a pet raven. Sally drives up outside. The raven flies out and sits on the rumble seat. Holmes chases it off and opens the seat and discovers Philip’s body.

Holmes is sure the answer to the murders is in the Musgrave ritual. He finds it hidden inside a clock in Sally’s room. Anything further would be a spoiler. It is an obvious and long drawn out ending but it’s still a good movie and well worth seeing.

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Return Of The Fly (1959)

return of the fly 1959

Totally useless sequel to 1958’s “The Fly.” Vincent Price is back as Francois Delambre. This time it’s his nephew that that can’t stay out of the lab. The creature costume looks like it came from the discount rack of a dollar store.

The movie opens at the funeral of Helene Delambre, the mother of Andre, the original insect. Police inspector Beecham chases a tabloid reporter away before Philippe Delambre (Brett Halsey), Andre’s brother can deck him. Philippe wants the whole story. Francois gives him a synopsis of the first movie.

Francois takes Philippe on a tour of the foundry where Andre had a real pressing problem. This doesn’t deter Philippe from wanting to continue the experiments. Francois refuses to back him. Philippe hires Alan Hinds to help him. The work will be done in the wine cellar of the family mansion which Philippe inherited from his grandfather. The place comes with a housekeeper and her knockout daughter Cecile (Danielle De Metz).

A few weeks go by and Philippe is running out of money. Francois shows up and Philippe pressures him into helping out.  Now comes the crime subplot to pad out the movie. Alan goes to see Max Barthold (Dan Seymour). He deals in stolen goods at his funeral home. Alan says he’ll steal the plans for the disintegrator-reintegrator machine. Max will contact some heavy hitters in the electronics business.  Max  also gives a veiled hint that he could tell the cops that Alan is really Ronald Holmes. He’s wanted in London for murder.

Time to do some experiments. The ashtray worked out but no such luck with the guinea pig. It ended up at least three times its size when brought back. They’ll fix that tomorrow. That night Alan sneaks into the lab with his trusty Minox camera and starts taking pictures. Police Inspector Evans comes out of the shadows to arrest him and take him back to London. Alan tosses him into the chamber and sends him on his way. When Alan brings him back he’s got the hands and feet of the guinea pig. For its part the guinea pig has human hands and feet. Alan bucks up and kills it but can’t clean the bloodstain off the floor.

Alan takes Evans’s body to the police car. He calls Max to meet him. Alan gets the car over a cliff and gets a lift back from Max.  In the lab Philippe surprises Alan with a visit. He starts asking questions and smoothie Alan has all the answers….except where those handcuffs came from. The two brawl and Alan throws him into the chamber. For good measure he tosses a fly in for company. He knows they make Philippe nervous but maybe he’d like the company. Fire up the high tech equipment and Phillipe and his pal are gone.

Now things get nasty….real nasty.

This movie proves you should leave well enough alone and refrain from making a sequel if you don’t have a script and the special effects are an embarrassment. The attempts at recreating the famous “Help Me” scenes from the first movie are just laughable.

Yes it will

Yes it will


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From Cake-Walk To Ragtime 1898-1916

Download VA – From Cake-Walk To Ragtime (1898 – 1916) (1997) [MP3]

This is for collectors who are into music roots f the 20th century. Lots of rare stuff here.

1. W. Collins – Eli Green’s Cakewalk
2. Anonymous – Cake
3. Metropolitan Orchestra – Smokey Mokes
4. Sousa’s Band – Whistling Rufus
5. Victor Minstrels – The Cake
6. Olly Oakley – Whistling Rufus
7. Anonymous (Unindentified) – Cake
8. Victor Dance Orchestra – Cake-Walk In The Sky
9. Ossman Dudley Trio – St. Louis Tickle
10. Ossman Dudley Trio – Dixie Girl
11. Musique de la Garde Republicaine – Le Vrai Cake
12. Orchestre Apga – Anona
13. Vess Ossman – A Bunch Of Rags
14. Vess Ossman – The Buffalo Rag
15. Irving Berlin – Alexander’s Ragtime Band
16. W. Ditcham – Alabama Skedaddle
17. Victor Military Band – Alexander’s Ragtime Band
18. Victor Military Band – Slippery Place Rag
19. W. Collins – Black Diamond Rag
20. Victor Military Band – Stomp Dance
21. R. Carr – That Mysterious Rag
22. W. Miller – Grizzly Bear
23. Empire Military Band – Dill Pickles Hot Stuff Ragtime
24. Mr. White (B. Whitlock) – Ragtime Frolics
25. Joyce’s Orch – I’ll Dance Till De Sun Breaks Through
26. Orchestre Tzigane du Volney – Oh That Yankianna Rag
27. Peerless Orchestra – Bacchanal Rag
28. Europe’s Society Orchestra – Too Much Mustard
29. Europe’s Society Orchestra – Down Home Rag
30. Europe’s Society Orchestra – You’re Here And I’m Here
31. Europe’s Society Orchestra – Castle Walk
32. Fred van Eps Trio – Notoriety Rag
33. Six Brown Bros – Thet Moaning Saxophone Rag
34. Joseph Moskovitz – Operatic Rag
35. Fred van Eps – Raggin’ The Scale
36. Conway’s Band – Two Key Rag

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