Strait-Jacket (1964)

strait-jacket 1964

I expected a whole lot more considering the talent involved. Joan Crawford puts down her wire hangar and picks up an ax in this William Castle production. The screenplay is by Robert Bloch whose sardonic wit does surface here and there. The song “My Mother’s Eyes” pops up on the soundtrack a few times. It also features one of my favorite actress, Diane Baker. To their credit there wasn’t any blood or gore. It wouldn’t have added anything.

Lucy Harbin (Joan Crawford) comes home a day early from a trip and spots her younger husband and a babe in their bed. Then she spots an ax. That’s the last time they’ll fool around. Her young daughter has a ringside seat.

Twenty years go by. Carol Harbin (Diane Baker) is explaining the event to her fiancee Michael. Lucy is being released from the asylum. She’ll live on her brother Bill Cutler’s (Leif Erickson) farm along with Diane and his wife Emily. Carol is a sculptress and she’s made a bust of Lucy as she looked back then. She also saved her bracelets and a photo album. That makes Lucy edgy.

To try and make her happy Carol gives her a makeover with new clothes and a wig that make her look just the way she did twenty years ago. When she meets Michael she’s all flirtatious. That makes him nervous and Carol feeling more than awkward. Lucy’s fun ends when her psychiatrist from the asylum calls. He’s in town for a fishing trip and is on his way out to see her.

He thinks Lucy should be taken back. He won’t be able to drive without a head. Carol hides his car in the barn. Lucy told her the doctor left but Carol thinks she’s up to her old tricks.  Later Carol sees the hired hand, Leo Krause (George Kennedy), repainting the car intending to keep it for himself. Carol fires him. He won’t go and threatens to tell all about the doctor’s body in the freezer. Without a head he won’t be able to tell anybody anything.

Now it’s time for Lucy to meet the parents. Things don’t go well.

The movie works its way to the more than obvious ending which makes the whole thing fall flat with a giant thud. Too bad. One interesting note. This is one of the few William Castle movies where he doesn’t appear on screen to introduce it. Maybe he knew better.


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Krupa And Rich-Gene Krupa And Buddy Rich

(10:30) 1. Buddy’s Blues
(13:57) 2. Bernie’s Tune
( 7:47) 3. Gene’s Blues
( 8:50) 4. Sweethearts On Parade
( 8:54) 5. I Never Knew
(10:51) 6. Sunday
(11:06) 7. The Monster

Personnel: Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich (drums); Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Thad Jones, Joe Newman (trumpet); Illinois Jacquet, Flip Phillips, Ben Webster, Frank Wess (tenor saxophone); Oscar Peterson (piano); Freddie Green, Herb Ellis (guitar); Ray Brown (bass).

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Buffalo Bill In Tomahawk Territory (1952)

buffalo bill in tomahawk territory 1953

For a brief time Clayton Moore was replaced by John Hart as The Lone Ranger.  He made this Z movie during that break. He would have been better off hiding out. If you want to brush up on the Hollywood hackneyed phrases used by movie Indians have a pencil and paper ready. You’ll hear “Great White Father”, “Many Moons”, “Singing Wire” and many other favorites.

After a few minutes on how the west was won the movie finally settles on Buffalo Bill and his pal Cactus (Slim Andrews). They’re driving a herd of cattle that was promised to Chief White Cloud as part of a treaty. They spot a wagon train being attacked by Indians and ride over to pump some lead into some Sioux. The Indians have had enough, pick up their dead and wounded and leave the area.

Bill (Clayton Moore) and Cactus can’t help but notice the women firing rifles are actually soldiers in disguise. Several wagon trains have been attacked lately so they thought they’d play dress up and deliver some payback. Bill says the retreat wasn’t like the Sioux and gets suspicious that all’s not well. He can’t buy that White Cloud would go back on his word. After all he put his mark on the “promise paper.”

At Fort Randall the townspeople don’t want the cattle delivered. A man named Blake has ’em all stirred up. His right hand man Stokey gets into a brawl with Bill. Not a good move. Bill and Cactus ride out to see White Cloud. They even send a smoke signal to let him know they’re on their way. An answer says to come on over. That doesn’t explain why some Indians are firing arrows at them.

Here comes White Cloud (Chief  Yowlachie). He orders his braves to get the faceless ones who were shooting at Bill and Cactus. They’re called that because they lost face with the tribe. Back at the teepees it turns out the leader of the trio is White Cloud’s rebellious son Running Deer (Rod Redwing). They don’t know he’s been working with Blake. Blake and his men have been dressing as Indians and attacking the wagon trains. They want to drive the citizens out and take over the land. Why? The yellow stone aka/gold.

Running Deer is loaded with attitude. White Cloud gives him the death sentence. Bill objects. Running Deer sneers. Then Bill tosses a knife in the ground. Time for a knife fight. Running Deer loses.  Good guy Bill won’t kill him so Running Deer commits suicide.

Bill is now convinced that there are some fake Indians running around. Before he can get to the cattle, Stokey drives them off. Bill and Cactus look for them but they went to parts unknown. Bill sends a telegram or singing wire, to get more. Meantime he’ll try and get a buffalo herd he spotted to White Cloud.  Once again Stokey gets there first. White Cloud’s had it. He splits the ground with a lance and tears up the promise paper. No cattle in three days or the citizens and soldiers are dead meat.

This is so bad it has to be seen at least once for the laughs.

Clayton Moore only stayed away from the TV series for one season is a salary dispute. Movies like this probably helped him put the mask back on.


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Rehearsal Time (1949)


Fifteen minute show that featured a cast of local regulars. It ran in L.A. This episode is from September 21,1949. The theme is autumn. The show is presented as a rehearsal.

The show opens with a Sealy Mattress commercial.  Dottie Jo Colder and Dick Vine sing “Shine On Harvest Moon.” Already it’s time for another Sealy commercial. It’s a long one. Dick sings “September Song” with Charlie Lampkin on piano.  After that Charlie solos on “Tis Autumn.”

Priscilla and Bebe start to dance to “September In The Rain.” They stop and Dick sings it along with Dottie Joe.  Then the dancers come back out and continue. Time to sell more Sealy.

Murray and the cast plug a new time for next week.

The show is pretty bland. The performances are bordering on stiff and the commercials add lots of corn.




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Here Come The Huggetts (1948)

here come the huggetts 1948

Extremely dull attempt at comedy. Not only aren’t the laughs few and far between they aren’t here at all. This is the second of three movies about the Huggett family. It’s so light you can see it rise up in the air.  There are two points of interest. It’s a chance to see a seventeen year old Diana Dors just starting to get into her sex symbol mode which would explode later and a chance to see sixteen year old Petula Clark before she became a pop superstar.

It starts with a long segment about the family getting their first telephone. Then Ethel Huggett gets a letter from her distant cousin Edie asking her to allow her daughter Di stay with them while she’s in the hospital.  When Di shows up she’s a lot more developed than anyone thought. Joe Huggett isn’t too thrilled that she sleeps most of the day and goes out most of the night.

Di panics when she gets a letter from the Labour Rxchange that they’re going to direct her to a job. She convinces Joe to get her a position at the cereal factory where he’s a foreman. She almost costs him his job when she spills nail varnish on a note he left her about ordering some wrappers.

There’s also a thin storyline about Pet (Petula Clark) along with Ethel and her mother wanting to see the 1947 Royal Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Lt.Phillip Mountbatten. They camp out near Buckingham palace the night before. The day of the event doesn’t go too well.

Daughter Jane’s fiancee has returned after a year away in the army. She’s torn about getting married since he’s going to South Africa in three weeks. Putting pressure on her not to go through with it is co-worker Harold (David Tomlinson).

Another storyline involves Di doing the town with the owner of a garage where daughter Susan’s boyfriend Peter works. There’s a broken window in Di’s room. When Joe goes to fix it Pet sees the two of them together and takes it the wrong way. She tries to convince Peter to come on to Di to keep her away from Joe.

The movie just lays there and is very sleep inducing. Okay, there’s an exception. Diana Dors dancing to the music of Edmundo Rios. Very tame compared to what’s to come in her career but you can see she has the charisma that would eventually put her on top.


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Witness To Murder (1954)

witness to murder 1954

Good suspenseful movie about a woman who witnesses a murder but the cops don’t believe her. Familiar plot but it all works since it’s in the capable hands of Barbara Stanwyck, George Sanders and Gary Merrill.

On a windy night Cheryl Draper (Barbara Stanwyck) closes her window. Across the street in a lighted room she spots Albert Richter (George Sanders) strangling a woman. She calls the cops. Lt.Larry Mathews (Gary Merrill) and his partner Eddie Vincent (Jesse White) show up. By the time they get to his apartment he’d already hidden the body. He stands in front of a torn curtain and the cops leave.

The cops try and convince Cheryl that it was all a dream but she insists she saw a murder. The next day she buys a small pair of binoculars. She spots an empty apartment next to Richter’s and asks the manager (Dick Elliot) to show it to her. She sees a dust trail that looks like a body was dragged through. To see what the place really looks like he takes her to Richter’s place.  She finds a pair of earrings and pockets them.

She takes them to Larry’s office but Richter got the jump on her and reported them stolen. She’s lucky she wasn’t arrested. Larry still thinks she’s disturbed but there is an attraction there. He looks into Richter’s background. He discovers that he was a Nazi whose wife died in a 1943 air raid. He was denazified and came to the U.S. and became a writer.

One night Richter sees Larry and Cheryl drive off and he mails a letter to himself.  He fixes the lock on her apartment so he can get back in after a short visit. While she’s out to dinner with Larry, Richter goes into her place and uses her typewriter to write another letter. He takes them both to Larry.

That’s all Larry boss needs to send her to the Observation Ward of the City Hospital. When two patients start to brawl she goes over the edge. Larry gets her released. She sees newspaper headlines saying a body discovered in Griffith Park had now been identified. When it was found she told Larry that could have been the woman Richter killed.

She spots Richter going through the papers and she starts putting things together. Larry still isn’t convinced. Now the suspense reaches a new level.

Some things are a little too convenient but it doesn’t take away from the overall movie. Look fast for Claude Akins near the end in a bit part as a cop. There’s also a scene on a ledge but it’s obviously a set. Still this is one worth checking out.

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The Real…Frank Sinatra-The Ultimate Collection 3 CD’S

CD 1
Playtime: 49:21
01. When You’re Smiling (2:31)
02. You Do Something To Me (2:34)
03. I Only Have Eyes For You (3:12)
04. I Get A Kick Out Of You (3:57)
05. September Song (3:07)
06. You And I (2:43)
07. Dream (3:01)
08. Oh! Look At Me Now (3:16)
09. Dolores (2:56)
10. Blue Moon (3:41)
11. Do I Worry? (3:14)
12. I’m A Fool To Want You (2:56)
13. Street Of Dreams (2:41)
14. Be Careful, It’s My Heart (2:50)
15. Stardust (3:12)
16. The Birth Of The Blues (3:30)

CD 2
Playtime: 47:19
01. Night And Day (3:05)
02. April In Paris (2:44)
03. A Foggy Day (1:44)
04. Begin The Beguine (3:54)
05. Embraceable You (2:54)
06. As Time Goes By (2:33)
07. You Go To My Head (3:01)
08. Autumn In New York (3:15)
09. Stormy Weather (4:14)
10. Someone To Watch Over Me (3:20)
11. ‘S Wonderful (1:06)
12. Melancholy Mood (3:12)
13. The Nearness Of You (2:41)
14. I Believe (3:03)
15. It Had To Be You (2:30)
16. Ol’ Man River (4:03)

CD 3
Playtime: 47:43
01. I’ve Got A Crush On You (3:17)
02. I’ll Be Seeing You (3:04)
03. If I Didn’t Care (3:29)
04. One For My Baby (3:05)
05. Everybody Loves Somebody (3:15)
06. That Old Black Magic (2:33)
07. I’ve Got You Under My Skin (4:06)
08. Hello, Young Lovers (3:34)
09. Don’t Fence Me In (2:35)
10. Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread) (3:13)
11. You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To (2:18)
12. These Foolish Things (3:08)
13. There Will Never Be Another You (2:15)
14. Somebody Loves Me (1:53)
15. Saturday Night (Is The Loneliest Night In The Week) (2:46)
16. Put Your Dreams Away (3:11)

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