Abbott and Costello go to Mars

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1953

So you’d think the title pretty much sums up this film. Well you might think so but if you did you’d be wrong. Abbott and Costello (Lester and Orville in this one) accidentally take off in a rocket that was supposed to go to Mars, but instead they end up at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Due to all the odd costumes the boys think they are on MarsĀ  and try to adjust to the alien ways. What the? Well I guess the boys should go somewhere out in space so a couple of robbers are tossed in to force them to take action. These thugs and the boys take off in the rocket zoom zoom we are off to the moon, um Mars well how about Venus? Okay Venus it is which is apparently populated by only female beauty pageant contestants. Lou becomes a king of sorts but has to wear something that looks like long johns for a really cheap super hero. Eventually he can’t stay faithful, the thugs turn some of the woman against him and the woman of Venus realize he’s really kind of dumpy so the earth guys flee, get into the rocket and kapow back to earth. Roll the credits.

It’s hard to imagine that taking one of the best comedy duos of all time and throwing in sci-fi elements would results in such an average film but it does. I really blame most of it on the weak plot. In films like when A and C meet Frankenstein or the Invisible man there is a definite story and the guys react to situations while keeping the humor in the foreground. Here the humor seems spread out even forced at times. The part at the rocket base and at Mardi Gras are overall stronger than the time on Venus due to the humor. Still many of the jokes seem flat this time around. Worth seeing for A and C fans and I love the limburger cheese in the space helmet gag, but not one of their best.

There is more of space silliness week coming over the next few days!

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Have rocket, will travel

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1959

So the three stooges (Moe, Larry and Curly Joe) are maintenance guys on the land owned by the base that is doing rocket research. The rocket project is struggling as we see one launch attempt result in the rocket ending up not in space but rather near the stooges shack just a few miles from it’s launch point. The female scientist and her boyfriend are in danger of losing the project if they can’t show results oh woe is us. So the stooges step in and screw everything up. Well, sort of eventually they go Venus (which looks a lot like California) and meet a talking Unicorn, run from a giant spider, battle an intelligent yet mean robot and fight their evil doubles. Wow it was like plots for several bad 50’s sci-fi films shoved into 15 minutes or so. The stooges (the real ones not those nasty fake ones or at least I think so) make it back to earth and get a parade. Then there’s a tacked on celebration party with more stooginess going on and finally the movie ends.

The bad- If you enjoyed the Stooges shorts with Curly Howard or Shemp you may be in for a let down of sorts. This line up of the stooges were going for the younger kids so it’s far more mild than their efforts from the late 1930’s – early 1950’s. Also they were older so they do less slapstick. The plot here seems thrown out there just to catch on to the sci-fi crazy of the 50’s. There are some laughs, but it’s few and far between.

The good-Curly Joe is no Curly Howard or Shemp, but he was an improvement over Joe Besser. Also this film marked a return of sorts for the stooges. After being fired a few years earlier the stooges had gotten popular again via their old shorts being put on tv and a new generation of fans got to see them. So they were re-signed to do films, Curly Joe was hired and boom the stooges were back. This wasn’t their best of the films from this line-up as I’d go with Three Stooges go around the world in a daze for that honor. However this film does deserve credit for keeping the stooges going a while longer.

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Abbott and Costello meet the Invisible Man

 

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1951

What’s this about?

Bud and Lou graduate from private eye school and you just know silliness and nothing good will come from that. Tommy Nelson a boxer accused of killing his manager shows up trying to hire the boys, they agree and they don’t yet know who he is. Nelson was hired to take a dive in a fight, he and his manager doubled crossed the guy ( who has gang ties) and Tommy knocked out Rocky Hanlin. The baddies killed Tommy’s manager and left him as the number on suspect. Wait that plot sounds too normal. Okay how’s this- Tommy’s girlfriend’s uncle is messing with an invisibility formula and of course Tommy takes it despite being told not too. Won’t these guys ever learn? Okay, Tommy takes it. Bud and Low know who Tommy is now and Bud decides to call the cops. Tommy takes the syrum, he’s gone and when the cops show up they think Bud and Lou are a couple of liars. The cops keep tabs on Bud and Lou. So don’t do anything nasty, boys. Tommy tells Bud and Lou they are helping him whether they like it or not and since he’s a boxer, has a temper and is invisible they should listen to him. Tommy comes up with the idea that Lou should pretend to be a boxer with Bud as his manager. They go into a gym and Lou pretends to box a bag while Tommy does the hitting. They then draw Rocky Hanlin into throwing a punch at Lou and Tommy knocks Rocky down thus setting up a fight between big, ugly Rocky and little fat Lou. Oh did I mention that the invisibility syrum has a side effect of causing mental instability? They may have caused Tommy’s plan here. Anyways his hope is Lou gets in the ring and they beat Rocky draw out the other baddies, catch them and prove his innocence. Unfortunately with Bud and Lou in the thick of this we know it won’t be that easy. The cops still think that Bud and Lou know where Tommy Nelson is. The bad guys send a woman after Lou to persuade him to take a dive against Rocky and he’d get paid for it. So eventually we get to the main attraction-the fight. Lou gets in the ring with Tommy behind him but of course he’s still invisible but getting a little crazier. Bud tells Lou that he needs to take the dive or that the bad dudes will kill them. Bud is such a spineless wuss. The fight starts and Tommy uses his invisible fists to knock Rocky around, but Lou almost screws it up when he accidentally knocks Tommy out and almost gets his rear end handed to him. The Tommy gets back up and knocks Rocky out. The baddies are snarling to get Bud and Lou, but Tommy has their back and a fight happens in the locker room. The mean jerky types are stopped, the cops grab them and Tommy needs a blood transfusion. Lou gives him some blood in the hospital. So Tommy becomes visible again. In the process Lou gets some invisible blood and he vanishes for a while, but is seen again for a humorous final scene. Roll the credits.

The negatives-Not so much. The invisibility lab scenes are a little stiff perhaps, but okay.

The positives-A good combination of horror and humor. The boys make the best of the situations. Bud is his classic straight man self while Lou gives some great slapstick moments including the fight. The special effects are actually quite decent for the time. The supporting cast is relatively strong.

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The Munsters-Low cal Munster

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1964

Guests-Paul Lynde as Dr. Dudley who can’t see much without his glasses. If you watched Hollywood Squares during the 70’s you would remember him. He was also of course Uncle Arthur on Bewitched, the voice of Templeton the rat in Charlotte’s Web and seemed to be everywhere in the late 60’s-1970’s.

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What’s this about?

Herman breaks loose from shackles and goes on a rampage, but then he stops so they can go back and tell us how all of this came to be. Herman wants to go to the reunion for his old army outfit, but he can’t fit in his uniform. Lilly says he can go if he can lose weight to fit into the uniform. The reunion is just 10 days away so Lilly tells Herman he should go to the doctor to get advice on a diet. He does, but his doctor send his glasses away to be fixed right before Herman arrives. So hilarity ensues with gags about eyesight and the doctor thinks that Herman’s comments being made from the parts of others are jokes- hahaha. Eventually the doctor gets his glasses back and falls over when he sees Herman. Herman meanwhile goes home and starts his diet. Lilly worries because he’s just eating vitamins and water. However when Herman is informed that Thanksgiving is coming up his mouth starts to water. That night Grandpa catches Herman trying to sneak food. The Doctor gets to the Munster hours to check on poor Herman. The Doctor thinks Herman is dead and the family thinks the doctor is a quack. Herman still wants to lose the weight so Grandpa ties him down in the basement while the rest of the family goes out for Thanksgiving dinner. Grandpa leaves the TV on for him. Unfortunately a commercial about having a Thanksgiving dinner delivered comes and the salesman goes into great detail about the food. Herman has had it! He breaks out, leaves the house and starts looking around the neighborhood for food. He ends up breaking in to a house right in the middle of a families Thanksgiving dinner and he eats it all. Fortunately the family doesn’t press charges. At home Herman comes downstairs in his Army uniform and everyone wonders how that could be since he ate all that food. Turns out he has grandma’s old corset under his uniform wahahahaha! Roll the credits.

A funny episode of a great series. I love the opening parts of Herman breaking loose like he’s a real Frankenstein monster for us to only find out that this is all about turkey and cranberry sauce. We watch this one every Thanksgiving season.

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Happy Days-Haunted

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1974

Guests
Linda Purl as Gloria, Richie’s girlfriend. Purl would come back as a different character and be Fonzie’s love interest much later in the series.

Beatrice Colen as Marsha the waitress. Colen played this role in a handful of episodes during the first three seasons of the show. You may also recognize her as a regular from the first season of Wonder Woman.

Neil Schwartz as Bag a jerk and member of the Demons. He had a handful of roles but this is probably the one he is most known for as he played Bag in nine episodes of Happy Days.

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Richie, Ralph and Potsie are planning their annual Halloween party. However they don’t want the goofy gang the Demons to crash their shindig so they need to have it at a different location. Ralph decides on an old abandoned house that everyone thinks is haunted-the Simpson house which is supposed to be haunted by Magnolia Simpson. Richie gets picked to check it out oh, dear what a horrid job. He stops at the house with Joanie who is already and then Richie gets scared of something and races out all wide eyed. Later he tells his dad he thought he saw a headless person in the closet and his dad tells him no way, Jose or something like that. He tries to forget the horror of such an image but it still bothers him oh the poor boy, but hey cheer up it’s hallowfreakinween! Richie lies to Ralph and Potsie and says the house is okay. He and Gloria go there for the party and everyone is having a good time. Then Richie has to go to the closet and see the headless body but it’s just a dummy in a rocking chair oh I knew it wasn’t a real ghost. Oh, everything is just fine and they can get back to their wild party of dancing around and eating lunch meat with no bread. Wait another headless body comes down the stairs and everyone is ready to pee in their costumes except Richie who steps forward and exposes the headless thing as Demon member Bag who has been a real rear end through the whole episode. Richie dumps soda on Bag’s head and now Halloween is okay. Roll the credits.

The negatives-Not a whole lot although just to be a little nit picky at the party the hose seems a little bigger and in far better shape than when Richie first saw it.

The positives- Happy Days was at it’s best during this time in my opinion when it was about Richie and Fonzie was still a supporting character. I remember seeing this episode when I was really young and it kind of scared me then so it stuck with me as one of the most memorable episodes of the show and it’s a pretty good one. I also enjoy their costumes and all of the Halloween decorations.

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Halloween/scary episode meaningless trivia of sorts-
Ronnie Howard enters a haunted house in two different shows with this one and when he was much younger as Opie in the Andy Griffith Show.
Beatrice Colen plays the reoccurring role of waitress Marcia in this episode. Cohen also had a small part in the CHiPs Halloween episode a few years later and she was in a Halloween episode of Night Court in the mid-80’s. Which gives her a total of being in Halloween episodes in three different shows. Can any other actor or actress beat or even tie that?

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Leprechaun 4: In space

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The princess and the creepy dude.

1996

Who’s in this?
Warwick Davis as of course the title character. He is best known well probably for these movies. He was also Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi. He has also appeared as Professor Flitwick in the the Harry Potter movies.

Brent Jasmer as Books a space marine who mostly does his job and has eyes for Tina the doctor. He had a handful of tv and movie credits between the late 80’s and late 90’s.

Jessica Collins as Tina a doctor of biology assigned to help a group of space marines. She has been in a number of tv series of the last twenty plus years including having been in over 120 episodes of the Young and the restless over the last two years.

Tim Colceri as Sgt. Metalhead the leader of the space marines. Colceri has been in various movies and shows for 30 years. He is likely most known as the doorgunner from Full Metal Jacket.

Guy Siner as Doctor Mittenhand. A brilliant doctor who has contracter space marines to rescue a princess and bring her on board the ship. Oh and he’s really just a head and chest of a dude connected to a machine. Oh and also for some reason he talks like Colonel Klink from Hogan’s Heroes. Siner is perhaps most known for his stint on the British TV series ‘Allo ‘Allo! He has also done voices for several Star Wars video games and voiced Man Ray on SpongeBob SquarePants.

Debbe Dunning as Delores a space marine. Dunning is best known for having played Heidi the second tool time girl on Home Improvement in the 90’s.

What’s this about? You thought those wimps in that Aliens fiasco were tough? Ha! These space marines are off to rescue a princess. Or they think, she has been taken by the title creature yet the princess agrees to be with the little beast once he offers the glittery bimbo some of his gold. The marines show up and they blow up that mean nasty little Leprechaun and accidentally knock the princess out cold. Not before the little maniac goes all insane Jedi on a marine and slices him with a skinny light saber. One of the marines takes a wee-wee on the Leprechaun’s light saber once they think the title monster is dead. Then he gets what he thinks is a shock on his ding dong (sorry for such language). Believe it or not that part is important to the plot. So they grab the knocked out princess and all of the gold and head off on their spaceship which looks like a giant greenhouse only with no glass or plastic. That’s it roll the… ah you’re not getting off that easy. The science people such as there (notice I said science and not smart) examine the princess to answer such science type questions as why does she have glitter on her body and why does she dress like she fell out of a Flash Gordon comic? Anyways the marines celebrate a job well done. A bunch of them drink while the leadhead who drizzled on the light saber goes off with Delores (thinking of the Seinfeld episode where he couldn’t remember the girl’s name). Anyways they start pawing and patting at each other, a rise comes up in his pants and kapow the Leprechaun pops out of the crotch of his pants. See I told you that whizzing on the lightsaber event had something to do with later events. The beastie runs off while Delores can’t seem to hit him or the broad side of the barn. Well the Leprechaun does some more damage and in between talking to the camera he kills off another crew member. Sgt. Metalhead is a thick necked, loud talking grump with a metal plate for half his head (just like all Sargeants). Anyways he doesn’t want to lose any more people and the Leprechaun has said he will leave them be if they just give him the princess and they all want to do this. Doctor Mittenhand reveals himself, oh dear he’s half man and half washing machine- egads! Well he offers the marines a lot of loot to kill the Leprechaun and of course game on, man lets hunt the wee little fella. So you know the drill, well maybe not since this film has far more humor than the others so he kills them off one at a time in silly ways and tells wisecracks along the ways. Sgt. Metalhead gets turned a cross-dressing mindless boob, hey didn’t that happen in Starship Troopers? Maybe not. It comes down to just a few survivors fighting for their lives or they just prance around as set pieces for the jokes. They run into a Doctor Mittenhand/gross spider creature as the Leprechaun has turned him into a web shooting monstrosity- oh how rude. Then they battle a big Leprechaun (he’s not wee anymore). The hero gets his shirt ripped off and the heroine gets her pants ripped off because you know this is an equal opportunity kind of movie. The Leprechaun gets shot out the airlock like some sort of space debris and he goes boom shooting parts all over space. Of course his severed hand gives the remaining crew members the finger oh, how cute. Roll the credits.

The negatives? People seem to be split on this film. It’s very much a horror comedy and very heavy on the comedy which seems to turn off some horror fans. I think what bothered me was the humor was limited and they used a lot of the same jokes. By the last third of the film they seemed to be running out of ideas. The cast was okay, but there wasn’t anyone good enough to really stretch the humor.

The positives? Most people seem to either hate this film and get all huffy over it or they love it for it’s total in your face silliness. I am more in between those two, but lean towards liking it. There is no concealing that this was a comedy with horror elements even spoofing horror, sci-fi and even war films. For that they get points for the attempt. There are funny over the top moments and that’s where this film works. However the best parts are the first 2/3 of the film. They try to keep the craziness going and do to an extent but it kind of drifts towards the end. Hey, I’ve owned it for a year and a half and watched it maybe 4 times so I like it well enough. If you have no sense of humor or don’t like dumb humor you’ll hate this movie and are better off kissing a blarney stone. If you are in the mood for something ridiculous then give it a go. This was a straight to video movie with an obvious low budget, but I liked then instead of just mailing in another ho-hum bad horror sequel they tried to get a laugh out of it instead.

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Man, Yoda is even uglier than I remember.