Bounty Paper Towels 2 (film #236 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Commercial]

In the same series as Bounty Paper Towels, this commercial features a housewife and a little girl who are both vexed by a dog that tracks in mud. Since they're not nearly as brain-dead as the couple in the other commercial, this isn't nearly as much fun. But it does still have the jaw-dropping schlurrrrppppp special effect.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

The Changing City (film #287 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]

Fairly dry 60s film about urban problems. Three parts stand out: 1. A scene of fingers doing the walking through the yellow pages of a city and finding places where one can get "bearings rebabbitted" and "singing commercials"; 2. A great sequence of garish billboards advertising housing developments, with an organ soundtrack; and 3. A weird montage of traffic signs and a frustrated driver, designed to portray the problems of city driving, but standing out like a sore thumb in this otherwise dull film. These highlights spice things up a bit, but it's still mostly slow going here.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

The Bald Zone - Level 1 (film #8 in the Action section of Brickfilms). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

In this very primitive Brickfilm, we see a sequence from some sort of Lego video game involving a Lego guy fighting a pirate. The camerawork is incredibly confusing, and seems to stand in for animation at some points. The soundtrack consists entirely of some peppy generic rock music and a few splashing sounds. Huh.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: **. Overall Rating: *.

Mad Doctor (film #11 on Cartoon Scandals (Goodtimes, 1987)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

This is probably the scariest Mickey Mouse cartoon ever made. A mad scientist kidnaps Pluto and plans on combining his parts with a chicken's and making a bizarre dog-hen! Mickey comes to the rescue, but is no match for all the ghosts in the mad scientist's spooky house. Fortunately, it all turns out to be Mickey's nightmare. Animal rights activists should love this. These early Mickey Mouse cartoons remind you how much better they were than their many imitations.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

Diane the Jungle Girl and Her Gorilla of Love (extra on Mighty Gorga/One Million AC/DC DVD (Something Weird, 2002)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

With a title like that, I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't this. A woman in an evening gown sings a song about voodoo––this is interspersed with stock footage of a chimp eating. Just when you're about to ask for your money back, the real film starts. A woman (a different one) dressed in a bikini top and a sarong dances with a guy in an extremely poor gorilla suit. Well, she dances anyway, the guy in the gorilla suit looks like he has less rhythm than a Norwegian Lutheran. He does manage to tear her sarong off, though, exposing her black panties. She ends up on the floor somehow and just when it looks like it's going to get really disgusting, it switches to backstage after the show, where there's some actual plot development involving a creepy former lover of the woman, a gun, and the guy in the gorilla suit, who breaks through a styrofoam wall just to be with the lady he loves. The ending will make you want to throw a brick through your tv set. This is so bad it actually transcends its title, existing in some sort of alternate universe of filmdom. Which, I guess, makes it an outsider film of the first order.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: *****.

Hats in Ring: Knowland, Knight Declare Candidacy (film #1828 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: News]

Sparring between two Republican candidates for California governor is shown in this newsreel clip. This was back in the 50s, before movie stars and former Swedish bodybuilders were allowed to run, only old balding white guys. Thus, of course, it has no relevance today.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: **.

General Hospital episode excerpt (MST3K Episode #415: The Beatniks). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

Another depressing "General Hospital" excerpt. An unhappily married couple holds an engagement party for another couple, barely hiding the fact that the engaged woman and the married man are in love with each other. It all adds up to the most depressing party you've ever seen. The msting gags about the Booze Council are priceless.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Msting: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

At This Moment.

This 50s film about railroads features a plot only an industrial filmmaker could love. A stranger walks into Scottie's, a diner frequented by railroad men, and flirts with Kelly, the waitress. The railroad men are all abuzz about a tv documentary that's going to be made about railroads. They begin to loudly converse their opinions about what sort of things they should put into the show and are about as convincing, and as tedious, as the French noblemen in the Monty Python "Dennis Moore" sketch, whose entire conversation consists of facts about French history straight out of the Encyclopedia Brittanica. The worst is Scottie himself––he's a full-fledged railroad geek, a walking database of railroad facts and figures that he spouts off at the drop of a hat. Even the other railroad men are sick of him. As if this wasn't bad enough, the stranger plays devil's advocate, periodically making comments to Kelly that are really designed to bait the railroad guys, and it works, too. One guess who turns out to be the producer of the tv documentary. Of course, Kelly falls for the guy and this causes her to do a little dance at the end of the day while she's cleaning up. Just as it threatens to turn into Design for Dreaming, Kelly suddenly remembers she's a working-class girl, thus she won't be allowed to enter The Future, and comes back down to earth. She does get some flowers and a nice note from the producer, which in Jam Handy's universe is all she has the right to expect, and she knows it. At least she doesn't get called "Greasy," for which she should be grateful. Mostly, though, this is just a bunch of guys going on and on and on about how great railroads are, spouting fact after boring fact. This is interspersed with the expected footage of railroads at work. Train buffs will probably like this film, and outright railroad geeks like Scottie will probably give it 5 stars. All others will want the railroad guys to shut up after about the first 10 minutes. I'm a bit surprised by this film––usually Jam Handy makes his points a lot more smoothly and cleverly. Perhaps Westinghouse, who sponsored the film, gave him a huge list of facts that he was ordered to cram into the film. The railroad logos that go by during the opening credits are cool, though. I want all of 'em on little metal tags, like that great metal tag collection at Pioneer Village.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

Back to Freedom: More War Prisoners Return to America (film #1798 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Military & Propaganda]

This short newsreel clip documents the return of Korean War POWs to the U.S. after the armistice. Many emotional reunions with families and friends are shown. A slice of Korean War history.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

An Animated Luncheon (film #11 on Edison Film Archive). [Category: Early Film & TV]

A polite couple sit down to lunch at a nice restaurant. The first course is live dove and the second course is live rabbit. The food flies or hops away before it can be eaten. I guess that's one way to diet. A 1900 Edison film.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.

Bounty Paper Towels (film #235 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Commercial]

This pre-Rosie Bounty commercial features an extremely stupid married couple and an incredible special effect that makes it look like spills will actually jump off the table into the paper towel if you just wave it over it. After being thoroughly amazed by this, and way too amused by the sound the paper towel makes when you snap it back and forth, the couple puts away a bunch of rolls of Bounty, blissfully unaware that their storage shelf is also a windowsill. This commercial is a great deal of fun and a necessary edition to anyone's tv commercial collection.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****.

A Chance to Play (film #285 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]

In this bombastically-narrated film, public recreational facilities are touted as the solution to practically all the world's problems. Juvenile delinquency, neglect of senior citizens, poor work productivity, kids getting hit by cars, dads going out to bars instead of doing things with their families––all would be solved if only we had more public playgrounds, sports facilities, and swimming pools, especially ones with floodlights so people can play at night (can you tell General Electric sponsored this film?). Even the high number of 4-Fs during World War II is blamed on lack of recreational facilities––I guess starvation, malnutrition, and lack of medical care brought about by the Depression and the Dust Bowl had nothing to do with it. So come on, cities! Build more recreational facilities now!! I mean it!!! Are things better yet?

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

The Devil's Daughter (Sinister Cinema, 1999. Also, film #6 in the Black Culture section of Movieflix ( [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

In this all-black cast film, a Jamaican woman fakes a voodoo ceremony in order to bilk her sister out of the banana plantation she's just inherited. The plot is bland and the main characters look and act like they come from Harlem, and it all suddenly resolves itself in a hokey ending where everybody suddenly decides to make up and get along. What really shines in the movie, though, are the extras. They got some real live Jamaicans to perform some really authentic-looking native songs and dances. This combination of real ethnic culture and fake Hollywoodized culture makes for a strange viewing experience. The scenes with the Jamaicans give it historical interest, though.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

The Correct Thing (film #4 on Lifestyles USA, Vol. 2 (Something Weird, 2000)). [Category: Industrial]

Goofus and Gallant for secretaries. Sally is professional, efficient, punctual, polite, and dull as dishwater, while Cora is habitually late, spends work time gabbing or fixing her face, flirts with the office playboy, parties till 4:00 am, and is generally sexy and exciting. The stern female narrator tries to shame her, like Barbara in Habit Patterns, but Cora is having too much fun to care. Eventually, the narrator invades her dream life, and Cora dreams she's just like Sally and her reward is the boss telling the other board members what a dutiful little sla––I mean, employee––she is. Think this gets through to Cora, or indeed, the audience this was meant for? Naaaaa!!!

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

Attack of the Clone (film #6 in the Action section of Brickfilms. Also, film #11 in the Comedy section of Brickfilms. Also, film #3 in the Sci-Fi Section of Brickfilms). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

This is the Lego version of a memorable fight scene from Star Wars: Episode Two. The sound effects, music, and special effects are especially good in this one, and there's some breathtaking animation, especially the scenes of the spaceship. And they add some funny parody moments, particularly a great opening title crawl (and what's a Star Wars parody without a title crawl?). Star Wars fans should like this.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

Griffith Park Relief Workers Demonstration (film #1826 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: News]

Silent newsreel clip from the early 30s documenting a labor demonstration against the city of Los Angeles for negligence in the Griffith Park fire, which killed over a hundred workers. This is prime historical footage from the 30s labor movement, if only it had a soundtrack. Some of the protesters' signs are great, though.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

The Atom and Biological Science (film #167 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Military & Propaganda]

This boring Encyclopedia Brittanica film covers the various forms of atomic biological research being done in the 50s. Lots of animal experimentation is shown, which some people might find offensive. One mildly interesting aspect of the film is that it shows a lot more female laboratory personnel than you would expect of a film from its time period. Whether or not they were paid as much as the men is not mentioned. Mostly, though, this is dull as dishwater.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: **.

The Brementown Musicians (film #9 on The Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection, Vol. 1 DVD (Image Entertainment, 1999)). [Category: Hollywood]

Four farm animals––a rooster, a dog, a cat, and a donkey––after getting fired from their jobs as alarm clock, henhouse guard, mouse exterminator, and beast of burden respectively, find out there's big money to be made in barbershop quartet singing. Unfortunately, when they try their hand at it, listeners rain them with rubbish instead of coins. They get their old jobs back, though, after saving the farmer from a bunch of burglars. There's nothing really special about this cartoon, but it is a charming story, well told.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.

Appreciating Our Parents.

This is one of my favorite of the MST3K shorts. Little Tommy suddenly comes to the realization that his parents work, and so decides to be a cooperative member of the family team, unlike the slacker we all know he used to be. A film version of your mom telling you that things would be a lot better around here if you kids would just help out for once. And it probably went over about as well to its intended audience. It's fun to watch them try, though, and the film's innocent earnestness makes great fodder for msting.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Msting: *****. Overall Rating: *****.

Beginning Responsibility: Taking Care of Things

Beginning Responsibility: Taking Care of Things . Grade-schooler Andy is a slacker in the taking-care-of-things department, so he suffers t...