Catching Trouble (MST3K Episode #315; Teenage Caveman (short #2)). [Category: Hollywood]

Joel apologizes to everyone everywhere for this highly upsetting newsreel featurette about live wild animal capture, and rightly so. We're supposed to admire the antics of Ross, the wild animal hunter as he runs through the Florida everglades catching animals for cheesy reptile farms and the like, but after hearing the animals' anguished screams you root for them every time. Almost too painful to watch, but the msting helps. And to cleanse your soul afterwards, you absolutely must view the host segment that follows, entitled "Catching Ross", where Joel and the bots give the great white hunter a taste of his own medicine!

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: BOMB. Msting: *****. Overall Rating: **** (with msting)/BOMB (without).

Bacteria: Friend and Foe (film #184 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]

This film starts out a little bit like a Coronet film, with high-schooler Ted struggling to see bacteria in a microscope and being helped by his older brother Frank, a bacteriologist who bears a slight resemblance to Dr. Radford Baines. Unfortunately, it's not long before this becomes a standard dry EB science film about the various kinds of bacteria. There aren't even any killer shrews in it. The graphic elements are mildly fun, with title cards in various shades of Pepto-Bismol pink and a sort of periodic table of bacteria on the wall that Frank refers Ted to. But mostly this is the sort of film most students probably slept through.

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

The Big Delivery Wagon (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #214 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]

The Big Delivery Wagon delivers Heinz products to your store, or it did before wagons were replaced by trucks. This mildly amusing industrial film spotlights national distribution of Heinz food products in garish color. All tomatoes, ketchup bottles, and housewives’ lipstick are bright, screaming red especially. Mostly this is pretty ordinary, but since it’s about food products, it’s pretty fun, and it does have some curious moments, such as when the various different kinds of food products are spotlighted, one after the other, but all we see are stacks of shipping cartons marked with each product’s name. Mildly fun and good for msting.

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

Haunted House Soundie (extra on Monsters Crash the Pajama Party Spook Show Spectacular DVD (Something Weird, 2001)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

This soundie has no title and I can’t identify the song, so bear with me. An African-American couple is spooked by ghosts and skeletons in a haunted house. This is full of the racist stereotypes of black people as cowardly and superstitious, especially in the performance of the male actor. The special effects and the general look of the film is fun and creative, though.

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

Bataille de Boules de Neige (film #10 on The Movies Begin, Volume Two: The European Pioneers (Kino Video, 1994)). [Category: Early Film & TV]

Hey everybody!! SNOWBALL FIGHT!!! Hey, let's get that guy on the bicicyle!! Let's pummel 'im!!! Stop it, you hooligans!!! Arrrgghh!!! (sound of a guy falling off a bike). He eventually beats a hasty, snow-covered retreat. One of the more fun Lumiere films. An 1896 Lumiere film.

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

The Adventures of Rupert the Bear #1 (film #33 in the Children’s TV section of TVArk). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

Cute opening credits for a British children’s tv show featuring puppet animation of stuffed animals. The notes on the site say this is “scary,� but I find it to be genuinely cute. I ought to send them Watch Out for Poisons––now that’s really scary!

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

Arrest in Chinatown, San Francisco, Cal. (film #2 on Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916. Also, #16 on Edison Film Archive). [Category: Early Film & TV]

A guy is carried off in a paddy wagon, back in the days when it really was a wagon. One of the arresting officers just couldn’t resist repeatedly waving at the camera. An 1897 Edison film.

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

Bassett’s Jelly Babies (film #1 in the Adverts section of TVArk). [Category: Commercial]

Weird British animated commercial for that very British of candies, jelly babies. I didn’t know babies could do the Charleston.

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

Confidential File: Medical Quacks (film #367 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]

This 50s tv program starring Paul Coates attempts to blow the lid off of medical quackery. First it tells the story of a little old lady with a lump in her throat, whose “friend� takes her to see a “doctor� in a hotel room, who “treats� her with a machine made of an old phonograph with lots of knobs attached. Then Coates interviews a California food and drug inspector, who, speaking very stiltedly, tells us that quacks who are caught are generally slapped on the wrist by the courts. He is very boring and hard to listen to, but it gets more interesting when he starts showing us various fake bizarre fake medical devices of the type that can be found in the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices today. Then Coates interviews says we are probably thinking that people who fall for such quackery are pretty stupid. He then interviews a guy who had half his ear eaten away by a “cancer salve,� after a quack diagnosed told him a scab he had on his ear was cancerous. The guy tells us that he used the salve for five weeks even though it burned his ear like battery acid. Eventually part of his ear fell off, and then the quack told him that the cancer had spread to the back of his neck. The guy used the salve there for several more weeks before he finally had enough of the pain and quit. Unfortunately, this interview does nothing to dissuade us from questioning the intelligence of quack doctors’ victims. This is a fairly campy show on an interesting topic, with a great 50s tv feel.

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

Harlem Review (film #643 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

This all-black 30s soundie has stereotypes aplenty, some pretty offensive. It starts with two black sailors who look straight out of a minstrel show talking about how they used to be admirals in the African Navy. Then we see them dressed as admirals on the S.S. Topsy, a ship decorated with racist cartoon characters. This is the most offensive part of the film. Then it switches to the music, which consists of several African-American performers probably trying very hard to get a break into show business. It’s too bad they had to appear in such a film in order to get started. Not only is it racist, but the sound quality is terrible, especially when the jazz band plays––it sounds like it was recorded from the other end of a dance hall. This film is a good historical record for how difficult it was for black performers to get started in one of the few fields they had a chance to make good money in, if they became stars. We may not have eliminated racism from our society, but at least we’re doing better than this.

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

Apollo, Segment 4003 (in the Documentary section of Open Video Project). [Category: News]

In this clip from a NASA film, unmanned space probes designed to study the sun are announced and explained. Pretty standard.

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

Adam Adamant Lives (film #4 in the Cult section of TVArk). [Category: Outtakes and Obscurities]

Groovy! These opening credits for a British science fiction television show just scream the 60s. This is probably where Austin Powers gets his inspiration. Lots of fun.

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

Drive-In Movie Double Feature #84 (Sinister Cinema). [Category: Commercial]

Is it just me or are these intermissions getting shorter? It's not just me––the timer starts at 5 minutes! Dock Sinister Cinema 10 points! Still, this one has a couple of priceless items that haven't appeared before in this series.


Highlights:


  • According to my husband, Chilly Dilly just barely makes it to the Evil List.
  • Your Drive-In Potato Expert seems just a little too interested in those potatoes he's inspecting!
  • Is that motor oil they're pouring into the popcorn popper in the Manley's Hi-Pop Ad? It's either that or the darkest butter I've ever seen!
  • The highlight of this intermission is a promo for soft drinks featuring a "doctor" showing us a diagram of the "parched dry area at the back of the throat". This ranks right up with the best hokey "scientific" explanations in cheesy 50s science fiction movies!
  • For some reason, the drive-in is raffling off an old jalopy, a self-described "bag of bolts". They suggest you use it to "teach the kids or the wife to drive." New Horizons in Auto Salvage?

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

The Big Board (film #212 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]

This film tries to explain in simple terms the workings of the New York Stock Exchange, but fails (at least for me, anyway). It does have some rather campy scenes of stockbrokers handling big blocks with stock certificates printed on them, going into start, secret-looking rooms, and making phone calls on colored telephones (one of these phones is bright red, just like the phone the President could use to usher in World War III––this just begs to be msted!). Mostly, though, this is rather dull.

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

Greenwich Village Sunday (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #635 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

This laid-back early-60s film shows us street life in Greenwich Village on a Sunday. We see such things as sidewalk art displays, folksinging in the circle, and beatniks reciting poetry. This definitely brings back a memorable time and place, giving us a glimpse of the birth of the 60s counterculture. One rather silly aspect of the film is a prim woman in a striped dress and little white gloves who appears in almost every scene and reacts to things as if she was on Mars (though with a smile on her face). This film could have perhaps had more content to it, but then it wouldn’t have been as laid back as a Greenwich Village Sunday.

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

Andy Pandy (film #1 in the Children’s TV section of TVArk). [Category: Early Film & TV]

Very cute opening credits to an early 50s British children’s tv show. I love the spelling of the show’s name in alphabet blocks. The very cute and British narrator may be found insufferable by some, but I liked her––she reminds me of somebody’s nanny. Watch this when you’re in the mood to be coddled for a bit.

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

Sheep Shape (film #5 on Cartoon Scandals (Goodtimes, 1987)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

Blackie the Sheep dresses in drag in order to catch a wolf who has stolen money donated to the orphan's home. Not quite as weird as that sounds, unfortunately.

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

Argentina

Argentina. Standard geography film about the South American country of Argentina. There’s some historical interest here as you get to see ...