American flagBalladeer’s Blog wishes a happy birthday to the USA! What happened in early July of 1776 certainly needs no rehashing so in keeping with my blog’s theme of addressing more out of the way subjects this post will examine various events that took place on other July 4th’s throughout American history.

JULY 4TH, 1778 – George Rogers Clark led his rebel forces in taking the British stronghold of Kaskaskia, near the confluence of the Mississippi and Kaskaskia Rivers. Clark and his Rangers were on a mission for then-Virginia Governor Patrick Henry.

JULY 4TH, 1783 – The Massachusetts Supreme Court is finalizing its written decision holding that slavery has been illegal in the state since adoption of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights in 1780.

JULY 4TH, 1788 – Continue reading

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Filed under Neglected History


To the 4th PowerTO THE FOURTH POWER (2013) – This film was one of the sleeper hits of last year. You’d think it would be impossible to do something creative with the mock documentary format at this point but To The Fourth Power proves to be a thought-provoking and inventive piece set “just a few years from now”.

The movie depicts a near future in which the Continue reading

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Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Fantastic Movie Reviews

1776: THE 4th of JULY MUSICAL

1776-musical-movieIt may be my fondness for mythology that makes me love to watch particular movies around particular holidays.  I say that because many of the well- known myths were recited on ancient holidays when their subject matter was relevant to those holidays. The stories helped accentuate the meaning of the special events and that’s the way I use various movies. At Christmas I watch countless variations of A Christmas Carol, around Labor Day I watch Eight Men Out, at Halloween The Evil Dead and the original Nightmare On Elm Street, Thanksgiving Eve I do Oliver! and for Frontierado (which is just a month away now) I do Silverado.

Since the actual 4th of July is loaded with activity I always show 1776 on the night before. It’s a great way to get in the mood for Independence Day. It’s a musical but with brilliant dialogue portions and the story involves the political maneuvering  surrounding the Original Thirteen Colonies at last announcing their independence from Great Britain, more than a year after Continue reading

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American navy -revolutionary warWelcome back to Balladeer’s Blog! As always I am big on seasonal articles and here is another one of my examinations of a neglected aspect of Revolutionary War history. With the 4th of July coming up quickly enjoy this look at some forgotten naval battles from the war for our country’s independence.

AUGUST 7th, 1775 – The Commerce raided the HMS Betsy and successfully made off with over 17,000 lbs of gunpowder for the rebel cause.

AUGUST 10th, 1775 – In Gloucester, MA the town militia fired on the HMS Falcon and drove it off, killing 35 British sailors and forcing the ship to Continue reading

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Gorilla at LargeBefore MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault! In the middle 1980’s, way down on Level 31 Randy Clower and Richard Malmos, machine-gun toting Film Vault Technicians First Class hosted this neglected cult show. Balladeer’s Blog continues its celebration of the program’s THIRTIETH  anniversary year.

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Saturday December 6th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1:00am. 

Mysterious Doctor SatanSERIAL: Before presenting and mocking Gorilla at Large our machine-gun wielding Film Vault Technicians First Class presented and mocked an episode of Mysterious Doctor Satan, a Republic serial from 1940. The serial featured a mad scientist called Dr Satan trying to take over the world with a very, VERY goofy- looking robot while a pulp-style hero called the Copperhead tried to thwart his plans.  

FILM VAULT LORE: This time around the movie ticket give-away from Channel 27 (the “27” in The Texas 27 Film Vault) was for a chance to go see the 1986 release King Kong Lives.

Richard Malmos left) and Randy Clower relaxing between takes on the set of The Texas 27 Film Vault.

Richard Malmos (left) and Randy Clower relaxing between takes on the set of The Texas 27 Film Vault.

HOST SEGMENTS: Gorilla at Large was one of the 3-D films from the 1950’s, and those are always funny and campy as hell, especially in the scenes with objects unnecessarily coming at the camera. The fun Randy and Richard had riffing on 3-D glasses and the whole 3-D phenomenon of the 50’s (and its 80’s revival) seems to have kicked off with this episode. In later episodes we’d get their “3-D interview” with Ben Johnson, a showing of Friday the 13th Part 3-D and even The Texas 27 Film Vault 3-D poster drawn by THE Kerry Gammil. Gorilla at Large is one of the movies represented on that poster.   

Gorilla at Large 3THE MOVIE: Gorilla at Large provided a wealth of material for Randy and Richard to work with. Remember, their previous show had been The Trivia Guys and this film about a murderous gorilla at a circus was packed with opportunities for pop culture shoutouts. To cite just a few:

* George Barrows, the man in the gorilla suit as our title monster Goliath, was the same guy who wore the ape/robot outfit as Ro-Man in that staple of Bad Movie shows Robot Monster (previously shown on The Texas 27 Film Vault).    

* Cameron “Shut the F****ing Door” Mitchell, veteran of High Chaparral, The Andersonville Trial and countless bad movies, starred as Joey Matthews, the circus’ barker.   Continue reading


Filed under Bad and weird movies, Movie Hosts


Elizabethtown New Jersey Revolutionary WarIn the spirit of the 4th of July season here’s another neglected battle from the American Revolution.


Date(s): January 5th-7th, 1777

Location: Elizabethtown and Springfield, NJ

American Commander: General William Maxwell

British Commander: Colonel Charles Mawhood

The Battle: On January 5th American Rebels attacked a British Cavalry patrol, killing one man and wounding another. The next day some cavalrymen and 50 infantrymen set out from the town to kill or capture any Rebels in the area. Continue reading

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Red Lake Nation College MigiziLocation: Red Lake, MN 

Division: AIHEC (American Indian Higher Education Consortium)

Comment: Red Lake Nation College’s mascot animal for their sports teams is the Migizi (Bald Eagle). Not only that, but: Continue reading

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Filed under Cool names and cool logos