In the middle 1980’s/ Way down on Level 31 …
Before MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault!
Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this neglected cult show from the mid-1980′s with the 7th review in a series where exact broadcast dates can be determined. My research through VERY old newspapers, my interviews with the show’s co-star and co-creator Randy Clower plus emails and comments from my fellow fans of the program are helping us piece together bits and pieces of the show’s history. Keep those Texas 27 Film Vault memories coming, ladies and gentlemen.
Episode originally broadcast: Saturday July 6th, 1985, from 10:30pm to 1am. Special thanks to my fellow T27FV fan Roberta for the date.
Extras: With 2 1/2 hours to work with each week Randy Clower and Richard Malmos, as machine-gun toting “Film Vault Technicians First Class”, would usually present and mock episodes of old Republic serials, then still had time to follow that up with a bad or campy movie AND their comedy sketches. Those sketches centered on their fictional Film Vault Corps, “the few, the proud, the sarcastic”, the men and women who “protected America’s schlock-culture heritage” in the form of the Golden Turkeys beloved by bad movie buffs.
Star Spangled Rhythm was so long that, with commercials plus Randy and Richard’s comedy sketches, there was no time for a serial episode before the film for this episode of The Texas 27 Film Vault.
The Movie: Star Spangled Rhythm was a
schmaltzy light-hearted morale booster for the United States, which at the time of its release had been involved in World War Two for less than a full year. The simple-minded plot sounds like a rejected script for I Love Lucy from several years later. A security guard at Paramount Studios has convinced his son (Eddie Bracken), who is serving in the Navy, that he is instead an executive with the studio. When the man’s son and Navy buddies show up at the studio on shore leave the security guard and a Paramount secretary (Betty Hutton) who wants to marry the guard’s son are on the spot.
Through some monumentally lame and labored lies and subterfuges the son and his service pals are convinced of Dad’s executive status while interacting with almost every star in the Paramount stable at the time. Figures like Preston Sturges, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Fred MacMurray, Veronica Lake, Dorothy Lamour and countless other recognizable faces provide fodder for Randy and Richard, given the duo’s encyclopedic memories for movie and pop culture trivia. Bing Crosby’s son Gary shows up in the movie, too, so you can insert your own dark joke about Bing’s alleged abuse of Gary here.
Viewers will also see Susan Hayworth, Paulette Goddard, Franchot Tone, Ray Milland, Rochester, Dick Powell, William Bendix and Alan Ladd. Though occassionally there are incidents of INTENTIONAL humor that will make you laugh most of the humor is unintentional. You’ll split your sides laughing at the telegraphed jokes, over-produced song and dance numbers plus the outdated social attitudes, especially regarding the African Americans in the cast.
And of course, there is the ham-fisted, hit-you-over-the-head, forced patriotism of the whole affair, climaxing with Bing Crosy singing Old Glory in front of a scale-model of Mount Rushmore. There’s nostalgia for seemingly simpler times and then there’s outright simple-mindedness and unfortunately Star Spangled Rhythm is mostly the latter.
FILM VAULT LORE: Randy and Richard, both sons of military men, had come up with a very detailed back-story for their fictional Film Vault Corps. Back before the Corps members found themselves protecting old movies from gigantic rats and celluloid-eating cellumites the FVC got its start during the Great Depression.
FDR’s Works Progress Administration engineered the first Film Vaults beneath America’s major cities. Each subterranean vault was as large as an aircraft carrier and they were originally used to store the monumental film collection of FDR crony Larry Alexander Finley of Frankfort, KY. Eventually the vaults were used to house the superannuated Golden Turkeys and camp classics that local television stations across the country filled their late-night hours with. The vaults also housed other bits of cultural kitsch like old commercials and tv shows and such.
IN THE NEAR FUTURE BALLADEER’S BLOG WILL PRESENT MORE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT MILESTONES. Be here to share the Film Vault Corp’s mission of “safeguarding America’s schlock-culture heritage”.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFO ON THIS SHOW – https://glitternight.com/texas-27-film-vault/
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