Before MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault! In the middle 1980s, 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 July 5th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.
SERIAL: Before showing and mocking Frogs our members of the Film Vault Corps (“the few, the proud, the sarcastic”) showed and mocked an episode of the 1950 Columbia serial Atom Man vs Superman. Kirk Alyn starred as Superman with Lyle Talbot as his archenemy Lex Luthor. Lex has his own secret identity in this serial – each episode he dons a lead mask and oversees the villainy as “Atom Man”.
This was one of the liveliest and most campily watchable serials of the 50s. Especially laughable are the bits when Superman “flies” – an effect achieved by switching from live footage of Kirk Alyn to INSERTED CARTOON FOOTAGE of Superman flying. Think of the ‘Toons in Roger Rabbit interacting with the live backgrounds and you have the idea.
THE MOVIE: Frogs was another low point in the career of Ray Milland, along with The Thing With Two Heads, shown previously on The Texas 27 Film Vault. Pollution was to cheap monster movies of the 70s what atomic radiation was to cheap monster movies of the 50s. In other words it was the catch-all explanation for anything and everything. In this movie’s case pollution, which Ray Milland’s corporations are heavily guilty of, is to blame for wild animals (NOT just frogs, despite the movie’s title) going berserk and viciously attacking human beings.
Milland plays Jason Crockett, whose palatial southern mansion is the film’s location, where various butt-kissing family members of the old codger have come to jointly celebrate the 4th of July AND the patriarch’s birthday. Sam Elliott plays freelance photographer Pickett Smith, who is doing a photo feature of the wilderness areas threatened by Crockett’s polluting industries. He’s caught trespassing on Crockett’s own estate but the old man invites him to stay for the festivities anyway, since he finds Elliott’s open insolence a refreshing change from the sycophantic behavior of his brow-beaten family members.
Adam Roarke, a mainstay of B-movies in the 60s and 70s, plays Milland’s spineless, womanizing son Clint Crockett.
Joan Van Ark, who was starring on television’s Knot’s Landing by this point in the 80s, portrays Milland’s daughter Karen Crockett, who becomes Sam Elliott’s love interest.
Lesser stars play various ill-treated wives of the Crockett men, black servants of the crusty old coot and Milland’s other son, who tries to shock the old man by bringing his black girlfriend (Judy Pace) to the family get-together. Frogs plays like a Tennessee Williams play getting invaded by a typical Nature Goes Berserk movie. In between the drinking, scheming, philandering and the hate-filled insults the cast starts to get thinned out through deadly attacks by various animals on Milland’s estate.
Through it all an increasing number of frogs besiege the mansion, their croaking acting like a rallying cry for the rest of the rebellious animal kingdom, or … something. The death scenes are all hilarious as generally harmless animals appear to be killing the cast members in a series of awkwardly put-together scenes. Unfortunately for the most part Frogs is talky and slow-moving and NO- there is NOT any appearance by a frog large enough to swallow a man whole, despite all the dishonest advertising and movie posters.
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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