Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this neglected cult show from the mid-1980s.
EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday April 19th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.
HOST SEGMENTS: One particular Host Segment featured one of the show’s behind-the- scenes people portraying Commando Cody complete with helmet and rocket pack. He was portraying the character because the Commando Cody serial Radar Men from the Moon was the current serial being shown before the movie each week on The Texas 27 Film Vault.
Since Randy Clower still outranked his co-host Richard Malmos (at least until a few episodes later) in the fictional Film Vault Corps (“The few, the proud, the sarcastic”) their relationship often featured the type of abusive “Host and Second Banana” dynamic like that between Dr Morgus and his lab assistant Chopsley or Zacherle and his wife My Dear or Dr Forester and TV’s Frank.
At any rate this Host Segment featured “Commando Cody” befriending Randy and setting out with him for a night of partying on the town while the two leave Richard behind to do all the grub work in their barracks.
SERIAL: As noted above Radar Men from the Moon was the current serial being shown. This episode featured Chapter Ten titled Mass Execution.
Supernatural starred Carole Lombard and Randolph Scott in a campy and hilariously bad story of possession. When serial murderess Ruth Rogen is executed her spirit winds up inhabiting the body of Lombard’s character Roma Courtney, a wealthy socialite. Now in charge of Roma’s body Rogen’s evil spirit seeks revenge on the criminal accomplice who betrayed her and also seeks to live high on the hog with her possessed victim’s money.
Just as Humphrey Bogart loathed his role as a zombified mad scientist in Return of Dr X Carole Lombard was said to despise getting stuck in this sappy supernatural flick. Randolph Scott plays his usual barely- animate slab of human flesh as Lombard’s romantic interest and the movie’s purported “hero”. H.B. Warner portrays an occult expert who suspected – against all rational thought – that Rogen would transfer her spirit to another body after her execution. He tries to prevent this but just makes the situation worse.
My favorite scene is the one involving a conversation between the warden and the psychiatrist at the prison where Rogen awaits execution. In a side-splitting instance of ineptitude the scene outside the “window” behind them is clearly just an insert- shot of prisoners walking in a line. What makes it truly hilarious is the fact that the proportions are WAY off, making the prisoners look much larger than they should. You’ll find yourself muttering wisecracks like “If I were those two I’d be more worried about that race of giants marching outside their window instead of that convicted murderess.”
Director Victor Halperin did a better job on White Zombie with Bela Lugosi but here he’s stuck working with the wrong cast for a horror film. Only Vivienne Osborne as the sociopathic female strangler Ruth Rogen seems to understand what kind of performance is needed in a flick like this. Lombard seems resentful to not have dialogue full of quips and witty rejoinders while Scott seems baffled by the lack of pistols and horses in the film.
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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