GIZMO! (1977) – Though the exclamation point in the title makes this seem like it might be a stage musical, Gizmo! is actually an entertaining documentary about some of the oddest inventions you could possibly imagine. Some never made it anywhere close to actually working, while others worked but proved so hopelessly impractical that you’ll howl with laughter at the wasted effort.
You’ll see failed aircraft and land vehicles as well as in-home contraptions powered by moving animals like the joke appliances on The Flintstones.
Make sure you watch the longer 77 minute version of this Howard Smith work so that you get all the fun.
MARJOE (1972) – And speaking of Howard Smith, here’s his earlier documentary about THE Marjoe Gortner during his often-forgotten early life as a child evangelist on up. It should go without saying that with my blatant distaste for religion (including Islam) I enjoyed this cynical look at the phoniness, flim-flammery and “mondo” atmosphere of the traveling evangelist shows of the time period.
Marjoe was one spooky but charismatic kid in those years before he matured into a cult star in oddball movies like Star Crash. For obvious reasons this documentary can’t examine the later Marjoe-inspired child evangelist character Jimmy Joe Jeeter on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. (Who can forget his death scene?)
Nor could this documentary address Gortner’s channeling of his younger evangelist character as the tongue-in-cheek con-man/ spiritualist on the prime time soap opera Falcon Crest.
Anyway, Marjoe is a must-see because of the way it captures the creepy insincerity AND the poignant gullibility of the people on both sides of the Preacher Circuit.
FOR MY TAKES ON MORE RECENT FILMS LIKE THE LAST JEDI, SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY AND OCEAN’S EIGHT CLICK HERE