Tag Archives: Movie Host shows

RETURN OF THE FLY (1959) ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

*** FEATURING A MAJOR MILESTONE IN THE SHOW’S HISTORY ***

Morning Breath

Morning Breath

BEFORE MST3K THERE WAS … THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT!

In the mid-1980s The Texas 27 Film Vault was the show to watch on Saturday nights to see “Film Vault Technicians First Class” Randy Clower and Richard Malmos show and mock bad and campy movies preceded by episodes of old Republic serials. Machine-gun toting Randy and Richard would also have comedic sci-fi adventures before and after commercial breaks. 

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this neglected cult series via my research into really old newspapers, my interview with Randy Clower and recollections from my fellow fans of this show. Keep those emails and comments coming “Vaulties”. Here’s another review of a movie shown when a date can be verified.  

EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday August 9th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1am.  * Special thanks to my fellow T27FV fan Spearman for the date.

Atom Man vs SupermanSERIAL: Before the movie an episode of the 1950 Columbia serial Atom Man vs Superman was shown. 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.   

FILM VAULT LORE: The previous week our boys of the Film Vault Corps (“the few … the proud … the sarcastic”) had shown The Story of Mankind, another film with this episode’s interview subject: THE Vincent Price. Like this week’s showing of Return of the Fly it was used to promote Randy and Richard’s upcoming public appearance at the Dallas debut of David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly. (More on that public appearance after the movie review) Spearman also tells me this August 9th episode also featured R&R’s interview with Vincent Price.

THE MOVIE: Return of the Fly is a black and white sequel to the Continue reading

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TEXAS TWENTY-SEVEN FILM VAULT: THIRTY-SECOND ANNIVERSARY

Happy Anniversary to The Texas Twenty-Seven Film Vault, one of the pre-MST3K Movie Host shows. Yes it was Saturday night February 9th, 1985 that this program debuted in Dallas, Texas, in the same studio that would later be used for Joe Bob’s Drive-In. Here is an encore presentation of my EXCLUSIVE 2011 interview with Randy Clower, one of The Texas Twenty-Seven Film Vault‘s co-creators and co-hosts. 

Clower (right) with co-host Richard Malmos as “Film Vault Technicians First Class” on The Texas 27 Film Vault

Before MST3K there was THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT! Before Joel and Mike lovers of bad movies had Randy and Richard! Before Pearl there was Laurie Savino! Before Devil Dogs, Observers and Deep 13 there came Cellumites, giant rats and Level 31.

In the mid 1980s The Texas 27 Film Vault was the show to watch on Saturday nights for wry mockery of Golden Turkeys preceded by episodes of vintage Republic Serials like Radar Men From The Moon and Canadian Mounties vs Atomic Invaders.    

The Texas 27 Film Vault is one of the great unsung Movie Host shows of the 1980s and I was thrilled to get this exclusive interview with Randy Clower, co-star and co-creator of this legendary cult show from the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. “The Film Vault Guys” as they were often called by us fans, or “Vaulties”,  established the pattern that a few other Movie Hosts have since followed. Continue reading

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GIRLS ON PROBATION (1938) ON THE TEXAS TWENTY-SEVEN FILM VAULT

Girls on Probation

Girls on Probation

In the middle 1980s/ 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 1980s with another review of an episode where an original air date can be determined. My interview with some of the original cast, my research through VERY old newspapers and emailed memories from my fellow Vaulties are helping in this attempt to reconstruct elements of the show’s history.

EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday March 2nd, 1985 from 10:30pm to 1:00 am.

FILM VAULT LORE: This is the 2nd oldest episode I’ve reviewed. The oldest episode was the February 9th, 1985 airing of Trunk to Cairo with Audie Murphy. Special thanks to my fellow T27FV fan Jessica for the serial episode and a comedy sketch from the episode.

One of the comedy sketches in the show was a mock commercial for Blue Arrow Bus Lines, the fictional bus line in the movie. The phony ad hyped the bus line as the Official Bus Line of female fugitives on the run.

Lost CitySERIAL: Before showing and mocking the movie machine-gun toting Randy and Richard of the fictional Film Vault Corps (“The few, the proud, the sarcastic”) showed and mocked a chapter of the notoriously campy sci-fi serial The Lost City (1935).

That serial featured a super-scientific city lost in the middle of the African jungle plus zombified “giant” African tribesmen, ray-guns, a slinky femme fatale and a tribe of pygmies. There’s also a Great White Hunter as the hero and a mad scientist whose inventions include a machine that turns black people into white people! And the “colorization” is considered a REWARD for tribesmen who serve the mad scientist well! All this plus BOTH William Boyds in one serial! 

THE MOVIE: GIRLS ON PROBATION (1938) was one of the countless Warner Brothers B-movies that future president Ronald Reagan starred in before his career in politics. Reagan had just been inaugurated  for his second term less than two months earlier so the Reagan jokes from our Film Vault Technicans First Class no doubt flew hard and fast. The Texas 27 Film Vault also showed Bedtime for Bonzo, another infamous Reagan pic, but I have yet to narrow down the exact date of that episode.  

Reagan is the Continue reading

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CHRISTOPHER COFFIN: THEATER OF THRILLS RECONSTRUCTION BY O LYTLE HOOVER

christopher coffin

… … “Christopher Coffin”

Special thanks to O Lytle Hoover for contacting me and letting me know about this labor of love at his Youtube channel!

Christopher Coffin (Reed Farrell) hosted Theater of Thrills in Michigan in the 1960s. O Lytle Hoover DIRECTED that late-night Movie Host show and drew on his personal experience to “reconstruct” a Theater of Thrills episode at his Youtube Channel.

FOR MY ORIGINAL ARTICLE ON CHRISTOPHER COFFIN CLICK HERE 

FOR O LYTLE HOOVER’S VIDEO, SEE BELOW: Continue reading

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SEVEN MOST INFLUENTIAL MOVIE HOSTS LEADING TO MST3K

Mad Marvin

Mad Marvin

Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my fondness for bad movies and for movie host shows. 

Here is a salute to some of the most influential figures who made hosting bad and/or weird movies the time-honored American folk art it is today. This list features hosts who had crossover appeal into the culture at large or broke ground in the “so bad it’s good” element.

7. MAD MARVIN (Real name: Terry Bennett)

Program: Shock Theatre

Run: 1957 – 1959

Home Base: Chicago

Comment: Long before Jerry Bishop’s more well-known host Svengoolie and his even more famous “son” played by Rich Koz, Mad Marvin brought late-night b-movie fun to the Windy City. Marvin was a mad beatnik and was described in contemporary accounts as ” a combination of Charles Addams, Ernie Kovacs and Jack Paar.”

Bennett’s program was so popular in Chicago that celebrities like Sammy Davis, Jr, Jerry Lewis and Burt Lancaster made guest appearances. Terry’s wife Joy appeared on the show as “Dear”, and also joined him in co-hosting the Mad Marvin spin-off show The Shocktail Party.
Continue reading

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TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT 3D POSTER (1987)

FILMVreducedRegular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my fondness for Movie Host shows of the past and my EXCLUSIVE interview with Randy Clower of the mid-1980s program The Texas 27 Film Vault has proven to be a very popular item on this blog.

Randy and his cohost Richard Malmos, playing machine gun- packing Film Vault Technicians First Class, would show and mock bad and campy films from decades ago and were a huge hit when they were on the air. I feel they get neglected in this age of renewed interest in older Movie Host programs. 

The poster also sports features from some of the most popular bad movies Randy and Richard dissected on the program – features like flying brains from the movie Fiend Without A Face, a prop from the Bela Lugosi bomb Devil Bat, Hitler’s disembodied head from the enjoyably awful movie They Saved Hitler’s Brain, an invader from Earth vs the Flying Saucers and much more! Put on your 3D glasses and you can spot all of the hidden items including elements from Gorilla at Large, Just Imagine,  Frontier Marshal, the 1961 film The Mask and other T27FV fan favorites. Continue reading

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THE CRYBABY KILLER (1958) ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

Cry Baby Killer

In the middle 1980s/ Way down on Level 31 …

Before MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault!

EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday June 15th, 1985 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.

SERIAL: Before showing and mocking The Crybaby Killer our members of the Film Vault Corps (“the few, the proud, the sarcastic”) showed and mocked an episode of the Mascot Serial The Phantom Empire (1935). 

Phantom EmpireIn that classically campy serial Gene Autry played a singing cowboy who saves the world from an advanced underground civilization that comes complete with killer robots who wear cowboy hats.

FILM VAULT LORE: The movie ticket give-away this week was for Prizzi’s Honor.

THE MOVIE: Continue reading

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CHANGE OF HABIT (1969) ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT IN 1987

Change of Habit bBefore MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault!

EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday January 10th, 1987 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.

EXTRAS: Special thanks to T27FV fan Dr Shock-the-Monkey for the date and other info about this episode. He stated this episode also featured appearances by various Elvis impersonators but he wasn’t sure if they were legit or put-ons since they were all of the “bloated stomach and very weird hair” type of Elvis look-a-likes. 

Elvis on BerleSERIAL : Due to the length of the movie this time there was not enough time before the film for Randy Clower and Richard Malmos, the machine-gun toting Film Vault Technicians First Class to show and mock a full episode of one of their pre-movie serials. Instead they showed the excerpt of Elvis Presley’s April 3rd, 1956 appearance on The Milton Berle Show before moving on to the night’s film.

THE MOVIE: Change of Habit is a movie that was practically MADE to be ridiculed. You’ve got Continue reading

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TERROR TRAIN (1980) ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

Terror Train

Terror Train: A New Year’s Eve Horror Film

Before MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault!

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this neglected cult show from the mid-1980s. 

EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday December 27th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.

EXTRAS: Randy Clower and Richard Malmos, as machine-gun toting Film Vault Technicians First Class and members of the fictional Film Vault Corps (“the few, the proud, the sarcastic”) had two and a half hours to work with each week. Interviews with figures like Vincent Price, Forry Ackerman and others were featured and the movies being shown and mocked were often preceded by episodes of old Republic serials like Radar Men from the Moon and others. 

This episode featured Randy and Richard’s interview with Ben Johnson, whom they had interviewed at his ranch earlier in the year. Johnson also appeared in the episode’s film, Terror Train.

Mysterious Doctor SatanSERIAL: For this episode the movie was preceded by a chapter of  Mysterious Doctor Satan

HOST SEGMENTS: The most memorable Host Segment  Randy and Richard did during this New Year’s-themed horror film was a bit where, as Midnight Dallas Time approached, they staged a countdown and then a raucous celebration of the arrival of … December 28th, 1986. Ken “Tex” Miller, Joe “The Hypnotic Eye” Riley and other Film Vault Corps members joined in the festivities in a great example of the wry humor of this pre-MST3K program.  

TERROR TRAIN (1980) – A New Year’s Eve slasher film set on a Continue reading

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FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH PART 3-D (1982) ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

Friday the 13th Part 3DBefore 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 30th anniversary year.

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Saturday February 14th, 1987 from 10:30pm to 1:00am. 

SERIAL: None. The movie, Film Vault Corps comedy sketches and commercials filled up the entire two and a half hours this time.

FILM VAULT LORE: This episode marked the second time The Texas 27 Film Vault came with a warning about violent content. It was also at least the second time they riffed on a movie that was originally in 3-D. Randy and Richard did various jokes about wearing 3-D glasses and 3-D effects coming out of the screen at them as they watched the movie. Continue reading

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