Tag Archives: The Phantom Empire

GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN (1958) ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

Giant from the UnknownBefore 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 June 8th, 1985 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.

Phantom EmpireSERIAL: Before showing and mocking Giant From the Unknown 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). 

In 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.

HOST SEGMENTS/ COMEDY SKETCHES: A handful of Texas 27 Film Vault fans have insisted this is the episode with the comedy sketch where Randy was dressed in a Conquistador outfit. That renowned sketch required a record number of takes since Randy and Richard had shown up for filming after “a very substantial Happy Hour” as Randy put it in my exclusive interview with him.

Giant from the Unknown 2The Conquistador outfit would tie in with the movie Giant From the Unknown so it is definitely possible that this was the week that sketch was performed. However Randy has repeatedly said the sketches did not necessarily always parallel the night’s movie, so we cannot yet be sure. Randy did not recall if the sketch was done for this movie or not. 

THE MOVIE: Giant From the Unknown has been loved by fans of bad movies for decades as the only 1950’s monster movie in which a giant Conquistador comes out of 500 years of suspended animation and goes on a killing spree in California. Hey, at least it was a change of pace from big bugs, aliens and Commies.   Continue reading

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BILLY THE KID VS DRACULA (1966) ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

Billy the Kid vs DraculaBefore 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 THIRTIETH  anniversary year.

Welcome to a special Frontierado Season look at this neglected cult show! And remember, Frontierado is Friday August 7th!

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Saturday May 18th, 1985 from 10:30pm to 1:00am. 

Phantom EmpireSERIAL: Before showing and mocking Billy the Kid vs Dracula 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). 

In 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: Special thanks to my fellow Vaultie “King Vita” for the date of this episode. He also passed along the info that he was already obsessed with western movies, serials and television shows by this point in the 1980’s.

The King recalls that he got all excited because he assumed the coincidental “all-western” theme of this episode of The Texas 27 Film Vault, along with the “Texas” part of the title, meant that every episode would focus exclusively on westerns. (Ken Miller’s recurring character Tex probably added to his mistaken impression.) Needless to say he learned he was wrong by the following episode but still fell in love with the show. 

A behind the scenes photo of Laurie Savino, who held the rank of Mystery Clip Technician in the Film Vault Corps.

A behind the scenes photo of Laurie Savino, who held the rank of Mystery Clip Technician in the Film Vault Corps.

FILM VAULT CORPS: Here is another photo of Laurie Savino, whose rank in the fictional Film Vault Corps was “Mystery Clip Technician” for the trivia contests based on quick clips of movies previously shown by Randy and Richard.

Sometimes the prizes would be movie ticket give-aways sponsored by Channel 27 and other times would be items like the Randy and Richard action figures. Laurie was also featured on The Texas 27 Film Vault 3-D poster (another of the give-aways) and the occassional newspaper article about the program.   

THE MOVIE: Billy the Kid vs Dracula is one of the most notorious Golden Turkeys of all time and was directed by the legendary William “One Shot” Beaudine. Beaudine got his nickname for his commitment to using just one take for each scene, no matter how good or bad. And by this point in his career – which reached back to the days of silent movies – there were a lot more bad takes than good.  Continue reading

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