Thursday, August 21, 2014

603 - The Dead Talk Back

With Short: The Selling Wizard

First Broadcast - 7 pm Saturday, July 30 1994
#81 in Mighty Jack's Top 100
Excellence Level: Gold
Movie Pain: High - Grade Z production, saved by goofy characters
Riffing: Wildly funny, but weak short
Skits: Hilarious

A film so important it needed two narrators: One of those narrators is a scientist named Krasker, a guy with white streaks on each side of his hair (he must be a Reed Richards fan) who wishes to speak to the dead. He gets his chance when one of his many roommates is murdered with a crossbow.

Wow, bad film to the "Manos" degree consists mostly of scenes of the roomies receiving "Intense questioning" from our Joe Fridayesque cops. it never-the-less is subjected to some sharp riffing. Very steady work from beginning; with Krasker explaining his 'dead communicator' invention (which looks like a tinfoil ball), to the end; with our killer revealed and spilling his guts.

Skits include a funny running gag on the Grateful Dead and Crow's call-in radio show. So... good host segments, good workout on the movie, what's not to love?

How about the short? "The Selling Wizard" features an attractive woman who stares blankly into space, while a narrator sells us on refrigeration units. There are some laughs -Servo can't decide which freezer he wants- but they are interspersed with dull 'brain cell killing' sections where the narrator drones on about the science of defrosting. And those bits prove to be troublesome hurdles, even for mighty Mike and the bots.

Host Segments
Intro: Fire drill. Segment 1: The Mads market "Nelson Cigarettes". Segment 2: Tom & Crow's call in radio show. Segment 3: The gang make like the Grateful Dead. Segment 4: Dr. F interrogates the SOL, Crow's still working that guitar. End: It's chaos on the SOL. Forrester plays William Tell. Stinger: Woman screams.

"It's the pizza dominatrix!" - Servo
Notable Riffs
Wizard Riffs
"Three different types of vanilla" - Mike
"This balance of power keeps ice-cream in check" - Mike
"Meanwhile, the Soviets are launching Sputnik."
"In this all-purpose two-lid utility storage cabinet with 23 cubic foot storage capacity" - "Bodies stack easily." - Narrator/Mike
"Through this maximum glass-area front, across the narrow rail, and through the wider sales-design top opening..." "To grandmother's house we go" - Narrator/Tom Servo.
"To sell in High volume for High profit" - "For High people." - Narrator/Crow

Dead Riffs
"Oh it's true, it can be done." - "My mom said so." - Krasker/Crow
"But yards away.." "The binging continues." - Narrator/Crow
"Toot toot toot toot."- "A child's introduction to Jazz." - Mike/Crow
"I'm not a medium..." "I'm a petite." - Crow as Krasker
"Fine, fine. Everyone pick on the Devil." - Mike
"The problem of communicating with the departed..." "Is that they're dead." - Krasker/Servo
"Uh, can we get back to our bleak, meaningless lives please?" - Servo as Kreuger
"Uh, the Dead, could you turn your radio down please?" -Tom Servo as Krasker
"I read about some kids who saw the Virgin Mary over a hot tub." - Servo
"Don't rot away Renee." - Servo
"Well, let's see... fourteen minutes to live. Wonder if I can get a pizza in that time?" - Crow as Renee
"You know, not kneeing you in the groin is a constant struggle." - Mike as Lt. Lewis
"Look, we've been married for 25 years, at least let me get to 2nd base" - Mike
"The first movie filmed entirely with flashlights."
"And the police immediately stroll to the scene." - Servo
"Round up the usual bongo players" - Mike
"Another senseless drive-by filming."
"We could use a flashback, remember this is a motion picture" - Crow
"I just realized, they never talked to the dead!" - Crow
"So big deal, my stools float." - Crow
"Excuse me, does anyone know what evil lurks in the heart of man?"

Riff Explained
"The film has taken a decidedly Jarmuschian turn" - Servo
Independent film director Jim Jarmucsh's film -"Stranger Than Paradise"- is filmed in black & white and characters often just sit and stare at one another for hours (which is strange because this is only a 90 minute movie). Tho considered a cult classic, I prefer his later works, "Ghost Dog" and 
"Mystery Train".

Why does Crow makes that funny voice when the scene shifts to "Wynn's Photography"? He's imitating vaudevillian comedian Ed Wynn (1886-1966). Ed won TVs first Emmy as "Best Actor in a series" (1949) and was nominated for an Oscar for his role in "The Diary Of Anne Frank". He is also the father of actor Keenan Wynn (Laserblast, Clonus Horror).

Stuff and Nonsense
* There is not much info out there on this movie or it's director, Merle S. Gould. Made in 1957, it was never released to theaters and didn't see the light of day until it went direct to video in '93.
Gould also Directed the obscure "The Body is a Shell", and a film about Nostradamus which was narrated by Basil Rathbone

* Aldo Farnese (Krasker), hosted several local kiddie shows in Philadelphia in the mid to late 60's; Dickory Doc & Adam Android. He also did camera work for sporting events at the Spectrum in Philly. He has since passed away. (Source: Tv Party)

Available on DVD: Collection Volume 8

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