Tuesday, August 26, 2014

818 - Devil Doll

First Broadcast - 5 pm Saturday, Oct 4th 1997
#50 in Mighty Jack's Top 100
Excellence Level: Platinum
Movie Pain: High - Dark, mean and ugly
Riffing: Side Splitting
Skits: Hilarious

This is the story of the great Vorelli, a popular ventriloquist who has a deep hatred for puppets. Who knows why, maybe his mother used to paddle him with a Charlie McCarthy doll when he was little. Whatever the reason, Vorelli heaps insults aplenty upon his doll Hugo, calling him stupid and ugly and depriving him of the ham and alcohol that all dummies (or "Doomies" as one character calls them) crave. But there's a secret about Hugo and reporter William Sylvester (who inspires several funny "Robert Denby" quips) is gonna find out what it is.

Devil Doll is comparable to "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" in tone; kind of gray and nasty. And originally I was a bit overwhelmed by the sheer ugliness of this movie (Vorelli's a real sleazball). But there are some great lines -Aunt Bea Airlines, a reference to C.S. Lewis' 'Screwtape' and lots of swipes at the British- and the first time we see Vorelli's act, I was out of breath from laughing so hard.

The Host segments only add to the fun: visits from Pitch are amusing and Mike looks hysterical dressed up as Hugo. Also, Servo finishes watching the film as a toaster strudel.

Because of the dour nature of the movie I think I missed just how well crafted the humor was. Big mistake on my part as this experiment is a rip roaring razz fest!

Host Segments
Intro: It's a rockin' dorm blowout on the SOL. But all Servo could afford was a window. Segment 1: Mike gets a beer from the Nanite micro brewery, Crow misses Debbie and it's a pants party in Roman times. Segment 2: Crow makes a deal with the devil. Segment 3: The bots set up a English pub and Mike pours himself a hearty ale. Segment 4: Pitch helps Crow toy with Servo's eternal soul and turns Tom into a toaster strudel. End: Crow is an abusive ventriloquist with Mike as his dummy. Stinger: Hugo goes nuts!

Notable Riffs
"I'm driving, with my mind!" Mike as Hugo
"Why is he carrying Al Pacino?" - Crow
"When will Mr. Lifto come out!" - Mike
"The Manchurian ventriloquist" - Servo
"When are they going to smash a watermelon" - Mike
"I command you to shake that moneymaker" - Crow as Vorelli
"The puppet haters club will be right back" - Crow
"I..." - "Need changing" - Hugo/Servo
"I think I'll have a Vodka sandwich" - Mike as Vorelli
"Hugo, walk to the footlights..." - "Like an Egyptian" - Vorelli/Crow
"Check it out, her hair acts as a smokeless ashtray" - Servo
"Did I just see someone walk in and paw my puppet?" - Mike as Vorelli
"He died, he died" - "Did he live?" - German lady/Mike
"And you sympathize" - "You and your ear chandeliers" - Vorelli/Mike
"If we don't get a volunteer, you're all going to have to see my can!" - Mike as Magda
"I wonder if I have any real talents?" - Servo as Vorelli
"Ever think of mowing your eyebrows?" - Servo on Doctor.
"If not for alcohol there'd be no moisture in that woman at all." - Servo
"Ladies and gentlemen, I am going to suggest to this man that his life is in danger, that he may die at any moment." - "Your life is in danger and you may die at any moment. Thank you!" - Vorelli/Crow
"Look on the window back there, it says 'Midgets'. What is that, a menu item?" - "As long as they're boiled and come with chips, sure" - Crow/Mike
"She's having a wonderful dream of owning her very own set of pants." - Crow
"You know, if this guy could juggle he'd rule England." - Crow

Riff Explained
"You'll never win, you'll always lose" - "You're Harold Stassen" - Vorelli/Crow
The Governor of Minnesota from 1938 to 1943. Harold ran for President NINE times from 43 to 92. He never even so much as won the Republican nomination in any of those bids.

"Yo, Vorelli. I think we should do "Greater Tuna" together" - Crow as Hugo
A comedic play about the colorful folks who live in the 3rd smallest town in Texas. 2 actors perform all the parts.

Stuff and Nonsense
That's a lady in the Hugo suit. 4 ft 2 Sadie Corre, a cabaret performer, went uncredited in her role as the doll. Sadie went on to play an Ewok in Return of the Jedi" and was one of the Transelvanians in the "Rocky Horror Picture Show"

Available on DVD: Volume 19

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