Monday, May 10, 2010

ZOTZ - Bernard Green - "Don't Pull That Finger" (1962)

Oops!! We're going to Dead-i-cate this week to the films of William Castle! William Castle was born on April 24, 1914, in New York, and he died May 31, 1977, in Los Angeles, and since we're right in between those two dates, it seems like a good gimmicky time to pay a little tribute to one of the world's greatest flim-flam men since P.T. Barnum!! I'll never forget the first time I was introduced to William Castle, he told me to sit down!! It must have been around 1961 when Tabonga and I went to see "Mr. Sardonicus" at the Sierra Theatre, just like a lot of other weekends, Mom had give me a bright shiny quarter, 20 cents to get into the movies, and 5 cents for a pack of Neccos! We had received our "Mr. Sardonicus Punishment Polls" and at the end of the movie William Castle comes out, and asks the audience for a thumbs up or thumbs down. I was the kid in the back of the theatre jumping up and down that Mr. Castle resoundly told to "Sit Down!" Needless to say, since that day, I've always been taken with his gimmicks. I've still got that "Punishment Poll" around here someplace, now if I could just remember where!

So instead of A to Z, we'll do it Dungeon style, Z to 13 starting with tonight's feature from 1962, "ZOTZ!!" William Castle would fit in real good around here because he was a hoaxter and a jokester! In this particular case, he chose comedian Tom Poston for the lead as Prof. Jonathan Jones in this film! Tom Poston was an incredible talent who could been seen on the late 50's TV show, "The Steve Allen Show." Tom was a regular who did a number of skits in the mighty triumvirate that included himself, Louis Nye, and Don (Barney)Knotts! A trio to be reckoned with, without a doubt!!!

Throw in the voice of Mr. Magoo himself, Jim (Mr. Howell) Backus as the conniving Prof. Horatio Kellgore into the mix, and see what you get!!

The Professor tries out his new found powers on some toy boats in the bath tub! The composer for the music in "Zotz" was Mr. Bernard Green, a man with a fun style that worked well for a movie like this. Bernard also wrote the music for the hard to find, "Brass Bottle" and for the 1966 cartoon TV series "Cool McCool!"

It's an innocent, but also very sexy little tale! You might remember Jimmy Hawkins, here as Jimmy Kellgore, for his 80 TV episodes as Tagg Oakley, Annie's brother, or neighbor Scotty from 20 episodes of the Donna Reed show, among many other things!

And don't forget the whole scene with Julia Meade as Prof. Virginia Fenster running around in a rain storm naked as a jaybird. Julia Meade was the Vanna White of her time, having appeared weekly on The Ed Sullivan Show, all decked out and introducing the dream cars of the 50's!

Oh, you know William was going to throw in a plug for one of his other films, that's a given! Originally a dancer, the 5' 2" Zeme North as Cynthia Jones, was a familiar face on 60's TV, as Laura, Judy, Phoebe, Mildred, Claire, Deborah, Amanda, Eloise, Fessie, Rhoda, or Zee!!!

This is what your face looks like when a mouse runs up your leg!!

Jonathan had brought some mice to this highfalutin party so he could show off his powers, but Zotz wasn't working because he didn't have the magic coin with him!

All Hell busts loose, and pandemonium sets in as the mice get into everything!

If you ever watched 60's TV, then James Millhollin as Dr. R.A. Kroner is a face you have probably seen a millhollin times, but never put a name to!

Some things never change, here's what the big brass was really doing when they were supposed to be making upper echelon decisions about the fate of the world! Handicaps are more important! The ever so recognizable Fred Clark as General Bullivar, plays the perfect military buffoon!

As Tom Poston leaves the General's off, he spots his pal from The Steve Allen Show, Louis Nye in the waiting room with the line "Don't I know you?"

The normally health concious Professor, switches from his routine sauerkraut juice to vodka with predictable results!

So what did you expect? You drink vodka, and the next thing you know, the Russians take over! Now here's an extra-special credit, the Khruschev like character was played by master composer and Dungeon Hall Of Famer, Albert Glasser, the man who composed the music for all the Great B.I.G. films like "The Cyclops," "The Amazing Colossal Man" and "Earth Vs The Spider" etc, in one of his rare acting roles!!!

Here's still yet another Dungeon favorite, he who was born on X-Mas day back in 1907, Ex-Wrassler, Big Mike Mazurki as Russian henchman Igor! In this scene Igor holds the girls hostage while the bad guys try to get The Professor to turn over the secret of the Zotz power!

The professor puts the Zotz on the bullet leaving this gun, and is able to do the same thing to stop this otherwise crushing blow from Igor! If you don't know how the rest of the story goes, then you need to get yourself a copy of this film right away!

Tabonga will have a unique William Castle outing for you on Wednesday, and I'll be back on Friday to wrap up our tribute to the wild man of the week, William Schloss, a name he literally translated to get his much better known handle, William Castle!


Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Tabonga! sez - Boy, you should see look on Eegah!! face when William tell him to sit down! Priceless!!.. We also used to throw chocolate Neccos at people and sometimes roll down the aisles when we want to show off for cute girls in the audience! Back then, you could smoke in the theater if you sat in side rows...

prof. grewbeard said...

you were a couple of lucky li'l snots!...

word verification- nesses, which is what you get when you throw too many Neccos!

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

I think it was the licorice ones, the darkest ones that you had to find something to do with besides eat!

Christopher said...

LOL..roll down the aisle..

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Tabonga neglected to mention that besides rolling, he'd wrap an ace bandage around his head and walk stiffly up the aisles zombie style!

Anonymous said...

Saw ZOTZ! as part of a kiddie matinee back in 1962 or '63. One of the very few William Castle films I can still watch and enjoy, along with his 1948 TEXAS BROOKLYN AND HEAVEN.

Greg Goodsell said...

Odd that William Castle would throw in a plug for his kinky sex change horror story HOMICIDAL in a film ostensibly aimed at children. Be sure to check out the documentary made on Castle's life, SPINE TINGLER.

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