Saturday, June 12, 2010

7 FACES OF DR. LAO - Leigh Harline - "The Circus Is In Town" (1964)

It's Saturday night, and the circus is in town, that is, "The Circus Of Dr. Lao!" And this ain't no ordinary spectacle of wonder, this is a one-man freak show, and that one man is Mr. Tony(Felix Unger)Randall who in real life, actually fathered his first child at age of 77!! Jeez, as evidenced by this film, he was very talented, and quite a busy guy!!

I'm not sure anyone else would be willing to take on 8 different characters in full makeup in one film, but Tony Randall seems to do it effortlessly in the adaptation of this Charles G. Finney novel, his first and most famous, written in freakin' 1935!

As an Asian in the old west, Dr. Lao was almost invisible, despite his uncanny and supernatural powers, because, how can you notice something if you're always, and only, thinking about how important you yourself are?

It's pretty hot out in that there desert, and Barbara(I Dream Of Jeannie)Eden as Angela Benedict is raising the temperature even higher!

And the sexy bits don't stop there!!

Yippee!! The circus is in town! The circus is in town!!

Tony Randall also gets credit for the Abominable Snowman character, but it was really George Pal's son, Péter, inside the suit!!

Cartoon genius George Pal produced and directed "The 7 Faces Of Dr. Lao" and would enlist the help of cartoon genius composer Leigh Harline to do the music. Leigh Harline not only composed music for cartoons and Disney classics, but also had some titles like "The Wayward Bus," "The Girl Can't Help It," "Teenage Rebel," and "Black Widow" under his belt!!

Pretty dang weird, but this movie could have even been darker and creepier if you think about it, and it wouldn't surprise me if Tim Burton redid it with Johnny Depp in all the roles some day!!

In this scene, we have Tony as Apollonius of Tyana, a blind man who can't see in the present, but can see into the future!

Spinster Mrs. Howard Cassin played by the awesome Lee Patrick, doesn't like Apollonius's vision of her lonely unmarried future! Among some of Lee's many accomplishments, she was Leo G. Carroll's wife, Mrs. Henrietta Topper in 39 episodes of one of my favorite 50's TV show, "Topper," and was Effie Perine in the classic Bogart film, "The Maltese Falcon.

Prim and proper widower Angela Benedict is completely worn out after her sensual romp with Pan, "The God Of Joy!"

I'm pretty sure that Chubby Johnson on the left, was in every cowboy TV show and movie that was ever made, and record producer and musician Kim Fowley's Dad, the great Douglas Fowley, has the role of "the toothless cowboy!"

The Flying Burrito Brothers steel guitarist, "Sneaky" Pete Keinow is just one of the many stop-motion animators and special visual effects artists who worked on this movie. Besides being a fantastic musician, Pete had worked on "Gumby," "Davey & Goliath," "Terminator," "Return Of The Living Dead" and so very much more!

Everybody knows you do not look into the eyes of Medusa, that's why they teach Mythology in high school, so people can avoid situations like this!

Tony Randall even takes a moment to be himself as nothing special, just a member of the audience. Tony had shaved his head for the role of Dr. Lao, so they had to fix him up with a wig for this quick shot!!

Even passed out, the mug of John Doucette is unmistakable. You might not have known his name, but after some 268 character acting roles, you are bound to recognize that face! Dal McKennon on the left hosted and created his own 50's TV kids show in L.A. called "Space Funnies!"

Dal and John screw up, and have to deal with the giant sea monster. The other stop animation artist working on this film was Jim Danforth, who also worked on "Gumby" and "Davey & Goliath," and such films as "Equinox" and "Journey To The Seventh Planet," and was in charge of special photographic effects on 24 episodes of "The Outer Limits!"

Dr. Lao's "Rainmaking Machine" saves the day!

Bye Ya'll, see you on Wednesday with some real honest to goodness weirdness!


Relucent Reader said...

Tres cool. Saw this gem on the big screen @ the Cameo theater, my second school.
Forgot about Randall doing several roles, and Barbara Eden.'7 Faces' ison my Netflix list now.
Thank you for the memory.

RODAN! said...


RODAN! said...

Oh yeah, Adult Swim's ROBOT CHICKEN uses Pal's interchangable mouth technique he pioneered in Puppetoons! RC uses the super lo-tech version, though!!

prof. grewbeard said...

man, it's been a while with this one...

Christopher said...

a much loved and respected 60s classic..It had quite a run on TV in the late 60s and early 70s...and I don't think I've seen it myself in...I don't wanna say how long!

Mark Hodgson, said...

Read that this was originally a project designed for Peter Sellers. They were lucky to find someone just as versatile!

Christopher said...

Sellers would have been ideal!.

Wendel said...


Tony Randall had a special spark that made this more than just a cleaver movie.

I thought I read that they were planing a remake with Eddie Murphy.

Some things should just be left alone.

Douglas McEwan said...

You've confused Dal McKinnon with Royal Dano. The tall thug partnered with John Douchette is Royal Dano, the voice of Disneyland's robot Lincoln. He was also in the negative version of this movie: Disney'd film of Bradbury's SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES.

Dal McKinnon plays the tall cowboy with Chubby Johnson and Douglas Fowley. Of course, Dal is also a Disneyland voice: the ride intro on BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN.

I should hope that if this is ever remade (And since it takes little from the WONDERFUL book, it is due for a more-faithful remake) that whoever directs it (and Tim Burton would be a good choice) would cast an ASIAN to play Dr. Lao, not another white actor in racial make-up. Nor is there any reason in the book for one man to play all those roles. Quite the contrary. They are different people, and have scenes together in the GREAT novel.

I love this movie; there's a 7-foot poster for it on my kitchen wall, but I love the novel more. George, bless him, made Dr.Lao into an oriental Mary Poppins, a magic person who comes to town and solves everyone's problems for them. I like the book, where he just presents the most incredible circus ever seen, and the town folk see it, and then pretty much shrug it off.

Eegah!! said...

Hey Doug, thanx for taking the time to peruse our blog and adding some interesting trivia. We have been known to make an error now and then, not everybody knows as much as you. I also agree, the book was much better!


Monster Music

Monster Music
AAARRGGHHH!!!! Ya'll Come On Back Now, Y'Hear??