Saturday, April 26, 2014

ROCK ALL NIGHT - Roger Corman - "The Little Guy" (1957)

Welcome to the Saturday Night Special Rockin' Edition of what's shakin' in The Dungeon! Tonight's feature shows exactly why Roger Corman rocks! Mr. Corman is responsible for producing and/or directing over 400 movies since 1954, and the list of timeless classics in horror, sci-fi, juvenile, and biker genres is almost endless, and he doesn't plan on stopping any time lately!

"Rock All Night" is not what it appears to be at all! First off, this movie is not about teenagers like you would expect, this is a rockin' musical crime drama for adults!

Want to get a 1957 movie rolling in the right direction? First stop, "Ye Olde Rocke" club where the very popular group The Platters are performing! The backing band is the Eddie Beal Sextet with the great jazz musician Eric Dolphy on baritone sax!

The Platters were Zola Taylor, Tony Williams, Paul Robi, David Lynch and Herb Reed! The Platters were one of the most successful groups of the time with classic tunes like "The Great Pretender," "Twilight Time," and "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" that all went to the number one position on the charts, and yet still here they are in a Corman low budget film. How lucky for history! The Platters along with a bunch of the other people in"Rock All Night" were also in another Corman film the same year called "Carnival Rock" that we'll get around to one of these days real soon!

Besides the great music, the other fun thing in this film is that almost the whole roster of Corman regulars of the time are in it! Most of Roger's films of this era would have one, two or maybe three of the same cast members in it, but for this one almost everybody showed up! To start with, the main character is Dungeon super fave Dick (IT CONQUERED THE WORLD, NOT OF THIS EARTH, THE UNDEAD) Miller as Shorty! And of course Dick also starred in our favourite Corman classic, "A Bucket Of Blood!"

Next up in this star-studded cast is the great Bruno (DEMENTIA, ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES, THE WASP WOMAN) Vesota! Bruno was also in "A Bucket Of Blood" and several Corman JD flicks!

Shorty gets kicked out of the club for calling Bruno's drunken character Charlie every fat name in the book! That Shorty's got quite a mouth on him! He's all about attitude!

So Shorty heads on down the street to the Club Cloud Nine where the house band is called The Blockbusters! It's hard to find out much info about The Blockbusters. Their only other appearance anywhere was also in "Carnival Rock!" I don't really think they were a real band at all, but just some studio musicians from L.A. somewhere. If anybody knows, I'd be more than grateful to hear about it! Nevertheless, the joint is jumpin' and here's just a taste  of The Blockbusters ripping the place to shreds! The man who wrote the music for "Rock All Night" was the multi-talented Buck Ram, who also wrote, produced and/or arranged for groups like Ike and Tina Turner, The Coasters, The Drifters, and Duke Ellington!!

I told you it was an all-star Corman cast, here's Mel (ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS, THE UNDEAD, THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, SHE BEAST) Welles as the hipster Sir Bop!! Sir Bop was originally supposed to be played by weirdo hep cat Lord Buckley, but when he couldn't make it, Mel Welles stepped in and did his best impression of the Lord!

Sir Bop is on a campaign to promote the singing career of this innocent and lovely young lady named Julie! Julie has a bit of stage fright, and doesn't give a very strong performance, but the gal playing the role sure did! "Rock All Night" was the first movie of Abby Dalton's long and varied career! After leaving the Roger Corman camp, Abby might just have eneded up as one of the busiest actors on TV from the 60's through the 80's! Here's a good sampling of her work, 95 episodes of "Hennesey" from 1959 to 1962, 91 episodes of "The Joey Bishop Show" from 1962 to 1965, 98 episodes of "Falconcrest" from 1981 to 1986, and somehow she also managed to play herself on tons of game shows including a 318 show run on "Hollywood Squares!" Only seven people have appeared on "Hollywood Squares" more than Abby, and one of them was Vincent Price who appeared 396 times! Here's a fun list of iconic Pop Culture for you, if you don't have something else to do, go and look at the complete list of people who have ever been on Hollywood Squares, The List runs from Buck Owens and Alice Cooper all the way to Leonard Nimoy, George Foreman, and The Monkees! It's amazing!

In a pensive moment, Shorty ponders the meaning of life!

The reporter was played by Richard H. (CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN, ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS, TEENAGE DOLL, THE MONOLITH MONSTERS) Cutting, and Al the bar keep was played by Robin (THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS) Morse. Neither of the two were really  staples of the Corman camp, but maybe Robin would have been if he hadn't died the following year from a heart attack at the age of 43!

Here's another pair that weren't really from the Corman army! Providing a bit of comedy relief, these two barflies are Chris Alcaide as tough guy Angie, and Jeanne Cooper as the wise-crackin' Mabel! Chris was also in "Carnival Rock" as a character named 'Slug' and he was a bad guy on almost every 50's and 60's western TV show ever produced! He also had the role as Colonel Hal Danvers on the episode of "The Outer Limits" titled "The Invisible Enemy!" Jeanne Cooper had a massive TV career, that included a Twilight Zone" episode called "Mr. Denton On Doomsday," and ended with 1,164 episodes of the soap opera "The Young And The Restless" where she played the role of Katherine Chancellor Murphy from 1973 until her death in 2013! Jeez!

So does the talent end there? Not really, because beleive it or not, this thing is just getting started! Here we have left to right, the always lovely Barboura Morris, Corman workhorse Beach (ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS, WAR OF THE SATELLITES, TEENAGE CAVEMAN, CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA, THE TRIP) Dickerson, as a boxer, and  Clegg Hoyt! Clegg was in not one, but two "Twilight Zone" episodes, "Static," and "The Bard!"

"Rock All Night" was also the first big screen appearance of Dungeon Heroine and Corman regular  Barboura Morris, who only has 15 titles to her name, but they're some really good ones, like all these Corman titles, "Teenage Doll," "Sorority Girl," "Teenage Cave Man," "A Bucket Of Blood," "The Wasp Woman," "X-The Man With The X-Ray Eyes," "The Wild Angels," and "The Trip!" Just like Robin Morse, Barboura Morris was only 43 when she succumbed to cancer in 1975.

Next, another Corman Überregular, Ed Nelson bursts onto the scene to let everybody know that there are armed gunmen on the loose! Among Ed's 186 credits are all these Roger Corman flicks, "Swamp Women," "Attack Of The Crab Monsters," "Teenage Doll," "Carnival Rock,""Teenage Cave Man," "She Gods Of Shark Reef," and "A Bucket Of Blood," and he was also in the non-Corman classics, "Invasion Of The Saucer Men,"Night Of The Blood Beast," and "The Brain Eaters!" Ed is one of the few that was also on both the"Twilight Zone" (Valley Of The Shadow) and "The Outer Limits" (Nightmare)! Ed is still alive and kicking today, and we sure hope he's doing well!

It just so happens that the two gunmen that Ed was coming to warn everybody about are also sitting at the bar, so that doesn't bode very well for him! Now that's a four-shot of talent right there!!

The two killers are the star of "The Little Shop Of Horrors," and Dungeon hero Jonathan Haze, who was also in such Corman classics as "Day The World Ended," "It Conquered The World," Swamp Women," "Not Of This Earth," etc, etc,,,,,, and...........

.......the man who will always be remembered as The Professor on "Gilligan's Island," Russell Johnson! Russell just passed away a couple of months ago, but what a legacy of Corman and non-Corman films he left us, like "It Came From Outer Space," "This Island Earth," "Attack Of The Crab Monsters," and "The Space Children!" Russell was also in two "Twilight Zone" episodes, "Execution," and "Back There!" Russell's character here is named "Jigger," and he wants Julie (remember her?) to sing so the cops outside the bar will think everything's normal inside!

Under pressure, Julie re-sings "I Guess I Won't Hang Around Here Any More," and nails it 100% the second time around! The actual vocals were done by Nora Hayes! Abby Dalton is also still around to this day, and we hope she's doing good too.!

Clocking in at only 62 minutes, there's no time to waste in "Rock All Night" and that's what Roger Corman is really good at, not wasting your time! If this movie seems like a TV show, it's because it was based on an episode of "The Jane Wyman Theatre" from 1955 entitled "Little Guy." Roger added all the good stuff! Roger Corman is still going strong, and if you think he just might be mellowing out, take a look at some of the names of his upcoming projects: "Fist Of The Dragon," "Sharktopus Vs. Mermantula," and  "Art School Of Horrors!" 57 years later, and Roger Corman still continues to "Rock All Night!" Go, Man, Go!!!


Grant said...

I'm embarrassed that I've never seen this. It sounds like it's just about the biggest "Who's Who" of Roger Corman actors of any movie.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Pretty much true Grant! Don't know why it's so hard to find!

Grant said...

Barboura Morris was a really underrated actress. Seeing BUCKET OF BLOOD and THE WASP WOMAN again recently reminded me of that.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

As if it wasn't self evident, we love Barboura Morris Grant!

Greg Goodsell said...

I recently clapped eyes on another Corman classic, TEENAGE DOLL, again with Bruno VeSota. Nobody did fat obnoxious drunks like VeSota!

Eegah!! said...

We did "Teenage Doll" last year, and Bruno was great as always! He seems to liven up any set he's on!

Lacey said...

Russell Johnson often complained that being type-casted after Gilligan's Isle ended his career. However, if you have seen the movies he was in BEFORE Gilligan's Island he should thank his lucky stars. A good actor, no doubt, but only known today because of being the "Professor."

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