Saturday, September 6, 2014

FIREBALL JUNGLE - Joseph P. Mawra (1968)

"Fireball Jungle" is the closest thing to insanity I've experienced lately! It might just be the perfect movie! It took me almost seven years to finally see "Fireball Jungle" and I expected to be disappointed, but boy, was I surprised! As they would say back in the day, "This movie is something else!" With a title composed of two words not normally used together, and in "Thundering Color," get ready, cause here it comes!!

 Welcome to the Dwayger Dungeon Saturday Night 1968 Sensation! Just like about everything else that has to do with this movie, I have no idea who is singing this cool theme song but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying it!! It's one of the best we've ever had the pleasure of playing for you!

It's a cat eats dog world out there on the racetrack, and two drivers have died recently and senselessly!

The racing association is investigating those two deaths on the track, and they've got strong feelings that something crooked is going on, maybe mob related, and maybe these driver's deaths weren't mere accidents, but Meares accidents!

At the center of attention is a young driver by the name of Ronald Elwood "Cateye" Meares!"  Cateye explains to the board that he feels absolutely terrible about those deaths, but that his only involvement was that he plays to win! Cateye is played by Alan Mixon in his only one of two big screen forays! Over the course of 35 years, Alan had 9 acting performances!

Here we have Nancy (Car 54, Where Are You) Donohue as Ann Tracey, and Randy (Pink Cadillac) Kirby as Steve Cullen! Steve is the new racer on the circuit, but he's not using his real name since he's really just there to investigate how his brother got killed! Bottom line is, he's looking for trouble!

So, new guy Steve is winning races, and Cateye doesn't dig it, so he and his boys show Steve the other side of his personality he didn't share with the racing commission! Cateye reminds me of Randy Orton with that smug and devious smile of his!

Cut to the local bar where on stage is the one hit wonder pop psych band Mercy performing their #2 hit single "Love (Can Make You Happy)," a song that wouldn't be released until six months later!

Okay, can anybody tell me what in the Hell is going on here? Is this a Redneck movie or a Hippie movie? Cutting edge, I think "Fireball Jungle" might have been the first real Redneck Hippie movie!

So that's pretty much the storyline, confrontation after confrontation between Steve and Cateye and his boys!

One of the headlining actors on the poster is Lon Chaney Jr. in one of his last performances! Lon plays the slow but steady junker Sammy, conjuring up some of his 1940 performance as Lennie in John Steinbeck's "Of Mice And Men!" Sammy likes to drink, and Lon is a natural! His dog even brings him his beer!!

The other headliner on the poster is John Russell as the big bad cheese called simply Nero! Mr. Nero has his own private golf course and lovely entourage of ladies, and doesn't liked to be disturbed by the simpletons that are making him money like Cateye! John Russell will always be remembered for his run as Marshall Dan Troop on 156 episodes of "The Lawman" from 1958 to 1962!! The two so-called stars probably have a combined screen time of about 15 minutes! Nice swing!

Now it's time to go back to another club with a a guy I can't find anything out about backed by a band called I haven't got a clue!

Imagine that, Steve and Cateye are not seeing things eye to eye again, and just when Steve thought he was going to have a nice quiet evening alone with Ann!

And then suddenly Director Joseph P. Mawra unleashes a fireball of totally unexpected amazement and completely different proportions! Welcome to "The Throne Room!" Yep, it's exactly what you thought it was! A masked bartender, and toilets for chairs! I guess this was Joseph's big shot at main stream media, since some of his other directorships included titles like "Olga's House Of Shame," "The Peek Snatchers," and "Savages From Hell," so he decided to make the most of it!

I don't know about you, but the whole beer tapper in the urinal doesn't look that appealing to me! That's where I usually put the beer when I'm through with it, not where I want to get it from!

The denizens of the "Throne Room" are an odd lot at best! There's this girl with eyeballs painted on her eyelids!

There's these two interesting couples and.........

.......This pair of rats!!!!

Then this checkerboard gal walks into the room, and suddenly, my fuzzy little brain screamed out as loud as it could! Can anybody give me a clue as to what in the fuck is going on here??

And then I got the answer when this whack job and his howling poodle did their schtick!! I thought I had changed channels without knowing and was now watching "The Gong Show!"  I don't know how they pulled it off, but somehow all this nonsense makes sense!

Then there was the beach party and the subsequent cat fight! After the fight is over, they hook one gal up to a motorcycle and drag her around the beach for a while just for kicks!

They had some pretty good stunt men working on this movie!

In the end, Cateye has to make a run for it, but more strange shit happens, basically for no reason at all, he gets in a fist fight with this big Redneck at a gas station, while the guy's Momma starts whacking him with a broom! Cateye barely escapes with his life, and the viewer is left in awe and wonder!

Cateye makes it back to the track a few laps late, and gets into his # 7 car, and starts driving like a madman, and you really get the feeling he wants to go out in a blaze of glory.......

..........And can you imagine that? That's exactactly what happens!! "Fireball Jungle!" I can't tell you where you can find it, all I can do is tell you that you should try! It changed my life forever!!


TABONGA! said...


Craftypants Carol said...


Eegah!! said...

Took the Wow right out of my mouth Carol!

Greg Goodsell said...

Love CAN make you happy.

Eegah!! said...

"IF you find some one who cares!!"

kochillt said...

The black singer is Little Tiny Kennedy, sounding a bit like Louis Armstrong. He was a little known female impersonator who recorded two sides with bandleader Tiny Bradshaw for a 1952 Trumpet Records release.

Eegah!! said...

Oh, man, thanx kochilt! That's some solid information!!

Paris Faye said...

My biological parents were involved in the making of this movie. My brothers later went on to tour with Joie Chitwood as stunt drivers . i have many still photos my mother took during the filming of the movie.

If anyone knows anyone who was also involved in making the movie and might know my parents, please contact me at

Thank you

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Thanks Paris! Wish we could be of more help, but ....if you ever want to share any of those stills, we'd love to be the ones to do it! Good luck with finding anybody involved in the making of the film!

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