Saturday, April 2, 2022

THE REBEL SET - "Jungle Of Strange Kicks" (1959)

Tonight's Saturday Night Special is a hipster/robber flick from 1959 called "The Rebel Set," but let's get something straight first thing, You don't spell Beatnik Beatnick, because that's just not cool!

They tried to sell this film as being about rebellious beatniks, and their wanton ways, but that's not what it is at all!

The setting at the beginning of the film is a 'beat' club, and there's lots of cool and groovy music from Maestro Paul Dunlap no doubt!

The owner of the club is a shyster named Mr. Tucker as played by Edward Platt. His flunky is a two-bit crook named Sidney. Mr. Tucker has a plan to rob an armored car, and he sends Sidney out to get three known losers to help him with his plan. Edward Platt might be best known as The Chief on "Get  Smart" for 137 episodes, but he's done so much more than that including being in the episode of "The Twilight Zone" called "A Hundred Yards Over The Rim," and I believe he's the only person I know of who has been in three episodes of "The Outer Limits!"
 Ned Glass as Sidney had a totally amazing career that included lots of Three Stooges shorts, two episodes of "The Twilight Zone," "A Passage For Trumpet," and "The Midnight Sun," two Elvis movies, and parts in everything from "War Of The Worlds," to "West Side Story."

The first of the three chumps is an out of work actor named Johnny Mapes.
Since a lot of you people out there don't even know how to drink a beer properly, here's a three point set of instructions on how to do it. First, get yourself a Churchkey, and punch a hole on one side of the top.

Second thing is you rotate the can 90 degrees, and punch a hole in the other side so that it acts as a vent!

The third step is to pour it down your gullet! You don't sip beer, it's made to be gulped!

Really talented beer drinkers can even drink with one hand in their pocket without falling down and breaking their face. This is really something to strive for!

Johnny's taking acting lessons from an "Act With The Stars" record.

The record is cleverly moved to reveal the next one of the three stooges to get involved in this heist!

"The Rebel Set" was made the same year as "Bucket Of Blood," and the hipster beat elements and antics are very similar in both of them. The cool jazz, free poetry, and distant people spacing out, would make the two films into a very hip double feature!

Here's the three victims chosen by Mr. Tucker to pull off his heist, from left to right. Ray (Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter) Lupton as failed author Ray Miller, Gregg (The Creature Walks Among Us, From Hell It Came) Palmer as failed actor Johnny Mapes, and Don (The Giant Gila Monster, Teenage Zombies) Sullivan, as bad boy loser son of a famous actress, George Leland.

Before we leave the beatniks and hipsters and this film turns into a fairly standard cops and robbers affair, we have to talk about the main act in the beat cafe, I. Stanford Jolley as a wildman beat poet called King Invader.

I. Stanford Jolley had an incredible 379 acting credits to his name that included sixteen tons of western movies, but he was also in serials that included "Batman," "The Phantom," "Superman," and "The Crimson Ghost," etc. This role as King Invader was quite different for him, and it looks like he relished it!

What a shot of a train!!

Well, of course the whole plan goes haywire in multiple directions. The guy with the least amount of money problems, George Leland, gets greedy, and gets a bullet for his excesses made to look like a suicide.

Mr. Tucker escapes dressed as a priest, and there is a long and tedious chase scene.

In one of the rare moments of intended comedy, just like in a cartoon, these three bums pop out of their hidden sleeping quarters to watch the scene go by, and just as quickly, duck back in!

Johnny Mapes cannot believe what he has just witnessed!

In a weird twist of fate, George Leland's dead body passes unknowingly right in front of his famous Mother, just as she's telling reporters that she's back in town to be with her son, and reunite their family!

"The Rebel Set" is in the public domain and can be viewed and shared freely via the Internet Archive.
I specifically didn't tell you the story so you can enjoy all the quirkiness of this 'jungle of strange kicks' firsthand!


kd said...

The producer of this movie, Earle Lyon, made his first feature film in the early 1950s, titled SILENT RAIDERS, for only $30,000, a WWII movie shot mostly at night on the beaches of Venice, California, where the cast and crew camped out in tents on the beach, living on their own burgers and hot dogs cooked on a barbecue grill they had set up.

Mr. Lyon produced (and sometimes acted in) a few fairly decent low-budget but well-done westerns, eventually producing 70 episodes of the tv series Tales of Wells Fargo. After making THE REBEL SET, he went into making low-budget sci-fi and spy movies in the '60s, including 4 of Arthur C. Pierce's most well-known films, including CYBORG 2087 starring Michael Rennie, DIMENSION 5 starring Jeffrey Hunter, and DESTINATION INNER SPACE starring Scott Brady.

Lyon and Pierce collaborated on several other unproduced projects in the late '60s and into the '70s, making one last film together, a rather troubled misfire titled THE ASTRAL FACTOR aka INVISIBLE STRANGLER, starring Robert Foxworth and Stefanie Powers. Pierce went on to work on a few more unfilmed projects into the mid '80s, but did write two produced episodes of Fantasy Island, and three episodes of John Newland's The Next Step Beyond.

Mr. Pierce passed away in the fall of 1987, while Mr. Lyon passed away a decade ago. I never got a chance to interview Lyon more in-depth, but he was a heckuva nice guy when I had an extended lunch visit in LA with both of them, back in 1981. So many more questions now that I wish I had asked of them both, back in the good old days.

Grant said...

I had no idea that the same people had anything to do with CYBORG 2087. That one seems to get rediscovered once in a while. A short time ago it showed up on the "Dark Corners" YouTube channel with Robin Bailes.

Realm Of Retro said...

CYBORG is beautiful in blu-ray. I have it.
Looking at the 60s cars is real fun in blu-ray just to begin.
The ghost town setting is the only drag about the movie IMO
but other than that it's fun to see Warren Stevens 10yrs after
Forbidden Planet, Michael Rennie, and Star Trek Lady Karen Steele.

DESTINATION INNER SPACE needs a blu-ray job like CYBORG 2087 got.
It has one of the coolest monsters outside of mainstream Hollywood
that you will ever see.
He does great amphibious shots because has a SCUBA tank in the suit!

This is real funny I don't know who did this:

kd said...

Hi Grant.

Nice to see you, and I hope you are well. I've begun to think I'm a 'thread-killer' lately, lol.

I will look up that YouTube channel, I've got a couple of funny behind the scenes stories from that lunch I had with Pierce and Lyon I should share on the Dark Corners channel, or maybe here.

Okay, a part of getting Mr. Rennie to star in CYBORG 2087 was, he wanted a made-to-order jumpsuit costume for the role, but on the budget, they used Wendell Corey's leftover white jumpsuit from Pierce's own Women of the Prehistoric Planet, cleaned it up and made a few minor changes, and Rennie was none the wiser, lol. I recall Earle Lyon said they paid Rennie $10,000 to play the role. Pierce said he was dating actress Karen Steele at the time and wrote her character in CYBORG for her, but as soon as she saw Rennie on the set, they were like magnets. Pierce said, 'There went another one!' lol

Those 4 United Pictures sci-fi/spy-fi films Lyon and Pierce worked on were very cheap and fast, as you probably know. I got the impression that a number of the cast and crew members were friends and brought on board as a favor. The reporter character of "Jay C.", played by Harry Carey Jr., (I think?), was actually written by Pierce so that HE could play the part, but Lyon turned him down as the shooting date got close. Mr. Pierce and Mr. Lyon were old friends (Lyon told me that when he decided to make 4 low-budget sci-fi films, he originally met with Ib Melchior, then Arthur Pierce, but he got along better with Pierce, so they teamed up for those 4 films.)

A couple of the unproduced scripts that Pierce wrote for Lyon were just amazing, but too expensive to make...I wish I still had copies of them!

Pierce had a lot of respect for Melchior and his work, but Pierce was more laid-back, and not quite as serious/intense as I believe Ib could be. I met with Ib at length also, but he wasn't near as friendly and easy-going as Pierce, so as much as I admire Melchior and his work, Arthur Pierce was easier to visit and chat with.

Sorry, I get started and don't know when to stop sometimes.

kd said...


The creature in DESTINATION INNER SPACE was made and worn by Richard Cassarino, who also made the HIDEOUS SUN DEMON for Robert Clarke.

Producer Earle Lyon actually tried to rent the CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON suit from Universal (for DESTINATION INNER SPACE), but they turned him down. Mr. Lyon was primarily a western/cowboy movie and tv producer, before the sci-fi craze of the 1960s tv shows and movies.

kd said...


Heh! I just watched the Dark Corners Reviews installment on CYBORG 2087, and I like how he manages to mention the film without completely trashing it, like most commenters and 'critics' do. Hey, it's not bad for a ten-day film.

The few films where Mr. Pierce was more in control and had a much smaller budget (HUMAN DUPLICATORS, MUTINY IN OUTER SPACE, WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET) come off pretty much the same, i.e., theatrical features made on tv episode's budget and schedule! :D

kd said...

Okay, so I know a lot about a very few film industry people, instead of a lot about a whole lot of film industry people. Blessing or curse? You decide! ;)

Going to relax and watch THE REBEL SET now, for the first time in many years.

Over and out!

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