music friday: filthy friends
by request: the thing (john carpenter, 1982)

creature feature saturday double bill

The Unknown (Tod Browning, 1927). This would never have actually turned up on a 60s Creature Feature show. It's a silent movie, and you didn't see those. Tod Browning was a Creature Feature type of director though ... among others, he did the Bela Lugosi Dracula and Freaks. And this movie stars Lon Chaney, the king of silent horror. It also stars a 21-year-old Joan Crawford, who is almost unrecognizable. The story, which features a "Gift of the Magi" angle", is about an armless circus performer (played by guess who) who lusts after Nanon (Crawford). Nanon has a phobia about being touched by men, so when the circus strongman tries to put the moves on her, she recoils. I won't give away more of the plot, except to note that the armless guy is faking his disability. Chaney is very good, and it's nice to put a movie under the Creature Features label that is actually a decent film. There are various versions of The Unknown, and the version I saw ran 49 minutes, with subtitles that were clearly added more recently than 1927. The Unknown was thought missing for many decades, until a copy was found in the Cinémathèque Française. Turns out their archive included hundreds of movies marked "l'inconnu" ("unknown"). Those movies were indeed unidentifiable, and so it was apparently assumed that The Unknown was just another of those films. The subsequent restoration was not complete, but the version that remains is good. 7/10.

The Time Travelers (Ib Melchior, 1964). I want to say "from the sublime to the ridiculous", but in fact The Time Travelers is a decent little movie that takes a low budget and a silly plot and turns it into something watchable. Scientists from the present invent a time machine that takes them far into the future, and, well, what more do you need to know? It has Philip Carey, known to soap opera fans for his decades on One Life to Live and to Baby Boomers for playing Granny Goose in potato chip commercials. There's Preston Foster and the ever-present John Hoyt, and cheesecake from Merry Anders and ex-Playmate Delores Wells. Steve "Chatsworth Osborne, Jr." Franken even has a substantial part. The special effects are pretty bad, although these androids created in the future do have a rather disturbing look to their faces/heads. The cinematography is by future Oscar-winner Vilmos Zsigmond (credited as "William"), and the movie is better-looking than similar affairs. There's nothing great here, but neither does it stink. 6/10.

I can't stop without another mention of those Granny Goose commercials. Here's one:

Now, as I remember, this was a revision of the original Granny Goose commercial. (All of this is dependent on my faulty memory, of course.) In the first commercial, when he tore off the top of the bag with his teeth and spit it out, it just fell to the ground. Again, as I recall, conservationists complained that Granny Goose was littering. So for this version, they added the shot of the paper landing in the litter basket.

Which is all well and good. But in the meantime, you've got these gross stereotypes of Mexican bandidos. That's OK, at least Goose wasn't littering.

Those of us of a certain age (and location ... I believe Granny Goose was out of Oakland and the commercials were run locally) can quote lines from this commercial to this day. "You may not believe this, but my name is Granny Goose." "What's in the bag, Goose? Money, hey?" "Interesting. Well-seasoned. Provocative." "Are you grown up enough for Granny Goose?"