423. Bride of the Monster (1955)

lol. Joel’s expression at the end…

(Pretty bummed that I’ve never had the almond bark dream.)

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Again, I hate to use the overused term “classic”, but wow this is as classic as they get. I totally agree with Opti that this is a top ten episode. There’s the Ed Wood movie, Harvey B Dunn, Tor Johnson, Bela Lugosi, and a stock footage octopus!

A couple of observations;

The scene with Bela and George Becwar is classic Lugosi. It’s the best scene in the movie and Bela really sells it.

The female lead was supposed to be Delores Fuller, but Loretta King supposedly offered to put up money for the movie. So, she got the lead. Supposedly this lead to Delores breaking up with Ed. (they were reportedly living together).

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There’s also the magical disappearing–and reappearing–pencil. Don’t know why, but that’s what I remember most about this movie.

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Hired! is the first of several shorts produced by the Jam Handy Organization and was a training film for their biggest client General Motors. It’s something of a window to the past, as I (and likely many others) had no idea that cars used to be sold door-to-door. For whatever reason, the Brains decided to split the short in half rather than wait to pair it with a minimal length feature. Though it works as a natural stopping point for someone screening it for salesmen in training to discuss what rookie salesman Jimmy Hill is doing wrong and what doughy manager Mr. Warren can do to fix it.

But the real draw here is the feature, directed by the infamous Ed Wood. Much has been said of the man, with the most favorable recounting being the Tim Burton biopic. In that, he’s portrayed as a dreamer who is constantly beset by unfeeling Philistines who would compromise his vision. Then there are those like Stephen King who, in Danse Macabre, denounced Wood as an unscrupulous con man taking advantage of a broken-down Bela Lugosi. Certainly, the trio of Wood films featuring Lugosi are of lesser quality than anything he did for Universal, Monogram, or even PRC. Still, it’s better than scraping by on meager unemployment checks. I hold to the middle ground and see Wood as a mediocre talent whose true foe was not meddling investors shoehorning either themselves or their half-wit relatives into the lead cast, but his own tendency towards alcoholism.

At the risk of damning him with faint praise, Bride of the Monster is his least incompetent production. Unlike many of his other works, this one has a storyline that’s comprehensible, albeit rather stupid. It’s old hat for Bela, as he portrays yet another mad scientist creating an unstoppable army to Rule the World and Show Them All while he’s at it. Though this being the 1950s, his catalyst is atomic energy. Tor Johnson is his much-abused lackey who inevitably turns on him. Opposing him is a spunky girl reporter (whose actress is a bit long in the tooth for this type of role, having been in her late thirties at the time) and her ineffectual cop boyfriend. There’s also an octopus for some reason.

There are just so many issues, from the clunky dialogue to Bela’s stunt double in the climax being as unconvincing as Tom Mason would prove to be in Plan 9 from Outer Space. This makes for prime riffing material, and Joel and the Bots are firing on all cylinders.

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And the thought that I have to share? I thought Crow is running Unix, why is he running a batch file; it should be crowdream.sh!

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The Evil Parakeet jokes make this ep for me, but it’s a strong one all around.

HIRED! gets my vote for best musical skit. :notes:

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I love how Joel really gets into his role in that sketch. His facial expressions, his gestures , the intensity of his singing, everything just shouts “musical theater”!

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Three years before MST3K got to it.

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It may be heretical, but I really wish the riffers would just shut up during Lugosi’s whole “Home? I have no home!” speech. It’s classic, old-school, mesmerizing, hammy Bela and it is the only genuinely touching scene in this whole picture. The scene just needs to be watched and appreciated.

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That is a heck of an opening to a trailer…

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Me, every time I work an extra half-day at the office:

“YEAH! We’re gonna’ have AWNINGS! Maybe even DESSERT!!” :oncoming_automobile:

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My mom became a MSTIE since she watched the episode and “Hired! The Musical”, she fell in love with that musical.

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I thought about sneaking this into the Literary Riffs thread, but it doesn’t quite work:

There was a musical called Working! which ran briefly on Broadway in the 1970s. It was also a PBS special and has had numerous revivals since. I think the made-for-TV version ran on Showtime in the very early 1980s, because that’s where I remember seeing it. The musical was based on Studs Terkel’s anthology of interviews with workers who talk about “What they do all day and how they feel about what they do.”

I always wonder if someone on the writing staff saw the musical, or maybe even had a bit part in a production of the show, when they got the idea to do Hired!. :thinking: Or maybe it was The Pajama Game they were thinking of…?

The book is really good, by the way. Yet again, I think about just how much the internet and social media shook up what we saw as expected and normal. Once upon a time, it was actually strange to open a published book and see interviews with “people like us” discussing their average workday.

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Speaking of working, who else feels like both Elmer Fudd and Wile E. Coyote saw this movie in its first run and felt serious secondhand embarrassment for those two clueless hunters? lol

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