Carnival Magic BD

I became deeply curious about this film after seeing it on MST3K - and was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get a Ballyhoo piece on it, as you just knew there had to be fascinating stories about the movie and the people who made it.

Some of those stories have trickled out in articles and podcasts, and the commentary on the disc by producer Elvin Feltner fills out a lot more backstory, etc.

Recorded for an earlier DVD release (he passed away in 2013). Elvin’s memory is fuzzy on a few things, and there are contradictions in the facts, dates, etc. But it still makes for an interesting listen. (the are a lot of conflicting stories about the movie - it was lost then found in a warehouse, or it was found in a Seattle theater and shown over a rock concert… what’s the real timeline for all of this?)

And while a lot of reviews and the like focus on Al Adamson, from the commentary it sounds like it really was Feltner’s baby. He wrote the story, produced it and oversaw the editing. According to him, once the movie was finished, Al went home and didn’t do any post production work on it.

Tragically, Adamson is no longer with us to tell his side of the story - I’ve seen sites that described it as a labor of love for the director (but they don’t cite sources)

Feltner states that he directed a crowd scene at the carnival, as well as the scene where Alex drives the car (the woman in the backseat was his girlfriend).

He also produced another MST movie, Teen-age Strangler, and speaks briefly about it.

He mentions that he didn’t get along with the actor who played the lion tamer (Joe Cirilo) but he liked the star Don Stewart.

The release includes Al’s last completed film, “Lost” a poorly edited (by Susan Coppola, first cousin of Francis Ford) family film that also starred Don Stewart - and rushes for the unfinished “The Happy Hobo”. 3 family films at the end of his career, makes me think that he wanted to move away from horror.

The print looks better than you’d expect. Overall I’m happy with the purchase, and hearing the backstories on a strange G rated family film… that had some darkness included to appeal to the adults, according to the producer. Because yes, adults enjoy vivisections and wife (or was she his girlfriend) beatings.

Hu, wha? :roll_eyes:


Love the cover art. Until Carnival Magic came along nothing gave me that “dingy '70s carnival with a chimp and people in undersized shirts” feel quite the way Yellow Submarine did.


That Bluray cover is glorious.

I particularly like that it looks like the lion tamer is about to be mauled. I think Feltner would approve.


Originally the story was about a chimp and a strong-man. But both the chimp (or rather, it’s trainer) and the actor demanded more money… so Feltner dropped all of that, and hired soap opera actors who worked a little cheaper and a new chimp with fewer demands… though she (Alexander was a she) bit a few people.

To get the G rating they had to take out one of the slaps, when the lion tamer strikes the woman… but seeing the outtakes (without sound) I think they had to cut out more than that. During the phone call, the woman turns her head to the camera and you see her looking beat up, bruised, bleeding. That was removed.


During the phone call, the woman turns her head to the camera and you see her looking beat up, bruised, bleeding.

“CARNIVAL MAGIC!” we all yell.