“If you don’t know Tor by now!!!” “Then you’ll never never never know him!!!” “Oooooooooh!!!” “He was a wrestler…” “And rather large…” “He threw people down…” “As if they were small…” “And someone saw him…” “And thought he would do…” “To play a monster…” “No lead part for you…” “But he couldn’t talk!!!” “And could barely walk!!!” “He’d run into things!!!” “And Wood would shoot anyway!!!” “If you don’t know Tor by now!!!” Ahh Tor. What’s not to love? He’s a complete original. Born Karl Erik Tore Johansson, Tor Johnson was his stage name and he weighed 440 pounds at his heaviest. Shaving his blond hair to maintain an imposing appearance, Tor got bit parts in the movies long before Ed Wood.
Kid Millions (1934), Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935), Shadow of the Thin Man (1941), Gentleman Jim (1942), The Meanest Man in the World (1943), Ghost Catchers (1944), The Canterville Ghost (1944), Sudan (1945), Road to Rio (1947), State of the Union (1948), Behind Locked Doors (1948), Alias the Champ (1949), Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950), Angels in the Outfield (1951), The San Francisco Story (1952), Lady in the Iron Mask (1952), Houdini (1953). Then he was Lobo in Bride of The Monster (1955), a muscleman in Carousel (1956), Mr. Curry in The Black Sleep (1956), Lobo in The Unearthly (1957), The Inspector in Plan 9 from Outer Space (1957), Lobo in Night of the Ghouls (1959), and The Beast in The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961).
Tor featured in 3 Mystery Science Theater episodes. The Unearthly, Bride of the Monster, and The Beast of Yucca Flats. His hulking presence enhances those pictures and he is a fixture of 50s B Movies. We’ll never forget him. Tor is forever. Big Man or The Pillsburry Doughboy?
Note: The Unearthly (1957), The Bride of the Monster (1955), and The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961) were movies on MST. Underneath are links to discussions on all three episodes. Also Swedish Meatball is meant affectionately. Who doesn’t love Swedish Meatballs? Tor was a Swedish Wrestler and a big guy and suddenly a vision of Swedish Meatballs entered my head and there was the title.
320. The Unearthly (1957)
423. Bride of the Monster (1955)
621. The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)
Tor Johnson on Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life.
10 Things You Should Know About Tor Johnson.
MST3K - The Best of Tor Johnson.
Tor Johnson in The Unearthly (1957) - Time For Go To Bed.
Tor Johnson Door Scene from Tim Burton’s Ed Wood (1994).
Don Post on Tor Johnson and His Mask.
Tor Johnson in Plan 9 from Outer Space (1957).
Tor recollections from Nightmare of Ecstacy, the Ed Wood biography. I left out most of Tony Cardoza’s comments because they sounded like nonsense and didn’t fit anyone else’s recollections.
That photo! Look at that. Three legends just sitting at lunch, chilling.
Oh those glorious monsters.
Tor’s in a lot of bad movies, but he makes them all better.
Tor and Bela’s friendship just rolls off that picture. Lugosi’s soft smile points to their chemistry.
He does. Why is that? His sincerity? His uniqueness? You know instantly it’s him. It’s like running into an old friend.
Because Tor is so cool that a rabbit ran up to cuddle him after the trauma of The Beast of Yucca Flats.
I can’t argue that. This says it all.
Flag on the moon how did it get there?
Only Coleman knows for sure.