The comedy world lost one of the funniest men to ever grace the screen. He didn’t have to say a single word…once he walked into the shot, you felt like laughing, even if he didn’t do anything.
He was also one of the first “sploitation” actors–if you’ve heard the term “Fake Shemp,” this is what they mean. There were four films created with the Fake Shemp (Joe Palma), and since Jules White could direct and produce a film in a matter of HOURS with footage of Shemp from an old short, throw in some new footage of Moe and Larry, and voila! You’ve got a new film to fool theatre managers made for the fraction of the price of a new one! It’s win-win…until Moe and Larry (and even Harry Cohn) realized they couldn’t run the Shempsploitation Express forever…so along came EVERYONE’S favorite Stooge replacement, Joe Besser!
(I actually liked Besser–he was such a totally different comedian that you just went “WHAT?!” when you saw him with the rough and tumble Moe and Larry. No, I’m not giving up my Stooge card–I’ve had it since 1975!)
“And more vicious, more deadly even than these soul-destroying drugs is the menace of—marijuana!”
Director: Louis J. Gasnier
Starring: Kenneth Craig, Dorothy Short, Lillian Miles, Dave O’Brien, Carleton Young, Thelma White, Warren McCollum, Pat Royale, Joseph Forte, Mary MacLaren
Screenplay:Arthur Hoerl and Paul Franklin, based upon a story by Lawrence Meade
Synopsis: Dr Alfred Carroll (Joseph Forte) addresses a meeting in which he exhorts the parents of school students to campaign for compulsory education on narcotics—particularly marijuana. He goes on to illustrate the dangers of marijuana by speaking of a recent tragedy… Mae (Thelma White) and Jack (Carleton Young) own an apartment near a high school, where they deal marijuana. While Mae concentrates on supplying to artists and musicians, Jack works to hook the local school students on the drug, much to Mae’s disgust. Jack makes contact with Ralph (Dave O’Brien), who knows many of…
EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally wrote about this movie on February 22, 2018. We’ve added to that original article in this revision for our Mill Creek month.
Also known as La Montagna del Dio Cannibale, Slave of the Cannibal Godand Prisoner of the Cannibal God, don’t be fooled by the pedigree of having big stars like Ursula Andress and Stacy Keach. This film may seem restrained at first, but it goes absolutely insane by the final ten minutes. I mean, when has Sergio Martino (All the Colors of the Dark, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key) ever steered us wrong?
Susan Stevenson (Andress, the original Bond girl) is looking for her husband Henry, an anthropologist who has gone missing in the jungles of New Guinea. Along with her brother Arthur and Professor Edward Foster (Keach), they travel to the mountain…
I’m sorry, but the first thing to come to mind when I read this is that he’s got one degree of Stoogeration and the infamous line from Death Wish 3: “They’re teeth.” He was a damn fine actor and proved that sequels don’t HAVE to get worse as they go on–my older sister and I caught Death Wish 5 after dozing through whatever big budget junk that would’ve been out then. Ah, the old days…cigarette machines in the lobby, no one caring why you had that yuge purse, and the ability to pay for one movie and go to the next when it sucked.
One thing that the internet has allowed me to do since starting Mike’s Take nearly 8 years ago is to connect with fellow film fans and in some cases, writers and historians. I guess it was inevitable that I would cross paths with Paul Talbot who has quickly become the leading authority on the career of Charles Bronson. I guess that makes me second????? He’s been kind enough to visit Mike’s Take on occasion and I’m very happy to have shared some old articles and trivia bits with him when I thought it might be beneficial in his research.
I’m also very excited to have him join me here for this spotlight on Charles Bronson as we celebrate his 100th birthday this month.
Paul Talbot is the author of the books BRONSON’S LOOSE!: THE MAKING OF THE “DEATH WISH” FILMS and BRONSON’S LOOSE AGAIN!: ON THE SET WITH CHARLES BRONSON…
Femme fatal film icon VERONICA LAKE fell from Hollywood heights to waiting tables in a sleazy women’s only hotel before succumbing to the ravages of alcoholism and mental illness at only age 50.
Veronica Lake was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 14, 1922 as Constance Frances Marie Ockleman. Her father worked for an oil company as a ship employee and died in a tragic oil tanker explosion.
Her ethereal beauty, natural charm coupled with a talent for acting prompted her mother and tubercular step-father to move to Beverly Hills, California, where they enrolled her in the Bliss Hayden School of Acting in Hollywood.
Although Connie had been previously diagnosed as a classic schizophrenic her parents saw acting as a form of treatment for her condition. She soon found work as a bit player in several unremarkable pictures but “Sorority House” director John Farrow (Mia Farrow’s father) saw how her long flowing hair always covered her right eye, creating an hint of allure and mystery. While still a teenager, Farrow introduced her to Paramount producer Arthur Hornblow who promptly changed her name to Veronica Lake.
Veronica’s breakthrough film was “I Wanted Wings” in 1941, a major box office hit.
She then became Paramount’s top female star toplining such classics as “Sullivan’s Travels”, “This Gun for Hire”, The Glass Key”, “So Proudly We Hail” and “I Married A Witch”.
“She was a very gifted girl, but shedidn’t believe she was gifted,” director Rene Clair recalled.
Often paired with diminutive star Alan Ladd, the couple made seven films together. At first it was out of necessity as Ladd was just 5 feet five while Lake was 4 feet 11 inch but the pair had undeniable on-screen chemistry
For a short time during the early 1940s, Veronica was at the height of Hollywood stardom.
During World War Two, the rage for her peek-a-boo bangs became a hazard when women in the defense industry would get their hair caught in machinery. Lake was staged in a publicity picture in which she reacted painfully to her hair getting “caught” in a drill press illustrating her hazardous ‘do. Finally, Lake famously cut her hair and, sadly, her popularity diminished.
By the early 1950’s Lake’s career had hit the skids.
Still battling schizophrenia, and in a state of paranoia, she began drinking heavily. As her mental state deteriorated further, with two failed marriages, Veronica became manic-depressive as her self-destructive addiction to booze pushed her over the edge.
Soon, with no film career and little alimony after an IRS forced bankruptcy, Lake drifted between cheap hotels in New York City. She was arrested several times for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.
In 1963, a reporter found her working as a barmaid/waitress while living at the seedy all-women’s $7-a-night Martha Washington Hotel in Manhattan. In the hotel bar, Lake was working under an alias — Connie De Toth (“House of Wax” director Andre DeToth had been her second hubby).
Lake had never revealed her true name to her co-workers nor customers although her boss Joe Rauji at the Colonnade Bar knew who she was. “She’s a good girl but she’s had a hard time,” he told a reporter.
Lake later toiled at other bars including Greenwich Village’s famed One Fifth getting a steady paycheck and a never ending stream of booze.
The widely circulated news reports of her plight led to some minor TV and film work but Lake soon made a financial comeback by penning her memoirs.
With the profits from her best selling tell-all, Lake co-produced and starred in her last film, “Flesh Feast” (1970), a micro-budget horror movie with a Nazi-myth storyline. It bombed.
After another failed marriage and brief sojourn in England, Lake returned home.
She was already “pretty far along” when she was admitted to the Fletcher Allen Hospital in Vermont, doctors said.
Finally, in the early morning hours of July 7, 1973, Veronica Lake died from hepatitis and acute renal failure — seemingly alone and forgotten at the age of 50.
That is, until the news broke, when suddenly EVERYONE remembered.
For some reason, I thought that it had been more than a YEAR since I’d placed my pallid purges to paper, but it’s only a month! Hoooo, boy! What a time I’ve had since January 2020…lost my father, lost any semblance of respect I had of the medical profession (looking at YOU, chemotherapy and the lies you fed an old man that wouldn’t have had HALF the pain and agony he had if he had told y’all to blow it out your butts and gone to Valhalla blazing away like a Cheech and Chong audience.)
I’m the last to say I know more than an oncologist, but when I can catch you in lie after lie, it makes me wonder if you got your degree from the same school Dr. Nick (Elvis’s doctor) and the Three Stooges got theirs.
I am angry and bitter and will remain so for a looooong time. I guess I shouldn’t have expected any better when doctors looked at me like I was a freak due to having heart failure at 29…
So I’m two days late for my usual “On This Day In” entry, but it turns out that it IS better late than never! Imagine Star Trek getting the Tarantino treatment! The only thing I could think of that would add to that would be if David Carradine were still alive (and still acting…but come on–like father like son, David would’ve probably worked until he literally died in the middle of a take.)
(Insert any tasteless comments and jokes here–I won’t add any because hearing about his death pi$$ed me off royally, thinking about all of the A, B, and Z grade movies he could’ve been making.)
I thought it would be interesting to use another great British group to pay tribute to the tenth anniversary of Amy Winehouse’s death. I remember exactly where I was (I sound like those people who remember where they were when JFK/MLK/RFK/January 6, 2021 happened.) I had the headache of all headaches, but suddenly I had one of those flashes that never means anything good’s going to happen. Sure enough, my mother came in with a sad look on her face and I didn’t even need to KNOW what had happened. Maybe it was because it was all of the YouTube bingeing my mother and I did (the video in the police station was so sad…)
I didn’t even hear of her the usual way others did (either the radio or through the tabloids), it was just hearing a snatch of “Rehab” on something (can’t even remember what it was from and what was the context) and from then I was HOOKED! I hadn’t been hooked that fast since one Colin Edward Michael Blunstone when I was three or four. And like the Zombies, her career ended too early (but unlike the Zombies, she’ll never get to begin again with an even stronger sound.)
Here’s the “Tell Her No” of Amy Winehouse tracks “Fool’s Gold.”