Not much pertinent BBI history to pass on at this point. This does however mark the first 'short subject' of the second season. The 'shorts' were used when the feature film could not fill the show's running time. Other than that, not much to tell you this week.
So we'll skip the formalities and say...
Let the experiment begin!
"Turn Down Your Lights (Where applicable)"
Experiment #203 ~ JUNGLE GODDESS (1948)
with short The Phantom Creeps (1939) ~ (Ch.1)
Original Air Date: October 6, 1990
Starring: George Reeves, Wanda McKay, Ralph Byrd, Armida, Smoki Whitfield
Directed By: Lewis D. Collins
Theatrical Running Time: 62 Minutes
Tagline: "TEMPTRESS...of 1000 Untamed Men! RULER...of a Savage Empire!"
... But FIRST! ...
Chapter 1: 'The Menacing Power'
Total Number of Chapters: 12
Genre: Serial Sci-Fi/Mystery
Studio: Commonwealth Pictures Corporation
Starring: Bela Lugosi, Robert Kent, Dorothy Arnold, Regis Toomey, Jack C. Smith
Directed By: Ford Beebe
Chapter Running Time: 22 Minutes
Tagline: "12 Spine-Shivering Action Chapters!"
Shorts Chapter Synopsis:
Mad scientist Dr. Alex Zorka (Bela Lugosi
) is conducting bizarre experiments in his secret laboratory. Along with his assistant Monk (Jack C. Smith
) he has created a 'devisuallizer' belt (which makes the wearer invisible) and an eight foot tall giant impenetrable robot (with a 'grille' that looks like Howard Keel) that possesses tremendous strength. Zorka has also discovered (from an unknown source) a new element which, when utilized produces a state of suspended animation upon all living things in the area. It has been fabricated into small magnetized discs which can easily be placed anywhere,even a purse or a pocket. When the disc comes into contact with one of Zorka's robotic spiders, it ignites. His wife (Dora Clemont
) and Dr. Mallory (Edwin Stanley
) visit Zorka at his current residence to persuade him not to sell his secrets to a foreign government. Dr. Mallory reports his findings to the U.S. military and they dispatch Captain Bob West (Robert Kent
) to investigate. Zorka moves his lab into a hidden room in his mansion and then he and Monk take it on the lam in an automobile. Dr. Zorka (planning on staging his own death) and Monk pick up a hitch-hiker who resembles Zorka. After they all are involved in a car wreck on a deserted road, the hitch-hiker ends up dead. "How fortunate!" Zorka exclaims. "Theese seemplifies everytheeng!". Upon returning to his residence, Zorka finds his wife and Capt.West preparing to board a plane to fly to the accident scene and identify Zorka's body. Also on board the plane is a stowaway, plucky reporter Jean Drew (Dorothy Arnold
). Zorka (using his invisibility belt) places a disc and a spider on the plane. The two ignite and the plane crashes. Will anyone survive?!
Find out in Chapter Two of 'The Phantom Creeps
(Whew! A lot goes on in these serial chapters in a short amount of time).
...and now... OUR FEATURE PRESENTATION!
Entrepreneure pilots Bob (Ralph Byrd
) and Mike (George Reeves
) set out to claim the reward for the return of Greta Vanderhorn (Wanda McKay
), a millionaire's daughter whose plane is believed to have crash landed in Africa six years ago. They find her ruling as a 'White Goddess' over a small tribe of natives in the jungle. After Bob panics and shoots one of her subjects, the 'White Devils' are taken captive. Bob is sentenced to be executed in eight days, while Mike is allowed to go free. Mike gains Greta's confidence and she states that she will find a way for the three of them to escape. Greta tells her maid-servant Wanama (Armida
) to watch over the tribe, as she has to return to where she came from six years ago. When the men of the village are out on a hunt, Mike and Bob have a scuffle and Bob shoots another native (accidentally). The trio must make their move for the plane now, before the witch doctor Oolonga (Smoki Whitfield
) summons back the hunting party. Bob clocks Mike, takes the compass and the pistol and makes his way solo to the plane. When Greta and Mike catch up with Bob the two men scuffle (again) and Bob shoots one of the natives (accidentally...again!). Bob takes a spear in the back and Mike and Greta take off in the plane and head back to the U.S.A..
Joel and the Bots are playing Hide and Seek with the "elusive and inexplicable forces which control the universe".
It turns out that the Cosmic Universe isn't even trying to hide. Plus, the "Flexcis Ubermonks' are flexing their Zygites again". (The Mads are 'barking down Joel's snorkel').
Frank is trying to teach Gerry (or Sylvia) about trumpet jazz chops.
Joel presents the 'Radio Arm Saw', a circular saw attached to a remote-controlled car.(based on the premise that the farther from the saw you are, the better off you're going to be).
The Mads fuse Dr. F.'s head to the bell of a baritone saxophone and present 'Dr. Sax'. (When Frank blows into the mouthpiece, Dr. F's head emits some jazzy John Coltrane 'charts').
The "Bela's OK Discoveries" infomercial.
A really creative segment where Joel teaches (with the help of Cambot) the Bots about "Gobos". (A theatrical and cinematic 'black-matte' technique where the viewing audience feels like they are looking through a physical device (i.e.:binoculars, etc...). The Gobos used are as follows...
Periscope-scope (also known as the 'Driving Miss Daisy'-scope)
Microscope-scope (or the Sammy Davis, Jr.-scope)
Glaucoma-scope (very blurry)...and if you want to get fancy, add the Family Circus scope and you have the...
Hubble-scope, followed by...
Scopes Monkey Trial-scope (otherwise known as the 'Inherit the Wind-O-Rama'-scope), and the...
Two 'White Devils' visit the SOL via the Hexfield Viewscreen. Mike Nelson and Producer Jim Mallon as Mike and Bob (with a 'rat-a-tat' gun) approach the SOL with their list of offerings to the natives, such as "gifts, beads, trinkets, 'Coke' bottles and acccessories, and bullets!"
"My White Goddess" (kind of an 'I Love Lucy
)' parody. Fan letters. Frank mimics Dr. F.
Items of Note:
~One of the first 'snakes on film as Satan' 'riffs by the group that I can ever recall. (It will become a running bit).
~"Rhubarb" (as a verbal chant for chaos or confusion in 'crowd or group' scenes shown in the films in the seasons to come).
~Producer Jim Mallon's first on screen appearance.(as one of the 'White Devil's').
~The Hexfield Viewscreen now closes from bottom to top.
~The "Bela's OK Discoveries" bit may have been trendy and funny at the time, but we've all seen too many real infomercials (willing or unwilling. Infomercials were a relatively new form of advertising back in the '90's) that by now, it's just uninspired and annoying.
~An insane use of stock footage in this film. (i.e.: the 'same' plane changing from one shot to the another in the same scene. Un-indeginous animals to the setting, etc...)
~Three years after 'Jungle Goddess' was released, the world will come to know George Reeves as TV's 'Man of Steel, 'SUPERMAN''.
~There were two 15 chapter 'Superman' movie serials released. Superman (1948)
and Atom Man vs. Superman (1950)
starring actor Kirk Alyn. Alyn was slated to return for a third serial but demanded too much money. The studio signed George Reeves, and the rest is history.
~Reeves' 'Superman and the Mole Men' (1951)
was divided into two segments and served as the pilot for the successful TV series.
~The term 'gobo' may have been derived from 'go-between' or 'Goes Before Optics'. (which is where the matte is positioned, between a light source and a lens).
Once again the boys are all over the board with references to 'Bob Villa', 'Ed Wood', 'Smith Brothers cough drops', 'KIROK!', 'Wizard of Oz', 'The Honeymooners' and 'Black Sabbath', just to name a few. A good experiment, but far from what they will eventually achieve.
2 '"It wasn't my fault" Shot Natives' out of 5.
"Keep Trading the Discs (and Tapes)"
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