Category Archives: 1966

RIP, Quinn O’Hara.

Quinn O’Hara
January 3, 1941 – May 5, 2017

Quinn O’Hara didn’t make many movies, but if you turn up in an AIP Beach Party movie and an episode of Dragnet, that’s resume enough for me. She has passed away at 76.

She’s seen above with Aaron Kincaid in Ghost In The Invisible Bikini (1966). It’s one of the weaker ones in the series, but it’s got Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Harvey Lembeck (as Eric Von Zipper), Nancy Sinatra and The Bobby Fuller Four(!). Miss O’Hara is quite funny as Rathbone’s nearsighted daughter.

She worked pretty steadily on TV in everything from The Beverly Hillbillies and The Man From UNCLE to CHiPs and Dallas. She eventually became a nurse.

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Filed under 1966, AIP, Basil Rathbone, Bobby Fuller, Boris Karloff

Blu-Ray News #131: Island Of Terror (1966).

Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Peter Cushing, Edward Judd, Carole Gray

More 60s British horror coming to Blu-Ray. I’m all for it, especially when it’s another teaming of Terence Fisher and Peter Cushing — and a really solid one like this.

Island Of Terror (1966) has cancer research gone horribly wrong on Petrie’s Island, with weird creatures injecting victims with a bone-dissolving enzyme. Its pseudo-science seems somewhat plausible (to me, at least — I’m a real bonehead when it comes to scientific stuff) and it has a pretty cool open ending. Shout Factory promises a new transfer from an interpositive, along with a number of extras. Can’t wait. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1966, DVD/Blu-ray News, Peter Cushing, Shout/Scream Factory, Terence Fisher

Blu-Ray News #127: The Endless Summer (1966).

Directed by Bruce Brown
Starring Michael Hynson, Robert August, Bruce Brown, Terence Bullen, Wayne Miyata

What a wonderful movie Bruce Brown’s The Endless Summer (1966) is. God only knows many times I’ve seen it — enough to absorb some of its lingo: “stoked,” “ultimate thing” and more. And I’ve about worn the grooves off of the soundtrack LP by The Sandals.

Speaking of the ultimate thing, The Endless Summer is coming to Blu-Ray in the UK from Second Sight — this summer, naturally. I’m so stoked.

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Filed under 1966, Bruce Brown, DVD/Blu-ray News

Blu-Ray News #107: The Blood Of Fu Manchu (1968) And The Castle Of Fu Manchu (1969).

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Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Christopher Lee, Richard Greene

The Blood Of Fu Manchu (1968, AKA Kiss And Kill) and The Castle Of Fu Manchu (1969) — the last two pictures in producer Harry Alan Towers’ series based on Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu, star Christopher Lee, Richard Greene and the Law Of Diminishing Returns.

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Directed by the Spanish cult director Jess Franco, they have their fans — and they’ll be happy to know that Blue Underground is bringing them to Blu-Ray some time this year. The previous DVD release had a lot of extras, which will make their way to the Blu-Ray set.

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The first and third Lee/Fu Manchu pictures, The Face Of Fu Manchu (1965, directed by Don Sharp) and The Vengeance Of Fu Manchu (1967) are available from Warner Archive. (I really like Face.) The second, The Brides Of Fu Manchu (1966), was released several years ago from Warners, paired with Chamber Of Horrors (also 1966). How deep you want to go in this series is a personal thing, but Lee makes a terrific Fu Manchu — and let’s not forget him as Chung King in Hammer’s Terror Of The Tongs (1961).

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Filed under 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, Blue Underground, Christopher Lee, DVD/Blu-ray News, Hammer Films, Warner Archive

Blu-Ray Review: The Ghost And Mr. Chicken (1966).

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Directed by Alan Rafkin
Written by James Fritzel and Everett Greenbaum
Cinematography: William Margulies
Music by Vic Mizzy

Cast: Don Knotts (Luther Heggs), Joan Staley (Alma Parker), Liam Redmond (Kelsey), Dick Sargent (George Beckett), Skip Homeier (Ollie Weaver), Reta Shaw (Mrs. Halcyon Maxwell), Lurene Tuttle (Mrs. Natalie Miller), Phil Ober (Nicholas Simmons), Harry Hickox (Police Chief Art Fuller), Charles Lane (Whitlow), Hal Smith, Ellen Corby, Hope Summers, Burt Mustin

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“The Haunted House” is one of my favorite episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. Don Knotts must’ve liked it, too, because he used it as a springboard for his first feature, The Ghost And Mr. Chicken (1966). Recruiting a couple writers from Andy Griffith, and Andy himself as a story man (the “Attaboy, Luther!” running gag was his), they cooked up the tale of Luther Heggs (Knotts) spending a restless night in a “murder house.”

Don Knotts and Joan Staley between takes on the Universal backlot.

Ties to The Andy Griffith Show abound. First, there’s a subtle, funny, character-driven look at small town life, trading Rachel, Kansas, for Mayberry, North Carolina (and adding Technicolor and Techniscope). There’s a number of Andy people in the cast: Hal Smith as an Otis-like drunk, Hope Summers (Clara Edwards on Andy) as a busybody, Reta Shaw, Burt Mustin, Ellen Corby, Charles Lane and more. The frequent Andy director Alan Rafkin was chosen by Knotts for the movie. The set must’ve felt like a family reunion.

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The lovely Joan Staley — who appeared in this, Gunpoint with Audie Murphy and an episode of Batman, all in 1966 — is charming as Knott’s love interest. Skip Homeier is perfect as a creep. And Vic Mizzy’s terrific score is worth the price of admission.

And no, the haunted house if not 1313 Mockingbird Lane from The Munsters, though it’s on the same Universal backlot street.

I saw The Ghost And Mr. Chicken repeatedly as a kid and love it to this day. (I even remember the red squiggly letterboxing they used during the credits in TV prints.) Sure, it’s a funny movie, but I find it so hard to be objective with this one. It’s a member of the “movie family” I feel compelled to visit every so often. (It’s got another thing going for it — it was an early date for my wife and I. She’s a big fan of The Andy Griffith Show and had never seen it, something I had to correct as soon as possible.)

It was a big deal around my house when this was announced for Blu-Ray (a Best Buy exclusive). The Ghost And Mr. Chicken has always looked good on video, from laserdisc to DVD to this new Blu-Ray. It’s a real beauty, sharp as a tack with eye-popping Technicolor. Highly recommended, especially to those who grew up with it.

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Filed under 1966, Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray Review: The TAMI Show (1964)/The Big TNT Show (1966).

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I’m a big fan of 60s music by the likes of Jan & Dean, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, James Brown, The Rollings Stones and Roger Miller, and the concert movies The TAMI Show (1964) and The Big TNT Show (1966) have been on my Must See List for decades (the combine-the-two-into-one-VHS-tape thing, This Was Rock, doesn’t count.)

Both shows were shot on an early hi-def TV system, then transferred to 35mm for theatrical release — thanks to a process called Electronovision. So while I knew the music was great, I’ve always wondered how good they’d look when I finally got the chance to see them.

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There was no reason to worry. The new Shout Factory Blu-Ray package gives us both films, The TAMI Show and The Big TNT Show, looking splendid — taking into consideration that these are basically high-end kinescopes. They’re widescreen (1.78 for TAMI, 1.85 for TNT), as they were in theaters, and the monophonic sound is absolutely glorious.

Which performances you like best is a matter of personal taste, with the fabled James Brown/Rolling Stones sets being obvious standouts. (The Stones do “It’s All Over Now!”) Roger Miller really knocked me out in the second picture — it’s a real treat to see him in these prime years — and The Byrds are really cool (the image is sharp enough for us to see the sweat pouring off of David Crosby, who’s wearing a cape/coat/wrap thing during their handful of songs). It’s a really diverse mix of incredible talent — so many of these acts have made their way into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

These movies serve as a remarkable time capsule, documenting a time when popular music was on fire. If the music of this period is your bag, this double feature is essential.

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Filed under 1964, 1966, AIP, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Shout/Scream Factory

Blu-Ray News #88: The She Beast (1966).

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Directed by Michael Reeves
Starring Barbara Steele, John Karlsen, Ian Ogilvy, Mel Welles

Michael Reeves died at 25 with only three movies to his credit. The last of those is the excellent Witchfinder General (1968, known as The Conqueror Worm in the States). The first was an Italian-British co-production, La Sorella Di Satana (1966) — also known by a number of titles like Revenge Of The Blood Beast, The She Beast and Il Lago Di Satana.

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The whole picture was shot in 21 days. Horror icon Barbara Steele was hired for a single day — which turned out to be 18 grueling hours of work. Raro Video US will bring The She Beast to DVD and Blu-Ray in January.

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Filed under 1966, Barbara Steele, DVD/Blu-ray News, Michael Reeves