Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Honourable Mentions: The Bowery Boys meet the Monsters

You might recall that I looked at the film Spooks Run Wild, which featured the East Side Kids. The East Side Kids were just one incarnation of the gang and by 1954 the remaining members were grown up and known as the Bowery Boys.

Indeed the remaining members were primarily Leo Gorcey who played Terence Aloysius ‘Slip’ Mahoney and Huntz Hall who played Horace Debussy ‘Sach’ Jones. The focus, certainly of this feature directed by Edward Bernds, was comedy, with Slip getting words wrong and Sach being of little brain. In many respects it was a low-grade Abbott and Costello – but not nearly as funny. Indeed one of the main threads of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein, the attempted transplant of a brain from a primary cast member into a monster, was the core part of this.

baseball dilemma
Before that, however, the film began down at Louie’s Sweet Shop where a baseball has just smashed a window and bumped Louie (Bernard Gorcey) on the head. The ball was hit by a kid named Herbie and this is a constant problem as the kids have nowhere but the street to play. There is a vacant lot nearby, owned by the Gravesend family, and Sach and Slip arrange to go to Gravesend Manor to discuss them allowing the kids to play there.

the robot
As it is the family are somewhat creepy. The butler, Grissom (Paul Wexler), is a sub-Lurch. The mother, Amelia (Ellen Corby), keeps a man eating plant as a pet. The two men of the household, Derek (John Dehner) and Anton (Lloyd Corrigan), are mad scientists. Derek wants a sub-intelligent human brain (read Sach) to transplant into a killer gorilla and Anton is working on a killer robot, but figures it might need a human head (Slip). He also whips up a batch of Jekyll & Hyde type potion. They get the two to stay overnight and you can pretty much guess how things go.

Laura Mason as Francine Gravesend
“But what about the vampire?” you ask. I haven’t yet mentioned Francine Gravesend (Laura Mason). She is a vamp and a vampire – though Derek suggests that the word should not be used and the homicidal Amelia fears that “she is a blot on our family’s fine name.” Francine wants Sach, he’s just her (blood) type but she appears for a very short amount of time and other than vamping around a little does very little else for her few minutes (if that) of screen time. Worth a mention but only a fleeting visitation, with nary a fang in sight. The imdb page is here.

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