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"The Moon is Blue" was denied a Production Code seal and the refusal was upheld upon appeal to the board of the Motion Picture Association, primarily because the character played by Maggie McNamara announced that she was a Virgin and intended to remain one until she was married. The words virgin and seduction were used frequently in this film that was mainly a comedy about being occupied or pre-occupied with sex and,for those reasons it was denied approval, and it was released and shown minus approval. It wasn't the first film to be denied a Production Code seal, but it was the one that led to the ultimate demise of the power of the Hays Office, the Legion of Decency and various local blue-nose censor boards to determine what could not be said or done on screen.
The Devil With Hitler has to be viewed in retrospect not so much for what it was poking fun at but more so for what wasn't known at the time regarding the full extent of the concentration camps and other atrocities. It is primarily Adolf(Bobby Watson), Benito(Joe Devlin) and Suki Saki(George E. Stone) in a series of Three-Stooges routines, with the premise that the Board of Directors of Hell has put the Devil (Alan Mowbray)on notice they intend to replace him with Adolph Hitler unless he can get Hitler to commit a good deed. As with nearly all of the Roach "streamliners" of the time, it has several double entendres which leads one to believe the censors were either asleep, didn't expect such from the "Our Gang" leader, or, more likely, it went over their heads. In addition to Hitler, speaking of the Rudolph Hess 'trip" to England as one in which..."I lost my Hess", Hitler is heard bragging about his skills as a two-handed house painter by claiming..."I could switch hands and never miss a stroke." I choose not to explain the original source( or activity described) of that line.
This is a feature version of a 12-chapter serial, although some don't
seem to know that the serial exists. As was a semi-common practice of
the time, some serials were produced as both a feature and also as a
serial. The reason was that some theatres would not book serials but
had no qualms about booking a feature edited from a serial, and this
practice allowed the serial producer to get a booking in a theatre for
his condensed feature that they would not have gotten as a 12-episode
This "feature version" consists of the first four chapters of the 12-chapter SERIAL that was titled "Tarzan the Fearless," , which a great many collectors have in its 12-chapter form (that some don't seem to know exists) and, some of the luckier ones, even have all of the different original one-sheets posters issued with each chapter title, and the full eight-card set of different lobby cards issued with each chapter following the showing of the feature version at theatres that did book serials; and most of those theatres that did book serials didn't bother showing this feature version, opting instead to show one chapter a week for 12 weeks.
The chapter titles for the 12 episodes of this serial (from which the "Tarzan the Fearless" feature version was chopped out of) were: 1. The Dive of Death; 2. The Storm God Strikes; 3. Thundering Death; 4. The Pit of Peril; 5. Blood Money; 6. Voodoo Vengeance; 7. Caught by Cannibals; 8. The Creeping Terror; 9. Eyes of Evil; 10. The Death Plunge; 11. Harvest of Hate and 12. Jungle Justice.
Producer Sol Lesser's plan was to make both a feature version and a serial...and he did both.
Quite easily the most-retitled and re-issued film in Hollywood from 1944 to
1954. Other than the original title this one also saw duty as "Desirable
Lady", "Reckless Youth", "Not Enough Clothes", "Room for Love", "Flaming
Girls", "Strips and Blondes" and "Hollywood Nights." It was sold and sold
again and sold again, primarily to side-street grind houses as an
exploitation picture---pssst...I got a hot one---and the titles kept
changing because the grind-exhibitors were of no mind to book it again under
the previous title as it not only wasn't hot, it was pretty tame when all
was said and done. No drugs, no VD lessons, no JD's hot-rodding around, no
white slavery, no hanky-panky in back seats, and no Wheeler Oakman or Willy
Castello slinking around corners and providing dope for dumb, young virgins
taking their first step toward a Mexico bordello. Well it did have silent
star Maurice Costello as a night club dress extra, but that was a long way
from Willy Castello.
The "hot" action came early and went fast as star Jan Wiley---mostly seen in B-westerns and serials---did a shocking and exotic dance---it was neither---that mostly had her squatting on the floor behind some kind of oriental lamp supposedly but it looked more like a smoke pot liberated from a highway construction site. There is a lot more Jan Wiley skin seen on the ads and posters than there is in the film, and Jan Wiley did indeed have nice skin, once she wasn't wearing her usual Levis and lumberjack shirts she was covered up in in the "Range Busters" movies. But Eve Lorraine(Jan Wiley) isn't happy with the direction her career has taken, what with performing at a club where the opening and closing act was Selika Pettiford playing the organ. She's being ragging her boy friend slash publicity agent, Dan McGrath (Phil Warren) to get her some attention, so while she is dancing around and about the smudge pot, dandy Dan puts in a call to police sergeant Tomlin (Dick Rush) to send the paddy wagon over to the club because Eve is performing a dance that will corrupt the town's morals for decades to come. If she was, she was doing it while first-time (and last time) director Don Brodie, who upgraded to Donald for his directorial debut,had the camera on Dan and the telephone.
So the obliging Tomlin, since he had men to spare because Wheeler Oakman and Willy Castello were currently out of town, sent Jack Cheatham over to arrest Eve for doing whatever she was supposed to be doing before he got there, because when he got there Eve and her smoke pot had exited stage left and the Monogram-studio dress extras who didn't nod off during her dance were now fast asleep. It's tiring having your morals corrupted. Bail bondsman Gus Hoffman(Eddie Dunn, in a real snappy sports jacket and not wearing his usual patrolman's or chauffeur's uniform)bails Eve out of the clink, and gets the idea she could be passed off as a candidate for a missing-since-childhood heiress, and he and lawyer Campbell (Emmett Vogan, in his 267th of his 505 films) hustle Eve over to meet the Sardham family, who may or may not be all that enthused about finding the missing relative.
Actually, following the non-exotic exotic dance that comes in the first few minutes, the film is just another typical Monogram Jean Parker-Wallace Ford comedy/drama minus the comedy and drama and Jean Parker and Wallace Ford---Donald Brodie was no William Beaudine---and has nothing in it that couldn't have been booked into any theatre on Main Steet in Anytown, U.S.A. playing third-rated films on a first-run basis. Monogram, considering that all of the crew was Monogram hired hands, would have been better served to have put their logo on this film instead of "Black Dragons."
Slip (Leo Gorcey), Sach (Huntz Hall), Bobby (Bobby Jordan), Whitey
(Billy Benedict) and Chuck (David Gorcey) unsuccessfully try to sell a
dilapidated card to a street cleaner (Vince Barnett) for a fabulous
amount, so they can get enough money to save Louie's (Bernard Gorcey)
Sidewalk photographer Cathy Smith (Teala Loring) snaps a pictures of three bank robbers as they are fleeing a robbery but when the Bowery Boys and Cathy realize that Sach is also in the photograph, they break into the photo lab to destroy the negative, which might make the police think Sach was involved in the robbery.
An explosion in the lab, caused by one of the inventions of Professor Schrackenberger (Milton Parsons), brings in Detective O'Malley (James Burke) and his assistant Dugan (William Newell), who get the negative.
Gangster Ace Deuce (Sheldon Leonard), who actually engineered the bank robbery with Feather-Fingers (Lester Dorr), gives out the story that it was the job of a rival gang. Impersonating the rival gang, the Bowery Boys frighten Ace into giving them evidence that his boys committed the robbery. With one of the Professor's wild inventions, the Bowery Boys capture the gang and turn them over to the Police. They get the reward money and give it to Louie to save his shop, and Cathy gets a newspaper job as the result of her photograph.
Dawn Kennedy sings "I Love Him", written by the father-and-daughter team of Lou and Ruth Herscher, cute-and-cuddly Nancy Brinckman has a bit as a hatcheck girl, and Teala Loring brightens the landscape more than somewhat.
At the time this was made, Leo Gorcey was also appearing weekly on Bob "Bazooka" Burns N.B.C. radio program, and Sheldon Leonard could be heard on that network's "Maisie" show (with Ann Southern)as well as on the comedy program starring Parkyakarkus.
What a bummer. But that's what happens to "Lightning" in what could be
called "The Case of the Uncredited Dog." Lightning got the title role
in this film because, among his other attributes, he was a "natural
howler" and at the lift of his trainer's hand, would lift his head and
howl like a coyote. The story, as we all know, tells of a dog's great
devotion to his mistress. His mistress is murdered and the dog howls so
mournfully that the neighbors are not only disturbed but begin to
suspect that something is amiss in the neighborhood. The killer panics,
kills the dog and brings in a non-howling ringer.
The ringer is also played by Lightning because Lightning had the ability to howl on cue and not howl when given a don't-howl-now command. Lightning was a directors' actor if there ever was one.
But, sans a credit (despite playing the title role and a dual role), Lightning found himself none-too-much in demand---you got any film credits?---among the animal casters at Central Casting and was about to give up the Show Business when he was spotted by poverty-row producer Burton King (who had an eye for talent on the hoof or, in this case, paw)and was immediately given the LEAD and the TITLE ROLE in "When Lightning Strikes," right there on the corner of Sunset and Gower. There is a star-with-a-bone marking the lightning strike spot. His performance in this film was such that Poverty Row producer S. S. Krellberg offered him the title role in "Man's Best Friend." Well, Hollywood being then what it is now (minus the meanness), any actor who has a lead and three title roles in his brief career (not to mention the ability to play a dual role and a death scene), is going to become a hot commodity and have scripts and choice-of-role offers coming from the major studios. His choices were limited to "which dog do you want to play", type-casting stuff of that retroactive-designated, politically-incorrect era. Lightning was a good actor but he knew his limitations and wasn't one of those "looking for a role to stretch my horizons" actors whose horizons mostly far exceed their abilities.
Lightning padded over to Paramount and is the dog seen leading blind Ken Gordon (Cary Grant) around by a leash in "Wings in the Dark". While the film's leading lady, Myrna Loy, and Lightning hit it off from the first day of shooting, Louella Parsons hinted around in her Hearst newspaper columns that Lightning and Cary Grant were having rapport problems. And Lolly wasn't one not to have her facts straight. She later reported that the tension and dissension was dissolved by director James Flood when he said "Just follow the damn dog, Archie." Like most actors, Grant wasn't fond of getting upstaged. Or playing opposite a dog who had a stand-in named Cary.
RKO then came calling, gave Lightning a term contract and Lightning joined Frankie Thomas roaming around Flanders in "Dog of Flanders" in which Lightning essayed yet another title role, a record for title roles until William Boyd came along as "Hopalong" Cassidy. His role in RKO's "Two in Revolt" is thought in some circles to also qualify as at least half-a-title role consideration, but there are those who think the revolting two the title referred to was the 1st and 2nd-billed John Arledge and Louise Latimer, although the 9th-billed Lightning the Dog and 10th-billed Warrior the Horse had far more screen time.
But, shortly after "Two in Revolt" was finished, some exec at RKO decided that RKO didn't have to use real dogs in order to make dog films with dog stars and ordered Lightning off the premises. He then went to Grand National for a co-starring role in "Renfrew of the Royal Mounted" but balked at pulling a sled through the snow, and was replaced in the follow-up films of this series. Lightning retired, returned to his kennel in Toluca Lake and was seen often in the company of then-Toluca Lake residents Bing Crosby, Dick Powell and Helen Twelvetrees. He was fascinated with her name.
Bio: Born Feb., 1930. Toluca Lake, California, USA. Parents: Peter and Gretchen Dog; Siblings: four brothers born the same day; Paternal Grandfather: Strongheart the Silent; Heritage: German; Representation/Agent/Trainer: Earl Johnson
Source 1: "Dog Stars of Hollywood" by Gertrude Orr - copyrighted MCMXXXVI by The Saalfield Publishing Company, Akron, Ohio and New York, New York (both addresses thought to be in the USA-Unconfirmed)
Source 2: RKO Radio Picture's 1936 press book- "Two in Revolt"
Source 3: Movie Action Stories, April, 1936
The story/scenario for "Zombies of the Stratsophere" was originally
written to be used as the fourth episode ( of the eventual twelve) of
the Republic-produced "Commando Cody- Sky King of the Universe"
syndicated television 1951-52 production season series. The studio unit
that was doing the television series, under Associate Producer Franklin
Adreon, was also doing the serials (for theatre distribution) and after
the first three "Commando Cody" TV episodes were completed, then
started production on "Zombies of the Stratosphere" prior to finishing
the remaining nine Cody-TV episodes. On April 10, 1952, Adreon sent a
memo to all Republic Pictures Corporation departments advising that
certain character names in production number 133 (internal house number
for the upcoming serial) have been changed as follows: Commando Cody
becomes Larry Martin; Joan Gilbert becomes Sue Davis; Ted Richards
becomes Bob Wilson; Mr. Henderson becomes Mr. Steele and Hank becomes
"Zombies" utilized stock footage from various Republic serials, features and one western; all of the 17 flying sequences of the airborn-wired dummy came straight from "King of the Rocket Men.", and the uranium-smuggling airplane sequence was lifted from the Roy Rogers western, "Bells of Coronado," which is why Clifton Young (as Ross)and Henry Rowland (Plane Heavy)show up in this serial. Larry Martin's space ship was recycled from "Radar Men from the Moon", while the Martians flew a new model (created for "Zombies")that featured a transparent bubble-gum turret housing a ray cannon atop the fuselage.
Republic contract-player Roy Barcroft is not seen in the serial but his voice was heard on the radio (chapters 1 and 11) and as dubs for Ross (chapter 4)and Tarner (chapter 7.) There was a fabricated "Introducing Leonard Nimoy" added to the opening cast-sheet when this film was colorized in the '90's, a bit of revisionism catering to Trekkies. Republic Pictures Corporation itself did not pass out "Introducing" credits to players listed ninth in the cast.
Filming started on April 4, 1952 and was completed on May 1, 1952. The budget (expected filming cost of the production) was $172,838 and the finished negative cost came in at $176,357, or slightly four thousand dollars over budget. These were the real numbers and, of course, do not fit the revisionist definitions of budget currently employed by some websites.
Dan Tomlinson, aka Will Sabre (George Montgomery), head of a gang of
outlaws, states his intentions to go straight but is warned by the the
new gang leader, Dunston(Steve Brodie)that he has thirty days to come
back to the gang---or else.
On his way back to his hometown and girl, Judy (Ann Robinson), Dan picks up 10-year-old Robbie (Bobby Clark (I)) whose father has been killed. Dan gets a job as a bank teller and suspicion falls on him when a hold-up occurs and he doesn't use his guns. And, on top of that, Dunston and his former gang plants evidence to make it appear as if Dan cooperated with them.......wait, a minute, haven't we seen this before? A reformed outlaw comes to town, gets a responsible position (such as sheriff or stage guard or maybe even a bank teller---the reel west was getting really whimpy by 1956), and his old gang shows up, makes off with whatever is the most valuable and easiest to haul off...and the ex-outlaw is left to take the blame?
Well, by cracky and by gum, we indeed have...like in 1937'S TWO GUN LAW and 1939's THE THUNDERING WEST with Charles Starrett and 1932's Texas GUN FIGHTER with Ken Maynard and 1930's THE LONE RIDER with Buck Jones...and Universal trotted it out for Johnny Mack Brown in MAN FROM MONTANA...and Maynard liked it so much he used it again at Columbia in 1935 and in a 1940 Colony production and, all in all, it is probably the third most-recycled plot in the western-film genre.
No problem with the always-good George Montgomery filling in for the likes of Jones, Starrett, Maynard and Brown,or Bob Steele or Jack Perrin or Tom Tyler in other versions but Steve Brodie falls way short of the menace of Harry Woods or Dick Curtis.
Writer Louis Stevens shows once again what he lacked in originality, he more than made up for in total recall of plots that had been used before. In this instance, many times.
This was a combination documentary/fictional melodrama "based on actual incidents from the files of the Narcotics Division of the United States Treasury Department" for the "purpose of setting forth the functions and procedures of the Division" headed by Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger, who appears as himself in the opening, middle and end of the film. One of the "thou-shalt-nots" that was part of the Production Code list that had to be adhered to before a film could be issued an approval number---in this case PCA No. 12390---was an edict against showing any kind of illegal drug trafficking. The producers fought for and acquired a revision in the Code for this film.
Because they were produced for and distributed by Paramount, the B-films from William H. Pine and William C. Thomas (known as the Dollar Bills)have acquired,for the most part, an undeserved reputation for being little jewels among the "B" genre. Stick a PRC or Monogram logo on most of them and the same historians who are ga-ga over them behind the Paramount logo would likely write them off as just more dross from Poverty Row. Not me, Bucky...I'd still love them for what they really were; Saturday matinee double-feature fodder. Highlights in this one include a fist-fight between Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe (I won't give away the winner, but check the cast order); a cat-fight between Virginia Grey and Carol Thurston that the male cast of Sienfeld would pay to see and, just to keep things moving, Weissmuller wrestles an alligator, there are two mid-water collisions between small-craft boats, a big ship wreck and a blazing swamp fire finale. Toss in a plot that has Weissmuller as a psycho-neurotic war veteran who, because he piled up his Navy destroyer on the rocks, now dreads returning to his pre-war occupation of a pilot guiding ships through the channels at the mouth of the Mississippi. Throw in icy Virginia Grey as a spoiled heiress out to take Johnny away from his job, his friends and the girl he loves (who knows why), and you have enough plot and action for two Pine-Thomas jewels. Heck of a good deal.
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