(director: Ray Dennis Steckler; screenwriters: Arch Hall, Sr./Bob Wehling; cinematographer: Joseph Mascelli; editor: Anthony M. Lanza; music: Arch Hall, Jr./Alan O’Day; cast: Arch Hall, Jr. (Bud Eagle), Nancy Czar (Vickie), Arch Hall, Sr. (Mike McCauley), Ray Dennis Steckler (Steak), Marie Denn (Marge), Robert Crumb (Don Proctor), Virginia Broderick (Daisy), Al Scott (Ted Eagle), Hal Kenton (Record Agent, TV MC), Mike Treibor (Brains, Kidnapper), William Lloyd (Weasel, Kidnapper), Jonathan Karle (Kidnapper); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Arch Hall, Sr.; Alpha Video Distributors; 1962)
“Gained cult status over the years as one that’s so bad it’s good.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Arch Hall Sr. produced films so his teen son Arch Hall Jr. could break into the music business as a singing idol. This awful film is a prime example of that futile attempt. It’s the debut of director Ray Dennis Steckler (“The Incredible Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Bcame Mixed-UP Zombies”), who goes by the stage name of Cash Flagg and also plays the part of Steak. It’s a film that has gained cult status over the years as one that’s so bad it’s good. I found it to be so bad that it’s bad.
Mamie Van Doren introduces the film with love. Arch Hall, Jr. as Bud Eagle leaves on a motorcycle from Spearfish, South Dakota with his guitar and dreams of becoming a rock star in Hollywood. He spends his last 15 cents at a luncheonette where he’s befriended by aspiring rock dancer Vickie (Nancy Czar). Bud accompanies her when she performs on an amateur hour TV program, and when a guest is too sick to go on Bud performs in his place. His guitar song is a big hit (anyone who dug that song must have been drugged or is the kind of person who just might dig white noise), and big-time but unscrupulous Hollywood manager Mike McCauley (Arch Hall, Sr.), a take off on Elvis’s controlling manager Colonel Parker, signs him to a contract where he’s exploited. Though Bud becomes popular and makes hit records, he’s cheated out of his earnings. The naive and not-too-bright rube learns from Don Proctor (Bob Crumb), a former protégé of the manager, how the scam works. Bud needs time to think and returns to the luncheonette without telling his manager; the owner Marge puts him to work as a dishwasher. The three jerks who hang around the luncheonette (Mike Treibor, William Lloyd and Jonathan Karle) come up with a phony kidnapping scheme to shakedown McCauley for $15,000. The manager pays, needing his star back to pay the bills and avoid lawsuits for non-appearances at clubs. McCauley’s henchman Steak finds the hideout and takes the dough back from the jerky kidnappers. Back at the luncheonette the vacuous Vicky and the blank Bud begin their romance again after a mixup over sexy starlet Daisy kissing her man. Bud also has his former football star brother Ted (Al Scott) come to Hollywood and they work out a foolproof scheme to free Bud from the clutches of McCauley’s crooked rock’n’roll underworld of payola and phony fan clubs.
The original songs were written by Arch Hall, Jr., and performed by him and his band, the Archers. The songs were all terrible and go by such titles as “Monkey in My Hatband,” “Konga Joe,” and “Vickie.” Hall Jr. made just six films for his dad and chucked the showbiz career to be a pilot with the famous Flying Tigers air cargo company. After he retired, he wrote a novel, Apsara Jet, about a Vietnam war veteran involved in illegal drug trade. I think he made a good career move.
REVIEWED ON 11/27/2006 GRADE: C