Thursday, October 13, 2011

Remember These "B" Movies...?

Back when I was a kid growing up here in Houston, Saturday night was the night for the mostly "B" movies.

There was a show called Weird Theater that came on around 10:00PM. Believe it or not, back then a show that started that late was rather unique! I even remember the host went by the name of Dirty Jim Ross! That should tell you what kind of show this was!

Needless to say, my parents hated this show, but they never stayed up that late to watch television anyway! However, my sisters and I loved it! Of course, we only had a 10 inch screen and we had to keep the volume turned way down!

All of these shows were on at one time or another. You might say that this was our primer of things to come...maybe!

Oct 13, 1957:
Popular sci-fi film reflects America's ambivalence about nuclear weapons

Movie audiences in America are treated to the science-fiction thriller, The Amazing Colossal Man. The film revolves around a character named Colonel Manning, who strays too close to the test of an atomic device in the Nevada desert and is bombarded with "plutonium rays."

This was but one of many such movies released in the 1950s, which cannot be dismissed as merely amusing artifacts from that decade. While these weapons were the backbone of the nation's defense system, many in the United States were uncertain about the atomic and hydrogen bombs: Were they too inhumane; what were the repercussions of radioactivity; could they ever really be used without sealing the fate of all humankind?

Hollywood registered these concerns and played upon them. In Them! (1954), ants exposed to radiation grow to enormous size and threaten humanity; The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), tells the tale of a dinosaur, thawed out by an atomic test in the Arctic, that ravages New York City; and, in one of the best of this class of film, a man survives being caught in a nuclear test, only to find himself shrinking away to nothing in The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). The Cold War, and the issues it raised among the American people, had become part of the nation's popular culture.

By today's standards, these movies were pretty lame! But when you are a kid, things like this made for good entertainment! Maybe that's why I grew up sort of expecting the very worst just about every day! I think the only thing that really changed was the monsters. Today most of the monsters that we all need to worry about...are human! That is, if the politicians can be called human!

What say we get some fresh coffee and sit outside? Cool enough for the start of the day.


Sixbears said...

When I was a kid my grandmother used watch me now and then. My parents wanted in bed by nine. Yeah right. My grandmother and I would stay up late watching the Scifi and horror movies out of Boston.

We'd laugh ourselves sick watching zombie movies.

Ben in Texas said...

I have remembered THEM all these years. Mother used to warn us to clean up our mess on the counter or the ants would take over like in the movie.
Three notably "stars" in that one. James Arness,Fess Parker and James Whitmore

Mechanic in Illinois said...

That would be a good new name for the District of Criminals, THEM. Only they are exposed to stupidity, not radiation. Thanks for the story and have a great Thursday

Mamma Bear said...

As a child some of those movies used to scare me enough to hide my head under something. Now, with the new technology the movie makers have, the old movies make you laugh hysterically and you wonder what scared you.

The first scary movie I can remember going to the theater to see was "The Hand" It looked like that hand was crawling along the edge of the screen and would come right out into the audience and get you!

Anonymous said...

Down here, it was 'Boo Theatre' on the weekends. Had the 'horror' movies like Godzilla vs. Mothera and others of that ilk. Wasn't there a movie with William Shatner 'Valley of the Spiders', where whole communities were wrapped up in spider webs? Giant tarantulas chasing people around, it was great stuff!

Baby Sis said...

Bubba -

How well I remember "Wierd", and you taking care of me when I was scared ~ Thanks!
We were just talking last night about our childhood horror movie memories - how about "Terror from the Year 5000" or "Mr. Sardonicus" or "The Screaming Skull", and you could always count on Vincent Price for a good one! I'll take a "Forbidden Planet" with Anne Francis and Leslie Nielson anyday over "Spiderman"!

tffnguy said...

Yep... If I missed one of those shows I was either real sick, grounded from the TV or some place visiting and it wasn't on.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sixbears...
Grandparents are good for that sort of thing! At least, they used to be!

I guess that was their form of revenge...spoil the kids and then send them home!

Fun times from back then!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Ben...
If memory serves me right, James Arness was the "Thing" in the movie called "The Thing From Outer Space". The title was shortened to just "The Thing!"

There has been two remakes of that movie in the last couple of years!

Fun times back then.

Hey Thanks for coming over!

Hey Mechanic...
Maybe the radiation causes brain damage!

Scary what they can get away with, that's for sure.

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey MamaBear...
Movies just seemed to be more fun back then!

Didn't take much to keep us happily scared back then!

Some of the movies of today are just downright disturbing!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Anon 7:21...
I think every area had their own version of a show with "scary" movies!

Sure was a good way to have some fun!

Man, I could use a good dose of that kind of fun again! Getting way too old!

Thanks so much for dropping by today!

Hey Sis...
Vincent Price was a standard for the scary movies, along with Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and so many others!

I guess I'm going to be forced into buying some of those older movies from TCM. They have most of them in their library!

Maybe we could have an old movie night sometime!

Thanks for coming over today, Sis! Always a pleasure!

HermitJim said...

Hey Tffnguy...
I've been in that same boat many times when I was a kid!

Have to admit that I enjoyed every minute of it!

Thanks for the visit today!

Ben in Texas said...

Can't believe none of you mentioned Elvira and her showing of ole B movies.


HermitJim said...

Hey Ben...
I think that Elvira was mostly a California thing!

Good looking woman, though!

TROUBLEnTX said...

Loved those movies way back then, The Fly, The Blob, The Birds,,all of em.
Never liked the ones like Texas Chain Saw Murders, etc. Murder on Elm St. My Mom lived on Elm St here. lol

Bob Mc said...

I'm old enough that I remember seeing most of those in a theater before we even had a TV.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if these movies were B movies, but the scared the begeepers out of my brother and I..The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing..The Creature from the Black Lagoon..we actually went with our uncle to Psycho, it played in a movie theater in our neighborhood, I was 11 by brother was nearly 13 we screamed like banshees and were in the second tier of the balcony real close to the edge, oh, my goodness..My uncle nearly jumped out of his seat when the stabbing began in the shower I never took another shower after that..but for the cost of a movie and popcorn my Uncle treated us to a lot of scary movies, we always were calm when we got into the car to leave for home..No more good movies like that, today the politicians are really the monsters and banks and their big wigs, who stole all the money they could and screwed the many hard working clerks, tellers and customers who would never consider doing that..It is a far cry from times in the 60's when most every person working paid all their bills, had a mtg they paid each month, no credit card craziness like today..I am 63 and I have several credit cards, only keep them for a medical emergency and I mean medical emergency..I think those B movies of which you blogged about were pretty tame to the HORRIBLE stories happening to the greatest country in the all of the world to it's citizens! Luv your blog, luv to read it each and everyday..ciao

ladyhawthorne said...

I loved anything with Vincent Price. But my favorite B movie was probably the attack of the Killer Tomatoes.