Tag Archives: Whit Bissell

I Was a Teenage Whatever

Movie night!

Inexplicably, I Was a Teenage Frankenstein was not nominated for any Academy Awards in 1957…go figure. Nor was it made into a musical, though if it had, perhaps we wouldn’t have needed Young Frankenstein…no-o-o-o, strike that…we still would have needed “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and Frau Brucker.

Interestingly enough (or not), this flick had a companion film; I Was a Teenage Werewolf. I assume they were shown as a double-feature. Werewolf was no better or worse than Frankenstein, but Werewolf did feature a young Michael Landon (James Dean, I assume, not being available). I find myself speculating on the potential effect of Mr. Landon’s work in this film on his later TV work. Imagine the change in viewer demographics had the title been; “Little House of the Hairy”.

But tonight’s film is I Was a Teenage Frankenstein. It features a classic cast with Phyllis Coates (Tiger Girl of Saturday serial fame), Gary Conway (TV – “Land of the Giants”), and the always spot-on Whit Bissell (weasely, trouble-making boyfriend in The Day the Earth Stood Still and whiny scientist nerd in The Creature of the Black Lagoon).

One of the special delights in this film is a basement scientific laboratory (complete with alligators!) that rivals anything that Ed Wood ever put on the screen.

It also features the usually mild Mr. Bissell goin’ all postal on his fiance, Ms. Coates – a sudden and disturbing reminder that domestic violence has been with us for a long time.

To sum up; the flick is just…poor.

As my great friend; teacher and philosopher Paul Thomas frames the question when confronted with such jaw-dropping drivel; “What kind of mind…?”

Movie Trailer Speak – Whatta Job!

Eureka!

Imagine spending your day uttering deathless prose like;

–“Crashing into this world of horror, a beautiful woman and three adventurers dare to challenge the unknown! A world where life and love are ruled by…THE CYCLOPS!”

Playing Ed McMahon to the Cyclops. That’s a serious gig.

In my 60’s, I’ve finally found the career for which I was meant; to enlighten the world by explaining;

–“Here is nature gone mad, revealing a world of terror – a world mastered by a monstrous mutation – the spawn of nuclear fury!”

Sweet.

Or how ‘bout crooning;

–“Here is a weird suspense-filled journey that hurdles you into the most frightening adventure the screen has ever shown!”

I should have been born about 1920. I would have been just the right age to do the impassioned voice-overs for the trailers of monster/sci-fi flicks in the 1950’s and introduce a nation of enthralled viewers to;

–“Whit Bissell…demonic as Professor Frankenstein…who creates out of human parts the most terrifying creature to walk the Earth today!”

Or positing out loud the titillating possibility of;

–“Transferring a young girl’s love into terrifying bloodlust!”

I’m so there.

AND you get paid for it.

AND you get to watch the flicks.

“…challenge the unknown!”, “…the spawn of nuclear fury!”, “…weird suspense-filled journey…”, “…human parts…”, “…terrifying bloodlust!”

The words are positively Shakespearean, if Shakespeare had written under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust…and needed to pick up some quick rent money.

Whatta job!

Sigh.