Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Whew! What a "Day," George...

Those of us who were children or teens in the 1970s surely recall the swell of "animals on the rampage" flicks that emerged in the wake of Jaws (1975.) There were The Food of the Gods (1976), Orca (1977), Kingdom of the Spiders (1977), Pirahna (1978) and even Alligator (1980.) One, Grizzly (1976), was the top-grossing independent film of its year. It's director, William Girdler, returned to the well for another go 'round of nature gone wild with today's featured film, 1977's Day of the Animals. Animals not only followed the trend, but also contained homages (or rip-offs, if you prefer) of earlier movies like The Birds (1963) as well as employing facets of the then-hot disaster movie format, such as introducing a cast of familiar faces and then killing them off along the way. This is irresistible to me, what with my obsessions for all-star casts and also with costumes gradually becoming distressed.  

Following an opening crawl, suggesting that what happens in this film could truly occur thanks to depletion of the ozone layer, we meet our band of adventurers. The assembled party is about to embark on a two-week (!) hiking excursion from the top of a mountain back down to town.

All during their orientation, they're spied upon by a feathered friend (or maybe fiend!), one who typically doesn't show up at this lower altitude. All through the film, the hikers are closely observed by every conceivable sort of animal with the exception of chipmunks and hedgehogs.

In charge is Christopher George.

These eight folks, along with three not shown here, make up the hiking party in question. From left to right we have Jon Cedar, Lynda Day George, Andrew Stevens, Kathleen Bracken, Michael Ansara, Leslie Nielsen, Paul Mantee and Richard Jaeckel.

They won't be hiking up. Two helicopters transport them to the highest point and then they'll proceed downhill thereafter. 

Prior to takeoff, the local ranger (Walter Barnes) is disparaging of the group's ability and experience. He warns George that there have been plenty of accidents lately and to be careful.

On the way to the copters, we meet Native American Ansara and advertising exec Nielsen. You'll never know my disappointment in finding out that a movie starring Christopher GEORGE and Lynda Day GEORGE didn't put Chief Dan GEORGE into this role! Ha ha!

Next up is lawyer Cedar and his somewhat estranged wife Susan Backlinie. They're on the excursion to help repair the distance in their marriage. If you know that Backlinie happened to be the very first victim of the shark in Jaws, then you know that her chances of making it out of this alive are scarce...!

Then there are young lovebirds Stevens and Bracken.

Jaeckel, in an uncharacteristically nerdy part, plays a professor who's also a birdwatcher and photographer.

George gets real flirty with (real life wife) Day George, who is a news anchor on vacation. (I will be referring to her as Day from here on, to avoid confusion!)

Also along are youngster Bobby Porter and his mom Ruth Roman. (Mantee isn't afforded a snapshot intro like the others. He is an ex-NFL star with a bum leg.)

I couldn't help but chuckle at the way these extras were arranged. They're all in one clump and are quite interested in seeing this hiking group depart, something that had to be an everyday occurrence for this area! Local townsfolk are just going to STOP EVERYTHING and gather to see the local guide take off again?

Oopsie! I spy members of the camera crew in the helicopter door as Day boards the vessel.

Say what you will, but this film contains all sorts of striking outdoor scenery, well photographed. Most of us probably saw this chopped up on TV or rented it on panned & scanned, grainy VHS. So the widescreen print is a bit of a revelation.

All of the wildlife handling is also great, with mixed animals appearing together in the frame and birds doing exactly what they are supposed to be. Note this one, who stayed in place while the copters flew by behind it. Everything, from the scenery to the animal handling, was real. No CGI effects.

The grousing sets in pretty early. Citified Nielsen accuses lame football star Mantee of going too fast!

George suggests to Day that they head over to a nearby lake for a swim (!) while Roman complains that her feet are killing her already. (She's clearly modeled after Shelley Winters' character in The Poseidon Adventure, 1972. She groans climbing into the copter and here she says, "Danny Boone, I'm not," which is a spin on Winters', "Mrs. Peter Pan, I'm not!" while climbing up the Christmas tree.)

At last its time for a breather. George is showing the teens how to retrieve pine nuts. Day is helping Jaeckel lean in for a photo. Ansara finds it odd that there is so little sound coming from nature.

The peace is disrupted soon enough when a vulture comes careening down next to potential morsel Porter!

This naturally gets a rise out of Roman, but little do they know that this is nothing but a tiny hint of what's in store for them all.

Back in town, Barnes stops in for a heaping lunch (and a piece of pineapple pie with ice cream!) while catching the news on a small black & white TV. The newscaster is reporting on the danger of the sun's rays at high altitude due to the diminished ozone layer.

The gang is bedded down for their first night in the wild and they partake in a group sing-a-long as young Stevens plays his harmonica. Afterwards, Roman breaks down to Ansara about how hard it is to raise her son with an absentee ex-husband. Meanwhile George and Day bond with one another over their career choices.

Fun time is just about over, though. A stalking wolf soon sets his sights on Backlinie and jumps in for the kill!

She survives the attack, but is shaken up and wounded nonetheless.

Everything is taken in by a nearby hoot owl in another of countless well-photographed nature shots.

The next morning, it's determined that Cedar and his wife Backlinie will break away from the group and head to a ranger station. George briefs him on how to navigate the terrain and the best way to camp until they get there.

The others continue their journey along the usual route.

Of course, their every step is monitored by various members of the area wildlife.

Backlinie and Cedar continue down the mountain until they are startled by an imposing vulture.

Uh... more than one, actually!

Having stumbled down a steep grade, Backlinie has had it.

Usually vultures wait for death to come, but this time they help the situation along in a harrowing scene! This obvious homage to The Birds puts Backlinie through an even more skin-crawling ordeal than Tippi endured! As it was in Jaws, she becomes the first victim of the deranged animals.

Porter starts to hear something about issues with ozone radiation at high altitudes on his portable radio, but Roman decides to grab it to listen for herself. The device winds up in the water before the scuffle is over.

A bedraggled Cedar finally reaches a river and can't wait to refresh himself with some water, but is startled when a baby doll washes up near him.

On the opposite side stands a lone figure; a small girl.

A nearly-depleted Cedar heads over to her.

The filthy, petrified child (presumably one of some missing campers whose tents had been seen unattended earlier) is played by Michelle Stacy. She won't speak a single word, but does go along with Cedar as he continues to try to reach civilization. 

Everyone's hungry and cannot wait to reach the food drop that is nearby. But when the weary travelers reach it, the whole thing has been torn apart and devoured!

Everyone is disappointed, but Nielsen is particularly annoyed. The group's morale is beginning to fray around the edges.

That night in town, Barnes is awakened in the night by a phone call.

The local sheriff informs him that the town is being placed under martial law and evacuated immediately. It seems that animals above 5000 ft have all begun to go loco.

Perhaps sensing a long night ahead of him, Barnes grabs a hock of ham from the fridge. As he turns his back to get some bread...

...the ham is besieged by a pack of rats!!

After a hideously squeamish scene in which they pounce on him for the kill, he manages to break free from them. Yet his face has been injured in the process.

The town begins its evacuation. Inexplicably, a huge number of the citizens are on foot (!), one pushes a wheelchair while another carries an apparently essential stuffed animal! 

Back at camp, Day and Jaeckel try to speculate as to why the animals seem to have gone cuckoo.

It's still going on, though! Before the night is out, some mountain lions decide to try their luck at killing everyone! Mantee and Jaeckel hold off one with a torch...

...while Ansara and George are engaged in wrestling matches with their own assailants!

Everyone gets through the vicious attack, though not without a few bloody souvenirs.

The next morning brings a respite from fear as Roman dabs her sunburned face with cool stream water.

Meanwhile, Ansara uses his indigenous skills to fish by hand.

Stevens and Jaeckel are also giving it a try though only God and Richard Jaeckel know what he was doing up on that rock...!

Mantee seems bemusedly intrigued.

Stevens is looking for breakfast. I'm not sure what Jaeckel is fishing for.


Looks like Jaeckel caught what he was after!

I'm just teasing. Stevens did grab a-hold of a fish and Jaeckel was grabbing a-hold of him in order to get it up.

Unfortunately, neither one of them seems terribly adept at handling a long, slimy, undulating object in their hands. This one gets away.

Suddenly, though, Nielsen has an idea. He wants to head back up the mountain 15 miles to the ranger station to which Cedar and Backline were headed. George insists that they continue 30 miles down the mountain towards town. After some harsh exchanges, Nielsen convinces Stevens, Bracken, Roman and, reluctantly, Porter to go with him.

So George, Day, Jaeckel, Ansara and Mantee continue to head downhill.

Of course, they're never really alone...

Cedar and Stacy come upon a campsite completely abandoned. No matter how far they go, they can never seem to find anyone else.

Meanwhile, Nielsen is getting his inner-animal on. He's lost his shirt and is becoming more and more alpha thanks to the ozone depletion. (Thanks, Final Net.) He relentlessly drives his weary band of followers.

Now it's raining, too, and the sun-broiled hikers are unhappy that they picked his team. He calls Roman a "Beverly Hills Bitch."

When Porter leaps to her defense, Nielsen calls him a little cockroach!

That's hardly the worst of it, though. Stevens declares that they've had enough.

Nielsen goes on a tirade, claims he's going to have his way with Bracken and ultimately does away with Stevens altogether!

The calmer of the two groups find shelter from the rain in an old mine entrance.

As George and Day begin to bond behind them, Jaeckel gives the other two a lecture about earth's evolution, with different creatures coming into being as others depart. Ansara and Mantee manage to survive this, too.

Nielsen has now gone full-on crazy. Roman and Porter cower under a tree as he takes on Mother Nature and then decides it's time to rape Bracken!

Wielding a heavy rock, Roman manages to interrupt his assault, but winds up not using the makeshift weapon on him. He meets a grisly fate nonetheless before the night is over...

Cedar and Stacy have made it back to town, but there is no one to be found! (I think this was before Arby's $0.99 Roast Beef Sales, too, so we know that wasn't it....)

This man just can not catch a break. Even when trying to enter one of the leftover vehicles (remember all those townspeople clunking around on foot?!), he encounters one dangerous critter or another.

Pretty soon, Stacy finds herself all alone again.

Up top, the quintet led by George takes a breather. George informs them that a logging camp is situated about 7 or 8 miles away.

When they use up the last of their water, Mantee hurls the canteen off the cliff! I would have lost those big, heavy backpacks by now myself...!

As we head towards the big finish, Porter spots a helicopter and encourages Bracken and Roman to get inside. But where's the pilot?


The others are happy to find a bit of shelter at the abandoned camp.

Well. Perhaps I was premature in using the term abandoned.

Suddenly an army of savage dogs comes bursting onto the scene!

The hikers hot-foot it to the one cabin with any sort of protection and defend the place for their lives!

These canines want IN, though and this sequence also recalls one from The Birds.

There's even a full-on tribute to the classic film in which the people in the cabin are shot from below, slowly walking into frame.

Finally, there is a bit of quiet. Has this whole ordeal finally come to an end?? You know it's most likely not, but I do like to leave certain elements alone, lest a viewers wishes to see for him or herself. This movie can be seen in a really nice print on Tubi right here. It's no Citizen Kane (1941), naturally, but does provide its share of amusement as well as suspense.

What I could appreciate about it was the real scenery/settings, actual stunts and amazing animal training, long before the dreaded CGI came into vogue. Still, a few unintentionally hilarious bits come about from time to time, some of which I have deliberately left out of this account.

A mid-'60s movie actor who landed on the successful WWII action series The Rat Patrol, followed by the less-successful show The Immortal, George balanced TV appearances with supporting parts in John Wayne westerns and leads in lesser flicks like Project X (1968), The Devil's 8 (1969) and The Delta Factor (1970.) Always dedicated to the parts he played, even in drek, he stayed busy as an actor through the '70s and early '80s, often working alongside his wife. (He had starred in the director's hit Grizzly in 1976 as well.) In 1983, he died from a heart condition which was comprised of scar tissue from an on-set accident during Rat Patrol and a lifelong heavy smoking habit. He was 52. 

Canadian radio and stage actor Nielsen had begun on TV in 1950, swiftly becoming a highly useful leading man in all sorts of dramatic anthologies. In 1956, he segued to movies like Forbidden Planet, The Vagabond King and The Opposite Sex (playing June Allyson's husband who strays to Joan Collins!) Tammy and the Bachelor (1957) and The Sheepman (1958) followed, but soon it was back to tons and tons of television. He played countless troubled leads and snarling meanies over a long period until 1980's Airplane! deftly utilized his deadpan seriousness but with a hysterically comic bent. From then on he enjoyed a whole new career in zany comedies like the short-lived Police Squad and its far more successful cinematic adaptations (the Naked Gun movies.) (He was Emmy nominated for Squad, but lost to Alan Alda in M*A*S*H. A later nomination as a guest on Day by Day was won by Cleavon Little for Dear John.) In 1992, he flawlessly portrayed the man who won Bea Arthur's heart and wed her in The Golden Girls finale. Always busy, he worked up until 2009, succumbing to pneumonia in 2010 at the age of 82.0

Day George began as a model and proceeded to work on early-'60s television and the occasional feature (such as 1966's The Gentle Rain, which starred Christopher George, though the two didn't become a couple right then.) She guest-starred on many hit series like The Fugitive, The Virginian, Mannix, Bonanza and The F.B.I. until she began working more often with her husband (they wed in 1970.) In 1971, she found a welcome home on Mission: Impossible as the last of the regular female spies who worked on the hit show. She even earned an Emmy nomination, though the award went to Michael Learned of The Waltons.) After it ended, she continued to be a useful guest on many series and miniseries. After her husband's sudden death, she did work for a few years, but it wasn't the same as it had been with their many collaborations. Aptly, her final role came as a guest on the new rendition of Mission in 1989. She did wed again in 1990 but found herself widowed once more in 2010! She is just about to turn 79 at present. 

Jaeckel worked his way up from the 20th Century Fox mail room (!) to supporting parts in 1940s war movies. By Battleground and Sands of Iwo Jima (both 1949), he'd begun to make an impression on screen. In 1952, he played the athletic "Turk" in Come Back Little Sheba, which was a step above the action roles he'd been doing. Many TV and movie roles followed until he costarred on Frontier Circus with John Derek. Despite his compact physique, he often essayed tough guy parts in both westerns and crime dramas. A key supporting part in Sometimes a Great Notion (1971) earned him an Oscar nomination, but the statuette went to Ben Johnson in The Last Picture Show. Like George, he'd appeared in Grizzly before this. He continued to appear in movies and as a guest on TV up through the mid-'90s with regular appearances on both Spencer: For Hire and Baywatch among them. Cancer claimed him in 1997 at age 70.

Ansara, tall, dark and with a deep voice, was an imposing figure in movies from the 1940s on, often cast in ethnic roles thanks to his Syrian heritage. He portrayed countless princes, sheiks and native Americans during his lengthy, busy career. It was while portraying Cochise in the 1956 series Broken Arrow that he met and fell in love with guest star Barbara Eden, leading to a 16-year marriage. The two worked together multiple times after that, including a nightclub act. After their 1974 divorce, Ansara remained a well-utilized TV guest star on shows like McCloud, The Rockford Files, Kojak and others. He played a Klingon on more than one Star Trek series, too. Though he still appeared on screen, he started voice-acting for animated shows in the early-1980s and he did more of this as he grew older. Eventually suffering from the effects of Alzheimer's disease, he retired in 2001, passing away in 2013 at the age of 91.

Roman started on stage before coming to Hollywood in the mid-1940s and landing leads in very low-budget movies and serials with an occasional role in slightly better fare (like The Affairs of Susan, 1945, The Big Clock, 1948 and particularly The Window, 1949.) Winning the female lead opposite Kirk Douglas in Champion was a big step as well. Even better movies were to come like Three Secrets, Dallas (both 1950) and Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951.) Roman lived through the real-life disaster of the sinking of the Andrea Doria in 1956 when it collided with the Stockholm. As the 1960s approached, the caliber of her films declined and by the '70s, she was in things like The Baby and The Killing Kind (both 1973.) She worked about another decade after Animals, chiefly in a 21-episode arc on Knots Landing. In 1999 at age 76, she passed away of natural causes.

Cedar was a stage actor who began to win TV roles and minor movie parts in the early 1960s. He worked a few times on Mission: Impossible and became a familiar face on more than a dozen installments of Hogan's Heroes. In the 1970s, he was a guest of popular series such as Cannon, Barnaby Jones, Kojak and Starsky and Hutch. After Animals, he worked with the director on the script and production of the loony The Manitou (1978), also acting in it. He continued to show up on 1980s television in guest roles, occasionally popping up in a feature film like No Way Out (1987) or Messenger of Death (1988.) Retiring for the most part in the late-1990s, he passed away of leukemia in 2011 at age 80. 

As a fledgling actor (and veteran of the U.S. Navy during The Korean War), Mantee began working on late-1950s television. Prior to changing his name from Paul Marianetti, he worked as a nude photographers model as well. After guest roles on Hawaiian Eye, Cheyenne, The Untouchables, The Rifleman and others, he was handpicked for the title role when an unknown was wanted to play Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964.) Mantee could have done nothing else in his life but that and would still be a hero in The Underworld for the sexy bath he took on Mars. It didn't lead to stardom, but he did continue to work in occasional movies and as a guest on Laredo, Batman, The Fugitive, The Time Tunnel and so on. He appeared on most of the hit 1970s series as well and had a role in the aforementioned The Manitou. Retiring from screen acting in the late-1990s, he had begun a second career as a magazine writer and novelist. He was 82 when he passed away in 2013 of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Not exactly a household name to many film fans, Barnes was actually a rather prolific performer. Initially a pro football player (a guard for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1948-1951), he began appearing on local television and in the 1950s was working on hot westerns like Zane Grey Theatre, Cheyenne, Gunsmoke and many others. Following a small role in Rio Bravo (1959), Barnes moved to Germany and worked on the series Tales of the Vikings and many European movies. A decade had passed before he returned to the US, wherein he guested on The Bold Ones, Alias Smith and Jones, Bonanza, Movin' On and other shows. He can also be seen in Escape to Witch Mountain (1975), Pete's Dragon (1977), Every Which Way But Loose (1978) and Bronco Billy (1980), among others. Retiring in 1987 due to complications from diabetes, it was that disease which claimed him in 1998 at age 79.

The son of Stella Stevens, young Andrew had appeared in projects of hers such as The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963) and Las Vegas Lady (1975) as well as other things like Adam-12, Police Story and the movies Massacre at Central High and Vigilante Force (both 1976.) He also won a regular role on The Oregon Trail with Rod Taylor. Then began a period in which he seemed to be everywhere. He was in The Boys in Company C and The Fury (both 1978), starred in the miniseries The Bastard, was in Death Hunt (1981), The Seduction (1982), 10 to Midnight (1983) and more. But his featured (and ludicrous) dual role in Hollywood Wives seemed to signal a career change that his later role on Dallas couldn't stop. He wound up a fixture in direct-to-video cheapies, often with a sexual angle (like Night Eyes, 1990.) In time, he added writing, directing and producing these sort of projects to his resume along with performing in them. He keeps busy in this vein still today at age 68. (An early, brief-ish, tribute to Stevens, with several cute photos, can be found here.)

Backlinie was more of a stunt-woman (and occasional nude model) than an actress, but in the wake of her famous appearance in Jaws (1975), she was able to branch out a bit. She guest-starred on The Quest and Quark and appeared in Two-Minute Warning (1976), 1941 (1979) and The Great Muppet Caper (1981.) She reportedly stood in for Lynda Day George for certain parts of Animals as well. Exiting the biz in 1982, she worked as an animal trainer and a computer accountant while also attending various nostalgia events. Her final part was, appropriately, on the stuntman-oriented series The Fall Guy. She is currently 77.

Not a great deal is known about Bracken. She worked as a youth for two years on the daytime soap The Edge of Night. Then a decade later attempted an acting career as a young lady. Having appeared on The Planet of the Apes and Time Travelers, she next had a part in the TV-movie Mayday at 40,000 Feet!(1976.) As that project starred both Georges, it is practically given that this is how she wound up in Animals. Only a handful of roles on TV and in movies followed and by 1981 she had exited the business.  

Fans of Airplane! couldn't help but recognize little Stacy. Beginning at age six, she worked on The Fess Parker Show, followed by parts on Mannix, Police Woman, Police Story and Emergency! Seemingly everywhere for a bit, she was in Irwin Allen's Fire! (1977), The Waltons, The Awakening Land and The Young Pioneers along with a raft of TV commercials. One bit of trivia: She provided the voice of Penny in Disney's The Rescuers (1977.) She entered movie permanence when she played the little girl in Airplane! who tells her interested, young, male seat mate that she prefers her men like she likes her coffee, "Black!" But that was the last we'd ever see of her. She departed the business, married and raised five children. She is nearly 56 now. 

Without any hesitation, one of the most bizarre aspects of Day of the Animals is the casting of Porter as Roman's little boy. Why? Because Porter was TWENTY-FIVE years old at the time! The diminutive (4'10") young man was spotted by his neighbor James Gavin (who flew helicopters in countless movies and shows.) Porter was hired to be little Eric Shea's stunt double in The Poseidon Adventure (1972) when he was 20 years old. It is, in fact, he who does the better part of the underwater swimming in the film as Shea was in school most of that day! He proceeded to double for Tiger Williams in Earthquake and Mike Lookinland in The Towering Inferno (1974) as well as for many other young people in various movies. In 1991, he acted (in a fur costume) in the re-booted version of Land of the Lost for a season. As he grew older, he began coordinating stunts as well as performing them and was even Emmy-nominated for an episode of Malcolm in the Middle (losing to the TV-movie Uprising.) As of 2011, he has retired and is now 71.

As you can see from his 1974 Playgirl spread. Christopher George was quite comfortable around animals in real life... And with that, I'm calling it a Day, George!


Forever1267 said...

Gasp! Poseidon had a chance to name drop The Poseidon Adventure with Leslie Nielsen, but didn't!!!! Dunh dunh DUNH!!!!

BloggerJoe said...

Michelle Stacy has been a favorite of mine since seeing her in Logan's Run in '76. Didn't see it mentioned here, so I looked it up on IMDB to make sure my memory wasn't playing tricks on me.

A said...

Would watch just to see more Paul Mantee.

By the way, your typo is hilarious (Paul Pantee). Somehow Freudian, I guess?

Gingerguy said...

Fun stuff, along with attack of the late 70s animals was eco-horror like The Prophecy with Talia Shire. This is a little like that. Michael Ansara usually looks pretty sexy. Not here, but hello Paul Mantee! Loving the Castro street purple shirt and shades. He's crazy sexy, will do some "research" on his modeling career. No Dan George? Bastards!! I have to say Leslie Neilson looks pretty good without a shirt. I knew I'd seen that little girl, Airplane, of course. Thanks for this obscure film. I don't have to watch but fun to read.

Poseidon3 said...

Forever1267, oh hunty I have mentioned that so many times I figured it was "given" and gave people a break. :-) I even had a little blurb on him as the Captain when he passed away 13 years ago:

BloggerJoe, in the capsule career recaps for movie posts like this, which are only one paragraph per performer, I can't always list every single thing a person did. Glad you were able to confirm it for yourself.

A, it took me forever to spot that typo. I went through twice even! Hilarious!! I fixed it now. The already rather simian Paul was getting pretty facially craggy in this, but still had a great physique and it NEEDED to be shown in that river sequence...!!

Gingerguy, it's been EONS since I watched "The Prophecy" but I remember being grossed out by it ("The Brood," too!) I probably could stnad it better now if I watched it again. I also loved Paul's shirt (and pants combo.) I just wish it had been torn open. LOL Leslie was 51 at this time and, considering the way people aged then, he did indeed look fine. Thanks!

mrripley said...

I discovered this in a 2nd hand shop in the 80's we're they had it on an old vhs tape and was pleased when I saw it had Backlinie in it who has the best death scene in cinema history in Jaws.

Thanks for the kind review,Ruth Roman was one of Jessica Fletcher's gossipy hairdressing gang on Murder She Wrote in the best incaration of the series from 85 - 89 where an old movie star would show up to be victim or victimizer.

Griffin Jenkins said...

This was also brilliantly riffed by Rifftrax from the same crew as the brilliant Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
I love this blog and hope it goes on forever, thanks for all you work.

hsc said...

With my schedule these days, it seems like I'm always showing up late to comment on your new postings!

This is one of those '70s "critters go crazy" movies that I haven't seen (yet), but it looks like I'll have to squeeze it in sometime soon-- since it's got a cast filled with people I like, in a setup that gives ample opportunity for scenery-chewing, and directed by William Girdler, yet. (I saw THE MANITOU in first-run at a grindhouse, and "loony" is putting it mildly.)

And one of the things I *LOVE* about this blog is that the reviews always manage to cover the film in a way that leaves enough to still be discovered if you watch it! (TWISTED NERVE is a great example of this.)

I used to have a *huge* childhood crush on Lynda Day George, who I first spotted doing print ads and TV commercials-- including spots for White Rain conditioner-- and eventually learned her name from TV appearances. I was an avid fan before she actually even had much of a career!

But as I hit puberty, I started to notice *guys* were giving me a "tingle," too-- and coincidentally, I was impressed with Christopher George, who was that "manly," hairy-chested type i was drawn to (along with Robert Conrad, Mike Henry, and Sean Connery).

So it was kind of weird when the two of them became a couple in real life-- not to mention suddenly feeling oddly *intrusive*-- and even moreso when Christopher George went full-frontal in PLAYGIRL and I had half the details all filled in! LOL!

It was good to see something with other appearances by Susan Backlinie and Michelle Stacy, both of whom had memorable moments in two of my favorite films-- and so strange that Stacy would again be in the same film as Leslie Nielsen just a few years later!

Also nice to see other male stars either still in their prime (Andrew Stevens) or still managing to display some of the hotness they had earlier (Richard Jaeckel, Paul Mantee). And when framecapping Andrew Stevens' contractually obligated shirtless scene, I bet you deliberately phrased it "Stevens did grab a-hold of a fish and Jaeckel was grabbing a-hold of him *in order to get it up*."


And as for the Paul Mantee nude modeling, I'm going to repeat what I posted on an earlier Paul Mantee post--and those photos are still out there on Google Image:

On Paul Mantee's IMDb page, it claims that early on he posed for physique photos for two photographers-- the well-known Dave Martin of SF and the more obscure "George Larrieu."

A Google Image search turns up three pages from some unidentified magazine, where he posed for George Larrieu as "Paul Marianetti," his real name, and the text connects him with Hawaii.

IMDb said Mantee won a physique title while in the military in Hawaii, and the photos are basically '50s bodybuilding photos in posing trunks, so this *could've* been just a "mainstream" bodybuilding mag-- though the text calls him "one of our most-requested models," which indicates a more "specialized" audience, in addition to more photos out there.

There's also a single frontal nude photo that turns up on Google Image, but it's possibly a Photoshop patch job.

OTOH, it *does* look like the type of full-frontal nudes Dave Martin frequently shot around this time-- though it could be simply Mantee's head on a similar-sized Martin model's body, or his upper body on a full-frontal lower body.


Anyway, yet another great post, Poseidon! Thanks for all you do!

Love to all and be safe and well, everyone!

Poseidon3 said...

mrripley, I'm sure these screencaps demonstrate that the movie looked a lot better in widescreen than on VHS! You ought to watch it again in a cleaner version. ;-) I concur that those years of "MSW" were the best, when the guest stars were someone you either longed to see again or perhaps wasn't certain was still alive and/or working! Thanks.

Griffin Jenkins, thank you so much! I appreciate such a compliment. While I do sometimes enjoy "MSTK3" style riffing and others like that, I tend to avoid watching any if I'm going to write about a movie, lest I unintentionally steal from something they've said. Good or bad, I come up with my own material. I will take a look when I can and see what they had to say. Thanks again!

hsc, never too late! I still see/read your comments. There were SO MANY "critters go crazy" (love that) movies before and after this. I adore "Frogs," too, which preceded this. Thanks for noting my lack of spoilers. Obviously some things are revealed, but I dislike ruining a movie when someone may never have seen it. (In some of these cases, nearly no one may have seen it! LOL) I did indeed word that caption the way I did on purpose. Nothing was overt at all, but Jaeckel was something of a milquetoast here and *could* have been gay without too much of a stretch. (I was gunning for Jaeckel and Mantee to live happily ever after together in the woods! LOL) Thanks very much. Take care!