Posters of my yoot’: ‘I Dig a Pygmy’ by Charles Hawtrey and the Deaf Aids
Nothing looks that cool in the movie; click to enlarge
The first and only time I ever saw this British movie was in 1967 at the Bellmore Playhouse. All I remember is that it was really boring. (No monsters!) Even at the age of ten, I was sort-of a fan of Michael Gough because he’d been in Horror of Dracula, Konga and Horrors of the Black Museum, but he didn’t show up in They Came from Beyond Space until the last few minutes. The star was granite-faced American Robert Hutton, who I knew from stuff shown over and over (and over) on Chiller Theatre: The Man Without a Body (second-billed to a very needy George Coulouris), The Colossus of New York, Invisible Invaders, and the remarkable Slime People, which he inexplicably directed as well as starred. In They Came from Outer Space there’s a metal plate in Hutton’s head preventing his abduction by Gough’s aliens. A quick fix for insomnia, you can watch the whole sorry thing in eight creaky parts on YouTube.
For their Saturday matinee, the Playhouse paired it with…
The Terrornauts (1967) was also made in the UK. Both films were produced by Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg, the founding fathers of Amicus Productions, known among horror Pupkins as ‘The Studio That Dripped Blood.’
Based on a novel I’ve never read, The Wailing Asteroid by Murray Leinstar, The Terrornauts seemed downright groovy in 1967. When it came out on VHS twenty years ago, I still found it amusing, stupid, and undeniably spirited. It’s about a science lab lifted off the ground, building and staff, transported to an alien space station where they’re handed instructions on how to prevent an intergalactic war… or something like that. The intriguing British cast includes TV star Simon Oates as the scientist-time traveler, former Bond girl Zena Marshall as his main squeeze (Miss Taro in Dr. No, Zena passed away this July at the age of 83), Benny Hill regular Patricia Hayes as a Cockney cleaning lady (“Aww, go’on, ducks!”), stiff-upper-Brit Max Adrian as a villainous authority figure, apple-gobbling Stanley Meadows (Rosey in Performance), and — be still my beating heart — Charles Hawtrey, stone-cold sober in the role of ‘Joshua Yellowlees.’ Charles frikkin’ Hawtrey!! In outer space! How can you resist?