Mad Movies -- Anyone remember it?

ryanbrennan
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Joined: December 5th, 2004, 2:56 am

August 10th, 2018, 2:18 am #1

MAD MOVIES, or as the IMDB has it, MAD MOVIES WITH THE L.A. CONNECTION (I don't remember that being the on screen title), only ran 6 shows, is probably so obscure that no one remembers it, and rather than fold it into the MST3K thread and sidetrack or derail it, I figured I'd just eat up some bandwith and post here where this thread can quietly curl up into a tiny ball and blow away.

The MST3K thread jogged a memory of this show that, like the much better known and far more popular program, commits the same sacrilege in the eyes of purists by messin' with the movies.  Whereas MST3K ran the movie and had their cast riff over it, leaving a possibility that you could still sort of watch the movie, MAD MOVIES took feature length films, cut them down to fit in a 30 minute time slot, and then had their cast re-loop all the dialogue, supposedly in front of a live audience.

The 6 shows they did featured the films UNDER CALIFORNIA STARS, DOLL FACE, SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SECRET WEAPON, THE LITTLE PRINCESS, SANTA FE TRAIL, and THE DIVORCE OF LADY X.  Each member of the L.A. Connection would take a character or characters and re-dub the movie with a new storyline.  The show aired in my area around 10:30 p.m. just after the local news on the weekend.  It may have run opposite SNL but it could have run on Friday or Sunday night.

The show immediately caught my attention because I had wanted to do exactly the same thing.  See, back around 1978 I was a bartender in a night club (okay, a dive) and used to run around with the featured local band.   Anyone who's done either sort of work knows that you go home late.  Whereas some people get off work at 3 or 4 in the afternoon, a bartender may not get off work until nearly 3 a.m.  In 1978 we did not have all of the entertainment options available today.  We'd get back to the band's place, turn on the TV and watch whatever happened to be on late night TV.  This was usually a fairly old, mediocre movie being run to fill up time before the stations learned they could make more money with infotainment shows.  

Rather than actually watch the movie we'd turn the sound down and do exactly what the L.A. Connection did, each of us choosing a character and running with it.  The bedrock of these comedic exercises was me and one of the band members.  He wasn't just the guitar playing lead singer but also a real performer who honed his skills and patter as a practicing magician.  He also put in personal appearances as Ronald MacDonald at various local franchises.  I could count on him to not only come up with pretty good ad-lib material but also to throw me a set-up, too.  For my part, I had been a Roastmaster, worked with the band on some live comedy in the club (er, dump), and had also done some work for MacDonald's as Grimace and as a short-lived robot character named McDIII (betcha never knew about that character) so I could return the favor.  The problem for us was that the other three guys weren't particularly good at this which is usually the undoing of such enterprises.

The age of home video had arrived and as I had purchased one of them newfangled VCR things I started taping movies or TV shows for us to overdub.  We did several of these with the expected scattershot results.  My friend eventually got his hands on a sound Super 8mm projector and some sound films.  We learned that it was possible to erase the existing sound and record anew.  We decided to get a little more serious.  We'd do an ad-lib session with whoever was present at the time, band members, girlfriends, hangers-ons.  We'd record on audiotape as we watched the film and later go through it, write down the good stuff, and then build a script around this material.  When we were ready we'd grab some people who had a sense of timing and could anticipate when they would need to speak.  We could record in short segments so no one had to memorize lengthy stretches of dialogue.  And we could always do another take.

We took the completed films to the nightclub where we ran "The Midnight Movie at 11 o'clock" on Sunday nights.  Once we started and the word got around, people stayed late to see our latest or would wander in around show time to catch our offering.  Granted, many of the patrons had been drinking, were drinking, and continued to drink, but we got good crowds and a good reaction.  Good enough to give me the idea of creating a community access show that would utilize public domain movies, cut them down to a 20 minute length (which I had determined was ideal from having seen longer films lose the audience), and re-dub not only with new dialogue but also sound effects and music.  

Yessirreebob, I could see us doing a half dozen of these locally on cable access and then use them as a springboard to move up.

Then along came MAD MOVIES for a grand 6 episodes before disappearing...  forever?

Memory tells me that the L.A. Connection show worked pretty well but, frankly, other than mental images of them with microphones and an audience in a movie theater, I can't remember the content.  The IMDB rating gives it an 8.1, a pretty high rating and exactly the same rating as SNL.

So, anybody remember this broadcast oddity?
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ryanbrennan
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Joined: December 5th, 2004, 2:56 am

August 10th, 2018, 2:53 am #2

I just remembered that re-voicing of THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMON, WHAT'S UP, HIDEOUS SUN DEMON?  Jay Leno did the voice of Ishmael Pivnik.  Anyone see that?  I recall it being surprisingly good over the length of a feature film.  Then, of course, there's Woody Allen's WHAT'S UP, TIGER LILY?  Gee, I wonder if that influenced the Hideous Sun Demon re-dub?  Besides these two movies can anyone think of a feature film that was completely re-dubbed with all new voices and a new storyline?  I would not count SHOGUN ASSASSIN as that's a different critter in which they took two movies, re-cut them into one movie and then did a completely new sound job on the whole thing.  The story more or less remained the same, or close enough anyway.  And we can't count those Jerry Warren films, either.
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Rick
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Joined: December 22nd, 2004, 2:22 pm

August 10th, 2018, 3:50 am #3

I did see the HIDEOUS SUN DEMON thing. Don't remember much but I don't think I cared for it. Actually I think there are a couple of different versions of a redubbed SUN DEMON, and I'm not really sure which one I saw.

Maybe lots of folks wanted to do that re-voicing thing. Back when I got my first VCR, I got the bright idea of doing it myself. I even spent way more than I should have on a really nice microphone. Then I could never make it work properly and, even if I could, I'd never have mustered the oomph to do it. Seemed like a good idea at the time, though.

Years and years later, I found the microphone, busted and rusted and never used, in a junk drawer and just threw it away. 

But I love the idea of dubbing in new, funny stuff. It was always just about my favorite bit on WHO'S LINE IS IT ANYWAY. Those guys usually had a nice mix of funny stuff and muttering misfires. Just proves how difficult that sort of adlibbing is because these guys are expert improv comics. Here's a pretty good one.

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
~ Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
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will
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Joined: November 17th, 2009, 2:23 am

August 10th, 2018, 4:11 am #4

I was thinking the same thing, to mention Mad Movies over on you know where. Looking it up they had a lot more than six movies. Locally, all I ever saw was The Divorce of Lady X. Some station was using it as filler. I went through some of them on You Tube last week. Very uneven. Is Nothing Sacred? was turned into a sequel to The Wizard of Oz. There are dead spots, but much of it is laugh out loud funny, particularly the ending when Gilda the Good Witch shows up to tell Dorothy (Carole Lombard) she was wrong about there is no place like home. She is moving to Hawaii to get down with Don Ho. On the other hand, their Night of the Living Dead is so bad I quit on it early on. The voice actors sometimes do uncanny impressions of old time actors.
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bigcatrik
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Joined: April 7th, 2014, 1:20 am

August 10th, 2018, 6:13 am #5

The LA Connection did live shows in LA revival houses before they did Mad Movies.

They're still around. Their "Way Back When" page says Mad Movies made a total of 26 episodes in 1982 and had a life beyond that on Nickelodeon and MTV (same episodes?).

1985
Premiered nationally syndicated television series, "Mad Movies with the L.A. Connection."
Produced 26 half-hour episodes.
1987
Sold "Mad Movies" to Nickelodeon for a two-year run.
1990
MTV Network bought "Mad Movies" for three years.

http://www.laconnectioncomedy.com/history/timeline.html
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will
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Joined: November 17th, 2009, 2:23 am

August 10th, 2018, 6:59 am #6

Many of them are on YouTube.
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Joined: July 21st, 2009, 9:30 pm

August 10th, 2018, 10:21 am #7

At the time it was broadcast, I loved Mad Movies, and I know we  looked forward to it. The show had a wild, unpredictable energy, which is something I never got from MST. (Sorry.)

Full disclosure: When I started to post a Mad Movies episode over in the other thread, what hit me, as I listened to a sample of a couple of episodes, was that the series might play best in the theater of memory. I had the sinking feeling it had not stood up well. I'd have to look more to confirm that.
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amanaplan1
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Joined: February 9th, 2013, 2:18 am

August 10th, 2018, 10:45 am #8

Isn’t there some kung fu movie that was redubbed to make all the fights about two different schools of philosophical thought? Like Weimar Classicism vs. Young Hegelians?
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rvoyttbots
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Joined: October 25th, 2005, 12:15 am

August 10th, 2018, 1:04 pm #9

Did they do SHOCK?
 
To answer my own ?, yes they did. 
  
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ryanbrennan
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Joined: December 5th, 2004, 2:56 am

August 10th, 2018, 7:30 pm #10

Wow, more people remember the show than I thought.  Some good info, better than IMDB.  Should have gone to Wikipedia.  

It makes sense that a syndicated show would have a full season of shows rather than a mere six.  The whole season would be offered and then a station could run them all or not depending on the ratings.  When the syndicator didn't get re-orders on the show that would be the end.  I'm surprised that the show had such a long afterlife following its initial run.

I knew that I'd seen at least one movie on the show in color.  Memory told me it was A STAR IS BORN but that wasn't on the IMDB list.  Checking Wikipedia, which lists all the shows and a quick recap of each plot, it's there.  There were some other color movies run but I guess I didn't see them.  In fact, checking that list, there were a bunch I didn't see.

Checking the L.A. Connection website I see that they offer a DVD(s) of the shows.  And there are even more of them.  Yeah, they list 130 episodes.  The offer is a bit confusing.  It states there is an introductory price of $390.00 for a full year of half hour episodes.  Whew, pricey.  Here's the link, dated 2005: 

http://www.angelfire.com/la3/laconnecti ... Movies.htm

Elsewhere, I found someone mention that their version of THE BLOB, BLOBERMOUTH, is or was on Netflix so maybe there are some other episodes there, too.
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will
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Joined: November 17th, 2009, 2:23 am

August 10th, 2018, 8:02 pm #11

Fractured Flickers from Jay Ward would cut up old silent movies and add a narrator and voices, but they rarely stuck to one movie. An exception was an early episode that concentrated in Elmo Lincoln's Tarzan. I always suspected that was the inspiration for George of the Jungle.
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Rick
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Joined: December 22nd, 2004, 2:22 pm

August 11th, 2018, 12:59 am #12

BLOBERMOUTH!  Yeah, that's the one I saw. Didn't much like it.
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
~ Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
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