Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

Bob and Bestoink and Tubby and Lester

Writing on Bestoink Dooley, Atlanta TV's chiller movie host of the '60s, I mentioned his own celluloid opus, "The Legend of Blood Mountain," aka "Demon Hunter," aka "Monster Mountain." The 1965 horror is padded with dull, uneventful chase and inconsequential footage, which I can verify from my age 13 viewing.

Dave Sindelar at SciFilm reviews the Bestoink blockblister:

He eats cookies and drinks milk in bed while listening to an Easy Listening radio station. We have an extended sequence in this movie where he does this....

We see lots of scenes of Bestoink walking. We see lots of scenes of Bestoink driving....

The legend of Blood Mountain is that when a bloodstain appears on the mountain, the monster is loose. He tears the hearts out of his victims and drinks their blood. Bestoink is too fast for him, though....

I lost 65 minutes of my life today.

Lacking even lackluster, the film is credited to writer Bob Corley. If my memory remains the sparkly marvel we all cherish, Corley was also the frontman of the short-lived "World's Worst Movie" series, which was broadcast in the Atlanta market, Saturday late nights on Channel 11, circa 1966.

After scripting "The Legend of Blood Mountain," he was a certifiable expert on sorry cinema, no doubt.

Corley shared a schlock flick with the viewers each week, presenting himself (unknowingly) as a bad motion picture director, complete with the obligatory directorial accoutrements of jodhpurs and beret and megaphone.

The premise of this series had him searching high and low for the "World's Worst Movie." So, where better to look than in Channel 11's library?

That's the truth! I've laughed at that dig at the station for 40 years. Channel 11 was textbook awful in those days. I'm amazed Corley's putdowns were allowed on their air.

In wrap-arounds and interstitial segments during the feature attractions, Corley insulted the movies. As ramshackle as the dozen or so episodes were, the concept made a major impression on me. I always thought "World's Worst Movie" was a terrific idea, long before "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" came along.

I believe this series unspooled my first viewing of Roger Corman's "A Bucket of Blood," a guilty pleasure, with The Great Dick Miller. In fact, I know it is, because there's a shot in a nightclub where over-the-hill fat cats are chatting up young party babes sitting much too close. Corley recapped the scene and mentioned how heartwarming it was to see the loving fathers escort their young daughters out for an evening on the town.

Corley remains notorious in some Atlanta circles (mainly mine) for a third project. He was the creative genius behind "The Tubby and Lester Show," a massive rip-off of the Laurel and Hardy personas, down to their costumes and weighty extremes. Tubby and Lester anchored a weekday morning children's series on Channel 11 from 7 to 8 (maybe longer). Between cartoons, they would (dis)grace us with their slipshod slapstick comedy.

Almost always, the Tubby and Lester sketches were mangled to a recording of Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk," from "Hatari!" Since the sketches stretched far too long, the "Baby Elephant Walk" music would finish and fade to silence mid-scenes. So, after some dead air, the TV control room routinely restarted the same recording as T & L bumbled on.

During my first year or two in high school, I manned -- um, boy-ed the Audio-Visual Room in the student library each morning before classes. There, I watched "Tubby and Lester" religiously.

I was praying I was funnier.

The team brought a new dimension to "lame."

To this day, I cannot watch "Hatari!" without thinking of Tubby and Lester.

Thanks to them, I am scarred for life.

I suffer chronic whiplash at the sight of pie.

You'll never see my necktie and a large scissors in the same glimpse.

When my wife strolls aimlessly with a 12-foot plank and a can of paint, I flee.

13 comments:

Dorothy said...

My God, man. I was on the Tubby and Lester show once. They would have area preschoolers in to dance to silly music. The "silly dance" I believe the segment was called. Anyway, somehow or other my kindergarten class got to go to the studio and be on the show. I really wanted to be the kid they lifted up to the bunkbed and it made that "boing" sound, but that stupid kid Tim Myers got picked instead. Oh well - I loved the freaking Tubby and Lester show. It may have been lame to a high-schooler, but it was the BEST THING EVER to a four- or five-year-old, which is what I was at the time. I suppose I would cringe if I could see it now. Thanks for the memories.

Mike Durrett said...

Wow, the Tubby and Lester "Boing" Bed. That's a memory!

Anonymous said...

Not only was I on Tubby & Lester's Kids Clubhouse (the actual name of the show), but I am Lester's daughter. Those days my father worked in television are the fondest memories of my childhood, and I am amused that anyone else remembers it other than me.

Maybe we should start a fan club of anyone who watched the show or got to visit the set? My father would be very amused.

andy crough said...

i live in tucson, arizona but was raised in gainesville, ga. and fondly rember the tuby and lester show.how old is your dad and what is he doing. i would love an autograph

james davidson said...

I was on the tubby and lester show .I was wondering if there is any way to get the episode i was on. my name is james davidson tou can contact me at jmedavidson61@aol.com.Iwill be 50 this year,so I thought it would be something neat to see.I untied lesters apron.

Mike Durrett said...

Finding any episode would be an amazing outcome to me, James. Maybe someone can come to your rescue.

Anonymous said...

My father is now 72 and has been retired for years. He lives at the lake, and spends his days fishing.

He has all the shows on film. If you guys think you are sick of "Baby Elephant Walk", imagine how I feel? He played it in our house!

Fun facts about my father "Lester::

He proudly served with the USMC in Vietnam in the 60's.

He was a professional bugle player.

He was a professional clown named Sad Sam Schmidt.

He was a tremendous artist, but never published a single piece.

His love of TV and film was unmatched, and he passed it on to me. I worked in TV and film for 16 years.

My parents were married for 32 years, and I am one of three children.

Not sure about autographs...I will have to comb through the archives and see which pictures we have.

He has gotten such a kick out of your posts.

Thank you!

Mike Durrett said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for your informative comments, catching us up on "Lester." Glad to hear he is enjoying retirement at the lake and I was pleasantly surprised (and grateful) to learn of his veteran status and service.

When I think back on those mid-1960s days, Tubby and Lester frequently pop into my mind. Coming from a radio background, I know how difficult and stressful it is to do hours of broadcast comedy each week on a shoestring budget at best and, I assume, little creative staffing support. The fact the boys are still in our consciousness nearly a half century later is quite an accomplishment -- and smile.

Oh, and thanks for triggering "Baby Elephant Walk" back into my head for the next few days or months.

Anonymous said...

Mike, glad I could fill in some blanks for you.

And you have my sincerest apologies for reminding you of that song. =D

And one last note on your comment above "I was praying I was funnier." My father felt the world took itself too seriously. Given the current state of the economy and the protracted wars overseas we still find ourselves in, even a little humor can be a good thing. My son was born at the beginning of this war and is now 8. That makes me very sad. He knows nothing of his grandfather's TV past. All he knows is that "Grumpa" makes really cool balloon animals and tells really silly jokes.

Best,

Lester's Daughter

D Dunlop said...

Tubby and Lester... are you kidding me? What an awesome flashback! My 1970 Gresham Park Comets baseball team (I was 7 years old) was on the show. I remember dancing during the silly dance and catching an elbow in the nose. I ran off of the floor crying which was caught in full glory by the tv cameras and of course it was shown on tv a few days later. I remember watching the episode on tv and it is permanently ingrained in my memory. To Lester's daughter - you say that "He has all the shows on film"... Is there any thought of transferring those to dvd? You would make a lot of awesome childhood moments come back to life for many people. Tubby/Lester and Mathis Dairy (milking Rosebud) are my top two childhood memories.. Tell Lester hello and thank you!...
D Dunlop
Class of 76
Flat Shoals Elementary

ibfifty said...

I lived in Decatur until summer of 1970 at age 11 and I remember well the schlocky local TV like Bestoink,Tubby and Lester (I remember them doing "The Music Goes Down and Round"), and Officer Don. Then moved to Ohio where we had Flippo the Clown, Lucy's Toyshop and others. The local late shows and kid shows are so sadly gone everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
This is a comment for the daughter of "Lester" of the Tubby and Lester show. I grew up in Atlanta and watched the show and thought that her story about her father was interesting. Also, I would like to tell her that in September 1971, I bought my first home in Northeast Atlanta, and I think it was Lester's home or the home of the man that played Tubby. Would like to hear from her regarding this if possible. Small world!

Karen Ferrara said...

Me and all my brothers and sister and the neighbor hood kids went to this show a lot my mom would fill the car up. We went many times, I wish they would put out a dvd for all us oldies. That would be great.

Karen

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