Tonight on MeTV- the fireworks are courtesy of a deranged dollmaker whose scientific genius leads him to actually shrink living things to doll-size! It’s one of those classic 1950s features from Bert I. Gordon- once again augmented with some vintage Sven anniversary segments from when we ran it many years ago! It’s big trouble for the little folks who are neither puppets- nor do much attacking-despite the film’s title- “Attack of the Puppet People!”
This 1958 film begins with a troop of Brownies on a field trip to a doll manufacturing company- “Dolls Incorporated”-which, in some other movie could be an escort service, but is somewhat innocent here. It’s the factory where owner and operator Mr. Franz creates some amazing playthings- some of which are in a locked glass cabinet, which the visitors are warned NOT to mess with- and stopped if they try.
A newspaper ad offers a job opportunity, since Franz’ previous secretary seems to have unexpectedly disappeared without a trace- and a pretty young woman named Sally answers the ad. She finds the boss a little odd and eccentric, but a job is a job- and she accepts it.
A constant flow of visitors seems to drop by the place- not just Brownies on field trips, but an old puppeteer pal of Franz, and various salesmen- including one named Bob who starts out annoying Sally- but soon wins her over. They start dating and, in no time, he proposes marriage, asking her to join him and accompany him to his home in St. Louis- and she accepts! ( He IS a fast-working salesman, isn’t he?) Bob says he will stop in at her workplace to inform Franz of their plans- and her resignation.
Yet things grind to a halt almost immediately- Bob never shows up the following day to pick her up. When she goes into work, Franz mentions that Bob had already departed for home, alone- the naughty heart-breaker! He warmly advises her to just forget him- but Sally has the feeling that something is amiss- especially when she spots a perfect replica doll of Bob in the case with the boss’ “special collection” of dolls! She decides to get help from the police, who, though skeptical about her claim that perhaps her boyfriend was turned into a doll, still check out her story- at which time Franz manages to convince the policeman that the doll is just a doll, and nothing more. Case closed- or-is it?
It appears Sally has made a major error by bringing suspicion upon Franz. When she tries to leave his office, he won’t let her depart, and shows her what happens to anyone who tries to leave him (he has a sad backstory of how the love of his life ran away “with someone she liked better”). Soon, Sally is shocked to find that she too is now doll-sized- and meets some previous victims of his shrinking ray- including Bob, and the others who were held in suspended animation in glass tubes as part of his collection! Most of them seem resigned to their fate, but not Bob and Sally-who try to inspire their fellow shrinky-dinks to fight back.
Franz keeps his little friends as a forced antidote to his loneliness, and has them entertain him- with little chance of escape, though they make their attempts. Meanwhile, one policeman is getting suspicious because people have been disappearing- could Franz be responsible?
This begins a cat-and-mouse game (and there actually are both in the film)- as Franz, realizing his goose may be cooked, forms a sinister plan that will spell the end for both him and his captives. Can his tiny treasures get away from him and return to their normal size before he can carry out his deadly scheme?
This is another film with Bert Gordon’s specialty- featuring a menace that is big (compared to his victims who are small)- and those victims who are puppets only in the sense that they are under his control! We’ll talk about the cast, including a member of Gordon’s own family, plus John Hoyt and John Agar. We will also provide a song- and, as mentioned above- show a couple segments from a Sven anniversary back in 2009- a perfect way to celebrate a holiday weekend!
“Attack of the Puppet People” begins tonight at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central time. The live-Tweeting during the show continues on Twitter, with viewers using the hashtag #svengoolie – and again making us a high trending topic nationally! This morning on our local Chicago station CW26, those in the viewing area can again learn “How to Make a Monster” at 11 am.
The Sven store has new merchandise- including one item many ladies have been requesting! Also check out the first in our artists line of t-shirts- the first with a fun graphic designed by our old friend, the gifted artist Jim Engel. More will be coming soon!
Join us tonight on MeTV for a story that proves it’s the little things that count- no matter who thinks that he should be of the next big thing for his victims!