Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


This is a film whose title is based on a Jules Verne book.  Alas, no movie was made to go along with the title.  It seems that following the success of the Richard Matheson-scripted Master of the World, American International Pictures picked up the rights to Verne's In the Year 2889.  Things happened and things did not happen, including that second Verne Film.

Six years later, AIP decided to remake their 1955 film Day the World Ended* and and cut-rate director Larry Buchanan (the poor man's Ed Wood) was selected to helm.  But, gee, wouldn't audiences get confused between the 1955 film and its 1967 remake?  But, hey, we've got this neat Jules Verne title we've never used!  Why not tack that one onto the new film?  No one would know, would they?

So we have a Jules Verne title over a non-Jules Verne movie that is almost word-for-word and scene for scene as as cheesy but fairly popular 50s flick.

Anyway, In the Year 2889  was released as a made-for-television movie with an aging Paul Peterson as star.  Peterson has been one the original Mickey Mouse Club mouseketeers until fired (alleged by Big Walt himself) after punching a casting director in the stomach.  Peterson became a household name when he was cast, when he was twelve, as Jeff Stone in The Donna Reed Show.  This led to a minor (and brief) recording career (his TDRS castmate, Shelley Fabares, proed to have much longer staying power).  When TDRS ended after eight seasons, audiences had a hard time picturing "Jeff Stone" as an adult.  As his career slid downhill, so did his first marriage when his wife left him for actor Bill Bixby.  At the urging of Mickey Rooney, Peterson left Hollywood and entered college.  He then wrote 16 fairly popular men's adventure novels, and ran a limosine service for a decade.  Today, he is well-respected as an advocate for current and former child actors, earning him the sobriquet of "the patron saint of former child actors."

Also included in the cast:
  • Quinn O'Hara, a Scottish-born actress who enjoyed an active career from the Sixties through the Nineties, including brief (but regular) minor parts on Dallas and Trapper John, M.D.  She played Sinistra in The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.
  • Charla Doherty, whose first credited role was in one episode of The Donna Reed Show; her last credited role was this one -- bookending her career with Paul Peterson.  Doherty's main acting career lasted about six years, including 15 episodes of Days of Our Lives.  Sadly, she died at age 41 of pancreatis brought on by acute alcoholism.  Despite her demons, she active in feeding the homeless.
  • Neil Fletcher.  Who he?  Nine credits in low budget SF/horror programmers, including playing the Secretary of Defense in Mars Needs Women. another Larry Buchanan stinker.
  • Hugh Feagin.  Also who he?  This was his first credited role.  His thirteen other credits included roles as Gimp Murphy, Shopkeeper, Farm Husband, Doctor, Police Officer, Tommy, Nick, and Jim.
  • Max Anderson.  Another who  he?  He played "Officer" in High Yellow, "Witness" in The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald, and who knows what in Beauty and the Cave, Common Law Wife, The Student Teachers, and Ruby and Oswald.  (Three of these films were Larry Buchanan?  Can you guess which ones?)
  • Billy Thurman, a character actor who specialized in gruff roles, often a cop or a redneck.  Like Max Anderson, he played "Witness" in The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald.  (One of this film was a Larry Buchanan.  Can you gue...oh, never mind.)
  • Byron Lord, not to be confused with Lord Byron.  This guy had roles in such immortal classics as Co-ed Fever, Party Girls, Sands of Ecstasy, The Sex Shuffle, Scarlet Negligee, and Ready for Anything!  Do I detect a theme?
With a cast like that, how can you go wrong?


* Not to be confused with the 2001 television movie The Day the World Ended.  Neither title has anything to do with the 1930 novel by Sax Rohmer.

1 comment:

  1. "The poor man's Ed Wood" has to be as nasty as criticism gets. And very, very funny!