Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

June 17, 2020

The Wild Weird World of Dr. Goldfoot (November 1965)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 12:34 am
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THE WILD WEIRD WORLD OF DR. GOLDFOOT, Episode 19 of Season 2 of the SHINDIG TV show, aired Wednesday 8:30 PM Nov 18, 1965 on ABC

Starring Vincent Price and Susan Hart, with Aron Kincaid, Tommy Kirk, and Harvey Lembeck. B&W, running time 29 minutes

For many years, this odd Television special made to promote American International Pictures’ film DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE (starring Vincent Price as Dr. Goldfoot), which aired 2 weeks after the initial release of the film (AIP drive-in films  had a LONG shelf-life, playing here and there for years after their initial run, as second and third features with other AIP product), was much-more talked about than seen. I’m not sure it’s ever received a legitimate video release on VHS or DVD–surprisingly, it’s NOT on the Kino-Lorber Blu-Ray of the film from 2015 (which some of the customer reviews on Amazon angrily note!). I first saw it on a blurry home-made VHS someone loaned me back in the 90’s.

Fortunately, an adequate quality copy of the show IS available on You Tube, and if you’ve got 29 minutes to kill (see bottom of page), it’s a fascinating window into sixties trash culture at its most unashamed, and it sits nicely beside features like the spy parody OUT OF SIGHT, or Jerry Warren’s THE WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN, or Al Adamson’s PSYCHO A GO-GO, or Ray Dennis Steckler’s RAT FINK-A-BOO-BOO.

Most importantly, it’s 30 prime-time minutes of Vincent Price at his most campy, which you may not have seen before. Who wouldn’t want that?

Whereas the actual DR. GOLDFOOT feature film was in color and had a relatively good budget by AIP standards, this show is in black-and-white and clearly shot on a few modest stages. Also, the film’s wonderful theme song, which AIP spent the money to get The Supremes to sing, is still wonderful on the TV show, but sung by someone else.

Price and Hart return from the original film, but instead of Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman as co-stars, the TV special offers us other AIP contract stars, Aron Kincaid and Tommy Kirk, both true professionals who are quick studies and get some laughs out of their no-doubt quickly written dialogue. Harvey Lembeck, though a staple of AIP’s Beach Party movies (remember Eric Von Zipper?), did not have a huge role in the Goldfoot feature film, but he’s the in-your-face comic relief here, and his shtick is played so broadly that even someone with a 9″ TV screen would not miss anything. He even gets a “song” here! I’ve always enjoyed Lembeck (who also had a great career in animation voice work), but his Jerry Lewis meets Buddy Hackett persona is not universally loved, and his dynamic presence is too dynamic for some. Try this clip from HOW TO STUFF A WILD BIKINI and you’ll instantly know whether Lembeck is to your taste:

The TV special features a few musical numbers which were cut from the feature film, and the characters played by Aron Kincaid and Tommy Kirk were not in the original film in any way, and here they’re given their own subplot, which probably allowed for Vincent Price not having to do as much. Price had a 10-year run with AIP in the sixties and was by far the studio’s biggest and most long-term star, although he always worked elsewhere too. I had the privilege of seeing him on the stage and meeting him once, in the late 70’s or early 80’s, when he was doing his one-man show as Oscar Wilde at Elitch Gardens in Denver (I went with my father). Price was charming, friendly, witty, made YOU feel important, and stayed around after the show until everyone who wanted to talk with him or get an autograph had time to do so. I’d guess he was happy to help promote the Goldfoot film with this inexpensive TV musical knockoff, considering his longterm employment with AIP. If they did well, he did well, and he had more money to spend on art!

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As a fan of maverick Texas director LARRY BUCHANAN, I can’t help but point out that in the three years after this TV special, Aron Kincaid and Tommy Kirk both worked for Buchanan in Texas (no doubt as part of their AIP contracts, since AIP financed and distributed via TV packages Buchanan’s Azalea Productions features), Kincaid in CREATURE OF DESTRUCTION, alongside Les Tremayne, and Kirk in both MARS NEEDS WOMEN and IT’S ALIVE.

There was a second DR. GOLDFOOT feature film, DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE GIRL BOMBS, made in Italy the next year, with Price returning in the role, for director Mario Bava, and with Fabian and comedy duo Franco & Ciccio added to the mix. It was quite a bit different from the first entry, with more of a slapstick Eurospy feel (no surprise, as it was Italian-made!) and a healthy dose of the Adam West BATMAN TV series. Here’s the trailer…decide for yourself….if you’re in the right mood after a long day, it might be just what you need:

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Now, to get back to the original subject here…. the original, once-rare November 1965 THE WILD WEIRD WORLD OF DR. GOLDFOOT TV special, just a click away….enjoy!

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