The Las Vegas Hillbillys (1966)

I love Hillybillys In a Haunted House, but I had no idea that this film came out before it. It features Ferlin Husky as Woody Wetherby and Mamie Van Doren (!) as Boots Malone (Joi Lansing would play the role in the sequel).

Woody is a Tennessee wood hauler — feels like a song coming on — who inherits a Las Vegas casino only to discover that he’s also been gifted with a $38,000 debt from some shady sources. How shady? They have Richard “Jaws” Kiel as their enforcer.

Luckily, his Aunt Clementine (Billie Bird, Mrs. Feldman from Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol) has an idea to save the day.

Don Bowman plays Woody’s friend Jeepers in both films. You know who is only in this one? Jayne Mansfield, playing Miss Tawny Dawn, a singer who decides to help our hero in his bid to fix up the gambling joint that he was just awarded. This would be her next to last film, which still makes me sad.

You can also listen to plenty of musical numbers from Sonny James, Roy Drusky, Del Reeves, Bill Anderson, Connie Smith, Wilma Burgess, Duke of Paducah, Jr. Carolina Cloggers and The Jordanaires.

This movie is about as cheap as it gets, all mostly shot in a static shot in one room. Even the “Vegas casino” is an obvious set.

Director Arthur C. Pierce is better known for the movies he wrote, including The Human DuplicatorsThe Navy vs. the Night Monsters and The Astral Factor.

Sadly, Jayne and Mamie never appear on screen together. I think that’s because the world would have stopped spinning and we would have all died screaming from that much volcanic energy in the same area. They were doing their duty staying that far apart from one another.

Bonus points for the stock footage of Vegas. Old Vegas is the best, the kind of cigarette smoke stale, beer smelling, dead bodies in Lake Mead den of sin that I always dreamed that it would be.

BONUS: Along with The Terror of Tiny TownDoctor of DoomSki FeverSanta Claus Conquers the MartiansRobot MonsterThe Crawling Hand, Untamed WomenThey Saved Hitler’s BrainBride of the MonsterProject MoonbaseRocket Attack U.S.A. and The Slime People, this was one of the 13 films featured on the Larraine Newman-starring and Dr. Pepper-sponsored syndicated series The Canned Film Festival.

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