Drive-In Friday: USA’s Night Flight . . . Night!

If you’ve spent any amount of time at B&S About Movies, you’re sick of our waxing nostalgic for USA Network’s “Night Flight” weekend, four-hour programming block that ran on Friday and Saturday nights . . . it’s what got us through middle school and high school, and even college, from 1981 to 1988. But what more can we say about the visual-arts magazine and variety program that hasn’t already been said? Just drop “USA Night Flight” into Google or You Tube or Letterbox’d and you’ll have a good night’s nostalgic reading n’ watch.

The great news is that “Night Flight” is back as an online subscription service, Night Flight Plus, and as an entertainment news and information site at Night Flight.com. The greatest aspect of the new online version of “Night Flight” is their programming of a whole new batch of quirky, underground programming — such as I’m Now: The Story of Mudhoney, American Hardcore, and L7: Pretend We’re Dead — in addition to streaming all of the ’80s classics we know and love: such as the films on tonight’s Drive-In roster: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains, Liquid Sky, The Brain, and Kentucky Fried Movie.

So strap on the popcorn bucket and lite up that cathode ray tube. Let’s rock!

Movie 1: Ladies and Gentleman, the Fabulous Stains (1982)

Sam, the chief cook and bottlewasher at B&S About Movies (I just clean the grease pits, scub the grills, and mop up around here the best I can), loves this movie (as do I). And we’re both gobsmacked as to how acclaimed screenwriter Nancy Dowd made her debut with, of all things, the raunchy Paul Newman-starring sports comedy Slap Shot, moved onto the Oscar-winning war drama Coming Home and the acclaimed Straight Time with Dustin Hoffman, then one of the best football flicks of all time, North Dallas Forty, and then a second Oscar winner with family drama, Ordinary People, only to end up with a movie that was only seen by a mass audience courtesy of USA’s “Night Flight” overnight-weekend hodgepodge sandwiched between rock videos and film shorts.

How?

Well, it’s because Nancy Dowd met music impresario Lou Adler. And we met her “Rob Morton” nom de plume as result. And her rock-centric statement on female empowerment — that could have ranked alongside Times Sqaure as the greatest female empowerment rock flick of all time — became, as we look back on the film all these years later, as a slightly creepy titillation fest. Could you imagine Tim Curry’s DJ Johnny LaGuardia leering endlessly at Pammy and Nicky with the same camera-lingering “male gaze” as on Corrine, Jessica, and Tracy?

True, Adler had the rock-centric Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke under his director’s belt, and it was a huge hit for a first-time director. But that feature film debut for the stoner comedy-duo was not so much a narrative-movie, but a series of dope-inspired skits masquerading as a movie (as is the case with our fourth flick on tonight’s program). And sure, Adler produced The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and it was a huge midnight movie. But it was also huge a box office boondoggle during its initial release. In the end, as with the equally successful film composer and arranger Richard Baskin (Nashville, Welcome to L.A., Honeysuckle Rose) taking his first step behind the camera with the disaster that was 1983’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Hotel, Alder probably should have stuck to his forte as a record producer and music svengali and shouldn’t have been directing a movie in the first place.

In then end, while our big brothers and sisters were out hitting the rock clubs and going to concerts, we, the wee-lads haunting the middle school halls and shopping malls, fell in love with Diane Lane courtesy of Nancy Dowd’s well-intentioned rock flick airing on the USA Network. It’s what geeky, socially maladjusted kids did back then. And besides: where else can you get a punk-supergroup comprised of Paul Simonon from the Clash on bass and the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones and Paul Cook on guitar and drums (and journeyman Brit-actor Ray Winstone from the Who’s Quadrophenia) as The Looters?

Factoid: The Looters were actually . . . the Professionals, Jones and Cook’s first post-Sex Pistols band (rounded out by guitarist Ray McVeigh and bassist Paul Myers). You can listen to their one and only album, 1981’s I Didn’t See It Coming released on Virgin Records, on You Tube. “Join the Professionals” from the film eventually ended up on the 2001 CD reissue. The Professionals, sans Jones, is back in business since 2017 and you can visit them on Facebook.

Movie 2: Liquid Sky (1982)

It goes without saying that we, the wee-lads spending our Friday and Saturday nights by a cathode ray tube’s glow, watched an edited version (as with the Mike Ness and Social Distortion-starring Another State of Mind) of this . . . well, as Sam pointed out in his review . . . we’re not really sure.

It’s a dizzying kaleidoscope of colors, music, and fashion about New York’s City’s night-life denizens falling victim to endorphin-addicted aliens extracting the “Liquid Sky” chemical from human brains during sexual orgasms — and when the human’s die happy, the aliens suck up all of that energy as well. And to what end, who knows? And who cares: it was on Variety’s top-grossing film chart for over half a year.

Star Anne Carlisle, who played both male and female roles in the film, also starred in Susan Sidelman’s (Smithereens) Desperately Seeking Susan and appeared as the transvestite Gwendoline in Crocodile Dundee (You Tube). Oh, you’ll remember that “Sheila.”

The snack bar will be open in five minutes . . . and we don’t pee in the popcorn (you’ll get the “joke,” soon)!

INTERMISSION: The shorts Hardware Wars (1977) and Recorded Live (1975)

And now . . . back to the show!

Movie 3: The Brain (1988)

Ah . . . more sinfully-quenching brain fluids courtesy of “Night Flight.”

What more can we say about this Canuxploitation shocker from writer-director Ed Hunt? If he can’t go “all in,” he just doesn’t make a movie at all: you never get run-of-the-mill storytelling with Eddie-boy. And to that not-run-of-the-mill end: you’ll root for the evil alien (we think it’s “alien”) Brain and not the dick-whiny high school hero and his screechy girlfriend. That’ll never happen in a mainstream movie and that’s what made The Brain perfect, gooey fodder for us, the wee-tween denizens of the “Night Flight” hoards.

What’s it all about? Hallucinations of inward-pressing walls, come-live teddy bears bleeding from the eyes, demon hands tearing through walls, and monster tentacles punching out of TV sets. It’s about mind control of the Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm and David Cronenberg’s Videodrome variety. It’s about Dr. Carl Hill from Re-Animator as a self-help guru of wayward teens. It’s about a giant-brain-with-teeth that munches on nosey lab assistants, it’s . . . oh, just watch it!!

Movie 4: Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)

“The popcorn you’ve just been eating has been pissed in. Film at 11.”

And with that “classic” line, disconnect your brain and just roll with the childish insanity of John Landis, Jerry and David Zucker, and Jim Abrahams — before they unleashed the likes of National Lampoon’s Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Airplane!, and The Naked Gun upon us, the wee triplex hoards (with our older ‘rents or brothers and sisters in support). This quartet of box office-bonanza writer-directors had to start somewhere . . . and Kentucky Fried Movie is it . . . and we love them for this beautiful mess of a “movie” that we watched on USA’s “Night Flight” and taped-from-cable via HBO.

Back in the day, the ‘rents let us watch Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert and NBC-TV’s The Midnight Special. But under no circumstances were we allowed to watch Saturday Night Live. It was “inappropriate” for us. It was “for the adults.” But thanks to HBO and USA, this “film” comprised of non-narrative sketches and parodies of popular films and TV commercials got by our parental guidance sensors.

This cleaned up at the Drive-Ins during its initial release, and yes, that was a night where you were stuck with a babysitter, as mom and dad went for a “night out” — without you. As I watch this all these years later — as with Midnight Cowboy with Dustin Hoffman, Shampoo with Warren Beatty, and Patty Duke in Valley of the Dolls — I fail to see what all the fuss was about.

Yeah, Kentucky Fried Movie is all about “the times” and a case of “you had to be there.” And to that end: if you’re watching this for the first time in 2020, you’ll either love it for its nostalgia, or dismissed it — the same way we then kids dismissed our elder’s variety TV series from the 1940’s and 1950’s — as “dorky.”

Be sure to join us for “Rock ‘n’ Roll Week” coming Sunday, June 19 and running until Saturday, June 25, as we’ll be reviewing a few more of the films we enjoyed as part of The USA Network’s “Night Flight” weekend programming block.

Do you want to write a “Drive-In Friday” featurette for the site? Hit us up on our Feedback form. We’d love to hear what movies you’d feature.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

REPOST: Tintorera…Tiger Shark (1977)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This originally ran as part of our Bastard Sons of Jaws week on December 22, 2018. Seeing as how it is a Mexican shark film, how could we not bring it back for leftovers?

When I was a kid in the 1970’s, I was sitting in a B. Dalton’s reading — parents routinely dropped kids off places to read without any fear of kidnapping back then — and discovered a copy of Alex Comfort’s The Joy of Sex on a shelf. I had no idea what it was at the time, but the drawings (by Chris Foss, who would go on to work on AlienFlash Gordon and Jodorowsky’s Dune) were upsetting to me. Hairy soft focused seventies post-hippies getting it on didn’t jibe well with my single digit mind.

I forgot what that feeling was like. And then I watched Tintorera…Tiger Shark.

This movie is based on the novel of the same name by oceanographer Ramón Bravo, an undersea explorer who studied the 19-foot-long species of shark known as “tintorera” and also discovered the sleeping sharks of Isla Mujeres. You may know him better for his role as the underwater zombie in Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2.

Here’s the thing — this is a shark movie, but it’s also pretty much a softcore adult movie about the three-way relationship between the heroes. As such, this is the only shark movie I’ve watched all week with full frontal male nudity, which is something of an accomplishment.

Hugo Stiglitz from Nightmare City plays Steven, born in the US but a Mexican businessman here in Cancun for vacation. He falls for Patricia (Fiona Lewis, Dr. Phibes Rises Again) but breaks up with her when he can’t decide whether or not he’s in love with her. Ah, the 1970’s.

Jealousy ensues when she starts hooking up with Miguel (Andrés García, a real-life former diving instructor who is also in Bermuda: Cave of the Sharks), the swimming instructor at the resort. After those two dance the devil’s dance and Steven gets all misty-eyed, she goes skinny dipping and ends up being eaten by a tiger shark that seems to have breathing problems, judging by the soundtrack.

The two fight over what happened to Patricia, but neither ever learn that she was devoured by a shark. That night, the two hook up with Kelly and Cynthia Madison, two American college students looking for fun, and swim to Steven’s yacht as the heavy breathing shark follows them. They swap beds all night long before heading back to the resort and the shark decides to leave them alone. Kelly is played by Jennifer Ashley, who was also in Phantom of the Paradise, Chained Heat and Guyana: Cult of the Damned, while Cynthia is Laura Lyons, which is her real name and not a stage name inspired by the Sherlock Holmes story The Hound of the Baskervilles. She was the Playboy Playmate of the Month for February 1976 and actually led a strike amongst the club bunnies that led to better wages and rights for them. Other than an appearance on TV’s Love, American Style, this is the only other acting role in her career.

Steven and Miguel decide to partner up both in a shark hunting business and in being womanizers. They start shooting all manner of sharks, but Miguel warns Steven that if they ever meet a tiger shark that they must immediately get out of the water.

The guys meet Gabriella (Susan George, Die Screaming, Marianne) and take her shark hunting. She hates it, but falls for both men. They decide to form a triad relationship where they can’t be with any other woman or fall in love with her. Remember those The Joy of Sex drawings I mentioned earlier? Get ready to watch them play out as the three make love, make omelets and sightsee the Mayan ruins.

Sadly, the next time they go shark hunting, the tiger shark reappears — surprise! — and bites Miguel in half. Gabriella is so upset that she leaves, never to return. Steven vows revenge on the shark and beats up every shark he can find, upsetting even the most hardened fishermen. Surely, they tell him, he has killed the tiger shark by now.

Nope. It’s still out there, killing fishermen and lying in wait for Steven. At a beach party with Kelly, Cynthia and two new American girls (one of them is Priscilla Barnes from TV’s Three’s Company and The Devil’s Rejects), everyone skinny dips. As Steven and Cynthia make out nude in the water, the tiger shark comes back and tears the woman literally out of his embrace. Everyone is injured by the shark’s attack and Steven makes a promise to kill the shark himself.

You may be wondering: how will Steven go about killing this shark? If you guessed “he’s going to blow it up” then congratulations. You’ve been watching just as many shark movies as I have. Are explosives the shark’s natural predator?

Anyhow — Steven uses a devilfish to lure the shark close and then he hears its breathing, because that’s how sharks work. He succeeds in turning that shark into a million pieces, but loses his arm in the process. He wakes up in a hospital bed, minus an arm but filled with happy memories of the sexy times he shared with Miguel and Gabriella.

Keep in mind when you seek out this film that there are two versions. One is 85 minutes long and is more of a shark film. Then there’s the 126 minutes long cut that’s chock full of swinging Mexican resort sex. Also, a warning for those of you sensitive to these matters: many of the scenes of fish being caught and killed underwater are unsimulated. That should be no surprise to anyone who has seen a René Cardona Jr. directed film, as he threw live birds through windows in Beaks: The Movie and a cat over a wall in Night of a Thousand Cats. He’s also responsible for the borderline insane film Bermuda Triangle, as well as the scum-ridden cash-in Guyana: Crime of the Century.

Tintorera…Tiger Shark is one of the stranger films I’ve watched, not only in my shark obsessed week of trying to watch every single pre-Sharknado film of this genre, but really in all the films I’ve watched. I have no idea who it is truly for, yet appreciate its willingness to indulge in spectacle and scum, whether that be people hooking up or being eaten in front of your very eyes.

REPOST: Alucarda (1977)

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This originally ran on October 26, 2017. If we’re discussing Mexican horror, we need to talk about this movie.

Alucarda is:

A 1977 nunspolitation/vampire/Mexican horror/Exorcist inspired film about two girls who become possessed by Satan.

The source of many My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult samples, specifically the song “And This Is What the Devil Does.”

A movie filled with so much screaming, it upset my dog.

All of the above and so much more.

Juan López Moctezuma, the director of the film, was close with Alejandro Jodorowsky (some claim he was behind the camera for El Topo). So you should expect something much stranger than your average horror film.

In a Mexican convent and orphanage, a new girl named Justine arrives. She becomes close with another orphan named Alucarda, who was born in a mysterious barn and may be evil before this film even starts. In fact, she often appears in the film out of the shadows, filled with menace and questioning everyone’s faith.

While the two girls — whose relationship is nearly sexual — play in the forest, they discover a band of gypsies and the barn where Alucarda was born. Then, of course, they open a casket and unleash Satan, who possesses them. They take part in an orgy where the literal goat-headed one himself shows up, which is only stopped when Sister Angélica prays for Jesus to intervene. The witch conducting the ritual is struck down in bloody fashion.

A title card comes up telling us that this is the end of part one. I stood up and cheered. I was home alone.

Justine and Alucarda start questioning every mass and even praise Satan out loud, questioning the faith of every member of the convent. Father Lazardo demands an exorcism, one that costs Justine her life. Alucarda is saved at the last moment by Dr. Oszek (Claudio Brook, who also appeared in Del Toro’s Cronos and who also plays the hunchback who leads the women into the forest). Now, Alucarda has a new love interest, the Doctor’s daughter Daniela.

Alucarda isn’t done. She must have her revenge. She possesses a nun and sets her on fire. Father Lazardo beheads her and the entire monastery must self-flagellate to prepare themselves to fight Satan.

Justine’s body is gone — it’s in the barn where Alucarda was born. When they open it, it’s filled with blood and she emerges, now a vampire. While Alucarda kills everyone else. Sister Angélica attempts to save Justine. The doctor tries little spurts of Holy Water but it’s not enough. He barely escapes with his life, while the sister pays the ultimate price. Only Angélica’s dead body can stop Alucarda, who screams and disappears.

You know how I get evangelical about movies? Well, Alucarda is one of them. From the sets to the clothes to the acting to sound design to the just plain weirdness of it all, there’s never been a movie quite this weird. And with the movies I’ve seen, that’s an achievement.

You can get this movie from Mondo Macabro.

The artwork for this post comes from Ink Rituals and you can buy this shirt at Pallbearer Press.

Death Steps in the Dark (1977)

Maurizio Pradeaux only directed one other giallo, Death Carries a Cane. The translation for this is off, as Passi di Morte Perduti nel Buio really should be Death Steps Lost in the Dark. It has a bigger name American actor, Robert Webber (The Silencers) in it.

Leonard Mann, who was in The Humanoid and Night School before retiring to work in prison reform, plays Luciano, a reporter whose train trip to Greece is interrupted when a woman is killed with his letter opener. Working with his Swedish girlfriend (Vera KruskaAssignment Skybolt), he must solve the murders and clear his name. There’s also another couple who find the murderer’s glove and try to blackmail him or her.

Oh yes — our hero also has to hide out in drag.

This isn’t my favorite giallo, due to too much comedy and not enough fashion or pure craziness. That said, you can watch it on Amazon Prime.

American Tickler (1977)

If you’re going to watch a Chuck Vincent movie, you should really watch Hollywood Hot Tubs or Warrior Queen. Deranged is pretty good, too. Or Bedroom Eyes II.

This is a movie that has a shark movie parody called Jews. That alone should warn you of the heights that this movie will dramatically trip and fail before it even gets close to takeoff. It isn’t helped by another parody called King Dong which is exactly what you think it is. Then there’s The Happy Cooker, a show hosted by Xaviera Collander. That’s a joke only I would find funny, to be honest.

Three people — other than me — have reviewed this on Letterboxd. That should tell you how bad it is. It’s one saving grace is that it’s the first movie that Joe Piscopo ever made.

Imagine all of the worst Saturday Night Live sketches, the ones that seem to go on for on and on and on, with people noticeably silent and every cast member looking uncomfortable. Now make an entire movie of that.

At least the poster is nice.

You can watch this on YouTube:

This Is America (1977)

Also known as Jabberwalk, you have to love any mondo movie that starts with “America the Beautiful” being destroyed by The Dictators and then explains that demolition derbies are the top sport in the U.S.

Drive-in churches. Satanic masses. Mud wrestling. Fast food. If the world of America in this movie was true, I’d feel a lot better about our future.

Writer/producer/director Romano Vanderbes made two of these movies, as well as America Exposed, which I’m certain shocked the hell out of people in Finland.

There’s a scene with a nude competition and adult stars CJ Laing — who was in Barbara Broadcast — and Bree Anthony appear. You can also see the all female band Isis and a young Arnold getting his pump on at Gold’s Gym.

Funeral parlors where you can just drive on in? Dildo factories? Dungeons? This Is America has all that and yes, so much more. It’s exactly the type of mondo you’d hope would be in this kind of sleaze. It lives up to that and way, way more.

REPOST: Satanico Pandemonium (1973)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This movie originally ran on our site on January 27, 2020, back when we were doing two weeks of Satanic films. Seeing as how it was just re-released by Mondo Macabro, we’re bringing it back.

Sister Maria should be living the quiet and chaste convent life, but she has a fantasy world in which she runs free and wild, the servant of Satan. In our world, her acts of violent blasphemy are on the increase as she begins to realize that her job is to lead her sisters in Christ down the left hand path to Hell. The Devil has his hooves into Sister Maria and he isn’t going to let go.

Gilberto Martinez Solares also directed Santo and Blue Demon Against the Monsters, but there’s no way that will prepare you for this movie. I’d compare it — obviously — to Alucarda, a movie that it has similar themes to but less eye popping visuals. That’s not to say that this movie plays it safe, but man, it had a high bar to reach.

Sure, Maria is good with medicine and animals, but once she sees Lucifer — who tells her “Call me Lucifer. If you want me, just think of me, I’m everywhere.” — and eats the apple he offers, all Hell breaks loose. Where she once self-flagellated herself, now our heroine — I guess? — is making love to the other nuns when she’s not watching them hang themselves.

There’s also an interesting subplot about a black nun who is treated badly by everyone, including her Mother Superior, which seems a deep subject to tackle in a Mexican nunsploitation film. Also — lots of stabbing. And obviously, this is where Salma Hayek’s character in From Dusk Till Dawn got her name.

You can get the new blu ray re-release from Mondo Macabro, who were kind enough to send us this movie.

Dangerous Cargo (1977)

Mondo Macabro has been releasing several examples of Greek exploitation cinema lately, which is a genre I have only recently started to dip my toe into. This is directed by Kostas Karagiannis, who directed more than a hundred movies between 1961 and 1990, including Land of the MinotaurThe Wife Killer and Tango of Perversion.

Deborah Shelton, a former Miss USA and star of DallasBody Double and Sins of the Night, plays the captain’s wife. That’s right. That’s the only name she gets. When her husband is killed by pirates, she’s left alone with these rough and brutal men on the roughest of seas. That said, she’s not unafraid to use her body and cunning to stay alive and start to plan her revenge.

Set entirely on a ship carrying an illegal cargo of dangerous nitroglycerin, this film places all the many sides against one another. No one is blameless. No one is safe. Not many people have clothes on, either.

Complicating matters is that one of the film’s stars is named Kostas Karagiorgis, when the director is Kostas Karagiannis. Perhaps these names, in Greece, are as common as John Smith.

The original Greek title, Anomalo Fortio, translates as An Abnormal Load, which makes the 12-year-old in me laugh to no end.

You can get this from the fine folks at Mondo Macabro, who were kind enough to send us a review copy. It’s also available on their new site.

SST Death Flight (1977)

David Lowell Rich directed Eye of the Cat and Satan’s School for Girls before this made-for-TV movie, which originally aired February 25, 1977 on ABC. He also directed The Horror at 37,000 Feet, which probably is why he was selected to make the final movie in the Airport series, the absolutely insane The Concorde … Airport ’79.

There’s also a European version of this called Death Flight that has nudity in it, if you want some more death in the sky with breasts action. You’ll get that but no realism, as the plane model used for the film is actually American SST as the first of its kind. The aviation sequences utilized a Concorde with Boeing 747 turbofan engines attached in some scenes and a Lockheed L-2000 in others. Neither of these planes ever flew at these speeds.

On the maiden flight of Maiden 1, Captain Jim Walsh (Robert Reed, The Brady Bunch), Flight Engineer Roy Nakamura (Robert Ito, Quincy M.D.), stewardess Mae (Tina Louise, Gilligan’s Island) and steward David (Billy Crystal, City Slickers) are preparing for the first supersonic flight from New York City to Paris. Joining them are plenty of guest stars, like the designer of the ship (Burgess Meredith, Rocky), the head of PR (Bert Convy!) and the supermodel who he’s sleeping with (Misty Rowe, Hee-HawMeatballs Part 2) and a former pilot (Doug McClure, Firebird 2015 A.D.).

There are so many people in this and you know that I love movies like that. Peter Graves, John de Lancie (the Q!), Season Hubly (Hardcore), Susan Strasberg, Regis Philbin, George Maharis, Martin Millner, Brock Peters…1977 was such a great time for TV movies like this.

There’s also a virus unleashed on the plane beyond all the mechanical failures that you’d expect. Man, disaster films — on a budget! — are where it’s at.

Somehow, despite both being on Route 66, Milner and Maharis don’t appear in a single scene together.

This was one of the first movies that Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffed back when they were KTMA. Here it is on YouTube so you can watch the unadulterated movie all on its own:

ABC Afterschool Special: Hewitt’s Just Different (1977)

Before NBC and CBS eschewed adult soap opera programming and started programming divisions concentrating on weekday, young adult programming, ABC-TV blazed the trail with their Afterschool Special that ran for 25 years from October 1972 to January 1997. The series topics, which touched on illiteracy, drug abuse, bullying, spousal abuse, and teen pregnancy, earned a record-breaking 51 Daytime Emmys.

The series has far too many standout episodes to mention, but here’s just a few of them, starring actors you know all too well.

Santiago’s Ark (1972), about a 14-year-old Puerto Rican boy who builds a boat to sail around Central Park, co-starred Bill Duke (Predator, Commando; recently in American Satan and Mandy). Child actor René Enríquez would go onto star for several seasons as Lt. Ray Calletano on NBC-TV’s Hill Street Blues.

Other standouts include Me and My Dad’s Wife (1976; Kristie McNichol), Schoolboy Father (1980; Rob Lowe), Stoned (1980; Scott Baio), and Dinky Hocker (1979, the late Wendie Jo Sperber from Back to the Future). Then there’s Rookie of the Year (1973), which starred Jodie Foster (Silence of the Lambs, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane) as an 11-year-old girl who joins her brother’s Little League Team.

Image courtesy of randy rodman/eBay/MeTV

But it’s this first episode of the sixth season that aired on October 12, 1977, that we loved the most. You’ll recognized Russell “The Professor” Johnson from Gilligan’s Island and a then 16-year-old Perry Lang, later of Alligator, Spring Break, Eight Men Out, and 1941.

Lang is Hewitt Calder, a mentally-challenged teen cared for by his father (Johnson). Hewitt comes to make friends with Willie Arthur (Moosie Drier, later of American Hot Wax, Hollywood Nights). Together, they overcome the school bully, Nully (played by Tom Gulager, the son of Clu, the star of Return of the Living Dead and Hunter’s Blood), and teach the neighborhood kids that “Everybody Matters.”

Image courtesy of coolcanoga/eBay

Sadly—even with all of the uploads of Afterschool Special episodes—this one’s missing. And that’s a damn shame, because Perry is incredible in his acting debut. He’s long since moved into directing, with credits across all three major TV networks, along with the 2018 Christian-based film, Interview with God.

You can watch the episodes mentioned in this review—and more—on a pretty nifty catch-all playlist we found on You Tube.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.