Sunday, July 14, 2013

Commander USA's Video Vault: Clips and Episodes.

Commander USA show logo and the man himself.
Just as Commander USA had a video vault. I thought I would add some clips and episodes from You Tube that involved Commander USA. So the reader can learn more about the grooviest Superhero. Watching some the episodes below helped me to want to write an article even more. So Please check out the clips and episodes below to see what inspired me to write about Commander USA.

In this Episode Commander hosted the Movie "The Hand".
This is a full episode of Commander USA's show.


In this episode the Commander is hosting the movie "Barugon vs. Gamera".
Also in this episode the Commanders evil twin from another universe pops in.

In this episode Commander hosts the "Death of Bruce Lee".
The Commander hosting a Kung Fu classic.

In this episode the Commander hosts the cult classic C.H.U.D.
This is not a full episode but it has some great bits in it.

Commander USA Hosts the "Cave of the Living Dead " in this clip.
Also in this episode the Commander celebrates Mother day. 

This is the trailer for the 2006 documentary called "American Scary"
In this documentary there was a small segment on Commander USA.

Some friends Halloween Jack and Halloween Jacqueline inducted Commander USA in horror host hall of fame in 2013.
This is the whole induction of the class of 2013.
You just have to fast forward little and you will find the part

I hope you enjoy these episodes and clips as much as I did.
Stay spooky everyone.

Commander USA the Grooviest Superhero.

The Commander USA Logo that was shown at the start of the show.

The popularity of superheroes has risen over the last couple of years through movies, TV shows, and merchandise. Before there were movies such as “The Man of Steel” or “Avengers” that helped to push superheroes into become household names, there was a retired superhero by name of Commander USA. He was the host of show called “Commander USA’s Groovies Movies”. The show first aired on the USA network on January 5, 1985. The Commander would show his groovie movies from his video vault located somewhere under a mall in New Jersey. What is he doing in New Jersey of all places instead of fighting crime? Well sadly, from all his years of crime fighting, he got bad knees and he had to retire from crime fighting and League of Decency. The show was nationally syndicated same as Elvira was in the 80’s. Also the show was shown every Saturday from 12:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. The show would consist of a double feature and a serial chapter. The time and the format of how many movies and serial chapters would be shown would change throughout the series run. The commander would not just show horror movies and science fiction movies. He would also show comedy movies and Mexican wrestling superhero El Santo. The show ended in the fall of 1989.

Commander USA and his disguise saluting his fans.   
Commander USA and his deer head Monroe. In this episode Monroe was dressed nice because he won the lottery. The Commander joked that Monroe came into a little doe after winning the lottery.

The format of the show was like most horror host show he would introduce the movie and between commercial breaks. He would also do a skit or talk about the movie and after the movie ended, he would do a closing to the show. Here is a more depth look of what he did during his show. The show would start out when the commander would walk into his video vault wearing his disguise, which consists of a trench coat and glasses. He would always turn around and jump in freight and yelling, “Holy cats” as he starred at the camera. He would introduce himself and tell you about what movie or movies he would be showing that week. He would then hang his coat on his deer head name Monroe. In later seasons he would dress up Monroe and Monroe would grunt back to him and Commander would have conversation with it. And of course you can’t forget his hand puppet named Lefty, which he would draw on his right hand with his unlit cigar he always had on him. He would joke that he met lefty while he was vacationing at the finger lake. He would then sit in his comfy chair and using his slide whistle to open the heat and radiation screen that protected tel-psychotronic screen that he would view the weekly movie or movies on.  He would do a preview of the movie or movies and during the preview he would make over dramatic noise to make the viewer’s laugh and make them want to watch the movie. He would then start the movie the movie and pop back between commercial breaks to comment on the film. After the movie ended, he would end his show by saying “Keep your nose in the air and your tail to yourself.”

Commander USA and Lefty.
Commander USA in his comfy chair with tel-psychotronic screen.

Now that you have some background on the show, let’s gain some information on the man behind the mask. The man who portrayed Commander USA was Jim Hendricks. Before Jim became the grooviest superhero on T.V., he was an actor trying to become a big time actor that  had to also be cab driver on the side to survive. He heard about USA doing auditions for new show, so he went to the audition as a character he used when he was on the radio in Junction City, Kansas called Uncle Willie. The producer of the show didn’t like the character but worked with Jim to come up with commander USA.  After the show ended Jim went on to do some Broadway shows and some movie and T.V. appearances as a regular actor. In 1993 he played in a movie called “Brutal Fury” and in 2009 he played in a movie called, “The Hungry Ghost”. And in 2005 he had an appearance on “Law and Order: Special Unit”. He also showed up in the 2006 “American Scary” a great documentary about horror hosts. In the documentary he talked about his show and his character.  And that is the story of grooviest Superhero and the man who played him. 

A screen shot from "American Scary", 2006 of Jim Hendrick aka Commander USA.
Commander USA fan club card.

The only issue of Commander USA's magazine that was canceled after the first issue.
 HOLY CATS it’s the end. 
Keep your nose in the air and your tail to yourself.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Guest Writer: Before there was Horror Host.

 Before there was Horror Host.

By Bobby  Gammonster

 Before the "Horror Host" trend started up , before Vampira or Zacherley, television began the horror tales with a show called "Suspense" These vintage 30-minute tales of mystery and suspense from the classic anthology series feature numerous Hollywood and Broadway legends in episodes that originally aired live on television from 1949-54. Guest stars include Bela Lugosi, Lloyd Bridges, Paul Newman, Jack Lemmon, Charlton Heston, Boris Karloff, Anne Bancroft, Cloris Leachman, Hume Cronyn, Walter Matthau and many others.Making way for later shows like Thriller with Boris Karloff and Alfred Hitchcock tales. Found now at Netflix , take a trip back in time and enjoy a time when acting was the catch of the audience and not fancy effects.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Vampira: A true Hollywood Treasure

Today was a sad day in the history of Horror Host. The first Nationally known Horror hostess passed away on January 10,2008. R.I.P Vampira (Maila Nurmi) ,She was 85 years old and died of natural causes. I wanted thank her being one of the horror hosts to help start the ball rolling on a wonderful tradition in America horror hosting. My Blog salutes her and thank here. She was a true Hollywood Treasure.

This is her gravestone located at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
 Below are some video tributes people 
 made after her death:

This is a nice picture tribute with a great song from the band Misfits entitled Vampira

A nice tribute to Vampira with some clips from Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Here is a tribute Horror Hosts were able to do for her at the 2010 Horror Hound Convention

I hope this gives you a little something to help to remember her and honor her life work.
Check back later this month for a full Biography on Vampira.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Plan 9 from Outer Space


Trailer for the film.


The plot behind Plan 9 from Outer Space:
In California, an old man (Bela Lugosi) grieves the loss of his wife (Vampira) and on the next day he also dies. However, the space soldier Eros and her mate Tanna use an electric device to resurrect them both and the strong Inspector Clay (Tor Johnson) that was murdered by the couple. Their intention is not to conquest Earth but to top mankind from developing the powerful bomb "Solobonite" that would threaten the universe. When the population of Hollywood and Washington DC sees flying saucers on the sky, a colonel, a police lieutenant, a commercial pilot, his wife and a policeman try to stop the aliens.
Bela Lugosi in Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Ed Wood Jr.

In 1955, The Vampira show was canceled. Vampira tried to do her show at a rival T.V. station by the name of KHJ - TV. KHJ - TV order some segment and promotional  but it just didn't work out. She moved on to work on her movie career. She did a couple of movies in 1955 and one them was for the famous director Ed wood Jr. First she was against being in the movie but Ed begged her to be in it and she decided she would. The filming started in August to September 1956, where she Co-stared with the famous horror icon Bela Lugosi. The Movie didn't come out until July 22, 1959. The movie wasn't the best received in the box office but later on it became an cult classic with in the B- Movie realm. Ed wood Jr. went on to become famous but not for making great movies but for making some of the worst movies ever. On this blog we salute Ed wood Jr. and all his great movies. 

The poster.

Below is the actual movie for you viewing pleasure:

This Movie has also been hosted by many horror hosts out there. 

Below is some of examples of hosts hosting the movie:

The first is Mr. Lobo the host of Cinema Insomnia.

The second is Pumpkin man the host of Fright Night Theater:

The third is Crypt Meister the host of Creepy Castle:

Those are just some of the episodes of horror hosts hosting the Plan 9 from Outer Space. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed watching them. Check back for more Vampira tribute this month.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Spooktecular ... History of Horror Host: First promo.

I made the first Promo for the blog above for the 2012 year. This is the first time for me making a video. I think everything went well for my first time. I hope you enjoy it and share it.


Another Promo was done by my friends over at Vortexx. I just want tell them thanks for making the promo. Keeping on checking this blog every week for vortexx schedule. Vortexx and this blog will be working together to do cross promoting.