Wild Guitar (1962)



When I put on Wild Guitar the first thing I looked for was the credit which said “Produced by Arch Hall Sr.”  Of course, this would probably shoot Arch Hall Jr.’s credibility to hell.  But as it turns out, writer/producer Nicholas Merriweather is Arch Hall Sr.  I first saw Arch Hall Jr. performing musical numbers in Eegah!, where, with only a single acoustic guitar he managed to produce the sound of a full band with backup singers as he sang about some girl named Vicki.

Of course, we all thought, who is this “Vicki”?  Is this some sort of joke?  The girl in Eegah! isn’t named “Vicki”!  Well, friends, the mystery is solved with Wild Guitar!  And, thankfully, this here Something Weird DVD has another one of Arch Hall Jr.’s masterpieces, The Choppers.

Armed with a troll-like face and a pompadour from hell, Buddy Eagle (Hall Jr.) heads out west from South Dakota on his hog, which is strangely never seen again, once he enters L.A., to become a big time star.  And thanks to his talent and charisma he does so in less than 15 minutes, before which he meets his sweetheart Vicki (!!!) (Nancy Czar).  And let me tell you, they are a perfect match as she is no beauty herself!

After making his debut on TV Michael McCaulley (Arch Hall Sr.) then become the sleazy, dictatorial manager, not allowing poor Buddy Eagle to see his gal or play his old, beat up acoustic guitar.  But Eagle starts to know what’s up since McCaulley is raking in the dough and Eagle isn’t and soon things turn pretty loopy.

Okay, so, wow… McCaulley is Arch Hall Jr.’s REAL dad, ain’t that a hoot?  Wild Guitar is a pretty standard film about the topic of a young star rising to fame and all the troubles and tribulations that come with it. But, come on, now.  The joke of watching the movie is watching Arch Hall Jr. quiver through every line, play hilarious musical numbers and attempt to be a teen heart throb.

Now, I didn’t live back then so I can’t say what the taste of the ladies was.  But it’s obvious that Arch Hall Jr. is not Elvis or Frankie Avalon.  He’s just a clumsy looking, awkward, no talent that his dad cast in the film.  I don’t care about such things; I’m all for nepotism in Hollywood in films especially when it leads to casting your poor son, who, for all I know, might not have wanted to step 1,000 feet in camera shot but hey!

On the other hand, for what it’s worth, Arch Hall Sr. portrays the typical, sleazy, cigar chomping manager from the era with great ease.  There are a few extra characters; a brother of some sort,  three goofy, non-threatening thugs and my favorite of the bunch, a REALLY creepy looking “strong arm” thug – who is actually really skinny and not strong – named Steak (Cash Flagg)…

Hold it!  That guy, Cash Flagg is actually Ray Dennis Steckler, who is the film’s director and master auteur behind The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!  I’ve been looking for a non-MST3K release of that on DVD (hint, hint)!

Oh and the musical numbers are surprisingly catchy.  They recycle “Vicki” from Eegah! but the other one, the one he plays on the TV, is actually pretty good!  Didja know Arch Hall Jr. has an entire CD called Wild Guitar containing all of his recorded work?  The thrills just never stop!

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