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Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Late Night Files: Snicker Theater


Snicker Theater was a syndicated program that aired in 1987 on WNBC (Channel 4) in New York City, as well as other markets. In a formula that anticipated Mystery Science Theater 3000 by a couple of years (albeit with much more low-rent production values), hosts Barry Kilbrick and Pat Mulligan (playing, respectively, Barry and Pat) would poke fun at cheesy movies, hence the title Snicker Theater



Saul Fischer by way of E-gor's Chamber of TV Horror Hosts, continues: 

No horror make-up, just a low-rent living room/basement set with an AWFULLY cheap-looking sofa, upon which "Barry" & "Pat" sat and watched cheesy videos, pausing every few minutes before and after the commercial breaks to make fun of the flicks... and make fun of each other, too. These two guys hosted as well as co-produced and co-wrote the show, and, as I recall, most of it was amusing. The character of "Barry" ran a bowling alley while poor "Pat" worked "down at the toxic dump" (shades of The Simpsons). 


In a typical episode, they got up and literally hopped off the set to eat at (the offscreen) Bernie's All-You-Can-Eat Frog Leg Emporium, as the movie continued playing. They returned several minutes later, gastrointestinally-challenged, and saw their mistake -- but wisely decided not to bother rewinding the video to see what they had missed (but the audience had endured). 

In the same episode, they had pizza delivered by a well-endowed blonde (another cast member), and ended up dancing with her around the set. It ended with them trying to leave the set for a much-needed "case" of cold beers, then Barry's too-short microphone cord that was trailing behind him got hopelessly caught in the closing door, as Pat cracks up with the offscreen crew, all of this visible under the closing credits. Lydia Finzi played the girl who delivered the pizza (Domino's!). The films they showed were low budgeters like Superargo vs. Diabolicus, Trinity and Sartana, etc. It was filmed in Hollywood, CA.


++++

Later, the show's producer, Dan Brenner, took over hosting duties for the rest of its brief run. (And because this show was produced in the same studio as The People's Court, Brenner apparently used the same dressing room as Judge Wapner!)

Once again, in my hobby of perusing old TV listings, I have the reaction of: "The things I know now that I wish I knew then." Talk about missed opportunities. Snicker Theater was also picked up locally. CFPL (former CBC affiliate Channel 10 from London, Ontario) aired it on Sunday nights at midnight, from September, 1988 to August, 1989. The roster consisted of low-budget Italian genre films that remain hard to find today, even for Euro-genre enthusiasts like yours truly.  And yet, at the time I was completely oblivious to the program. Why? Because this nerd would instead be spending late night Sunday nights watching or taping French and silent films on CBLFT! 



Here is a listing of the films seen on Snicker Theater, as shown on CFPL, Sunday nights at midnight, in 1988-89 (as listed in Starweek):

09-18-88  title not listed
09-25-88 Who Killed the Prosecutor and Why? (1972) Lou Castel
10-02-88 The Trojan War (1962) Steve Reeves, John Drew Barrymore
10-09-88 title not listed
10-16-88 Night of Hate (1973) Anita Ekberg, Tomas Milian
10-23-88 Mafia Vs. Ninja (1984) Alexander Lou, Silvio Azzolini
10-30-88 The Red Sheik (1973) Channing Pollock
11-06-88 Robin Hood, Arrow, Beans and Karate (1976) Alan Steel
11-13-88 title not listed
11-20-88 Jesse and Lester, Two Brothers (1975) Richard Harrison
11-27-88 No Graves on Boot Hill (1969) K. Wood, P. White, C. Hill
12-04-88 Shoot Joe and Shoot Again (1972) Richard Harrison
12-11-88 Io Semiramide (1962) Yvonne Furneaux, John Ericson
12-18-88 How To Win a Billion and Get Away With It (1966) Ray Danton, Edmond Purdom
12-25-88 Seven Golden Women Against 2-07 (1967) Mickey Hargitay, Luciana Paoli
01-01-89 28 Minutes for 3 Million Dollars (1967) Richard Harrison, Claudio Biava
01-08-89 Crime Story (1968) Stan Cooper, Helga Line
01-15-89 Who Killed the Prosecutor and Why? (1972) Lou Castel
01-22-89 The Trojan War (1962) Steve Reeves, John Drew Barrymore
01-29-89 Eyes Behind The Stars (1978) Martin Balsam, Nathalie Delon
02-05-89 Night of Hate (1973) Anita Ekberg, Tomas Milian
02-12-89 Mafia Vs. Ninja (1984) Alexander Lou, Silvio Azzolini
02-19-89 The Red Sheik (1973) Channing Pollock
02-26-89 Robin Hood, Arrow, Beans and Karate (1976) Alan Steel
03-05-89 For a Book of Dollars (1973) Lincoln Tate
03-12-89 Caesar the Conqueror (1960) Cameron Mitchell, Rik Battaglia
03-19-89 Gun Shy Piluk (1968) Edmond Purdom
03-26-89 Hot Diamonds in Cold Blood (1968) Richard Harrison
04-02-89 Electra One (1968) George Martin, Vivi Bach
04-09-89 Trinity and Sartana (1972) Robert Widmark
04-16-89 Beautiful But Dangerous (1955) Gina Lollobrigida, Vittorio Gassman
04-23-89 Superargo Vs. Diabolicus (1968) Ken Wood, Gerard Tichy
04-30-89 No Graves on Boot Hill (1969) Ken Wood, Craig Hill
05-07-89 Eyes Behind The Stars (1978) Martin Balsam, Nathalie Delon
05-14-89 The Red Sheik (1973) Channing Pollock
05-21-89 The Trojan War (1962) Steve Reeves, John Drew Barrymore
05-28-89 Mafia Vs. Ninja (1984) Alexander Lou, Silvio Azzolini
06-04-89 Jesse and Lester, Two Brothers (1975) Richard Harrison
06-11-89 No Graves on Boot Hill (1969) Ken Wood, Craig Hill
06-18-89 Shoot Joe and Shoot Again (1972) Richard Harrison
06-25-89 How To Win a Billion and Get Away With It (1966) Ray Danton, Edmond Purdom
07-02-89 28 Minutes for 3 Million Dollars (1967) Richard Harrison, Claudio Biava
07-09-89 Crime Story (1968) Stan Cooper, Helga Line
07-16-89 Who Killed the Prosecutor and Why? (1972) Lou Castel
07-23-89 The Trojan War (1962) Steve Reeves, John Drew Barrymore
07-30-89 Seven Golden Women Against 2-07 (1967) Mickey Hargitay, Luciana Paoli
08-06-89 The Red Sheik (1973) Channing Pollock
08-13-89 Robin Hood, Arrow, Beans and Karate (1976) Alan Steel
08-20-89 Hot Diamonds in Cold Blood (1968) Richard Harrison
08-27-89 Electra One (1968) George Martin, Vivi Bach





4 comments:

  1. Gee, there is such thing as an "80s" look. I never believed the legends to be true.

    The set is lit; it's not just blast-it lighting.

    Content: I like the premise but I'm wondering if I would find it tiring after watching just a show or two. I can imagine "Snicker Theater" flying with university/college students, especially when they're watching it with 'a little help'.

    Thanks for the fun post.

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  2. It's funny. Assuming I had recorded this in attendance while it aired, I would've likely edited out all the 'bits' and commercials on the fly, leaving just the movie intact. And I'm sure a lot of us tapeheads behaved the same way. Now, we want all this stuff back in! The skits and everything else are all part of the package. Sometimes a brain deprived of oxygen, or 'enhanced' by something else adds a dreamlike layer to the already surreal viewing experience. Thanks for the comment!

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  3. A common refrain: Why did I have to cut out all the commercials?!

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  4. I wished someone had invented something like 'peelback' technology, where we could still retrieve what was taped over on our homemade VHS tapes. Imagine, instead of the data being scrambled upon erasure or being taped over, it instead was in layers! Just like you'd remove the paint from a canvas or storefront to see what was painted underneath. I'd resurrect all those nights of The Cats Pajamas that I taped over when I was finished watching them. In our hot youth, we foolishly thought this stuff would be around forever.

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