Is it possible for Kindertrauma to celebrate St. Patrickâ€™s Day without bringing up either LEPRECHAUN or DARBY Oâ€™GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE? I thought not, but then your brilliant Aunt John came up with the brainstorm of ST. PATTY DUKE DAY! You read that right; today we celebrate the work of Hollywood legend PATTY DUKE.
This once child star went on to win an Oscar and multiple Emmys, she recorded gold records, wrote best selling books, she became the president of the Screens Actorâ€™s Guild and she was an early activist for mental health issues particularly bipolar disorder. If that’s not enough, she can also lay claim to doing the horizontal hokey pokey with Gomez Addams (JOHN ASTIN).
Her progeny have gone on to star in motion pictures both small (THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY) and large (THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE.) Luckily for traumatots everywhere, over the decades DUKE has also done her fair share of work (mostly for television) in our favorite genre. Letâ€™s take a look at some of the great horrors glittering in St. PATTYâ€™s pot of gold!
YOUâ€™LL LIKE MY MOTHER (1972)
This one sure plays like a seventies television movie but truth is, it actually did get a limited theatrical run. Based on a novel by NOAMI A. HINTZ, this colder than a shamrock shake thriller finds a preggo DUKE crashing into the ultimate ice queen mother-in-law (ROSEMARY MURPHY) with nail chomping suspense as a result. Modern viewers may find the pace slower than a glacier thaw but if you stick around till the end you will witness RICHARD â€œJohn Boy Waltonâ€ THOMAS giving ANTHONY PERKINS a run for his money in the twisted mommaâ€™s boy department. Perfect for a snowy night couch ride if you are able to track down the out-of-print VHS tape.
LOOK WHATâ€™S HAPPENED TO ROSEMARYâ€™S BABY (1976)
Forget the baby, look whatâ€™s happened to Rosemary; sheâ€™s turned into PATTY DUKE! Eight years after the legendary film ROSEMARYâ€™S BABY left theaters, a television sequel surfaced just in time to cash in on recent theatrical hit THE OMEN. Yes, itâ€™s a major step down from its predecessor but if it makes you feel any better, ROSEMARY author IRA LEVINâ€™s own stab at continuing the tale SON OF ROSEMARY, was pretty dang awful too. This boob tube mish-mash would try the patience of any saint but you certainly canâ€™t blame whoever was in charge of casting! Look for future PONTYOOL star STEPHEN McHATTIE as the title kid all grown up and ready to glam rock, check out RAY MILLAND filling in for SIDNEY BLACKMER as RUTH GORDONâ€™s creepy Castevet hubby, and hey, you even get a well deserved dose of TINA LOUISE.
I caught this one on T.V. when I was growing up and although I donâ€™t think I stayed awake for the whole crazy affair I remember being truly scared by the scene where Rosemary takes a ride to nowhere, trapped inside a satanic bus (is there any other kind?)
CURSE OF THE BLACK WIDOW (1977)
Director DAN CURTIS (TRILOGY OF TERROR, BURNT OFFERINGS) is nothing less than a kindertrauma legend, nearly everything he touches turns to gold. CURSE OF THE BLACK WIDOW will never be considered his shiniest coin, but who are we to say no to a Reagley-Beagley look at seventies pick up bars, especially when said bars are being preyed upon by a man-eater who transforms into a giant spider! Could PATTY who plays DONNA MILLS uptight, spinster-y twin sister be in the center of this sticky web? Letâ€™s just say DUKE has some great gamsâ€¦eight to be exact.
THE BABYSITTER (1980)
Hold on to your man PATTY DUKE even if he is WILLIAM SHATNER! STEPHANIE ZIMBALIST plays a 19-year-old home wrecking babysitter (youâ€™d be riled too if you had to sit for QUINN CUMMINGS!) in this ahead of its time predatory usurper tale. Can PATTY keep her perfect nest from being picked apart by a younger chickie? Will drinking heavily and throwing furniture help? DUKE releases her cuckoo Kraken in this darker than you think, double cheese classic. Extra points rewarded for providing a resting spot for JOHN HOUSEMAN between THE FOG and GHOST STORY.
AMITYVILLE 4: THE EVIL ESCAPES (1989)
It says a lot about the overall quality of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR franchise that this installment, which involves a haunted lamp, is far from the worst in the so-called series. Oh, itâ€™s pretty terrible, but unlike some of the others, it makes up for its lack of common sense with an irresistible onslaught of high camp hilarity. It may not be good but damn if it isnâ€™t entertaining.
DUKE is recent widower Nancy Evans who, strapped for cash, uproots her three intolerable children and moves in with her mother (JAYNE WYATT). Unbeknownst to all is the fact that Grammy just accepted a gift straight from an Amityville garage sale, complete with an evil entity stowaway poised to cause havoc! This devil faced, coat rack looking lamp is so devious that it somehow recruits all of the homes other appliances in its sinister crusade against the family. Frustratingly though, itâ€™s only the hired help and a luckless parakeet who die horrible deaths.
Maybe that’s how it should be, DUKE has taken on and conquered more in her real life than anything thrown at her in AMITYVILLE 4. As soon as she gets a grasp of whatâ€™s going on, there can only be one conclusion and thatâ€™s lights out lamp! Itâ€™s a testament to PATTY‘s professionalism that even when knee deep in hokum she plows forward delivering the same amount of gusto she would any role. Inanimate objects beware.
This is merely a handful of DUKEâ€™s output, she appeared in the bee-movie disaster THE SWARM (more on that one another day), the REAR WINDOW T.V. wannabe 1974â€™s NIGHTMARE and she guest starred on spooky series like THE SIXTH SENSE, GHOST STORY and NIGHT GALLERY.
PATTYâ€™s episode of NIGHT GALLERY â€œDiaryâ€ is one of my favorites as she portrays a bitchy gossip columnist who gets a delicious comeuppance. Give yourself a St. PATTYâ€™s Day treat by watching it below on HULU. Make sure you stick around after DUKEâ€™s segment to see CESAR ROMERO as Dracula, HELL NIGHTâ€™s VINCE VAN PATTEN taking on JOHN CARRADINE in the RICHARD MATHESON penned â€œBig Surpriseâ€ and lastly, CARL REINER in a classic salute to H.P. LOVECRAFT where he literally turns green!
HAPPY ST. PATTY DUKE DAY TO ALL!
Unk, Someone told me it was your birthday.Â I hope it’s so much fun it’s SCARY! – your old pal M’Rear
HA! You guys are hilarious. This is awesome!
Lancifer, is it really your b-day? I hope it’s AWESOME!
St. Patty Duke Day!Â I like it!Â Yep, I remember “The Babby Sitter” & “Look What Happened to Rosemary’s Baby”.Â Her charater probably went crazy in theÂ former having to endure the Shat’s “Stop…………in……….between………every………..word” delivery!Â Don’t forget that Donna Mills was also in “Look What Happened..” I also tend to think that her 1960’s show about look a-like cousins MIGHT have been the basis for two look a-like cousins who were in some David Lynch TV show in 1990-1991-albeit not on screen at the same time- with one blonde @ 17 years old and the other @ 21 years old with black hair.Â Names were Laura and “Maddy”.
Not so much a horror movie as it is straight upÂ horrifying, I thought PATTY was phenomenal in this:
Your b’day, Unk? If I would have known, I’d have gotten you a diary…
Heh heh heh.
For those keeping score at home, Unk’s b-day was yesterday… the 16th.
Dammit, Kindertrauma, you’ve done it again! While “You’ll like My Mother” has long been on my release-to-DVD wish list, I’d completely forgotten about “Curse of the Black Widow” until reading this post…and then memories of discussing itÂ excitedlyÂ on the playground came flooding back! Just anotherÂ title to add to my wish list now!!! I’ve still got my copy of the original “Making of Star Wars”, hosted by C-3PO and R2-D2Â standing inÂ what looks like the bridge of Dr.Who’s TARDIS. It wasÂ rereleased on VHS in the mid 90s as a cereal mail-in promo, right around the time the original trilogy was restored and remastered for its final VHS reissue (remember those dark boxes with the half-faces of a stormtrooper,Â Vader and Yoda on the sleeve?)Â
I had the best birthday ever, thanks to all the well wishers! I’ve been sort of trapped playing Playstation 3 for the last couple days. Someone knew to release God of War 3 on my birthday! Yahoo!
Oooh, I love me some You’ll Like My Mother and The Babysitter. They both have such a weird vibe. I think the latter may be attributed to all it’s Canadian-ness
Oh and Happy Birthday Unkle!!!
Addendum: Here’s yet another Patty Duke horror that I sadly neglected to include, SHE WAITS (1972)