Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Doug McClure [1935-1995]: The People That Time Forgot

One of the finest DVD double features money can buy.

I don't know if you were ever a fan of Actor Doug McClure [1935-1995] as a kid, but I loved Doug McClure. He was the ultimate B actor. He was also a man among men. McClure was a physical force unafraid to place acting secondary to action and adventure. Nobody did it better. He was in some devastatingly classic, bad, cheesy, terrific science fiction flicks including Humanoids From The Deep [1980], Warlords Of Atlantis [1978], The Land That Time Forgot [1974], At The Earth's Core [1976] and The People That Time Forgot [1977]. Film classics, of course, are in the eye of the beholder and these were wonderful pictures to see as a child. Unencumbered by poor special effects we were free to get lost in fantasy adventures. Avatar - eat your heart out. Okay, dinosaurs were made of rubber, but for their time the dinosaur special effects had motion and facial ticks that were good enough to completely hook my innocent little mind. We didn't sweat the small stuff back then. We simply enjoyed the promise of pure escape. Who better to guide us than Doug McClure?

Scripts were simple enough, but the submarine modelling and creature effects in films like The Land That Time Forgot, The People That Time Forgot and Warlords Of Atlantis simply left my mouth agape and my mind swirling lost in fully-realized, fictionalized worlds. For example, how about The People That Time Forgot's tagline, "They've found the missing link... To Mayhem!" Damn! It's not exactly hard science there. Yes, that about covers the film's intent. Now, you're talking! It may not be 2001: A Space Odyssey, but dang it's a great frolicking romp of a science fiction, fantasy, adventure like none you've ever graced your eyes upon.

The People That Time Forgot is a veritable smorgasbord of nifty sci-fi trivia by the way. The film, based on the writing of Edgar Rice Burroughs circa 1918, was directed by Englishman Kevin Connor. Connor directed a trilogy of these unforgettable films based on the work of Burroughs including The Land That Time Forgot [1974], followed by At The Earth's Core [1976] and finally The People That Time Forgot. Finally, he would also direct Warlords Of Atlantis [1978], a personal favorite of mine. My late father was a saint. Dad took me several times to our local drive-in theatre for Warlords Of Atlantis. I'm not sure what he got out of it, if anything at all, but I loved it and he was there for me. I remember that. I suppose it's a bit like seeing Transformers with my son today. My, how things have changed.

The People That Time Forgot was a direct sequel to The Land That Time Forgot, whereby the stars of The People That Time Forgot must find McClure's character, Bowen Tyler, stranded behind in a land that time forgot in The Land That Time Forgot. Whew! This can be confusing. You see, this was very complex stuff as a child. Hopefully you're still with me. Honestly, as a child, I remember being absolutely mortified that McClure's character, Tyler, was left behind in that lost world. I was scarred. How could they leave another human being behind with all of those dreadful, man-eating dinosaurs? What were those people thinking? I was marginally pleased as a young boy in my yellow terry cloth shorts [I wore them until I was well into my teens and took much ribbing for them] that Tyler was deserted with a hot babe to keep him company. So he wasn't completely alone. This was barely satisfying to my sensitive, fragile psyche. I think I appreciate the very un-Hollywood ending today more than ever.

An older Tyler Bowen returns, played once again by McClure, looking a bit like Dan Haggerty from The Life And Times Of Grizzly Adams [1974; 1977-1978] for The People That Time Forgot in a smaller guest-starring role. The People That Time Forgot stars none other than Patrick Wayne [Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger] [1977], son of the late and famous John Wayne. It also stars Sarah Douglas [see below] and Shane Rimmer [Warlords Of Atlantis] of Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds [1965-1966] acclaim of course.

After awhile you begin to see just how incestuous the film industry is in certain circles. This is certainly not necessarily a bad thing. It's just interesting.

The People That Time Forgot was nominated for Best Fantasy Film [1977] by the Academy of Science Fiction and Horror Films. It was also filmed partially at Pinewood Studios in England. That's right, THE Pinewood Studios, home of Space:1999 and the latter portion of UFO. You have to love the six degrees of separation or human web vibe found in classic science fiction like the Kevin Connor/ Doug McClure films. One more thing, did you know Kevin Connor directed two episodes of Space:1999, Year Two, Episode 9, Brian The Brain and Episode 13, Seed Of Destruction? It just blows the mind. The late, great Doug McClure passed away from cancer at the ripe young age of 59. McClure may be gone, but unlike the films in question here, he's among many of the people that have gone before, but are never to be forgotten especially by this fan. Here's a scene featuring the wonderful kid cool of Doug McClure. Honestly, does it get any better than this?

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Yes, no CGI here friends only the finest in latex rubber. Doug McClure is not only an ACTION MAN, but a man of calculated and well-timed actions. He's McClure the PLANNING MAN.

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Doug McClure was the man's man no doubt about it, a balls-to-the-wall, old school, bare knuckle brawler. He could get into a fisticuffs faster than you could pull a six shooter.

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Here's a scene for fans of Shane Rimmer, who also starred in Kevin Connor's Warlords Of Atlantis. The sequence also features Richard Le Parmentier [Admiral Motti in Star Wars] and Sarah Douglas [see below].

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Shane Rimmer wastes no time hitting on the primitive peoples time forgot either. I can't blame him here. Here's a little guide on how to pick up trashy, primitive, The People That Time Forgot babes should you need to know.

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I've recorded the trailer for The People That Time Forgot for our final human web test question and your amusement. Can you tell me who provides the voice of the trailer narration? Clues are within this very post.

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Actor Footnote: Sarah Douglas [1952-present]. English born. Douglas has had an intriguing resume including roles in Space:1999 [Year Two, Episode 12, The AB Chrysalis], Superman [1978], Superman II [1980], Falcon Crest [1983-1985], Conan The Destroyer [1984], V: The Final Battle [1984], Babylon 5 [1994] [Season One, Episode 9, Deathwalker], and Stargate SG-1 [Season Two, Episode 11 & 12, The Tok'ra]. For another interesting association check out the bottom of the entry on Richard Le Parmentier, formerly married to Sarah Douglas, for Space:1999, Year One, Episode 7, Missing Link.

6 comments:

Fritz "Doc" Freakenstein said...

I'm obviously a bit older than you S-FF, as I too have fond memories of watching a double feature at the Drive-in of The People that Time Forgot and The Land that Time Forgot, but I was a teenager going with my best friend on the first summer with my new driver's license. Sure, neither of these are great films, but McClure's charisma does a lot to carry these low budget adventures, and I can still have a good warm chuckle watching them today.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Exactly.

You're right there to understand the inherent magic of these films. McClure adds a certain charisma to the pictures. There is indeed something adventurous and fantastical about these pictures despite poor effects and the cast really injects fun into them. Kevin Connor really captured the moment, because they don't make films like this anymore. Some might say THANK GOD, but I treasure them for what they represented when I was a kiddo.

Marilynn Byerly said...

I grew up on TV Westerns as well as B movie SF.

My fondest memory of McClure is as Trampus on THE VIRGINIAN TV show.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Thanks for stopping by Marilynn.
The Virginan began in 1962 from what I can see and McClure received second billing roughly.

He was a natural. So much interesting classic television I'd love to explore. Perhaps in the next life. : )

My father loved Westerns. I should check them out in his memory.

NetherWerks said...

Thanks for stirring up some wonderful memories--Doug McClure was the Bruce Campbell of his day, don't you think? These movies were a lot of fun, despite the ultra-cheesy effects--the cast were having fun with the material and that shows through.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

ha. That's a very interesting analogy and one that makes a lot of sense really. I like Bruce Campbell in much the same way I loved McClure.

McClure was a classic and really had an impact on the things I enjoyed growing up.

Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment Netherwerks.

Take care,
SFF