Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Boogie Man Will Get You


This one was labeled a “spoof” of horror movies, starring Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre and no one else you’ve ever heard of. As if you weren’t sure it was a spoof, the music under the opening credits was so Munster-like that I seriously wondered if it had been the inspiration for that show. Boris is a kindly (not obviously mad) scientist who lives in an old Colonial Inn and is conducting experiments in the basement. He’s not trying to make a monster, and he’s not trying to kill anyone, but the door-to-door salesmen he uses as his subjects keep dying on him. The bodies are starting to stack up. Peter Lorre is a quack medical doctor, and a woman named Jeff Donnell is a young flibbertigibbet who buys the rundown old hulk in the hope of making it into a thriving hotel.
I mention her because, in looking her up, I was flabbergasted to find that she was the aviatrix who featured in the most memorable scene in Tora! Tora! Tora! If you’ve seen it, you’ll know the one. She’s a flight instructor with a student up front. She looks around her and sees the whole Japanese invasion force heading for Pearl Harbor, says something like “I’ll take over now,” and nosedives toward the pineapple fields. Got a big laugh. My favorite scene in the movie.
This was an actual incident, by the way, and the woman was Cornelia Clark Fort, who later was a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (later the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs), the unsung heroines (38 out of 1,000 died) who took the brand new warplanes as they rolled off the assembly lines in Fort Worth and Seattle and flew them to the combat troops in the Pacific and European theaters. The actual incident, by the way, was not so funny, according to Wiki. The Jap Zero pursued her to the ground and strafed her and her student, who had to run for their lives. Amazing what you can discover noodling around on the Internet, inspired by a nothing little movie like this.