Monday, August 25, 2008

Debris from Seth's Attic

"The Turkey that Ate St. Louis" (1969)


A real Turkey that Seth and Molly found in Seth's Attic - an old 16mm movie made in Seth's salad days. It's hard to believe that this was the main course.



Seth comments:

One of the many doubtful activities of my youth was making films. I started doing this at age 11, and by the time I was a teenager, my buddy Jerry Rebold and I had already constructed a sound system that occasionally worked with our wind-up, 16mm camera.

In 1967, while in grad school, fellow student Bob O’Connell, Jerry Rebold and I made a half-hour film entitled “The Teenage Monster Blob from Outer Space, Which I Was.” This parody of 1950s sci-fi films starred six pounds of Play-Doh.

The film bombed. It was, as O’Connell called it, “a turkey.” This disgusting failure prompted us to change our cinematic strategy in two ways: (1) our next film was just going to be a trailer, rather than a complete film – that way we could save money and just put in the good parts, and (2) if we were making turkeys, why not make a REAL turkey?

Ergo, this short “preview” film, shot mostly at Caltech and at that school’s Owens Valley Radio Observatory. Observant viewers will note then-department chair Jesse Greenstein in the role of Walter Cronkite, and a few other astronomers too (including yours truly).

“The Turkey that Ate St. Louis” was entered in the Baltimore International Film Festival, and automatically inserted into the feature-film category, where it faced competition from major motion pictures from both America and Europe. Despite this uneven playing field, “The Turkey” lost.

“The Teenage Monster Blob” eventually became more popular. Too late.

17 comments:

Lourdes / Hypatia said...

Is it Seth in the movie, as an actor? if that's so, which one is he?

I can't wait for part II...the fish that ate the turkey that ate San Luis...now it's Easter terror!

Tiare Rivera said...

hahaha, that was funny one Lourdes.
And what if a Man eat the fish that ate the turkey in San Luis? O.o Would have he carried secret alien DNA?

I was expecting to see Seth as the super heroe at the end, having a mano a mano fight with the Turkey, but that of course, would have needed more special effects! :D

Eamonn said...

A visionary film. A warning for the future. Pass the cranberry sauce.

Cris said...

That was hysterical, thanks for sharing!

Cris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ren said...

I laughed. I cried. I'll give it two thumbs up, but only if served along with mashed potatoes and some buttery rolls.
Talk about "nuking the fridge"... If this had caught on, the term would be "nuking the turkey", which is what I do for the two weeks or so after Thanksgiving.

Thor Jarle said...

That was more fun than I imagined after hearing about it on the podcast :)

the ghosts of thanksgivings past said...

I'll have to make my animal rights students watch this over Thanksgiving Break. I hope you will give me permission to post this on my blog, Seth.

P.S. I bet your old girlfriend won't be happy that you posted a film showing her lying on the ground in her underwear on the Internet. ha ha ha ha ha. (5).

Anonymous said...

Dr. Shostak, 9/2/8

I also made a few films back in the 60's when I was in grad school (UMass) - They were raw amateur (hand lettered titles, etc) - just for fun. Yours actually looks pretty good in comparison and a well humored SiFi spoof at that.

There are services that will transfer it to DVD - inexpensive and worth it for archival purposes and to pass it on to friends and family.

In mine, I placed a camera on a dash mount looking out of the passenger side windshield, set the time lapse rate at one exposure every ten seconds. I then drove accross the US from Massachusetts to California at 50 mph.

You could see the entire US go by at about 3500 mph.

Anyway, keep your computer listening for them thar aliens and screw the UFOlogists.

Henry Hartzog
SETI Member

14 year old 2.0 anarchist said...

Wow, this is a really dynamic blog! Almost a whole month and no new entries! Aren't there at least 5 people on the staff?

I was waiting to say something about how utterly lame Andrew Keen was with his totally reactionary elitist paranoia of 14-year-olds who might post content on the Internet.

His hysteria reminded me of that of those old white male profs who freaked out in the 1970s and 80s when "The Canon" was opened up to include literature and art by women and people of color.

Maybe he can build some kind of "Internet Bedroom Community" for elite people only -- some kind of intellectual [Berlin / USA-Mexico / Israel-Palestine] Fire/Wall(ed) and "Gated" online community for "His Kind". 14-year-olds Verboten!

I hope that Keen is not on the message-designing committee if we are ever in a position to reply to an ET signal!

Mary Vance-Scott said...

Barbara Vance, I googled you and found this blog. Fun Stuff! Hope all is well on the west coast!

Coutelier said...

And no Hollywood producer has picked this up yet? Unbelievable. I for one would definitely have paid to see this... although where I live I may have to wait for it to come out on wax cylinder.

It's a glimpse into the future; our pets and domesticated animals are going to take over the world when we're gone. All they're doing now is watching and learning from us, biding their time until the glorious day...

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Ergo, this short “preview” film, shot mostly at Caltech and at that school’s Owens Valley Radio Observatory. Observant viewers will note then-department chair Jesse Greenstein in the role of Walter Cronkite

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I'll have to make my animal rights students watch this over Thanksgiving Break. I hope you will give me permission to post this on my blog, Seth.
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Psycho said...

I was watching the other day an old film where a big rottweilers was killing people in a town, I never knew the name of the film, but it was very good.

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This is incredible because imagine making videos at that age, it's terrific it talks very well of you, I'D like to do something like that but I think I'm too old to begin with.

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