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UPDATE: Report from the ‘MANOS’ Premiere

UPDATE: On his blog, Doug Pullen of the El Paso Times reports on this event, plus he has dirt on some the behind-the-scenes stuff that led to the event being moved. A few days later he had more, including quotes from Kevin.

Alert Regular Nate, aka “Disco 3:16” attended Saturday night’s premiere of the restored “Manos” The Hands of Fate. Here’s his report.

Hello from the Sun City! On Saturday, my wife and I had the pleasure to attend the world re-premiere of Manos: The Hands of Fate. The screening, part of the Plaza Classic Film Festival, was initially scheduled to be held at the Kendle Elizabeth Kidd Performance Hall, the main venue of the Plaza Theatre, but was moved to a ballroom at the nearby Camino Real Hotel because another event in the festival ran long. The original premiere of the film was held at the Capri Theater, which stood where the hotel’s fountain and entrance now sit. I’d estimate there were about 200 or so at the screening, including a striking pair in costume as Margaret and Michael from the movie.

The screening was hosted by Ben Solovey, the man restoring the film. The film shown was about 90 percent restored, and while a few spots were definitely still rough, the overall picture was much sharper and truer to what I would imagine the initial premiere looked like. Solovey confirmed that he has made sure to keep the sound synchronization, or, more accurately, the lack thereof, intact. The audience was very receptive, and laughter filled the room for the majority of the movie. Applause broke out both at the title screen and the end credits, when each major actor and Hal Warren’s Producer/Director credit got a separate round of applause.

Jackey Neyman-Jones, who played the little girl Debbie, was the guest star for this event. She helped introduce the film by explaining how her father, Tom Neyman (who played the Master and whose sculpture and artwork is displayed throughout the film), had fallen asleep in 1993 with the TV on, only to wake up to familiar music and his own face staring back at him. After he had called his daughter about seeing the film on “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” she had called in to Comedy Central to see about obtaining a print of the film they had recently shown of which she had been a part. The operator at Comedy Central asked her which film, and upon hearing the name, he said, “Oh my God, you’re Debbie!” Apparently the people in the call center had been big fans of the movie after it ran there.

After the film, Solovey and Neyman-Jones hosted a Q&A session, where some well-known and lesser-known stories were told. All the voices were later dubbed by three people: Hal Warren, Tom Neyman and a voice actor from the sound studio who did all the female voices. Neyman’s sculptures of hands were his specialty, and he was the one who suggested the name “Manos: The Hands of Fate” to the largely non-Spanish-speaking crew after a previous suggestion of “Fingers of Fate.” My wife had asked about the local reaction to the film, and Neyman-Jones related the first review that treated Manos as a comedy, the day after the premiere, with the headline, “Hero Massaged to Death.” Apparently the reviewer treated Torgo as the hero, and his quest to break away from the Master as the main plot. On a more sober note, she also cleared up the rumors of John Reynolds demise, stating he had taken his life six weeks prior to the premiere, and referring to him as a troubled young man, whom had always treated her nicely during shooting.

The World Re-Premiere of Manos: The Hands of Fate was truly a great event, and I’m glad we were able to attend. Being El Paso’s most well known independent film, I look forward to the eventual showing of the completed print at a future Plaza Classic Film Festival.

Your intrepid reporter and Jackey Neyman-Jones.

34 Replies to “UPDATE: Report from the ‘MANOS’ Premiere”

  1. Tormented says:

    Thanks, Nate. I had wondered who dubbed Torgo’s voice. It sounds like a much better-received event than the original premiere.


  2. losingmydignity says:

    Fingers of Fate! I love it.

    Sounds like a good time was had by all. Bless Hal Warren.

    I wonder who did Torgo’s voice: Neyman or Warren?

    P.S. I hope someone asked Jackie which student she was in Curse of Bigfoot for all us rifftrax fans.

    And did the master (dad) approve of the MST riffing?


  3. Smirkboy says:

    This report reminds me of an episode of a very short-lived mid-Eighties series called “Roomies” starring Burt Young as a former Army sergeant who goes back to school at a big college. The episode was about an old Army training film Young’s character starred in that grew a cult following in the college.

    Young’s character was not happy about his film being spoofed. I bet the cast of “Manos” felt the same way in 1966.


  4. seanchristopher says:

    That’s great that it was re-premiered where the original was. Can’t wait to see the remastered version and RiffTrax Live!


  5. BathTub says:

    Rifftrax aren’t using this restored version btw, they have a different copy.


  6. Goshzilla says:

    Yes, the RiffTrax folks say they’re using a clearer (and uncut) print than was featured on MST3k that should hold up better on the big screen, but not the not-quite complete restoration, which is too bad – that would quite the bit of synergy.

    Still, it’s fascinating how much attention for Manos has crawled out of the fringe woodwork all around the same time, what with the restoration, RiffTrax event, production of the “sequel,” stage adaptations, and the mobile game. It can’t be mere coincidence. The second coming of Manos in 2012? Those wacky Mayans may have been on to something…


  7. Brandon says:

    I always wondered what Jackie looked like now. In a way she kind of looks like one of my aunts.


  8. lancecorbain says:

    Goshzilla-stage productions? Seriously?


  9. ck says:

    The Master will be pleased.

    And how about another film, about how Debbie escaped, was deprogrammed,
    and led a team of anti-manos hitwomen (featuring Kate Beckinsale) to
    clean out the Master’s lair (and stop those randy teenagers making out).


  10. Dan in WI says:

    I’m going to guess Neyman voiced Torgo. It just doesn’t sound right for Warren. But it is just a guess.

    I wonder if this voicing fact was known when this episode was scripted. There were riffs to the effect but did they actually know it to be true?


  11. Eric says:

    Funny story about Tom Neyman waking up and seeing himself on MST3K!


  12. GizmonicTemp says:

    What a great review!
    I had a dream I saw myself on MST3K, too.
    Hmmm. Torgo as the hero trying to escape the clutches of the Master? I can see that. Perhaps there could be a Manos reboot that takes more of that sort of angle. Yes! Torgo could ducttape together a flame thrower and minigun and descend into the Master’s realm to save Debbie!

    G-get a–way from h-her, y-y-you @-@-@!%$#



  13. Captn Ross Hagen says:

    Now Debbie you can have the top up, or a Birthday party.


  14. Goshzilla says:

    @lancecorbain: Oh, it’s true. I can think of at least two: “Manos, the Rock Opera of Fate” and “Manos, Hands of Felt” (an all-puppet production).


  15. Disco 3:16 says:

    Thanks everyone. While most of the cast was apparently unhappy with the final product (the phrase “we’ll fix it in post” became the battle cry near the end), little Jackey cried through the premiere because her voice was dubbed over. The Master did approve of the MST treatment, as did Ms. Neyman-Jones, though both were more surprised than anything at its popularity. Nobody asked about Curse of Bigfoot that I recall, but my wife did make an audio recording of the q&a, so I’ll check for any other bits I missed.


  16. losingmydignity says:

    Thanks for the follow up on my questions!


  17. MattKelly says:

    Woah, any chance your wife could share that audio? Also, did anyone get some good snaps of the couple in costume?


  18. agrob says:

    yes, please upload a copy of the q and a audio to [file sharing site name here]!


  19. lancecorbain says:

    Goshzilla-that’s incredible, even tho my feeble searchings ’round the net have left me with the probable prospects of ever seeing one of those equal with ever seeing a live performance of Evil Dead: The Musical….not too many touring companies. I’m all for a rock movie musical remake a la Little Shop Of Horrors, tho, as long as they don’t test-screen it into a(BAD) happy ending. God I love this website. Will buy more shirts soon, I promise.


  20. porp0ise says:

    Thanks for a great report.


  21. Cambot says:

    My fingers twitch as I type this, but I look forward to the Blu-Ray.

    Also, great report!


  22. Brandon says:

    I was curious to see if I could pinpoint the airing where Tom Neyman might have discovered MST3K riffing Manos, so I looked through the broadcast schedule archives…

    1993 airings:

    1/30 10 a.m. & 7 p.m. [424] Manos, the Hands of Fate (New)

    5/1 10 a.m. & 7 p.m. [424] Manos, The Hands of Fate

    11/24 10 p.m. [424] Manos, the Hands of Fate


  23. Disco 3:16 says:

    At the very least, we plan to make a transcript of the recording. Not sure of the quality yet, but if it’s reasonably postable, we’ll do our best to do so.


  24. radioman970 says:

    Looks like she got over the loss of that doggie…


  25. Brandon says:

    “Looks like she got over the loss of that doggie…”

    In reality, the Master’s doberman, was Jackie’s dog.


  26. Gorn Captain says:

    There needs to be a movie about the making of Manos, and it’s long strange journey from obscurity to cult film. The Brains could reunite and play themselves in the film.


  27. radioman970 says:

    @ Brandon. I like that. Only thing better are the mini-pins. They’re exactly the same only smaller. Everything else is intact. I don’t have one, but my neighbor did, and “Molly” just loved me. she protected both our houses. Nobody came by that we didn’t know about. ;) I plan to get one once “space” is made in my household. :( I hope it’s a long time from now though…

    @ Gorn. Excellent ideas.


  28. itsspideyman says:

    I want to know what happened to the dog. :-)


  29. GizmonicTemp says:

    radioman970 #27 – Mini-pins are AWESOME dogs! One-quarter the size, same “bring it on” attitude. Plus, they don’t shed or eat much and they have miniature, umm, droppings. Not sure how good they are with kids, but if they are good, I’m seriously considering getting one. My neighbor had one and he was so much fun!


  30. TrumpyCanDoMagicthings says:

    Was anybody else curious about the conflicting reasons given by both reporters for the film being moved to another location? The blog posts indicated that it was due to a phone call threatening legal action. I certainly hope this wasn’t the case. As insane as copyright law issues are nowadays, all we need is for The Worst Movie Ever Made to be ripped from the public domain and put in the center of another endless, muddy court case. Sigh.


  31. Angelo says:

    @ TrumpyCanDoMagicthings – The article seems to imply that the legal threat came from Rupert Munch, Sequel Guy. Considering that he claimed to be best buddies with Hal Warren’s son, and that their competing ‘restoration’ never materialized, this seems like just the kind of thing they’d try to pull…


  32. radioman970 says:

    @ GizmonicTemp. This one LOVED me. LONG story, but the stupid neighbors neglected her. (left out cold, no dog house, she nearly chocked and I saved her, ….on and on) They had kids… She seemed to be pretty good with them, smaller kids. If teased, I think the biting would start though so the kids would have to be trained as well. lol Most dogs can be that way though… (the really LONG part that can be skipped follows now) She was at my house 95% of the time ( I provided an igloo doghouse on my carport for her and another neighbor’s dog that also had no dog house and sub-freezing temps…) I offered to take her but they said no… they moved away with her. Last time I saw her she was fat and didn’t recognize me since I was on my motorbike street/trail. Barked at me like I was in trouble. lol I called her name and she stopped, completely dumbfounded. I always wear a hat, but had that helmet… if I’d had my hat she would have smothered me in little mini-pin kisses. Btw, I won’t put up with that kind of neglect anymore from neighbors and their pets (and children either, for that matter…). I’ll make it my business and call the damn animal control (or whoever) at the drop of a hat. There is actually a lot more to this… including yet another dog these people had left out in the cold. I took that one in after they left and the poor thing died in my hands of parvo, I could only hold the poor thing while it choked to death. Awful… I got her to vet a few days before because she was having the symptoms, but Parvo can be tricky. The vet didn’t catch it for some reason. That was pretty horrible. Sweet little dog. And I had to go on a cleaning frenzy, made myself very sick doing it. Long long long story. lol All is well now. I’ll never let that happen again. Sorry about bringing this down…


  33. trickymutha says:

    Excellent job Mr. Doug Pullen. I had the honor of working with Doug at the Flint Journal. He’s a great writer, and big time Rolling Stone fan.


  34. Creeping Terror says:

    Why was there confusion over John Reynolds’s (Torgo’s) death? His death certificate is accessible online and it clearly says that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This info is also on Wikipedia with the source as his death certificate. Where does this confusion come from?


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