The Incredible Inman: 'Gilligan's Island' Professor starred in 'Attack of the Crab Monster'

| Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, 8:50 p.m.

Question: In the late 1950s, I saw a monster movie that took place on a small island where giant crabs would kill people by cutting off their heads, and then they could mimic their voices. Can you tell me the title and if it's on DVD?

Answer: That's everyone's favorite, “Attack of the Crab Monster,” released in 1957 and produced and directed by B-movie schlockmeister Roger Corman. The giant crabs got that way through atomic mutation, and they gain intelligence by absorbing the brains of the cast and the audience.

The stars are Richard Garland, Pamela Duncan and Russell Johnson, who went on to play the Professor on “Gilligan's Island,” a place that was never visited by giant mutant crabs. Oh — and the voice of Hoolar, the giant crab, was provided by David Arvedon.

“Attack of the Crab Monsters” is on DVD.

Q: My dad tells me that he let my grandpa name me. And he named me after one of his favorite characters in a TV show that I believe is called “The Texas Rangers.” The name of the character was Reese. Can you give me any other information about the series? It was probably shown back in the early 1960s.

A: Sounds like the old man was a fan of “Laredo,” a Western series that ran on NBC from 1965 to '67. It dealt with the adventures of three Texas Rangers — Chad Cooper (played by Peter Brown), Joe Riley (William Smith) and Reese Bennett, played by Neville Brand. Reese was a tough ranger, but he was older and had a gravelly voice, so he was often the show's comedy relief.

During its first season, “Laredo” aired Thursday nights, up against the tough competition of “My Three Sons” on CBS and “Bewitched” on ABC. Then, it was moved to Friday, where it was trounced by “The CBS Friday Night Movie” and ended its run.

Q: When is “Mad Men” coming back on the air? Do we have to wait until next year?

A: The “Mad Men” people aren't saying when the show will return, but I'd bet sometime next spring or summer. The show just began filming season six last month, and the first episode will take place in Hawaii, where Don (Jon Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Pare) are vacationing.

Q: I would like to find out the title of the song and artist that was on the AMC show “Hell on Wheels.” At the end of the second season, the last episode, as Bohannon is carrying Lily Bell to the church, there is a song playing that continues through till the credits. Any help is appreciated.

A: The song is “Devil's Waitin',” by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Q: Many years ago, I saw a black-and-white movie about a leopard. It's being used in a nightclub act, but it escapes. The next scene I remember was a mother forcing her young daughter to go out at night and get bread — the girl was scared because she knew the leopard was loose, but went to the store. On the way home, she see the eyes of the leopard and runs home. Her mom won't let her in, because she dropped the bread. In the next scene, you see blood running under the door. Do you know the name of this movie, and is it available on DVD?

A: That movie is “The Leopard Man,” a 1943 film produced by Val Lewton and directed by Jacques Tournier, the team that gave us the classic “The Cat People.” The cast includes Dennis O'Keefe, Margo and Isabel Jewell. And it's on DVD.

Q: Being born in the middle 1950s, two of my favorite shows as a kid were “The Blue Angels” (about Air Force pilots) and “Cannonball” (about two truck drivers). Any information about both of them would be greatly appreciated.

A: First off, both “The Blue Angels” and “Cannonball” were syndicated shows, so that means that they were seen in some cities but not in others. So, if you don't remember them from when you were a kid, and you were also a kid in the 1950s, you don't necessarily have senile dementia.

“The Blue Angels” was produced in 1960 and featured the exploits of Cmdr. Arthur Richards (Dennis Scott) and Capt. Wilbur Scott (Warner Jones). A couple of episodes also featured a struggling young actor named — Burt Reynolds.

“Cannonball” was produced in 1958 and featured the exploits on long-haul truckers Mike Malone (Paul Birch) and Jerry Austin (William Campbell). A couple of episodes also featured a struggling young actor named — Howard Milsom.

Q: When I was a kid (late 1970s), I recall seeing a movie about a white man who woke up one morning as a black man. One of his efforts to turn himself back to a white man was filling up the bathtub with milk and soaking in it. Can you please tell me if this movie or show really exists, what the name of it is, and if it is on DVD?

A: The movie is 1970's “Watermelon Man,” with Godfrey Cambridge as the man and Estelle Parsons as his surprised wife. It's on DVD.

Write David Inman in care of The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal, 525 W. Broadway, P.O. Box 740031, Louisville, Ky. 40201-7431; or email him at Questions of general interest will be answered; personal replies are not possible.

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