For Mummyphiles everywhere, Me-TV takes the wraps off another chapter in the Universal Mummy saga, as, on the day which marks EXACTLY 33 years that I have been the Sven character, we bring you the “sequel” to Boris Karloff’s original “Mummy” film- ‘The Mummy’s Hand”.
Why do I have “sequel” in quotes? Well, although the history given for the Mummy and his princess is pretty well lifted from the original Karloff flick- including repurposing footage from that film- “only the names have been changed to protect the innocent”, as they used to say on “Dragnet”… in this case, to protect the Im-ho-tep; the name of the Mummy and his princess are different from those used in the first film. Otherwise, they appear to be the same characters- played by other actors.
The story starts as a dying priest of the cult that has kept the Mummy Kharis (not Im-ho-tep…see?) alive to protect the tomb of the Princess Ananka (not Anksenahmen…double see?) passes on the secrets of the tanna leaves that keep the Mummy alive to his successor- and reminds him that, should anyone despoil the tomb of the Princess- the Mummy must be given the full count of tanna leaf tea to revive him fully and protect her burial place.
Naturally, we get the feeling that that just might happen, when a couple American archeologists discover an ancient vase in a marketplace that appears to be a clue to the location of the Princess’ lost tomb. In spite of opposition, they manage to secure funding for the expedition to locate the tomb from a fellow American- a goofy magician, whose daughter at first thinks the whole thing is a scam, but is won over by the handsome archeologist Steve.
Meanwhile- the protective cult has caught wind of the plan to locate the tomb, and brings the Mummy back to full strength-and soon, the shambling menace is killing off members of the expedition- and the lovely magician’s daughter ends up in mortal danger!
This 1940 film- made about eight years after the original- stars cowboy star Tom Tyler under the bandages and make-up as the living Mummy. We’ll fill you in on what the deal is with an unusual effect done on his eyes! (You might consider him a “transitional Mummy” since , in the next film, 1942’s “Mummy’s Tomb”, Lon Chaney Jr. takes over the role of Kharis, and continues in that role for the rest of the sequels. )George Zucco takes his place as the new high priest, who will be showing up in sequel after sequel (as will the footage from the beginning of the film of him walking up the stairs to the ancient temple!) Leading man Dick Foran and love interest Peggy Moran are joined by comic relief sidekick Wallace Ford, and additional comedy comes from the bankrolling magician played by Cecil Kellaway.
This film also seemed to set the trend for the sequels of rehashing the original “Mummy” origin, often including the footage from the original film, sometimes augmented with added cuts of Tom Tyler to replace the Karloff shots. Hence, when we’ve shown movies from this series close together, some viewers feel they’re sitting through the same movie over and over again. Once again- you have to remember that there were years between these films, so the repetition was necessary to remind movie-goers of the previous action, and educate those who hadn’t seen the films.
YOU can see the film tonight on Me-TV- 10 pm eastern, 9 pm central, 1 am on San Francisco’s KOFY, or, please check your local listings.
In Chicago, please enjoy “I Saw What You Did: at 11 am on WCIU- the U- and , at 3 pm on U Too, in honor of my 33rd anniversary as Sven, we’ve got our 30th anniversary show , featuring “Attack of the Puppet People”!
I just might write a little about this anniversary in tomorrow’s blog…