Tonight on MeTV, we’re recruiting you to join the underground – with some archeological explorers who start by heading upwards- only to end up further down, deep in the realm of an underground civilization – surrounded by its pale population, as well as-the "Mole People"!
The movie begins in such a way that you may confuse it with some old high school educational film! Dr. Frank Baxter bores us with a lecture about the possibilities of what lies below the earth’s surface, until thankfully we join an expedition where archeologists make a strange find- a shard of pottery that seems a bit out of place up in a mountain range- even more so when it’s revealed it came from a mountain peak even higher up! The explorers decide they must head up to that peak, in spite of the treacherous climb- and manage to painfully work their way upwards, where they are stunned to find the remains of some ancient uncharted city! Even with their vast knowledge, the archeologists can’t explain how the place exists at such an elevation. As they wander the area, one of their party falls through the crumbling rock surface into a chasm so deep, his associates can't even see the bottom!
They decide to rappel down into the chasm- but the descent proves to be fatal to one member of the party- and results in a cave-in that traps the remaining group far below the surface. The survivors try to find a way back to the surface, stumbling through subterranean tunnels in darkness, and finally ending up face to face with a strange underground race, who take them prisoners!
They discover their captors are actually descendants of ancient Sumerians. Their eons of existing far underground without light has caused them to evolve into an albino state- pale and unable to stand bright light. They have enlisted, as servants, a mutant race of mole men, who have most likely always been subterranean dwellers- but now have become slaves to the Sumerians, who constantly mistreat the bizarre creatures, and force them to labor endlessly. The leaders of the pale folk start to threaten the unfortunate surface visitors, who are clever enough to contend that they happen to be emissaries of the gods, sent from the heavens that lie above. This makes the Sumerians pause, and cautiously treat them with some respect, even while harboring suspicions, but unwilling to risk upsetting their gods. The explorers also prove their godliness with the weapon they possess- a flashlight! That’s what I said- a flashlight. Its bright beam is actually painful to the underground race and causes great apprehension to them. To appease these “godsends”, they offer a feast of their underground comestibles, as well as a servant girl the men have defended. Her name is Adel (or, Adad, if you read the credits) an attractive young woman they refer to as “marked”, since she is far less pale than the others- and seems to be the only blonde in their underground civilization – which must be devoid of L’Oreal.
The god squad- I mean, explorers-Roger and Jud, explore the underground city, trying to learn as much as they can about the civilization- and possibly, a way to escape it. They witness the grisly custom of sacrificing victims to the gods by placing them in a compartment where they are exposed to “the Eye of Ishtar”- which leaves those sacrificed as charred husks! Meanwhile, the High Priest, who remains suspicious of the visitors, has serious doubts about whether they are, in fact, emissaries of the gods. He is also worried about losing the power he has over the populace to these newcomers- and plots to steal their flashlight. Yes, that’s just as ridiculous as it sounds. Things get tense when additional proof surfaces that the archeologists are NOT deities! Will the modern men find their lives at risk in a final battle fought by the Sumerians and the mole men?
The title creatures of this 1956 film certainly are top contenders with Universal’s Gill Man as the favorite 50s Universal monster. We’ll run down the cast of familiar actors- including John Agar, “Leave It to Beaver” s Hugh Beaumont , Alan Napier, who will show up again following our program on “Batman"-and Nestor Paiva. We’ll discuss the make-up design for the mole people, and , as part of our Sven shtick- present our much-requested “Svensurround” version of “Leave It to Beaver”( with some slight- and appropriate- changes)!
"The Mole People” surfaces on MeTV tonight at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central- if you need to find the exact time and channel in your neck of the woods, feel free to check your local TV listings or go to www.metv.com and click on "where to watch". Please note, DVR users- the listings service often changes what they title our show - so check if they are using the Svengoolie name or the name of the movie to make sure your recording will get done! Our Chicago area viewers get one more round with the “Werewolf of London” at 11 am on our sister station, WCIU, the U.
We had a great time last weekend at the Harvard Milk Days celebration, and look forward to more fun today at one of our annual stops- the Hardcore Hearse Club’s big event at the Brauerhouse in Lombard, IL. We’ll do autographs, pose for photos with you, and will have Sven merchandise available for purchase. There is an entry fee, and it’s a 21 and older event. Full information is under the “appearances” tab here on our site. More appearances coming up this summer!
Come sink to new depths with us tonight ( oh, THAT doesn’t sound right!) on MeTV!