Saturday, September 21, 2013

1962 - Jack Webb's Red Nightmare

Peter Breck is part of the Communist menace in 1962's Red nightmare

ATTENTION, all right thinking Americans and their god fearing allies at sea and around the world. It's 1962, Francis Gary Powers is locked up in Moscow, JFK is banging Giancana's girlfriend in the White House, while nuclear missiles are heading for Cuba, the Cold War is about to go hot and all right thinking citizens know for certain that the dreaded communist conspiracy to overthrow everything good and right about our life in the United States is the sole goal of the soulless, godless, political masters, practicing their destructive, vodka soaked political lie in Moscow.

Every good American knows, every good American is vigilant and every good American is aware.

Every good American but Jerry Donovan that is.

Jack Kelly as Jerry Donovan in Red Nightmare (1962)

See Jerry might be a good guy, he was a boy scout, served in the Army, pays his taxes and tries to be a good citizen. Jerry truly believes that he loves his country, and yet, Jerry doesn't have time to go to the meetings of his local city council or to be active in his local Parent Teachers Association. Yes, Jerry's a good sort, but he's the one thing a real American just can't afford to be in 1962, Jerry Donovan is complacent.

Jerry thinks that the USA will take care of itself, and that individual citizens don't need to pay attention to the communist conspiracy taking place all around us. Luckily for Jerry, and the rest of those so-called Americans wanting to disarm, integrate, join the Peace Corp or some other suspiciously pink organizations, Jack Webb and the good people at the Department of Defense Directorate for Armed Forces Information and Education are here to set Jerry and all the other Jerry's out there straight about the communist menace in their midst.

Jack Webb is here to warn America about the Communist threat, Red Nightmare (1962)

Now 50 years later are YOU, yes, YOU,  modern hipsters with your cheap twerking and socialized education are YOU willing to see the true face of communism, are YOU ready for......the Red Nightmare!!!!!

Are you ready to face the Red Nightmare???

Directed by george waGGner (don't look at me, that's how he spelled it), the director of the Universal horror classic, The Wolfman, and starring Jack Webb, Red Nightmare, features the classic Dragnet star and at the time this was shot, the president of Warner Brothers Television in his best no nonsense manner, taking us to an insidious copy of an American town deep inside of the Soviet homeland where agents train to go undercover in the United States passing themselves off as average citizens.

Moving on to any town USA, we meet Jerry Donovan, played by Bart Maverick actor, Jack Kelly, a good guy but not a man worried about the communists at his doorstep. One night in his sleep Webb shows Jerry what life would be like if his home town and the communist copy in Russia merged.

Things aren't looking good for the people of Anytown, USA. Red Nightmare (1962)

Suddenly Jerry's wife is a cold, emotionless member of the party, his daughter is heading off to work on a collective farm, his younger children have volunteered to move into state schools, his daughters all-American boyfriend (played by Ride the Wild Surf's, Peter Brown) is now a member of the ruling military council, and worst of all Jerry's young co-worker is now a total communist automaton.

The commies always try to get to the young people first. Red Nightmare (1962)

It wouldn't be so bad but the co-worker is played by Robert Conrad.

Do you hear me Robert Conrad!! Robert..Wild, Wild, West..Conrad!!!

Comrade, I dare you to knock this battery off of my shoulder!!!!

A world where Pappy Boyington is just another communist stooge is a world that none of us should want to live in!

Pappy Boyington - Commie!!!!

Eventually Jerry is taken before the local judiciary to face a show trial for his resistance to the glorious rise of communism and socialism. Jerry makes an impassioned speech defending American values, and is sentenced to be shot by his communist masters.

Andrew Duggan is honestly not that convincing as a communist, but he at least tries.

After being tortured by the head commie (Peter Breck, later of the Big Valley) Jerry is then summarily executed just like all good Americans who dare to stand up to the commie thugs.

It's all over for Jerry Donovan, Red Nightmare (1962)

Rising the next morning almost like Scrooge on Christmas Day, Jerry finds himself back in his normal non Robert Conrad being a commie world, deciding from then on to be vigilant and to pay attention to his government, his schools, and to always keep his eyes open and his powder dry, waiting for the day the communists arrive.

Jerry lucked out to wake up in the good old US of A., Red Nightmare (1962)

Shot is sharp contrast black & white, and played with that same kind of straight delivery that Webb had perfected on Dragnet, Red Nightmare is an in your face expose of the communist menace, that at the time might have seemed a bit over the top, but not so over done as to not be an effective piece of propaganda.