£12.00Current stock: 2
Director: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Nancy Jo Berg
David Blight Jr.
Label: Something Weird Video
Jimmy, The Boy Wonder is the closest HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS ever came to making an all-out LSD-style drug film. Of course, that certainly wasn’t his intention. One of only two children’s films (!) made by the Godfather of Gore (the other being 1967’s The Magic Land of Mother Goose), Jimmy, The Boy Wonder is a whimsical musical meant to play at kiddie matinees back in 1966. But the damn thing is so strange and screwy and just out-and-out bizarre that any impressionable young child that saw this on the big screen is no doubt still suffering from flashbacks today.
On the first day of school, 8 year-old Jimmy Jaye says, "I wish time would stop!" and it does — cut to people in the neighborhood suddenly standing still. An old astronomer sends his magical (but chunky) daughter Aurora (NANCY JO BERG, wife of producer HAL BERG) to get Jimmy and start time again in "the great clock at the world’s end." Together, they travel through an el-cheapo Oz with the evil "Time Killer," Mr. Fig, hot on their heels. (Mr. Fig also sports painted-on eyebrows like Blood Feast’s Fuad Ramses.) Thrills include Aurora turning the screen red, a detour into "Slow Motion Land," and jellybeans raining down on the green-skinned "Tick-A-Tock-A-Tanny Indians" as Aurora belts out the non-hit tune "Beans" ("Beans, beans, marvelous beans...").
There’s also a (European?) cartoon sequence just shy of 20 minutes with dubbing so sloppy, it’s almost unrelated to what’s happening on screen. Characters often move their mouths without dialogue and when they do speak, it’s often after their character’s mouths have closed. Obviously, in stopping time, Jimmy has also stopped sync. The single worst offender is the Sylvester-like voice for the "Captain of the Cats" which was provided by Herschell himself.
Believe it or not, Jimmy, The Boy Wonder is actually perversely enjoyable, and it’s fascinating to see how Lewis handles material that’s not on the cutting edge of exploitation. Two of the songs were co-written by Miss Berg. It’s a shame Lewis didn’t also throw in the theme from Two Thousand Maniacs. Don’t blink and you’ll catch a cameo by Herschell’s favorite leading man WILLIAM KERWIN as a man mowing his lawn who suddenly gets "frozen" in time. The beginning and end were shot at Homestead, Florida’s Coral Castle (built by a middle-aged Latvian immigrant after being jilted on the altar by his sixteen-year-old bride-to-be) which was also the setting of Nude on the Moon and Wild Women of Wongo. lt is, of course, totally appropriate that Jimmy, The Boy Wonder should stand shoulder to shoulder with those two other crackpot classicks . Nevertheless, we feel compelled to offer the following Parental Warning: Show this film to your children and they will murder you in your sleep.
From the "Happy, Magical, All-New" 35mm negative. — Francois Pinky