Dr. Bob's minions tire away endlessly to help the good Doctor in the name of science,
but with what little downtime they get they would like to share with you fine people!
This month, I would like to talk about someone a few people reading this may be familiar with: Dick Miller. I grew up watching Dick Miller in several different films but mostly in the Roger Corman classic movies. I believe the earliest one I saw him in, or at least the one I loved him in most, was The Little Shop of Horror as Burson Fouch (or, as I called him as a child, the Flower Eater). I loved how odd this character was (he would come into the shop with his salt shaker looking for fresh flowers to eat) and how could I, as a child, not love him. Dick Miller also appeared in other Corman movies, A Bucket of Blood, It Conquered the World and The Terror. Personally, I would highly recommended the last one even though it is cheesy. The Terror benefits from also having the wonderful Boris Karloff and a very young Jack Nicholson.
One of the other very early things I saw Dick Miller in was V: The Final Battle where he played Dan Pascal, a not-overly-trusted human criminal who the Resistance hires. In case you haven't seen it, I won’t say too much about what happens to him, just please go see V: The Final Battle ASAP! It has everything you need: the '80s, an alien invasion, decent effects, Nazi symbolism, humor, and mostly wonderful acting. It has a very young Robert Englund (this is still my favorite role of his) and Michael Ironside. I remember watching it as a child. My parents had borrowed it from the library when I was about 8 and I loved it! Ever since then, I would insist on watching it every year or so.
Dick Miller played a lot of bit parts that most people likely never noticed him in. For instance, he was a Security Guard in Looney Tunes: Back in Action. He also was in a segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie as Walter Paisley, a very minor role during the segment "It's A Good Life," though he was not the most memorable part of that segment. That honor went to Kevin McCarthy, who was in The Ghastly Love of Johnny X that we showed last season. It was nice to see Dick Miller in the movie regardless.
My second favorite role of Dick Miller’s is that of Murray Futterman from Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch. If you don’t remember, Mr. Futterman was Billy’s old neighbor. I loved his anger and paranoia, even though he was right about the gremlins in the end. Because of the gremlins, Mr. Futterman had a lot of fairly funny moments and reactions throughout both films.
Several years ago, I found out Dick Miller also lent his voice to Batman: The Animated Series as Boxcar Bennett and, in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, as Chuckie Sol. Though neither of these are huge roles, it was very nice to hear him in the Batman cartoons. Most recently, I saw his appearance in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the 2-part episode "Past Tense." Again, he was playing an angry older man. Looking back, he seemed to play that role a lot. It could be because he played it so well and looked perfect for the role.
Dick Miller also played Herb Denning in Matinee, which is a movie near and dear to Midnight Monster Movies with Dr. Bob’s heart. When we were creating the show, Bob really wanted to use a lot of the classic shtick used during the movie in Matinee and, looking back, we've done a lot of them: monsters rampaging in the theater, protesters telling you not to come to the show (like our Igor Union protestor), and the nurse's station in case of fright-induced health problems (though Nurse Feratu is much better at pronouncing Igors dead than anything else). Here’s hoping Bob doesn’t try to shake the theater apart anytime soon.
Previously on Minion Musings...