UHF Memories

This post will make me seem older than I am but it is more a function of how old I am plus we never had the cable tv. There are random old movies that would show on the channel that was accessed by the lowed dial, and the stations were always double digit numbers between 15 and 50. Channel 20 was ours before it turned in VHF 13. I suspect a large number of you are now completely lost. It is the reverse of you tell your grandparents about MySpace. Oh well!

Anyhow, these movies might show once, or once a year or maybe more than that, but they certainly weren’t on the cable TV constant repeat where you could really get to know them. Sometimes they were broadcast under a different title from the theatrical release so you’d be hard pressed to figure out what the movie was really called. On top of that there are some really hazy memories from maybe catching one of these old movies as a kid. Some movies were cult classics, so it was something that would come along againt later in life. I always thought it was hilarious that I caught The Warriors before anyone I knew had ever heard about it, and before Wu Tang even existed. Most of the films I am talking about are old westerns or old black and white movies (maybe they were in color, but the TV wasn’t, at least not until later).

Last night I caught an old John Wayne/Kirk Douglas western The War Wagon. Kind of a western/heist mash-up, but all of a sudden I realized that I had seen the movie before when I was a wee little Pinko. I remember my dad explaining to me what a Gatling gun was, and what nitroglycerin was (two main plot points), and in my hazy memories, that those two things might relate to the same movie. It was kind of trippy in that as a kid I had no knowledge of Kirk Douglas or John Wayne, nor had I remembered retroactively that they were even in this movie. Fun fact for super nerds, the guy that played Charlie X in the Star Trek “I didn’t like them so I made them go away” episode was in this movie too.

I know there are random bits of movies in my head that I will never know unless I happen to see them again randomly. Can anyone help me out with a western of a mountain man getting hunted by bad guys, and the big scene at the end of the movie involves the good guy starting an avalanche to get away from the bad guys? That movie is stuck in my head for some reason.

40 Responses to “UHF Memories”


  • In order to respond coherently to this post, I’ll need to know how many hits of mescaline you took, and how long ago you took them.

  • jexter, just tell me about the frickin’ mountain man movie, OK?

    Help a Pinko out.

  • Jeremiah Johnson w/ Bob Redford.

  • THANK YOU! I thought that is what it was. I think that was one where I did happen to see it again, but then forgot that I had identified the movie, so I actually had forgotten it twice, once as a wee Pinko, then as an older Pinko who knew better. Why the hell is this amazing avalanche scene not described anywhere on the internet? You can type “avalanche western snow Jeremiah Johnson movie” and get bupkus. A-holes.

    jexter gets 1 billion points.

    So any movies that you remember bits and pieces of?

  • I pulled that out of my ass. Who am I, Siskel and Ebert?!? You’re obviously in a very impressionable state tonight – perfect for hypnosis!

    You are getting sleeeeepy…The Movie was called “The Burly Dude”, starring Roddy McDowell as “Spanky” and set in China during the Hong Dynasty. Vin Diesel had a cameo as lame street urchin with a heart of gold. The avalanche scene was filmed in Florida.

  • You asshole!

    I am so mad.

    I need to know the name of that movie. Do not toy with me. The lazers have a way of shooting at the crystal I have planted on your face!

  • He’s a lumberjack and he’s ok
    He sleeps all night and he works all day

    I cut down trees. Start an avalanche.
    I go to the lavatory.
    On Wednesday’s I go shoppin’
    And have chunderscones for tea

  • I wish I could help a Pinko out, but, alas, I cannot.

    The Movie was called “The Burly Dude”, starring Roddy McDowell as “Spanky” and set in China during the Hong Dynasty. Vin Diesel had a cameo as lame street urchin with a heart of gold. The avalanche scene was filmed in Florida.

    That is hysterical.

  • This post brought back memories of my parents yelling at me not to spin the UHF dial do damned fast. Back in the days when my father’s remote control was me.

    Pinko, the movie you’re thinking of is The Apple Dumpling Gang Meets the Donner Party, featuring the controversial scene where a deliriously hungry Don Knotts eats Tim Conway while Pia Zadora (playing Conway’s wife) stares in horror before joining Knotts.

  • where a deliriously hungry Don Knotts eats Tim Conway while Pia Zadora (playing Conway’s wife) stares in horror before joining Knotts

    We have now reached the point where fantasy and reality have blurred for me.

  • That whole series of …Meets the Donner Party” movies was awesome!

    Remember in Lady and the Tramp Meet the Donner Party when they’re nibbling on opposite ends of the same piece of “spaghetti”, and it turns out to be a human tendon? What a hoot!

  • I visualize Pinko getting more and more frustrated as the descriptions of avalanche-oriented movies becomes more and more outrageous and we discard the OP entirely, wherein he finally throws his computer through his tv in frustration and goes on a Take 5 annihilation rampage.

    Remember Abbott and Costello meet the Donner Party? Lou and Bud are eating a fine meal served up by their hosts, when someone tells Costello he’s eating someone’s hindparts, and he sputters “Ab-Ab-Ab Abbott! that man says I’ve been eating someone’s rectum!!” and Abbott replies “Rectum? damn near KILLED ’em!”

    I think that was their last movie. Quality was going way down by then.

  • From the people who brought you The Man from Snowy River and The Return of the Man from Snowy River, Tim Conway Twitty stars in The Man Who Starts Avalanches to Get Away from the Bad Guys. Coming soon in glorious digital 3D.

  • You are bastard people.

  • I was a big fan of The Bowery Boys Meet the Donner Party, where the Boys raise the spirits of the beleagured pioneers by getting a stickball game going using a femur and skull. Hilarty ensues when Huntz Hall hits the last skull into a 10,000 foot crevasse, then finds hidden treasure and a werewolf while looking for it.

  • A Very Brady Donner Party

    Alice surprises everyone by knowing some very unusual recipes.

  • My Dinner With Andre and the Donner Party

    Donner Party Revisited — When Oxford is snowed in for several months some of the professors reveal their more unusual eccentricities. Then the claret runs out…

  • Herbie Goes Bananas on the Donner Party, where a ravenous Love Bug avoids running out of gas makes his own D85 fuel out of the settlers.

  • Snakes on a Plane with the Donner Party

  • “My Dinner With Andre and the Donner Party”

    I think I still have the action figures for that one!

  • The Three Bulls Commentariat Meets The Donner Party Meets The Gigantic Dual Volcano/Fountain of Bounteous Death and Eternal Flames II-More Pain

  • remember “Voyagers! Meet the Donner Party”? when everyone was about to escape down the mountain, so Phineas Bogg had to trick them back to the cabin, using his manly wiles on the lovely Althea Donner, then the snowstorm blew in, and history was saved so that decades later we could all make Donner Party jokes! Whew!

  • Kathleen is try to have get more swag with awesome comment.

  • Thomas à Donner Party in which the Pinko of Pork says, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome commentariat?”

  • PP, I want the movie to be “the Searchers” with John Wayne at his best worst. I suspect there was a little more spaghetti in the western you are looking for.

    I really just remember the Creature Double feature on Sunday afternoons making me fiddle with that inner knob, and of course i remember the Wierd Al movie.

  • Who can for get The absent minded professor meets the Donner party, when professor Ned Brainard finally reveals the secret ingredient for flubber: solient green.

  • Ha, Searchers was on right after “The War Wagon”- I need to diss the Searchers revisionists- it is awesome. There has been a backlash lately, but eff the haters.

    I forgot to mention the Creature Features. That was so the UHF!

  • The Blob! changed my young life.

  • Eds, you were my last hope on the avalanche movie.

    Look, it’s the 3B commentariat, led by jexter!

  • The Aristocrats Meet the Donner Party

    A family of vaudevillians perform acts so heinous and degenerate that the Donners feel really good about eating them.

    And Pinko? From Jeremiah Johnson:

    What brings you up so high?

    Griz. Avalanche took the cabin. Lost my mule. We swum out of it. But no matter. Weren’t no griz left anyway.

    Who’s your Daddy?

  • Not you. This does not clinch it. I was also aware of that. I want to know the film that has the good guy getting away from the bad guys by shooting a big, scary curl of snow on a ridge creating an avalanche and getting away from the bad guys but also possibly committing suicide. Do you think you could maybe rent it and tell me?

    I’m afraid to be disappointed if it is not the movie. I think you will like the film. I mean I know I’ve seen Jeremiah Johnson, but I can’t remember if it is the movie.

    Doesn’t it sound like a cool movie, well-suited to the Pacific Northwest, regardless of lazers?

  • I will buy the DVD, watch it, and then send it to you for your viewing pleasure.

    Unless of course it turns out that Jeremiah Johnson is not in fact the film you were thinking of, in which case I will disappear* from this blog for many months and only reappear when all of this has blown over.

    *It’s in my contract – if you don’t like it, take it up with my legal team, cobags.

  • Except you can’t leave until we update the last sighting of you. Because as far as you know, you haven’t been here, so you wouldn’t know when to go away.

    QED, K.A.C’s all over the world know when to represent!

  • Is that the movie where the guy walks backwards on his snowshoes?

  • in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the brothers start an avalanche after kidnapping the town girls, to escape the posse. Then they all fall in love.

    Could you have confused “mountain man” with “six hunky singing brothers” and “bad guys” with “group of fathers and brothers and suitors of kidnapped girls” and “the end” with “the middle”?

  • Kathleen, I did see the clip of the 7B for 7B avalanche, and it kind of looked familiar, but I don’t remember anything else about the movie.

    f- that sounds familiar, tell me more- your piscine ways intrigue me!

  • Haven’t seen it.

  • Were there walrus involved?

    You know, the rare, uh, mountain walrus?

  • I wish I could help, I know the itch. I have one that I saw apparently when very small, and I can only remember the final scene: two people, a man and woman I believe, are escaping a scene of utter horror and devastation. A cloud rises behind them, above the destroyed town/factory/mine? they alone are able to leave, and forms the shape of a devil head. And that’s it, that’s all I recall.

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