Monday, December 23, 2013

Another Manos Film

There are always rumors and snippets and thoughts on the idea of Manos remakes, sequels and
 prequels.  However, the only serious efforts in film that I know of, are the attempt at a sequel "The Search for Valley Lodge" in 2010 and currently a prequel in the works.  Can't say anything yet about the latter but I will tell a story about the former.

I suppose I could think of the sequel as a May December romance, of sorts.  It started with a self named star, director, writer, producer who said he wanted to make this epic film.  Sound familiar?  Funny thing is, both my dad and I said yes to this one too. 
So anyway, this fellow got us to agree to all sorts of things and without any firm promise in return.  My dad was to do a cameo as the aged Master and I was to star as current day grown up Debbie.  He was quite persuasive at first but in a short time we began to question why we had become involved.   We did some filming in Oregon in May of 2010 and then did some more filming in
 El Paso Texas in December of the same year.  Things went down hill after that with money issues,  disagreements and many of the other perils that relationships have.  It ended completely with a paraphrased dialogue that went something like this...
 Him  "If you don't do as I say, you don't have to be part of this project.  We will just go find another Debbie." 
Me "Good luck with that.  I am Debbie"

I know that sounds a bit prima donna of me but if you knew the whole story, you would ask why I didn't stand up for myself sooner.

Anyhow, a lot of good things did come out of that.  I met and re met some really great people and have the honor of remaining friends with many of them.  Diane Mahree, who played my mother in Manos was one.  We spent a week together in El Paso and became good friends.  I met Bryan Jennings, son of the Sheriff in Manos, William Bryan Jennings.  He and I and his wife Wanda continue to meet up at various Manos events around the country.  I also took the opportunity to open doors for healing fractured relationship within my family.  It's not like my family is hanging out now but I did have a nice visit with my dad, The Master, in the meat department at Safeway yesterday afternoon.  He was marveling that a roast could cost nearly $100.00. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Blessings to you all.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Happy Manos Holidays

I tend to get introspective this time of year.  Even more introspective than usual.  I can hardly live with myself.  One thing I'm introspecting is this whole Manos phenomena.  I've been  paying attention and sticking myself into every little Manos thing going and it's been really fun.  Believe me, I've kept tabs on this Manos stuff for a while now and truly, this year felt different.  I'm a bit starry eyed with wonder at what 2014 holds for our beloved gem.

Manos was filmed in about a week and a half during the summer of 1966 on the back property of Judge Coldwell.   It was then edited in about 6 hours, at night in one of the local television stations after closing. (Television stations used to shut down at night).   Contracts were signed in May and June, it was filmed in July and premiered in November of the same year.  None of the cast got to see much before the premiere, other than maybe a couple times at  Hals to see a bit of it on his home projector.  I remember going with my parents to Hal's and we saw some of the scene where Torgo is massaged by the wives.  For kicks, Hal ran the film back and forth a few times when Torgo was pushed off the stone bed so that he fell and rose back up.  We all cracked up.   After the premiere everyone went their own way and basically never spoke of it again. I personally looked for Manos most of my youth and had pretty much given up when it showed up on TV in January of 1993.  MST3K gave my dad and I the chance to see it for the first time since 1966.  We were shocked to say the least.

As time went on, a strange thing seemed to be happening as Manos fame continued to grow.  It began inspiring things outside of film.  It brought a wide range of talent and expression to the fore and a dizzying array of ideas.  Play, Opera, Podcasts, Blog, Game, Restoration, Art, Music, Clothing and list goes on.  It has also unleashed a dark side...but, I can't talk about that now.  I could but I won't.  Not yet anyway.

As everything Manos continues to build, I am struck with the thought. "Be careful what you wish for"  My personal Manos dreams are coming true and that also means I gotta get my act together and become more organized.  This thing could get out of Hand. 

Be safe during this busy distracted season.  Whatever your traditions, I wish you many Blessings.

P.S.  If you're looking for a perfect gift for your favorite Manos fan, check out my etsy store.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Hands of Fate Wish You a Great Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving to all, whether you celebrate for traditional reasons or make your own traditions.
Today I am thankful for many many things and before this day passes I want Manos fans to know how thankful I am for how great you all are.  I've met the most interesting people through this experience of being part of Manos: The Hands of Fate.  You come from every demographic.  Young, old, rich, poor, conservative, liberal and everything in between and yet you have a common link in "off the main path film".  You are quirky with a great sense of "Cosmic Humor".  I love your insights, observations and conversations.  You have enriched my life and infused it with more joy than I thought possible.  You are a fun crazy extended sort of family and I thank you.

For fun, I wanted to share a couple questions that came my way through a MST3K Discussion Board

 A lot of folks, J&TBs included, were squicked-out by the sight of you becoming one of the Master's Wives despite being a cute little child. In the movie, was the Master supposed to be a pedophile or was he simply saving little Debbie for later when she grew up?

I will have an opportunity to read the original script soon and I hope to find much enlightenment there.  It certainly does freak people out when they see sweet little Debbie dressed as a wife.  I'm thinking the idea was purely for shock value and that Hal wanted to leave that to the audience to decide, which displays an odd sort of genius...or, just a sick mind.  Lol.

Also, didn't it feel kind of weird having that happen to your character when the nefarious Master was played by your dad. I know it's just acting and two were playing different imaginary people but as a CHILD, did it seem kinda...weird?

I was accustomed to my dad playing many roles in theater so it was no different this time.  I was just happy to be there and spending time around my dad.  Also, truth be told, I loved that mini wife dress.  The other dress I wore came out of my closet and was nothing special.  I was pretty excited to have something like what the big girls were wearing.

Finally do you think Mr. Warren was a weirdo for coming up with that? I'd also imagine he had issues with women.

  I think that the 60's allowed many ideas to cross previously held boundaries, and in an artistic bohemian context, no subject would be off limits.  I have heard various private stories that indicate Hal had certain views of women that many might find offensive but I don't think he was any sort of weirdo concerning children. 

Have a great Holiday and travel safe!  See you next week.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Birthday, The Master!

November 23rd is my dad's 78th birthday and I must say, he looks pretty great, even if he doesn't always feel so young any more.  He's my dad, but out amongst cult film fans and most anyone reading this, he is The Master from Manos, The Hands of Fate, the 1966 independent amateur earnest worst movie ever made film.  Or so it's been said.

Me and my dad 

To celebrate his birthday I would like to share a couple interesting things about his life
 before he became famous for being an evil polygamist Master.

This is a photograph of little Tommy Neyman at 2 years old on the beach at San Padre Island near Brownsville Texas on the Gulf of Mexico.  His mother, my grandmother took this shot and when she sent it in to be developed, she was contacted by Kodak.  They wanted to know if they could use the photo of the little girl on the beach for their National ad campaign in 1935.  My grandmother was so incensed that they called her son a girl that she refused...Never mind the Shirley Temple curls and one piece bathing suit.

On the morning of November 22 1963, President John F. Kennedy was  in Fort Worth Texas where he had stayed the night before heading on to Dallas.  We lived in Fort Worth at that time so my dad got up early and went to join the crowds to catch a glimpse of the President while thinking "What a great early birthday present to myself".  He would be turning 28.  He felt fortunate to see even if he couldn't get close.  It was no more than an hour after getting back home that the phone rang.  It was one of my dad's college friends calling to say that the President had just been shot and though I was only 4 years old, I do remember that day.

Tom Neyman is a gentle, kind and humble man.  Quite the opposite of The Master character he portrayed in Manos.  How ironic to be known so widely for something so different from yourself. and yet how appropriate for someone so private.  Happy Birthday dad!  May you have many more and in good health.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Happy 47th Anniversary Manos!!

Today, November 15th is most certainly a notable day for cult movie fans.  Well, at least the Manos: The Hands of Fate Fans.  November 15th marks the  47th anniversary of the 1966  World Premiere of Manos: The Hands of Fate at the Capri Theater in downtown El Paso, Texas.

I would like to pay tribute to Hal Warren, the imaginer of this film that has delivered in equal measure,
disbelief, confusion, and joy without clear focus.  Hal is a man who, until now has been a mystery to fans of his work.  All that is about to change.  I had the greatest thrill yesterday when I had the opportunity to talk with Hal's daughter and granddaughter on Skype. Beautiful, charming women and a real pleasure to chat with.  We have many talks to come, and between us we will unveil the wonder of Hal Warren.  For now, just a taste.

Hal Warren was a Renaissance Man of high standards.  He loved the theater, acting and consorting with the creative crowd and yet he was a shrewd business man.  Although it is a common Manos legend that Hal was a Texas fertilizer salesman, the truth is that at the time of Manos he was selling insurance.  He went on to other business dealings with a goal of alway moving ahead to better things.  He was a visionary who enjoyed making a big production of everything.  His daughter says he staged and filmed family movies to the extent of one Christmas when he made the kids get up at midnight and come down the stairs as though it was a joyous Christmas morning so he could film it.  Then they were sent back to bed until the real morning happened.

Hal's daughter was a teen at the time of Manos and remembers that one goal her dad had in doing Manos was to have the opportunity to cast himself as a hero and good guy.  In theater, because of his "look" he was always cast as the  less savory characters such as General Bullmoose in Li'l Abner and Mr van Daan in Diary of Anne Frank.  I'll leave the discussion of whether he achieved that goal, to you, the fans.

She recalls his description of the night of the premiere.  She recognized my story of the one limo and driver that circled the block picking up the cast and crew from the back alley and delivering them to the entrance and onto the red carpet.  The difference between his story and mine is that he made it sound a lot better and more fun. Like "Yeah, I meant to do that." His view was always brighter and had more potential than many folks view may have agreed with.  He succeeded and he failed as anyone who is willing to step out and take risks.  The funny thing here is that, what appeared to fail in 1966 and stayed buried for the next 27 years until it somehow surfaced, got dusted off and presented to the public, is now cherished by so many.  Somehow Hals spirit comes through and resonates.  When viewers get it they really get it.  He had a dream.  He had little idea of how to achieve it so he found similar thinking people with various resources and skills and brought it to life.  Simple and yet profound.
 Hal Warren reminds us to Dream.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Manos Happenings

Hope you all had a great Halloween this year.  As always, the Manos fans are uber creative and dedicated to expressing Manos love in so many ways.  Here are two fantastic paintings found on Deviant Art

Deviant Art

...and something else

Manos The Animated Series

Here is my little dog Shanka, named after my doberman who played the  Manos hell hound.  I made a Masters Robe for him for Halloween but made it warm and cozy for the whole winter.  As you can see, he adores it.  If you would like a robe for your little Master, they are available on my Etsy store and are made to order.

Jackey Raye's Etsy Store

This show just performed in Wichita, Kansas. 
 Hoping it was recorded so the rest of the world can see it too.
and Manos: The Restoration is doing great.  It has started screening around the country and will be leaving these shores to show at the Night Visions Festival in Helsinki, Finland

Night Visions Festival

To keep up with where the Restoration is going next ,check out the website and if you want a screening at your own local theater, let the theater know about it.  Fans have the power!
If you want Debbie there for a visit and some Q and A, let the theater know that too.  
I would love to come see you.

Manos in HD

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Manos Podcast Interviews

As you all should know by now, get me talking on the subject of Manos and you can hardly shut me up.  Very fortunate for me, there are now enough Manos fans out there, that when some of you start to feel you've heard enough, there are new ones to step in and give you a rest without me ever having to break stride.  But then again, you folks are resilient and perhaps a bit masochistic.  You are Manos fans, after all.
Todays post delivers a challenge to the most devoted of you.  Three, one hour Podcast interviews about Manos. Can you do it?  They cover some of the same material with a different twist and each have unique insights and stories.  Thanks to all who's interest and questions have fueled the growing databank of knowledge we now have for this film, and for providing me so much pleasure in sharing it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The One and Only Master

Tom Neyman became the one and only Master of Manos: The Hands of Fate when he immortalized the iconic role in an unforgettable film, and seared his image into the minds of fans and detractors alike.

In a recent interview for Ben Solovey's Manos Restoration, I learned of a previously unknown Tom Neyman contribution to the film.  But first, a little background.
My dad began his professional career in Fort Worth, Texas as a young Christian Minister after graduating from Texas Christian University.  Go Horned Toads!!  He discovered a love of theater in school and participated in University and Church productions until moving to El Paso in 1963 where he became involved with The Festival Theater.  At The Festival he often had lead roles that included notable Characters like Henry the Eighth, The Stage Manager in Our Town, R.P McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
The Festival is also where Hal Warren found much of the cast and crew for his film. Tom Neyman ~ The Master,  John Reynolds ~ Torgo, William Bryan Jennings ~ Sheriff,  Bob Guidry ~ Cinematographer,  Bernie Rosenblum ~ Stunt Coordinator / Kissing Boy in Car and me, Debbie.

The role of The Master was my dad's only film appearance, and the part he became known for.  He played an evil polygamist struggling to remain in control of his world.  An almost Anti Minister, as it were.  I had always felt his previous calling gave him practical experience to playing a Godly man's counterpart and that, as The Master,  he sounded as though he were delivering a sermon.  I then learned something new that expanded that impression.  In the interview with Ben, he casually mentioned that he had written his own "Praise be to Manos" speech.  "Holy Art Thou, Holy Art Thou..." My head whipped around "Wha?"  He then went on to say that he wrote it to give himself something to do for all that time rather than just stand with his arms out displaying the robe, since there had been no dialogue in the original script, and Hal's instruction was to just stand and look imposing.   It does make sense now.  Many of you fans have watched and studied Manos much more than me but if I'm not mistaken, that speech it the longest continuing dialogue in the movie and the most comfortably delivered.

As a side note*  Yesterday, October 16th was the 47th anniversary of John Reynolds death.  He would be 72 years old and I would like to think if he were here now, he would revel in the attention Manos has garnered over the years since MST3K brought it back into the light.  Rest in Peace, dear John.

Coming soon:  Learn about  Manos: Rock Opera of Fate

Friday, October 11, 2013

Torgo as John Reynolds

This is a continuation of a series of stories I started the beginning of Sept that begin to go deeper behind the scenes of Manos and into the lives of some who were there.  I can only write what I know and will only share what I believe to be true.  Stories, like life evolve as more information is revealed, and as I learn more about John Reynolds, I feel a deeper connection to him and a desire to help you, the reader see him as more than Torgo.

I have been flippant in talking about John Reynolds in the past.  Yes, it's true that he was often high during filming and it's true he committed suicide one month before the 1966 premiere.  You can read that in previous blog stories and interviews I've done, but as I attempt to answer fans questions about him I continue to learn more.

John came from a military background.  His father was  Brigadier General John M. Reynolds who had a very successful and illustrious career. General John M. Reynolds Biography This link about the General certainly gave me pause and insight into some of the difficulties John and his dad may have encountered.  My father has told me how John's dad orchestrated having John buried with a military funeral at Fort Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso even though John himself had not been military  John's gravesite.  John never lived up to his father's expectation of a son and as a sensitive artistic type must have been quite a disappointment.  He would have always felt a failure in his family and in the eyes of the man he would most crave approval.  John lived and died in a little house just 2 blocks from where we lived.  He was small of stature shy and withdrawn.  He loved the theater and found the stage one place where he could be a part of something fulfilling. He took it seriously and would have been considered a method actor.  I imagine the release of becoming another person and having the opportunity to escape his own existence for a time was a drug in itself.  He and my dad knew each other initially through the Festival Theatre and became friends.  My dad recognized how tortured and depressed John was and would often invite him to our house to be with the family even though he rarely came, or would check in on him by stopping by.   John lived alone and was never married and had no children.  He was only 25 when he took his own life by sticking a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger.

On the set of Manos, he was often, if not always, high on something more than pot.  My dad says (and my memories corroborate) that everyone on the set knew things weren't going well.  That this was not going to be a great film and that they should all just get through it and go home.  John may have realized this was far from the opportunity he was hoping for and sadly, my dad says that Manos may have, in some way, contributed to his suicide...or at least the timing of it.  One month after his birthday and one month before the premiere.  One thing that strikes me and I wonder about.  John Reynolds dad retired from a long military career just two weeks after his son's suicide.  What do you think about that timing?  Hmmm.

John Reynolds  September 14th 1941 to October 16th 1966

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Torgo's Burning Hand

If you've been a constant reader, you'll know my family's involvement with Manos: The Hands of Fate.  The synopsis is that my dad, Tom Neyman who characterized The Master, and despite the films deplorable ratings, is a multi talented guy and one to rise to any creative challenge.  A perfect guy for Hal Warren to connect with in order to get his movie made.  My dad designed and supplied costumes, sets, props and artwork.

Today's story is about one particular prop.  Torgo's Burning Hand.

As a child, I spent every possible moment with my dad, as many little girls do.  At my home, his art studio was a place I always felt welcome and  I would sit many hours perched on a stool out of the way while he worked.  I was often included in his discussions with himself about how something was to be done and I could observe the process.  I recall the Torgo hand was made from stiff upholstery foam carved and sculpted into a hand shape.  The skeletal structure was a wire coat hanger bent to look like bones when the foam melted away.  He only made one  They had only one chance to get it right on film...Manos style.
He planned to soak it in lighter fluid right before the cameras rolled so it would burn dramatically when lit on fire.  In their haste, the crew left the can of lighter fluid in the shot, at the column base right behind The Master as he holds the hand aloft while laughing maniacally.  I'm not sure of the Mst3k version but it's clearly seen in the Restoration of Manos.

That burnt hand was one of the few props my dad ended up going home with, sort of.  After the night's shoot it was tossed into his car trunk and promptly forgotten for a couple weeks.  My dads day job at the time was as Director of the South El Paso Boys Club (now known as the Boys and Girls Club).  One of the job duties was to collect food donations and bring them to the Club for distribution to the community which was located in the poorest part of the city, right on the Rio Grande River across from Mexico.  The residents were very traditional Catholic, multi-generational, humble people living in abject poverty.  One day, as my dad pulled up and popped the trunk to unload food, an elderly Hispanic gentleman approached and asked, in Spanish if he could help.  As the man approached and reached into the trunk, he spotted the flesh colored, scorched and melted hand carelessly tossed in the corner.  The man's eyes grew huge.  He immediately stepped back as his hands flew into the air and then covered his mouth.  He rapidly looked to my dad's face and back to Torgos hand.  With a mumbled prayer and sign of the cross, he took off in terror, running as fast as he could .  Nothing was ever said or done about it after that and life went on. One has to wonder the stories the old gentleman told and if that Manos legend still continues.

Coming up.  More about John Reynolds... 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

When Things Fall Apart all fell apart after that.  .
 When we moved to El Paso, my parents bought a house that was reputed to be around 100 years old.  It was said that in the early 1900's the family would watch from the porch the battles of the Mexican Revolution, 3 miles away.  Entertainment in those days.  The house builders has buried a coin with the year somewhere in the house which we found  during one of our on going  remodeling projects.  It was a shiny, new 1881 silver dollar. The house had thick adobe walls and backed right up to the base of Mount Franklin just below Scenic Drive and very close to the turnout where the Manos family begins their journey. As a lonely child, I spent many, many days hiking up and all over that mountain.

Growing up, I was always referred to as Tom's daughter out in the world but in my neighborhood, I was just the different kid that equally seemed to fascinate and repulse the other kids.  They would friend me just long enough to get inside our house to see the crazy things we had.  Lots of nude art and sculpture.  A room with full floor to ceiling bookshelves.  Word would get back to conservative Hispanic Catholic parents and I would be banned from visiting and the kid would be banned from my house.  I was painfully shy but learned how being different had some benefits.  It became, let's watch Jackey and see what she'll do next.  I had a secret life and a very rich imagination.  I buried myself in books beyond my age.  I  first read  "The Pearl" at 12 and "The Last Temptation of Christ" at 13 but failed in school.  "Jackey is smart enough but just doesn't apply herself".  What no one seemed to get was that I was suicidal, and no one seemed to notice so I didn't bother anyone about it.  I first wanted to die after my mother began including me in her diatribes about my dad's suicidal tendencies and multiple attempts.
.  She would say things like, "Well, he's tried it again".  I was aware that he didn't want to be here and I couldn't see staying without him so I developed at least 4 suicide back up plans for myself.  If he succeeded, I would find a way to follow. I lived in a black hole from 12 to 19 years until I made a very clear decision to either get it over with or start living.  It's obvious which path I chose.  I've been told many times that I am an amazingly resilient human.  I call myself a Jackey in the box.  I always pop back up.

Doing Manos with my dad, my hero, was a magical time and I always kept those precious memories so tight in my heart.  It was one small tangible thing I could hold on to when there seemed to be nothing else.  My childhood and teenage friends will say they remember me telling them about this wonderful time.  I spent many years looking for a copy of  Manos: The Hands of Fate since we never saw it again after the November 15th 1966 premiere.  Just imagine my surprise when it showed up on television in 1993 on MST3000.  That was enough for me.  Everything beyond that is icing.  Now, I'm totally along for the ride and what a great trip it is.  I live my life on my terms in joy and with the deepest love, appreciation and gratitude for the experiences that Manos has brought and is bringing to my life.  Bring it on!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Before Manos

 Everybody has their stuff..  This isn't about "look at my stuff, it's worse/better/more interesting  than yours".  And you may already be asking...What has this got to do with Manos?  In my life, it all has an anchor in Manos.  Bear with me as I take you there with the expectation that something here may resonate in a meaningful way in your life.  Your journey of my words may be as linear or random as I myself am as I transgress this world.  The Manos story.  Past, present and future of Manos is and will be here as you choose to discover it.

When I was born in  Fort Worth, Texas in 1959, my father loved me very much.  My parents both went to Texas Christian University and my dad was a young Christian minister.   When my parents brought me home after birth, mom left me with dad and went to the University library to study.  Her education was paramount.  She loved me, I know, and she did all the proper things to raise me to be healthy but she wasn't the emotionally nurturing type.  Dad was.  He took the time to show me the magic of the world and when he tucked me in at night, would sing a little song that I still know.  He was my whole world and when I was 3, he disappeared for what seemed like forever.  Mom cried and told me he had left us.  When I was 4, he sent for us and we moved to El Paso. Mom became a teacher at Ben Milam school on Fort Bliss and dad became Director of the South El Paso Boys Club.  We bought a 100 year old adobe house just three miles from the Rio Grande River and Juarez Mexico.  You could see the border from our porch.  At night, the Rio Grande was a dark ribbon that separated the soft yellow lights of Juarez from the brighter white lights of El Paso. We lived in a neighborhood where no one looked or acted like my family.  We were a different color and my parents were progressive, artistic, bohemian types.  I was an oddity from the start.  I spent my entire childhood trying to figure out why no one liked me and I re invented myself regularly. I understand discrimination.  My happiest times were hanging out watching my dad paint, sculpt and create in his studio with powerful music playing.  My happiest times today are in my studio, creating with powerful music playing.  My soul soars.  I sought out other ways to be with him throughout my childhood, like helping him run lines for a play or just being at the theater during rehearsals and set building.  I was nearly 7 when he asked if I wanted to be the little girl in a movie he was doing.  I didn't hesitate long before realizing the opportunity it provided to having more time with him, so I said "OK".  I have so many sharp memories of the making of and the premiere of  Manos: The Hands of Fate because it was the best summer of my life for family togetherness.  It all truly fell apart after that.
Jackey Raye and Tom Neyman
April 1964

Friday, September 13, 2013

Debbie and The Master Watch Manos Together

This next series of stories will delve into areas thats I've talked at great length with my Creator about.  I've palavered and prayed, to decide the value (if any) of sharing them with the Manos fans and the public at large.  What purpose does it serve?  I'm a private person but I somehow believe that in doing so, at least one person may relate and benefit from my words.  I also know this to be cathartic in my relationship with myself, family and the world at large.  In the most surreal of ways, Manos has revealed more to me about myself   than any counselor could provide. I risk overstepping boundaries others may wish to impose on me and yet it feels important to do.  Time will tell. Here goes.

Jackey Raye Neyman Jones (Debbie) and her dad
Tom Neyman (The Master)

You would think that having time with my dad after believing I would never have any more, would be healing.  It has been and I'm more grateful than words can express and yet it never seems to be enough time.  I thought I was good with what I got until he didn't recover from recent surgery as well as he had hoped and then, when I saw him in a weakened state, I felt frightened at the prospect of losing him. But it didn't really hit until I heard he had returned to the hospital with breathing problems. I panicked, I dissolved, I couldn't breathe. The family situation is such that he and I only see each other by chance on the street or in neutral territory by appointment set up by a neutral party, a friend. I have said to this friend. "Do you realize you are the only person who is granted direct access to "The Master?"  He basically gets me access and I then pass on some of that to you all.  It's not easy, but it works in a weird sort of way.  It's been this way for years.  I don't feel able to contact him directly and can't imagine being invited to his home. So the realization that at some time I won't be able to ever see him because he won't be able to be out and about is devastating, to say the least.  I get what I can and cherish every moment.  Thankfully, my dad is looking and feeling better now.  He's one of the most resilient people I've known.  My fears are tamped down again for the meantime.

Manos: The Hands of Fate has been the catalyst to spending more time with my dad.  It seems to be the accepted activity we can do together.  I don't know why this is, but am very appreciative of it.  We recently had a wonderful visit while doing audio commentary for Ben Solovey and the Manos Restoration.  We sat down and watched it together for the first time since the 1966 premiere.  My favorite moment during the screening was when he turned to look at me and said "Oh Lord!  This is really bad."  Cracked me up.
I love my dad.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Debbie Does Seattle

I had the privilege of traveling  to Seattle in August to participate in cool Manos adventures.  The train from Portland was relaxing and beautiful.  What a great way to travel.

In Seattle, I stayed downtown just blocks from the Space Needle and the EMP Museum  of Entertainment, Music and Pop Culture.  Turns out a friend from High School works for the museum and gave me a personal tour.  Amazing place if you ever have the opportunity.
Jackey Raye in the Blue Room at the EMP

The first evening, August 7th, I went to a Manos Restoration screening at The Uptown Theater sponsored by SIFF, the Seattle Independent Film Festival.  Fabulously engaging audience.  Most hung around for a Q and A with me and had some great questions.  I got a bonus and personal thrill from seeing my name in lights. Could totally get used to this.

Jackey Raye with SIFF Cinema Programmer, Clinton McClung

On August 8th, after touring Seattle and attending a local art exhibit, I arrived at Scarecrow Video to check it out and hang around to visit with any Manos fans who wanted to stop by.  This store is most probably the largest independent video store in the country if not the world.  They carry over 117,000 titles.  Mind blowing place.  If you can't find any movie you're looking for, I would strongly suggest you contact  Scarecrow Video

On August 9th I attended the opening night of  Manos: The Hands of Felt and again on August 10 as a special guest for an after show talkback.  Rachel Jackson along with cast and crew created an overwhelmingly funny show.  I belly laughed till I cried...and I have to say, I love the Debbie portrayal. The Hands of Felt audiences were the most enthusiastic yet. Over the top laughing and foot stomping to boot.  

Throughout the visit, I had the pleasure of spending time with old Manos friends Ben Solovey of  The Manos Restoration and Bryan and Wanda Jennings.  Bryan is the original Sheriff's son.  Reconnected with other friends, made lots of new ones and had a wonderful time all around.

Thanks for reading.  If you are new(er) at reading my posts, go check out the early posts for the behind the scenes stories of the making of Manos in the summer of 1966.

Stay tuned.  Next post begins a new series of stories.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Debbies Seattle Appearances

Packing my bags and getting ready to head to Seattle for some awesome events and the opportunity to connect with  Manos: The Hands of Fate fans.  Talking Manos with fans is truly one of my favorite things.  Here is my schedule, so if you are in or around Seattle Washington later this week, I would love to meet you and answer those burning Manos questions that have been keeping you up at night.

August 7th at 9.00 pm, Seattle Independent Film Festival   is screening the completed Restoration of Manos: The Hands of Fate.  Does seeing it more clearly make it a better film?  No.  It makes it's horribleness better...Much better.  Look for the can of lighter fluid left in the shot or the bottle of beer.  You get the picture.  I will be there for the show and for a Meet and Greet after.

August 8th 5 to 7 pm.  Scarecrow Video
This store is the largest Independent Film stores in the country with many rare, out-of-print, foreign and independent films and they actually have heard of Manos.  They were very kind to allow me to come hang out for a couple hours on MST movie day and be available to anyone who cares to come hang out with me.  So come on.  Hang out with me.

August 9th and 10th  8 pm  Manos: The Hands of Felt  The Worst Movie Ever Made Brought To Terrifying Puppet Life.  Think Sesame Street with a disturbing twist.  I'll attend the show both nights and will stay for a Meet and Greet after.

See you there!!

t inf

ormally from 5 to 7i

Friday, August 2, 2013

Debbie Answers a Few Questions

I was asked to record answers to a few  questions from a MST3K panel at CTCON 2013 who also happen to be Manos fans.  This is the first request of this type and my first attempt at filming myself.  It an amateur attempt, I know, but when you are more famous in your own mind than reality and have to do it all yourself, you become a jack (Jackey) of all trades.  I like the idea however, of talking to fans this way and answering questions so if anyone else has something Manos related that they would like an answer for, let's give this a try.

The Questions

The Answers

I'm headed to Seattle next week as a special guest for a Screening of the Restoration of Manos The Hands as Fate on Aug 7th and staying for the awesome puppet theater 
Manos : The Hands of Felt on Aug 9th and 10th. 
 If you are in Seattle for either, please be sure to say hi.  It's no secret that I love talking Manos with fans.

The Restoration Screening

Manos: The Hands of Felt

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tom and Jackey Raye Neyman Present Day

I interviewed last week with "Talk to the Hand" Podcast Host, Keith McCaffety.  I think it's the best and most comprehensive interview I've done so far where I begin to test the waters in sharing more personal experiences in which the Hand of Fate has touched my family.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Manos has become so much more than a bad film.

Talk to the Hand Jackey Interview

Many more cool Manos things coming soon.  I will be in Seattle in August for both a screening of Ben Solovey's Manos Restoration and to see Rachel Jackson's Puppet Theater Show Manos Hands of Felt.  
Click the links below for details.

...And lastly for today... a teaser from an up coming documentary by Ben Solovey...I present, The Master!

As always.  May the Hand of Fate Bless you and Yours.

Friday, June 21, 2013

"Recasting Manos" A Graphic Novel

An awesome new Manos project is in the works and I'd like to share it with you all and ask you to consider pitching in to make it happen.  Keith McCaffety  is a huge Manos fan and a very talented artist.  I met Keith in El Paso at a screening of the Manos Restoration last August.  He drove all the way from Florida to El Paso for the event at the El Paso Classic Film Festival and even had an awesome sweater to wear like Micheal's from Manos.  Keith told me about an idea he has to create a Graphic Novel of Manos with new characters and a much deeper fuller story line.  He had a couple preliminary drawing to show which I found very impressive.  Since then, Keith has been airing a podcast titled "Talk to the Hand" which I interviewed for along with other Manos related folk.  Here is my interview  "Talk to the Hand" Jackey's interview
Be sure to checkout some of the others too with Rachel Jackson of Manos Hands of Felt fame, Sam Beddoes, the Manos Game creator, Ben Solovey the Manos Restoration genius and more.

Keith is now doing a fund raising promotion to go to VidCon where he will meet and connect with many of the real life personalities that he is using for the Manos characters.  It will be an opportunity to raise awareness of his novel and to build support so he can get it done and make it available to all past, present and future Manos fans.  He's not asking for much.  Just enough to build the momentum to take it the next step.  If he goes beyond his minimum goal, I will also be able to go and can help him with promotion and do a bit of self promotion as well.  Oh yes, I have Manos goals also and will soon reveal them to you all.  So, you see, you would be helping me too.  A bit here and there adds up, so come on, skip a few lattes and help Manos mania to continue building.

Thanks for visiting!  May the Hand of Manos Bless You and Yours.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Diane Mahree is Very Much Alive.

Hello all,
Long time between posts.  We're all so busy these days.  Home projects, Yard work, Gardening, Art shows.  I figured you wouldn't miss me much since you all are just as busy.

A Facebook friend just alerted me to a post on this site

with this message on it

Diane Mahree - April 12, 1940 - December 30, 2007
I just wanted to write a few words about my mother, Diane Mahree. My Mom was one in a million, a very well respected and proud woman, with good values who was dedicated to her family and loved life.
Most people on the Web will remember her as the character Margaret in the cult classic film Manos the Hands of Fate. While many laughed at aspects of this film, I always felt her performance was the redeeming quality, and that she brought tenderness to what many said was just a "B-Movie" role.
The outpouring of support from fans of Manos and of the show Mystery Science Theater has been tremendous. I wish Mom was around to see how many fans have sent flowers and given well wishes to my family. Thank You for keeping us in our thoughts. We appreciate everything you've done. Mom would be proud.
Ruth Mahree Fletcher
January 5 2008

Whoever this Ruth Mahree Fletcher is (if that's even her real name), she is lying.  Diane is very much alive and I spoke with her on the phone this last Saturday for about an hour.  I also saw her in person and spent a week with her in December 2010.  I realize that public figures can't control the terrible things people say about them but you can be sure that when it comes to Manos, I will do my best to ferret out and expose these lies.  I welcome any questions or referrals to other questionable statements about Manos.  

Breathe easy folks.  Diane is alive, still gorgeous and a whole lot of fun to know.  You may just get the chance yourself to know her down the road a little ways.

Until next time.  May the Hand of Manos Bless You and Yours

Friday, May 17, 2013

Manos Hands of Felt Kickstarter

The Manos: Hands of Felt puppet show will be appearing on stage in Seattle Washington for two weeks starting August 9th.  There are so many of you that won't have the opportunity to see the show live but you will have the opportunity to get a DVD of this awesome event.  Rachel Jackson, the creator of Hands of Felt     plans to have the show professionally filmed and will offer it for purchase.  She has begun a Kickstarter to raise the needed funds and is already doing great in such a short time.  More than halfway to her goal, in fact.  There are some cool items for backers including dinner with me before the show on August 10th. Well, I think it's cool. Lol.  Anyhow, Check it out and pitch in if you can and come to the show if you can.  It'll be a blast!

Manos: Hands of Felt Kickstarter

Sunday, April 28, 2013

How It All Began

I'm re posting my first stories for new readers and to refresh continuing readers.  Thank you all so much for being here.

The Inside Story of Manos.  Part One

Hello all,
If you know Manos, The Hands of Fate, you know me.  I was Debbie, the little girl who became a wife of The Master in the end.  For any of you that I just gave the ending away to...Sorry, but really, it's not that great a film to begin with.  As fans know, it's the total experience of sitting through it that counts.  Certainly not the plot.
     Manos was truly a family film.  For me personally...not the poor hapless audience.  My father Tom Neyman played the role of The Master (He still quite hale and hearty, by the way).  The Master's demon dog was played by our family dog, Shanka.  My mom made the costumes for the Master and the wives.  She also made the dress I was wearing but that came from my own closet.  My mom made all my clothes back then.  The convertible car that carried the Micheal, Maggie, Debbie family was the Neyman family car.  Torgo's coverall, jacket and hat all came from my father's closet.   That's just a piece of our involvement.  My dad, Tom is an amazingly talented artist and had been in his "hand" phase for several years when Hal Warren asked him to help make the film.  Initially, the film was to be titled, "Finger's of Fate" but in a production meeting, my dad suggested the new title of "Manos, The Hands of Fate"  He reasoned that since he had been asked to not only star in the film but to provided sets, costumes, and artwork (all on a promise of future payment), that he could better put his time to work if he could use some of the art he already had.  Hands, lot's of them.  I haven't actually counted the pieces in the film but all the art, the sculptures and the Master's painting were created by his hand.  Sadly, some of those item's were never returned to my dad.  But hey, I got paid something.  I received a shiny red bicycle with training wheels and my dog, Shanka got a 50 lb. bag of dog food.
     That's it for now.  Thanks for reading and come back soon.  I've got lots to say about Manos, The Hands of Fate

The Inside Story of Manos.  Part Two

Here’s the story of how we re-discovered Manos more that a quarter century from it’s original release...

     As friends of my youth will attest to, I had talked about a film I had done with my dad when I was small and wanted very much to see it again.  It was a point of nostalgia for me considering how involved my whole family, including our dog, was in the making of Manos.  You must remember.   These were the days before personal computers and before the internet. 

     I called around, asking and searching for years.  Libraries, university film departments,  film archives, any place I could think who might be able to give me a lead.  I had pretty much given up when my phone rang 1993.  My dad was calling and said, “You’ll never believe what I just saw.  I was dozing off while watching the Comedy Central channel and heard some strange but familiar music.  When I opened my eyes, there I was on the television.  They just showed Manos, The Hands of Fate!”. He had been so shocked that he didn’t call me until it was over.  I immediately turned on Comedy Central and saw they had an 800 number on the screen to call for information.  So I called the number.  I had reached the HBO offices in Manhattan and a young man named Mathew.  I told him I had an unusual request.  “My dad just saw an episode of Mystery Science Theater featuring the film, Manos, The Hands of Fate.  I’ve been looking for that film for years.  My dad and I were in it and if at all possible I would do just about anything for a copy.”  Next came a looong pause and then “Oh My God!  Are you Debbie?”  I was simply stunned as I pulled the phone from my ear to look at it while my mouth hung open.   He then said “That is our favorite bad movie here in the office.  I just had a copy on my desk the other day.  I would love to send it to you and am so happy to talk with you”.
     And now, as we all know…the rest is history.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Blessings of Manos

I haven't been posting as regularly as I should but not because I've run out of things to say about Manos but because I've been so busy just living Manos.  I'm also attempting to learn how to make this blog easier to navigate.  For instance, I need to figure out how to have the blog titles displayed so you can find the story you wish to read.  I mean, sheesh, even I can't find some of the stories I'd like to review.

As you know from my last couple posts, I've been involved in a play about Manos in Portland.

. This is the third out of four weeks of the show.  7 more performances to go. All is going great. This show is tremendously funny whether or not you are a Manos fan although the Manos and MST jokes do add another dimension.  So if you are anywhere in the Portland, Oregon area before May 5th, be sure to come.  I get to play the voice of Debbie with my on stage character being played by a puppet.  Poetic justice when you realize that my voice was dubbed by a grown woman in the 1966 original Manos: The Hands of Fate.  Now I'm the grown woman dubbing myself.  I also painted my version of my dad's famously sinister Master and Dog portrait for the set of the play.  For a limited time, I'm offering 11" X 14" prints individually signed and quite suitable for framing.  If you've ever dreamed of having this on your wall or need the perfect gift for your favorite Manos fan, here it is.

 Besides that, I need the help, please.  This play is community theater which is not a paid gig and I must fund my own meals, travel, etc and being a poor artist type, it's a challenge, but one I must do, for my heart and my soul.

 I'm having some of the best times of my life.  One of the cast members has very generously offered the use of an adorable small short term rental in a very cool part of Portland so that I don't have to drive 70 miles home each night.  I've taken advantage of this opportunity to find new venues for my art, to make connections and create friendships with other motivated, successful creative people.   I can honestly say that Manos has opened up my life in the last couple of years in ways that could never have been imagined or planned, and without going into it much, Manos has helped heal and create new kind of relationship between me and my dad, The Master.

It is truly incredible to think that something that happened so many years ago could come to impact a life so much now.  How can it be that the Worst Movie Ever Made could be the catalyst  to bring my life's work and purpose as a creative being to public consciousness?  As many artists can tell you, a creative nature can be a real detriment to cultural standards of worth.  Fulfilling to the spirit perhaps but not to the stomach.  I cannot help who I am, no matter how often I may wish I could be content with a soul sucking job that at least pays the bills. Not really.  I just wanted to try out that last sentence but truthfully, I never regretted my choices because in the end, being an artist is not a choice, it just is.  I only wish society could recognize the value of what I do.

To see some of what I do, please click the "Jackey's Art"  tab at the top of the page.  If you are interested in any of my work or wish to commission a custom piece please contact me directly at

Friday, April 19, 2013

Debbie does Portland

What a week!  Manos: The Hands of Fate  stage production began with a dress rehearsal performance on Wednesday April 11th.  Opening night was the next night and it also ran Friday and Saturday.  Great audiences and pretty full theater each performance so far.
There were some awesome special guests, besides me of course. Lol.

 Rachel Jackson, Puppet Master with Vox Fabuli drove down from Seattle and brought the Master with her. They are pictured here with Paul Glazier who plays the Master in the stage production of Manos.

Bryon Jennings, the son of the original Manos Sheriff drove over from Boise, Idaho with his wife Wanda for several performances and is pictured here with me, The Master (puppet), Rachel Jackson from Seattle, and Ben Solovey of the Manos restoration flew in from Los Angeles.

Snuggling up to the Master.  Can't wait to meet Debbie in Seattle for Rachel's Puppet Show.

 ...and here are a couple of great reviews.
Oregon Arts Watch

Theatre Reviews by Dennis Sparks

Not only do I get to voice Debbie for this play, I was asked to re create the Master's painting for the set.  My dad, who played the original Master in 1966 also created the art and props for the original set and I am honored to follow in my dad's artist footsteps in this way.  Many people have asked me to do this for some time and the play gave me the final motivation. So for those of you who would like this for your very own, 11" X 14" high quality signed prints are available for a limited time.  Suitable for framing.

We are raffling off my painting during the run of the show and are donating 40% of proceeds to help buy art supplies for a Youth Art Program in my community.  If any of you would like to get in on the raffle, let me know and I'll get you some tickets.  The rest is to cover some of my expenses so I can do this show.  It's a 2 hour drive to Portland for me and I'm a poor artist type, so need all the help I can get.

Thanks again for reading.  Lots coming up and new (old) things revealed in a recent interview with my dad.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Masters Other Life

I want to share with you a family photo that no one outside of a few people in my family has seen until now.  I thought you would want to know what The Master looked like without the robe and make up.  Not only that, but this photo truly encapsulates who we all were.  In a nutshell, so to speak.  

From the left, my mother Jackey Reace, Dad Tom and my dad's grandparents Big Mimi and Pop.  They pretty much raised my dad, and Pop is where our Native American side came from.
My parents either created or built nearly everything in our house.  In this photo alone you can see one of my dad's sculptures with steel wool hair peeking out between Big Mimi and Pop.  One of his paintings of a nude is behind mom.  Too bad all the good stuff is covered up, huh?  Dad also made the chair to the left and scavanged the wood that's paneling the back wall from the desert.  My mom made the cushions for the chair, the drapes behind her and both of our dresses.  I'm pretty sure our underwear was store bought, but knowing my family, it could have come from the sewing room.

This photo was taken on November 15th 1966 as we were on our way out the door to go to the Manos: The Hands of Fate  premiere. It just this second occured to me in one of those odd ways that new thoughts surface from old or familiar things...I absolutey have no memory of my Great Grandparents being at the premiere and no photos have been found of them being there.  They were not in the limo with us when we arrived in front of the Capri Theater and yet here they stand all dressed up.  Hmmm.

Fast forward 46 and half years.  Things change.  My great grandparents and my mother are gone and my dad has had another family for many many years.  I grew up, got married had two handsome boys, got divorced, raised those boys and am now on my own again.

Here is a couple photos of my dad and I last summer.  He's still a very handsome man and at least now I don't have that goofy slack jawed look I seemed to perfect in Manos.

This week begins Manos: The Hands of Fate on Stage in Portland, Oregon.  It is tremendously funny and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved.  Come to the show if you can and be sure to visit with me in the lobby or afterward.

Trailer for Play

Brian Koch, Little Debbie and Big Debbie

May the Hand of  Manos be with You Always

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Manos Fame Continues

Here are a few of the many  highlights and milestones that Manos: The Hands of Fate has enjoyed in just the last few years.  After it's initial release, the 1966 film was remembered only by those who took part in it and was quickly forgotten by those who had actually bought and paid for a ticket to see it.  Many years passed until  in 1993, Mystery Science Theater 3000 brought it to public consciousness on Comedy Central where it quickly became a cult movie favorite lovingly referred to as "The Worst Movie Ever Made".  It maintained it's status through the years as more people shared it or forced their friends to watch all or at least part of it. Alcohol was often involved in the coercion.

In Jan 2006, Brian Koch presented his  stage production of  Manos.  It debuted to friends and family and ended up playing to sold out crowds in Portland Oregon. Manos: on Stage in Portland

 In 2010 Rupurt Munch cast a Manos sequel that included all the original living able bodied Manos cast members and a few other notable folk. (That project appears to be on hold indefinitely)

 Rachel Jackson adapted the film for puppet theater. In April 2011 Manos: The Hands of Felt played to audiences in Seattle, Washington.   Manos: The Hands of Felt Big Finish

July 2012 A retro Mario Bros. style Manos: The Hands of Fate game was released for iPhone and now for iPad, Android and PC Manos: The Hands of Fate Game

August 4th 2012 Ben Solovey's Restoration of Manos premiered at the Manos birthplace of El Paso, Texas  Manos in HD

and later that month on August 16th, Rifftrax did a live riffing of Manos in Nashville Tennessee and simulcast it to 500 theaters nationwide. Rifftrax Live "Manos" The Hands of Fate

I've heard of this one.  Manos: Rock Opera of Fate in Chicago but don't currently have any more info.  I'm inquiring however, and will keep you posted.  Manos: Rock Opera of Fate

The stage production is back in Portland Oregon again and this time, I get to be involved.  The character of Debbie will be played by a puppet (not to be confused with the puppet theater version).  For the first time in 46 years I get to do the voice of  Debbie.  Of course, now I'm the middle age woman dubbing myself.  Poetic justice.

Manos: The Hands of Felt will also be back on stage this year in Seattle, Washington in August.  I will absolutely be there.  Maybe, if I'm really lucky, I'll be allowed to have a hand in it somehow.

My deepest thanks to all you followers of Manos and readers of my blog.  Interestingly, for the last few days, the country with the most readers after the United States is Latvia. Hmmm.  My readers are all over the world and I'm simply stunned at the interest, creativity and community this film has inspired. Thank you so very much!  The Master Approves.