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.