But first, there was a giant raffle contest. I think Tom clears out his garage for these raffles, because there was a stage full of prizes. And I won his Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots! He bested me twice before the film (and we tied one last time) but I'm gonna practice and practice and practice until I can smoke him next time.
Anyway, as the show began there was the classic Bob Wilkins sitting in his big yellow chair and smoking his cigar. I have to pause now and confess that I didn't grow up in the Bay Area and never knew about Bob Wilkins before I came here. And so this is another example of weird 'false nostalgia' I have for a world I never actually lived in. Anyway, the highlight of the Bob Wilkins segments was an interview with George Takei. He's become so huge as a gay icon and Internet star, sometimes I forget he was on this show called STAR TREK. And in this interview he thanked the fans for their rabid support in convincing Paramount to make a big screen movie based on the show.
Okay, then the actual film, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962): Not the Lon Chaney version, not the Claude Rains version, certainly not the later versions (Bob Wilkins had many powers, but not time travel.) No, this is definitely a "lesser known" version (unless you're a Hammer Horror fan.) And...well...it's not exactly bad but there's a reason this is lesser known. It has its charms, from the plagiarism-avenging backstory to the Igor-like assistant (rather, a mute sewer dweller who saved the phantom's life) and...heck, I changed my mind. This is actually a great version of the Phantom of the Opera story. No reason it shouldn't be a classic.
Running Time: 115 minutes
My Total Minutes: 371,573