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Commander USA

Commander USA's Groovie Movies is a hosted movie showcase that ran weekend afternoons on the USA Network. The show premiered January 5, 1985, and ran through 1989. It was hosted by Jim Hendricks as "Commander USA" (Soaring super hero! Legion of Decency - Retired), a wacky but slightly seedy blue-collar comic book superhero who occasionally displayed powers such as "microwave vision" (usually to prepare a mid-movie meal of fish or eggs).

The show originally ran double features of horror and science fiction movies on Saturday afternoons, then later a single feature on Sunday afternoons. Later movies on the show tended to be Mexican wrestling films or heavily edited violent films from Japan.

The Commander's show originated from a secret headquarters located under a New Jersey shopping mall. The Commander was almost always enthusiastic about the films he showed, whether is was a "gem" like Inframan, Blood Beast Horror, or any other number of Grade-Z celluloid oddities. The Commander was often joined on the program by either his agent (Barry Kluger) or "Lefty", a hand puppet created by drawing a face on his right hand with cigar ash. Over the course of a show, Lefty's face would inevitably get smeared or washed off, but the Commander would always redraw it with his unlit cigar.

In 1988, Eclectic Publishing published Commander USA's World of Horror, a 32-page magazine which was intended to be published bi-monthly, but only one issue was ever released.

Brief clips from the show are visible in the films The Color of Money and Scrooged. In all, more than 200 episodes were produced but are unlikely to ever air again because of the complexities in securing rights for the films involved.

Movies shown

Quotes

  • "Holy cats!"
  • "Keep your nose in the wind... and your tail to yourself..."
  • "Always a Brideshead, never revisited."
  • "Suffering Catfish!"

External links

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