Mother (1970) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Ah bin up 'n down this ol' world some, an' walked to 'n fro upon it a piece, an ah seen some shit. Prob'ly seen more movies than ol' Roger Ebert has even heard of, an' ah reckon there's some mighty irregular shows in the mem'ries, but they ain't many odder 'n this 'un.

Law' a'mighty, this is some goofy shit!

It is also known as Up Your Teddy Bear and The Seduction of a Nerd.

Back around 1970 or so, a fella named Don Joslyn saw that his acting career was stagnating, and decided that he wanted to direct. Before turning out his one and only film, he had to overcome a few problems, like (a) he had no idea how to direct a movie, and (b) if he could have learned how, he wouldn't have had enough money. In fact, to be more specific, he didn't have any money. To his credit, he did not let these minor issues stand in the way of assembling 90 minutes worth of footage featuring Wally "Underdog" Cox, Julie "Catwoman" Newmar, and a popular 350-pound former Shakespearian actor named Victor Buono. Like Newmar, Buono had played a villain (King Tut) on the campy Batman TV series. What a cast! Instead of watching them in a story, I felt like I should have been feeding them softball double-entendre questions.

"Wally, on the top left to block. Wally, where would you go to find the biggest fruit in the Caribbean?"

"I would go to Paul Lynde's cabana. (Audience response.) No, actually, I believe that would be Antigua."

As Newmar explains in an accompanying interview, it was a fairly simple process for Joslyn to make a film with three name stars and no money. He simply shot in all the locations without permission, and then failed to pay the actors. Any minor actor who is a wannabe director can do the same thing - once. It becomes much harder to hire actors for a second film however. Word travels fast when the checks bounce, or never arrive. Per IMDb, Mr. Joslyn never made another film, and never worked again in any film in any capacity. As for the other expenses involved in making this movie, Newmar didn't know, or at least didn't explain, how Joslyn came up with a camera and film, but I think we can imagine how that might have transpired.

The footage he assembled wasn't just random. It even had a plot - or at least a rough outline of a plot - to glue it all together. Catwoman plays "Mother," the ruthless head of a greedy corporate toy manufacturing firm. One day she spots a skillful street busker, a gentle puppet-maker (Wally Cox) whose creations are fascinating to children. Mother decides that she just has to hire this idiot savant to make puppets for her company, but he resists her job offer, so Mother assigns the recruitment task to her grown but infantile son, Skippy (Buono). Skippy's detectives tell him that Underdog spends all of his free time following women around without ever approaching them, so the big fella becomes convinced that he needs a femme fatale to get the ol' Underdog signature on that management contract. The attempts and failures in this seduction process form the meat of the movie. Woman after woman tries and fails, and after each failure Mother berates Skippy for his incompetence. Turns out Underdog won't go for the chicks because he's in love with Mother herself, who reminds him of his own domineering mother. The film doesn't really have a conclusion, Underdog and Skippy show up in mother's office one day, sans contract, so Mother berates Skippy once more. Skippy is finally at the end of this tether from all this abuse, so he grabs Mother's throat and starts choking her. They get involved in a long and violent wrestling match which is somewhere between lovemaking and murder, whereupon Underdog says, "I see you two want to be alone," and closes the door as the end credits roll.

I suppose that was the point where the director ran out of film stock.

That plot summary seems almost credible by Hollywood standards, and that's really misleading, because the film just seems to meander from scene to scene. It could easily be edited to a five minute short without losing anything important.

What makes it so weird? Well sir, the highlights of the film consist of the following:

  • The writer (Joslyn again, in his only writing credit) seems to think he can derive great humor solely from placing the gigantic Buono and the tiny Underdog in unlikely scenes together. For example, at one point Buono is dazed and asks Underdog to help him walk, whereupon the 5'6", 125 pound man shoulder-carries the 6'3", 350 pounder. A few more yuks are milked from the height difference between the diminutive Cox and the statuesque Catwoman.
  • When Buono is not playing the oafish fat man in his latter-day Laurel and Hardy act with Wally Cox, he is making a fool of himself on screen alone. There is a long, long sequence (I want to say about 89 of the film's 90 minutes) in which Buono tries to squeeze himself behind the wheel of a foreign sports car, and then another similar schtick involving his inability to use public phone booths.
  • Additional comic hijinks occur from placing the two men in comically (?) inappropriate costumes. Buono wears a little league uniform. Underdog dresses up as a cowboy. Buono goes undercover as a hooker - and manages to interest a client! (Some of their more embarrassing moments are seen below.)



  • It is not well known that Underdog was a passable singer. Oh, I suppose his straightforward singing was nothing special. He could carry a tune, but he still sounded like Underdog, except a singing version. But Cox also had a fascinating novelty act. I'll bet even your TV and movie buff friends will be surprised to hear that ol' Underdog is a fantastically good yodeler - he can do it very fast and his voice switches flawlessly every time. It's impressive - for about twenty seconds. Unfortunately, the writer/director loved that gimmick so much that he allowed Mr. Cox to lie in bed and Yodel an entire song, and then to sing two more songs later with intermittent additional yodeling - including the theme song from Little Orphan Annie. Strangely enough, the singing is about the only time you'll hear his voice in this film. Cox has almost no spoken dialogue!
  • Oh, boy, I've been putting off mentioning this one, because it is just too embarrassing to type. This must be the only film in which Wally Cox does a nude sex scene. Cox keeps his pants on, but his lover is completely naked - and is played by Angelique Pettyjohn, a minor legend in sci-fi nerdology as Captain Kirk's green-haired lover in "The Gamesters of Triskelion."

I think you have the flavor. It is the Citizen Kane of Yodeling Porn.

I don't know about you guys, but I think it is wonderful that Troma finds obscure crap like this, remasters it, and puts it out on DVD for some quick laughs and quick bucks. It is an atrociously bad film, and yet it possesses a million dollars worth of period memories! I hated it, but I loved it as well.



  • Sorry, no widescreen version.
  • There is one worthwhile feature, a lengthy interview with the legendary Julie Newmar, who humorously recalls her adventures working on this one-of-a-kind movie.



A nude model shows her bum

Angelique Pettyjohn shows her breasts in a sauna scene with Victor Buono, then exposes her bum in a sex scene with ... Wally Cox

The Critics Vote ...

  • No reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 2.8/10. It could easily be considered one of the worst films ever made. I would rate it the second worst comedy I have seen from the 1967-73 "hippie era," taking a back seat only to the legendary Skidoo.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C+. As a movie, it could not be much worse. If you call it an F, I have no rebuttal. But, damn, is it a helluva 1970 time capsule, buried back then and unearthed after lo, these many years. You have to watch it in fast forward because the timing is all off and every scene goes on too long, but you should see it - just for the nostalgia value and the sheer audacity of it all.

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