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Jimmy, The Boy Wonder (1966)

Directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis
Something Weird DVD-R
Buy it from Something Weird!

THE FILM
Hoorah! Jimmy saved the world! Saved it from the evil Mr. Fig!

And, it only involved a bit of walking around aimlessly through parks in Miami with a nice lady named Aurora. And, it only involved four musical numbers. And, it only involved Jimmy complaining that he was tired about six times. Thank you, H.G. Lewis, for bringing us the true story of this brave young man and his adventure to World’s End! (still in Miami.)

Jimmy, The Boy Wonder is, along with The Magical Land Of Mother Goose, the most pooh-poohed film in Mr. Lewis’s canon. (The more extensive write-ups on it go like this: “He made a couple of kids films around this time.” The other books usually read, “Jimmy. Kid. Movie. No.”) I don’t think those people have seen Jimmy, The Boy Wonder. Or, if they have, they weren’t ready to open their hearts and let the Magic in!

Will you please open up your heart and let the magic in?

There are days when I feel down. Days when I can’t seem to get anything out of life but the air I breathe. But, not today! You cannot bring me down. Because today, oh yes, today, I feel like a Happy King! And it is all thanks to…

Jimmy, The Boy Wonder! My favorite Herschell Gordon Lewis film. As much as I love the gore and the nudie stuff, this is the one that I watch again and again. Why? Verve, my friends. And, a little something extra I like to call anti-Verve! The folks on screen (with the possible exception of Jimmy) are giving it their all. Things happen fairly quickly for an H.G. Lewis film. At one point, the most hysterical padding in the world is used as a plot point. Then, just when it seems like it’s going to ramble off into eternity, an animated section begins. A quasi-Disney cartoon appears for around fifteen minutes and it is the jauntiest, pranciest bit you’ll ever see in an H.G. Lewis film. Unfortunately, Jimmy and friends seem that much slower when we return to them but, hey…Wait a minute. Did I just say, “butt hay”? What’s that?

Jimmy stops time! He doesn’t do it maliciously. It’s just a bit of anti-serendipity. The clock of time stops every hundred years (or thousand, I forget) and at that moment, before it begins again, anything can happen. It’s the first day of school and Jimmy wishes time would stop because he’s being rushed around so much. And time stops! Holy Crap! We see folks freezing in the middle of various activities. We also see that time stopping is a little bit slower than the speed of light. A man getting out of his car in the foreground of a shot freezes, but the folks in the background don’t. Presumably, they will freeze in a second.

Now, Mr. Fig comes into play! He is the Time Killer. He likes doing nothing and hopes time will stop forever. But, Jimmy, with the help of a nice lady named Aurora, is sent to World’s End to start the clock. Will they get there in time? Is the man who plays the Astronomer the most hysterically goofball actor in the H.G. Lewis canon? Are the musical numbers slowing them down or actually making them go faster? What about those green Indians? Are they supposed to look like The Hulk with their purple pants? Why is this movie so mad?

Barry Mahon’s The Wonderful Land of Oz seems like the height of craziness unless you’ve read Baum’s The Land Of Oz. Then, it turns out that he’s done a decent job of adapting it, even going so far as to include the frankly odd ending. In contrast, Mr. Lewis lets his patented style rip and does indeed make a film that might be the height of craziness. I think Jimmy, The Boy Wonder is his most fascinating film aside from Monster A-Go-Go. Yeah, I know. Send me a “Virtual Punch To The Slats”. With H.G.’s gore and nudie films, you get about halfway into watching your first one and you’ll find that that’s the way they all go. And, yes, I’m a big fan but…oh boy…Jimmy is the one that makes me put on my wizard’s hat and stare out of my window through a crooked telescope. Pants optional.

If Fuad Ramses had broke into song at least once, maybe Blood Feast would be my favorite.

Imagine an H.G Lewis film that’s trying to amuse kids. Instead of a facial mutilation, Aurora turns everything red and Mr. Fig turns everything blue. Instead of guts spilling onto the floor, imagine Mr. Fig dancing and singing. Instead of brain removal, imagine a swordfight between a fox and a cat. It’s the same kind of thing he normally makes except he’s shifted genres and, frankly, it’s a hoot. A slow hoot at times, but a hoot nonetheless.

AUDIO AND VIDEO
Audio was fine. The DVD-R is framed a little oddly. Immy, The Boy Wonder? “erschell Gordon Lewis”? Who are they? The old VHS copy I got from “Who knows where?” had better framing but the colors weren’t as nice. I guess it evens out. Doesn’t it? Jimmy?

EXTRAS
Something Weird spreads on the trailers like fresh garlic butter on a sourdough roll: Puss in Boots, The Brave Little Tailor, Tom Thumb and a bunch of others. They’re all entertaining and slightly demented although The Prince and the Pauper is dull no matter what they do to it.

Then, there are two very similar shorts from K. Gordon Murray: Santa’s Magic Kingdom and Santa and His Children. They mix moments from the Mexican Santa Claus with footage shot at a Santa’s Village. A lot of folks running around with dubbed voices explaining what’s going on or what they think we think should be going on. The Village is awesome! There is an opening shot where I believed I was being Taken Up. Santa is in his sleigh being pulled by reindeer. The camera is behind him. We are entering a cave. For a moment, I thought we were going to be inside a gigantic North Pole mock-up filled with snow and trees and reindeer and elves and all that stuff. Nope. I’m not sure exactly what happens but we’re suddenly out in the snow-free woods. The Village is still cool but for that one moment…

FINAL THOUGHTS
My goodness, I like Jimmy, The Boy Wonder. The first night I got a copy I watched it three times. Why? I don’t know. It is, simultaneously, the most listless and the most fun demented kid’s entertainment I’ve ever seen. Folks can put it down all they want. Jimmy doesn’t care. Neither do I. Extra Final Thought: After seeing this and other kids films from that era, I find myself thinking, “Why hurt the children? What have they done to you?” Ahhh kids, don’t worry. Jimmy will save you! He’s lethargic! And he looks like Tony Dow now!