Friday, November 15, 2013

Happy 47th Anniversary Manos!!

Today, November 15th is most certainly a notable day for cult movie fans.  Well, at least the Manos: The Hands of Fate Fans.  November 15th marks the  47th anniversary of the 1966  World Premiere of Manos: The Hands of Fate at the Capri Theater in downtown El Paso, Texas.

I would like to pay tribute to Hal Warren, the imaginer of this film that has delivered in equal measure,
disbelief, confusion, and joy without clear focus.  Hal is a man who, until now has been a mystery to fans of his work.  All that is about to change.  I had the greatest thrill yesterday when I had the opportunity to talk with Hal's daughter and granddaughter on Skype. Beautiful, charming women and a real pleasure to chat with.  We have many talks to come, and between us we will unveil the wonder of Hal Warren.  For now, just a taste.

Hal Warren was a Renaissance Man of high standards.  He loved the theater, acting and consorting with the creative crowd and yet he was a shrewd business man.  Although it is a common Manos legend that Hal was a Texas fertilizer salesman, the truth is that at the time of Manos he was selling insurance.  He went on to other business dealings with a goal of alway moving ahead to better things.  He was a visionary who enjoyed making a big production of everything.  His daughter says he staged and filmed family movies to the extent of one Christmas when he made the kids get up at midnight and come down the stairs as though it was a joyous Christmas morning so he could film it.  Then they were sent back to bed until the real morning happened.

Hal's daughter was a teen at the time of Manos and remembers that one goal her dad had in doing Manos was to have the opportunity to cast himself as a hero and good guy.  In theater, because of his "look" he was always cast as the  less savory characters such as General Bullmoose in Li'l Abner and Mr van Daan in Diary of Anne Frank.  I'll leave the discussion of whether he achieved that goal, to you, the fans.

She recalls his description of the night of the premiere.  She recognized my story of the one limo and driver that circled the block picking up the cast and crew from the back alley and delivering them to the entrance and onto the red carpet.  The difference between his story and mine is that he made it sound a lot better and more fun. Like "Yeah, I meant to do that." His view was always brighter and had more potential than many folks view may have agreed with.  He succeeded and he failed as anyone who is willing to step out and take risks.  The funny thing here is that, what appeared to fail in 1966 and stayed buried for the next 27 years until it somehow surfaced, got dusted off and presented to the public, is now cherished by so many.  Somehow Hals spirit comes through and resonates.  When viewers get it they really get it.  He had a dream.  He had little idea of how to achieve it so he found similar thinking people with various resources and skills and brought it to life.  Simple and yet profound.
 Hal Warren reminds us to Dream.


  1. And I thought my father was the only one who had to recreate Christmas morning so he could film it!

    1. Lol, Trisha!..and how has that affected the rest of your life, I wonder?

  2. Hal was truly a visionary, a man.ahead of his time. All-hail Manos!

  3. Dear Jackey,

    I am a follower of your great and somewhat nostalgic blog and a great fan of Manos: that Hands of Fate. I found this movie similar to what I do in my life: handmade, non-standard and, well, with a heart in it.

    I would like to interview you and post this interview to obscure website of mine.
    Would you be interested in that?

  4. Sorry, of course, I mean Manos: THE Hands of Fate. :-)

  5. Yes/ I would be interested. I'm always interested in talking Manos. Just contact me at my email address and we'll schedule something.