Last Run Theater – Ed Wood’s Necromania Showing in 1976-78 and it’s U-Matic Landing at the San Antonio Inn in Bridgeton, MO

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11-24-78, Philadelphia – It’s very interesting to research on titles released during the turn of the Late 60’s to Early 70’s still peeping around in the Late 70’s-Early 80’s. especially when it’s one of the films Ed Wood made before his final fall into making 8mm Sex Ed reels (to be fair, while still occasionally working with AP Stephens) and his untimely passing on shortly after this showing on 12-10-78. By this time, Wood’s classics like Plan 9 from Outer Space were the Late Night experiences on TV (it was shoved onto TV screens as early as 1960!) and a cult was developing for his 1950’s films we know and love while Orgy of the Dead was only but a memory with that growing group of followers who wanted to dive into what happened next, although I would not be surprised if I happen to stumble upon an ad for some DI that showed ages old Nudies giving the film one last run showing it to customers wondering if they were in a time machine. Before Rudolph Grey’s essential book on the Director, Nightmare of Ecstasy, nobody knew anything about Necromania except for the fact that the one and only Rene Bond was in it and that it was one of many films produced – or make that escaped – during 1969 to 1971 before Porno turned into a serious money shot business which was still showing at any desperate screen during the late in the game era, usually a storefront or mini-cinema showing “3 Movies, 3 Hours, 3 Dollars” with very few showing the usually 1-hour titles, some of them from Stacey Distribution who unleashed this and The Only House in Town with many more to offer.

Today, Philadelphia’s 1131 Market is  part of the Hard Rock Cafe chain, but back in the final days of Adult Cinema, it was the Apollo, one of the many small places of the day which showed films from the mountain of 1-Hour quickies.

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4-2-76 – The Termite in Chicago, an Ex-Art House turned to Porn through the rest of the decade. Here, an interesting pairing is with a film called Switchcraft – was this some sex change “epic”?

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11-2-76, Corpus Christi – The address used to be the Grande Theater and a part of Braslau Furniture Store before turning into this Mid-Late 70’s incarnation. In 2012, the block was torn down, and I have a feeling that the Bail Bond office was where the theater once stood. I will not be surprised if “Sandra” was the respected Sandra: The Making of a Woman.

st-louis-5-15-77-wood-motel5-15-77, Bridgeton, MO (near St. Louis) – The 1 Hour Flick format was perfect for the U Matic tapes that flooded the Adult Hotel market that showed these films on Closed Circuit TV (in this case Channel 7 for you crazy Trivia buffs). What was a good business idea at the turn of the decade in Los Angeles with the Auto Lodge/Experience where it was not a surprising development turned into a dark story through the country by 1975 with the rise of places like the No-Tel Motel in Tucson and the start of the San Antonio Motel chain in Texas.

The St Louis paper was censorious with the ads, and I don’t think that there were any other movies called Necromania…Ed Wood was always one of a kind even in the Occult Nudie field of the Early 70’s. Here, the paper took the title by the “Neck”! Ouch!

8-6 and 8-5-76 – Teenage Sex Kitten was the real name of this Rene Bond flick showing at the Olympic Drive In, the notorious St. Louis Passion Pit and DG area that used to be auto dump before it’s change into a Drive In during the Early 60’s (1962 I think). You can have the Orgy and the Danish, but not the Sex, although you can have the Sin on the weekends!

A bit about the Bridgeton, MO location of the San Antonio Inn shows an interesting history about this ill-fated chain of cheap day rates, U-Matics, and sordid stories.

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8-5-76 – Around the time of it’s re-opening. The plan was not to go kinky with the movies, but you already know the story. I think that they could not show Deep Throat, too.

The San Antonio Motel mini-chain was a perfect encapsulation of how sad things got by the Late 70’s with the many movies that played storefronts and cheap theaters possibly forming the bulk of the programming shown on Closed Circuit TV. The first in San Antonio started off as a regular motel which appeared to be struggling in 1975 when it changed around while the motels that brought in the business seemed to be in dire straits – The St. Louis location was part of the Albert Pick chain, then a Sportsman’s Inn by 1969. and then the Royal St. Louis from 1972-6. There were worse histories – the first Louisville location was a Towne Terrace Motel, a Quality Inn, and a Master Coach Inn until it moved down S. 2’nd into what used to be the Downtown Holiday Inn and a Key Host with the later business being part of the San Antonio chain by 1978 before turning into a Super 8 until the early 2009 (In one of the rare cases of happy endings, it’s now a place for struggling families, the homeless, and those looking for a room at around $49 dollars). A location in Irving was raided in Early 1977 months after bringing in the chain and went right back to being called Villa Inn in shortly after while other locations in New Orleans, Omaha, Dallas, and Houston were also around with I’m sure a mountain of crime stories that could fill a book or two.

st-louis-1-9-66-san-antonio-inn-albert-pick-ad1-9-66 – an ad for the Albert Pick Motels with the 4625 N. Lindbergh location turning into the San Antonio Motel a decade later. It’s want ads were looking for people from small town and country backgrounds.

st-louis-4-8-70-san-antonio-inn-sportman-socialbals4-8-70 – Shortly before the Sportman’s Inn’s closing, it hosted a recruiting party for The Sociables. I will not be surprised if this ad comes off a bit creepy to some readers or maybe something that Ed Wood can make a movie out of at that time.

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6-20-71 – With the Royal St. Louis sign and trying to keep an image of professionalism.

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2-1-74 – Going for the Moonshine Mountain approach with this ad featuring “The Still” at the Royal St. Louis incarnation.

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12-24-75 – The Royal St. Louis’ final New Year’s bash at the Downspout at the Royal St. Louis featured Del Reeves.

Here’s Rene Bond from Frankie and Johnny Were Lovers singing in a way that I could imagine her if she took the lounge singer route. Kind of fitting for an ending! I would have aimed for one of the “hand-censored” videos of Necromania, but they don’t do the trick.

The Bridgeton location was demoed to make more room for the St. Louis Airport after years of infamous stories which ended in Early 1987. It was torn down after years of deciding what to do withe the building which was planned to be part of the Sheraton chain before just deciding to give it up and let the runway go through the area. I hope I have more chances to find out what got played through the U-Matic machines, mainly sightings of Ed Wood’s films released through Stacey.

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~ by screen13 on February 16, 2017.

One Response to “Last Run Theater – Ed Wood’s Necromania Showing in 1976-78 and it’s U-Matic Landing at the San Antonio Inn in Bridgeton, MO”

  1. superb research and a fascinating piece!

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