Advice to the Hopeless

Advice to the Hopeless - May 6, 2015

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Dear Joe Bob,

Hey, I recently saw you at the Alamo Drafthouse, in Yonkers, for a screening of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" (1974), which you did an exceptional job presenting, and I was just wondering if you were doing any more public appearances this year, in or around the Northeast?

Thanks again, JB, and it was nice finally meeting you.



Hey J.T.

Great to hear from you, and yes, I'm gonna start doing a regular series at Alamo Drafthouse/Yonkers. We’ll put the dates up for those screenings and for anywhere else I’m gonna be up on the website and on Facebook.

Preciate the support, bud. I'm sure I'll be seeing you soon . . .

Hang in there,

Joe Bob

Hey Joe Bob!

I saw your lecture at the Chattanooga Film Fest and it was incredible! Very fun and informative. As soon as I got home I had to look up the movie, "Drum" and check it out. Wow, what a film! I meant to ask you during the Q&A but there wasn't much time, but what's your thoughts on "Nail Gun Massacre"?




I was at the premiere of the restored print of "Nail Gun Massacre" a few years back, and I met all the guys involved. It's basically a weaker version of "The Tool Box Murders," and not nearly as scary, but it's good dirty fun.

Preciate you coming to the show. That was just about the warmest audience I've ever had.

Hang in there,

Joe Bob


Dear Joe Bob,

I have been hearing that there has been a resurgence of the drive-in. Is this because of nostalgia, hipsters getting into something because it is unpopular to the average public and considered ironic, or because the drive-in has learned to evolve to our changing world?



Yes, you're absolutely right, there's a huge resurgence of interest in the drive-in, and as the economy improves we see many old drive-ins reopening and many new ones being built.

Hang in there,

Joe Bob


Hi Joe Bob,

Like many Mutants, I'm also a fan of the great Tom Waits. In his song "Diamonds On My Windshield," he includes the following lyrics:

Orange Drive-in, Neon billing,

Theatre's filling to the brim


Slave Girls and Hot Spur

And Bucket Full of Sin

I assume these last two lines are titles of drive-in movies, but I have only been able to track down one of them (I think). Could you identify these and maybe tell me a little about them?

Preciate it, JBB!



Dear Dante,

I'm pretty sure Tom made those up, but somebody should make a movie called "Bucket Full of Sin."


Hang in there,

Joe Bob


Hey Joe Bob,

I have been digging around and can't seem to find those two quotes from the old Drive-In reports. Seemed best as I can remember you had one when a drive-in was restored and a different one when they got closed but always the same two quotes to cap off the segment. I have watched several of the old Monster Visions on YouTube and have just had the bad luck of picking out all videos with no drive-in report.

Have a great day Joe Bob!


Hi David,

Yes, the only two categories of drive-in reporting were…

Communist Alert!


Victory Over Communism!

Preciate the support, bud.

Hang in there,

Joe Bob


Joe Bob's Advice to the Hopeless - Dec '14

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Dear Joe Bob, Thank you with all my heart.

I recently obtained an old copy of Joe Bob Goes to the Drive In and watched my niece go to tears laughing at your totally professional and fair imitation of someone who was not the anti-war, pro-art man you are. You were my once-a-week relief in the 80's when I was washing dishes in Austin and we would rush to buy out the Dallas newspaper (and there was only ONE Dallas newspaper then) to read your column aloud while we slaved in the kitchen heat. Thank you. Your writing in the 80's was air conditioning to us in that slave hall. BTW, some guy in LA found a copy of Hells Angels Forever on tape and digitalized it. I bought it two weeks ago after searching 25 years on the alleged Internet.....and I thought I had hallucinated the movie 'cause no mention. Watched it several times over, compared your review in JBGTTM and have to were unduly unfair to these obvious humanitarians.

You should be ashamed!


Hey Paul--

Thanks for the great memories. One of which is the Hell's Angels sending an "enforcer" to mess me up when I was late for the introduction of "Hell's Angels Forever" at the Inwood Theater in Dallas.

Preciate the nice words! Hang in there, Joe Bob

Hey Joe Bob! I'm a big fan of yours! Were you in the movie "The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald"? In the TV movie The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald at around 1:56 the actor playing the guy who carpooled with Lee Harvey Oswald and saw Lee with the brown package of "curtain rods"is that you ? It sounds just like you but doesn't look much like you? Matt

Matt, You're talking about the two-night miniseries from 1977, but you may not know there was a movie with the same title, made in Dallas in 1964 by the late great Larry Buchanan. At any rate, I wasn't in either of them. I was in Dallas in 1977 but I was a feature reporter for the Dallas Times-Herald and had no idea I would ever try acting. Preciate the nice words, bud. Hang in there, Joe Bob

Hi Joe Bob, In your commentary on "Incredibly Strange Creatures...!!?, you wanted to know what Madam Estrella and Ortega were doing with their hands (in a scene following the stabbing of the Barker and Stella). They were mixing acid with glass beakers. I realize someone has probably answered this question before but just in case they have not, I thought I would put in my two cents. Your fan, James Clay James-- At last I can sleep at night! Thanks a lot, bud.

That's a while back that I did that commentary. Preciate the support.

Hang in there, Joe Bob

Joe Bob, I have heard that there may be a remake of the classic movie:"curse of the demon." Have you heard anything about this? If so, please send me an e mail with full details. One of my comments appeared in one of your columns years ago in the d.t.h. Robert


I'm not a fan of remakes but I can see why whoever has the rights is choosing that one in 2014. Paranormal is crazy popular right now. I'll check into it and let you know. Preciate the support, bud.

Hang in there, Joe Bob



Dear Joe Bob, I recall reading in one of your articles a while ago that the imposition of Daylight Savings Time was an effort by the studios and big movie theaters to cripple the Drive-Ins. I also saw the documentary on PBS which asserted the same thing. Sounds good to me. The problem is, that some of the skeptics here demand that I back up my opinions with facts, and I cannot find any reference to the relationship between DST and the death of the Drive-Ins. When you get a minute, could you help me out here by pointing me to a source of information regarding how The Man went after the Drive-In by changing the time every Spring?


Dear George,

Daylight Savings Time was instituted in the United States toward the end of the drive-in's heyday, namely, 1967, with the result that a lot of triple-feature venues had to become double features, and some drive-ins had June and July start times of 9 p.m. or later. Obviously this was not good for business, and the owners started holding barbecues and instituting other attractions like miniature golf to get families to come earlier. Then in 1973 the feds ordered mandatory year-round DST, so the southern drive-ins that had shows in the winter had to deal with it 365 days a year. Fortunately that only lasted a year. By then most drive-ins had turned to porn just to survive.

There were a lot of contributing factors--the rise of the multiplex, the decline of Detroit gas guzzlers and the rise of Japanese rice rockets, and, yes, DST was one of them--but the drive-ins that managed to last to the mid-eighties are mostly still in business today.

Preciate the support, bud. Hang in there, Joe Bob



Advice to the Hopeless 3/24/14

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Joe Bob,

I'm interested in what you think about the evolution of the drive-in. A couple of months ago, I saw "The Outsiders" up in Silver Spring, at the AFI's theater and there's that great scene set in the drive-in in Tulsa. It made me think about this topic again, how drive-ins
used to be rowdy places, and that kind of went out of style. The ones that have survived are great, but, overall, seem to be a real wholesome, family kind of atmosphere. Seems like the end of an era, or at least a real change. Curious what you think.




Drive-ins have always gone back and forth between seedy teenage hangouts and family attractions. The yin and the yang of them existed in 1954 as surely as it does today, and you will find drive-ins across America that are rife with rowdiness. You can find articles over the
past 50 years that start out, "It used to be a passion pit, but the local drive-in is more and more attracted to family fare these days . . ." and those articles are usually efforts by the owner to get rid of the rowdy teens. It was not uncommon in the fifties for a drive-in to have
drunks passed out in their cars on Saturday night, then a special Easter showing of "The Ten Commandments" on Sunday night. So it kind of goes with the territory.


Joe Bob

* * *

Dearest Joe:

Of the 3 billion websites out there, yours has got to be the coolest. Where might I go to find a watchable copy of the movie The Swinging Barmaids? I can't seem to find it anywhere and have no idea where to look.

Is it even considered a B-movie, or just an older A-movie?



The title "Swinging Barmaids" was used as a re-title on more than one movie released by Motion Picture Marketing, so you need to tell me which one you're talking about. Some identifying feature. Maybe a
poster? And, yes, all of them were definitely B movies.

Preciate the nice words, bud.

Hang in there,

Joe Bob

* * *


My profound statement is, and it might not be "profound" but it is definitely a good one, "A good friend will bail you out of jail but a true friend will be sitting beside you in jail and say DAMN THAT WAS FUN"

Love you!!!!! Miss you reading prison mail!!!



First of all, I didn't do it. Secondly, she's lying. Third, I don't own any weapon of the type in question. Fourth, that's not my DNA.

Thanks for the nice words!

Hang in there,

Joe Bob

*  *  *  *

Hey Joe Bob

I been reading your book about going Back to the Drive-in recently because I didn't have it until this past Christmas when my loverly girlfriend gave it to me. I already read your first book about going to the drive-in, and ever since I read your column in one of the finer
local newspapers back in the early 1990s I been telling everyone how much they been missing by not reading your stuff or watching you on the TV, but usually they just tell me to, "get the hell out of the store."

Anyway, I wrote you back in 1998-or-so asking for info on a film about a guy with no legs that fought a guy with no arms, and you said it was Crippled Masters and that you'd play it on MonsterVision, if you did, I missed it... so now I'm just writing to let you know that I did end up buying a DVD of "Crippled Masters" back in 2004, so you don't have to worry about that anymore.



Well, since I've been waiting SIXTEEN YEARS for your review, tell me: how was it?

Hang in there,

Joe Bob

*  *  *

Hey Joe Bob!

I think you might have known my dad, Frank E. Griffis? He's told me stories about you and, oh what's that guy's name, the one that wrote Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another West Texas guy...anyway. I grew up watching Monstervision and harassing old librarians trying to find whatever grummy, dog-chewed copies of your
books I could.

I don't have any profundities off the top, just wanted to drop a line and say how much I appreciate the stuff you've put out there. Love your humor, and dangit, it was good information too. I hope you know how big of a cult following you have out there! We aren't very vocal, or productive, or sober. But we're there! Watching horrible movies and
wishing they were narrated by a certain good ol' boy armed with vital statistics. Wish you the best, man.


Hey Frank,

Thanks for the nice words. I learned long ago that the movies are better when drunk.

Preciate the support.

Hang in there,

Joe Bob

*  *  *

Joe Bob,

On MonsterVision, you once showed a film that was based on an epic Greek or Roman story. Seems it was based in the subways or something like that. You illustrated/diagrammed some of the plot on a blackboard or whiteboard or flip chart. What was the film and what epic story was it based on? Do you know the air date?

I thought you were brilliant.



Thanks for remembering one of my favorite episodes. It may be the one time in my life that being a Classical Studies minor came in handy. The movie was "The Warriors," directed by Walter Hill, who would go on to direct much more famous movies like "48 Hrs.," "Streets of Fire" and "Brewster's Millions." Walter Hill may or may not have cared about the story's classical origins, but the screenplay was based on a novel by Sol Yurick, and Yurick had used Xenophon's account of the retreat of the Ten Thousand, as described in "Anabasis," and transposed it onto a fable about New York gang territories. The conceit worked because the Ten Thousand was a band of Greek warriors who marched all the way to the Euphrates in 401 BC, where they were employed by Cyrus to fight against Artaxerxes. Even though they won the battle, Cyrus was killed and they ended up with no food, no supplies, and no leadership after all their generals were lured to a meeting and executed. They then had to fight their way back through every hostile territory between Babylon and the Black Sea before finding ships to take them home--a process that took two years and is considered one of the great "underdog" stories in military history. At any rate, the route of the Warriors in the movie began at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, where their leader was killed, and ended after many fights later at their home turf of Coney Island. I used a 1960s New York subway map to chart their progress.

Much more information than you wanted, I'm sure!

All my best,

Joe Bob


Advice to the Hopeless December 7, 2013

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Hey Joe Bob,

I recently had the dubious privilege of watching 'The Stand' for the first time in ten years and I had to ask my girlfriend to stop it so I could dredge up memories of MonsterVision. After looking around the site (I'm very glad you still do the advice to the hopeless, by the way) and googling, I'm shocked that there aren't more full episodes of MonsterVision available (though your treatment of 'Return of the Living Dead' is out there on youtube, thankfully). Not only did you introduce me to a number of amazing movies I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise ('Motel Hell' was a hell of an experience), but you provided a pretty great environment for me to find some other nerd friends (thanks for introducing me to IRC and forcing me to give a damn about computers, it worked out pretty well).

Anyway, to the point- I moved up to Seattle a while back and have been pretty impressed with the showing of cult movies at small, independent theaters. They even have guests show up to assist in either making fun of or otherwise officiating movies- like the Found Footage Festival guys or various actors from 'The Room' (if you could call that a movie). Do you ever do anything like that yourself, or have you considered it? I'm no demographer, but I'd hope/assume that there are more than enough fans of 'good' (bad) horror wandering around to make it worth your while- going to the theater to have a beer, burger, and listen to you introduce a good bad film would be a treat. Anyway, this probably isn't the first time someone's asked you to come into town for bad movies and beer, and it probably won't be the last. Thanks again for sharing your enthusiasm for the kinds of films that may never be made again. If you're ever in Seattle and want to cash in on some beer and maybe hit Central Cinema for a showing of 'They Live!', consider my schedule cleared.

- Greg

Hey Greg-- I got close this past May. I was at the big Crypticon thing out by the airport, and while I was in town I did a presentation of "Pieces" at the Grand Cinema in downtown Tacoma. I didn't realize at the time that SeaTac would pass the $15-an-hour minimum wage or I would have stayed there. Preciate the support, bud.

Hang in there, Joe Bob

Hey Joe Bob, I know you've probably gotten tons or e-mails asking the same question, but I was just wondering what your opinion of the Evil Dead remake was. Have you seen it, and if so, what did you think? PS: Have you ever been to Starlight Six Drive-In in Atlanta? Every Labor Day, they hold a dusk until dawn screening of classic B-movie fare. It would be awesome to have you as a guest of honor here this year!

Take care, Your friendly neighborhood Jimbo

Jimbo, I thought the Evil Dead remake was remarkably unemotional--I mean, it didn't really do anything for me. All that money and so little edgy stuff. There's was nothing obviously wrong with it. Well, there was one thing. How do you remake Evil Dead and leave out the Ash character? I mean, come on, man. Anyway, yes, I've been to the Labor Day festival at the Starlight Six. I can't remember which year I was there, but they've never invited me back! Preciate the support, bud.

Hang in there, Joe Bob

Hey Joe Bob, I don't have a question or anything, just wanted to tell you that I think you are awesome. Loved Monstervision. Hope to meet you at a convention some day.

Later, Kate

Hi Kate Thank you soooooo much for that sweet note. You're awesome for taking the time to do that. I haven't done any conventions since June but I'm sure I'll be out there next year.

Hang in there, Joe Bob

Joe Bob,

I am curious about something. Did you, by any chance, work for Kelly Services back in 2000? I ask because I worked a temp job for Kelly Services at that time & the HR person who conducted the orientation for the temp job looked very very similar to you & he talked the exact same way that you do. Was that you or was it just coincidence. R.S.V.P. Thanks.

- Les

Wow, Les, That's not the kind of email I get every day. I've known two girls named Kelly, but I never worked for them. The only jobs I can remember having in the year 2000 involved Talk magazine and a short-lived publication called Maximum Golf. Oh, and Playboy. Did Kelly work for Playboy?

Hang in there, Joe Bob

Joe Bob,

I'm on an Asian epic kick. Re-watched Hero, watched The Warlords. Looking for big sweeping epic Asian violence, preferably with satisfying action scenes and high body counts. Stumbled on War of Arrows at the video store. Bingo! Action that's as exciting as any I've seen in a while. Body count? Check. Serious violence? Check. Predictable, yeah sorta. Epic? approaching it. Visceral joyride? Check. It's fairly new, from 2011. I'd never heard of it but that doesn't mean anything.

Pedro says check it out.

Hi Pedro, Are you the U.S. distributor????? Only kidding. Thanks for the tip, man. Asia is making a comeback, I can tell.

Hang in there, Joe Bob

Hello Joe Bob,

My name is Jamielee and I live in australia. I wholeheartedly support your efforts to preserve the drive-in theater which unfortunately Australia has very few of. I personally hope that there is still some around for the next generation to enjoy. Keep up the good work.


Jamielee, Thanks for those words of support. Some of the greatest drive-in movies of all time have been filmed in Australia, not to mention the weirdbeard favorite "Dead End Drive-In," so I'm sorry to hear their numbers are declining.

Hang in there, Joe Bob



Advice to the Hopeless Feb '13

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Dear Joe Bob,

First off I'm a huge fan of yours growing up"Monstervision" was always a must see and your commentary was always hilarious to watch. This past Halloween on AMC they aired "Motel Hell" which I instantly remembered seeing first on "Monstervision" and it made me smile. However now that I am older (26) I've given up on horror movies since the foundation of them are almost repetitive just with different actors.

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