Many years ago, when I was working in local TV, my general manager called me into his office and said, “I have a kitchen set for you. I’ve hired a host. Here’s your budget. Make me a TV show where guests hosts come on and cook while watching movies.”
I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Bad movies. Bad horror movies. The black-and-white motion pictures I grew up loving. I don’t like what passes for horror movies these. I prefer the absurd.
One of my favorite movies of all time is The Little Shop of Horrors. No, not the campy musical version with Steve Martin, but the original Roger Corman film from 1960. It’s a terrifically funny movie, which is probably why Frank Oz remade it as a musical in the 1980s.
The original contains a dreadful, blaring jazzy sound track. Jack Nicholson appears in one of his earliest motion picture performances. The film is the source of one of my favorite quotes: “Feed me. I’m hungry.” And when it came time to create the opening graphics for the show, I insisted this line be included. What better for a cooking show?
I never realized the movie is now considered a cult classic until recently. It’s been redefined as a black comedy. That’s fair. I never knew Roger Corman had a following until I was much older, and even then, I didn’t realize Little Shop was one of his.
Apparently I have very good instincts.