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Phil Tucker
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    (May 22, 1927-November 30, 1985)
    Directed 'Robot Monster' (1953), 'Dance Hall Racket' (1953) and 'Cape Canaveral Monsters' (1960)
    Before moving on to sci-fi, he did quickie sexploitation pics. ('New York After Midnight,' 'Paris After Midnight,' 'Tijuana After Midnight,' etc.)
    His 'Robot Monster,' featuring a man wearing a gorilla suit and diving helmet in the title role, is often considered the only real threat to Ed Wood's 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' as worst movie of all time.
    Even one webiste whose author likes the film (and not merely in a 'it's so bad, it's good' way) concedes, 'No single aspect of a filmmaker's art is done well.'
    After the release of 'Robot Monster,' he attempted suicide and wound up in the psychiatric ward of a Veterans Administration hospital.
    It was rumored that 'Cape Canaveral Monsters' was financed by a group of VA psychiatrists as a sort of occupational therapy for their former patient.
    The Medved brothers noted that a 'strained seriousness characterizes nearly all of Tucker's film work -- in fact, it is very much part of his personality.'
    'Robot Monster' cost only $16,000 and made over a million.
    Several accounts claim he was driven to his suicide attempt by 'Robot Monster's bad reviews, but he insisted that a dispute with the film distributor (who refused to pay him a contracted percentage of the film's profits) was the cause.
    He was good friends with comedian Lenny Bruce.
    Unlike Ed Wood, he went on to a mainstream Hollywood career, working as an editor and assistant producer.
    One of the films he worked on was the remake of 'King Kong' (1976), where he presumably got to put his gorilla-suit experience to good use.

Credit: C. Fishel

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