Monday, February 13, 2017

I was in The Worst Movie Ever Made

My name is Jackey Neyman Jones and I was in “The Worst Movie Ever Made”.  
I am not only one of the last surviving actors of Manos: The Hands Of Fate , but the only one willing to talk about it,  living in the belief that if I can’t be the best, I’ll make the best from the worst. 
I played Debbie, the child star of Manos.  My dad Tom Neyman played the lead role of The Master and   was Creative Director, making all the props and artwork while mom designed and sewed the iconic Masters Robe along with the wrestling wives ethereal gauzy gowns.  Our family pet, Shanka the Doberman was cast a role as The Master’s evil dog.  Even Great Grandma’s handmade quilt made an appearance on the bed, making it truly a family film to me.
Manos: The Hands of Fate is a 1966 El Paso, Texas horror movie written directed and produced by Harold Warren and often taught in film classes as “Everything Not to do in filmmaking”.  From the camera work, editing, direction, script, acting and nearly everything else, it is one of the most notably inept films in existence and yet it’s certain charm has not only captured but held a fervent fan base since a public debut on Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1993.   Since then, Manos has inspired a wide range of talented projects including but certainly not limited to a Portland Oregon parody stage production, a Seattle Washington Puppet show “Manos The Hands of Felt, video games, two coloring books, a remastered version of the original, a prequel, and a sequel.
While November 15th 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the disastrous premiere, a week later on November 23rd  , Manos was named the Fan Favorite of All Time  by MST3k hosts Joel Hodgson and Jonah Ray on their Annual Turkey Day Awards Marathon show. 
 I have lovingly tended to the flame of Manos for years through online connections to fans, Manos related creative projects and now my new book, Growing up with Manos The Hands of Fate with foreword written by Joel Hodgson creator of MST3K.  I also make public appearances at film festivals, conventions, book signings and screenings of the remastered version of Manos: The Hands of Fate where I share my personal memories with reminiscences of the cast and crew, telling behind-the-scenes story of Manos – from producer/director Hal Warren’s alleged bet with TV producer Stirling Silliphant that “anyone could make a movie,” to the tragic suicide of actor John Reynolds, who played Torgo, right up through the newest Manos-related projects that are carrying the film into the Internet age.  I share the story of how the original workprint was discovered and transformed to the remastered HD Blu-ray of the film.  How a Kickstarter funded indie sequel Manos Returns, produced, directed and written by women is bridging the male centric Manos of the 60’s with current fans and culture in a story that is relevant today.   I debunk myths (no, a Manos curse didn’t kill all the actors, despite the claims in the Hotel Torgo documentary), and share related pop culture facts (I also appeared as an extra in another MST3K film, “The Curse of Bigfoot”).
I am currently seeking new opportunities to share Manos with fans in various venues and at a range of events.  If this sounds interesting and if you know an event where I would be a good fit, please let me know.  Maybe I can come visit with you and Manos: The Hands of Fate fans in your area.


Appearances
·         The Blue Mouse Theater   Tacoma Washington   December 2016
·         Comics Dungeon   Seattle Washington   December 2016
·         The Chicago Music Box Theater   Chicago, Illinois   November 2016
·         Bucket O Blood Bookstore   Chicago, Illinois   November 2016
·         Crypticon   Seattle Washington   May 2016
·         Seattle Independent Film Festival   Seattle Washington   August 2013
·          El Paso Classic Film Festival   El Paso Texas   August 2011
·         Hollywood Independent Film Festival  Hollywood California December 2011   

Press

 Jackey Neyman Jones
Voice or Text  (503) 559-6291


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Manos Legal Defense Fund

Manos: The Hands of Fate is often taught in film classes as “Everything Not To Do In Filmmaking”.  From the camera work, editing, direction, script, acting and nearly everything else, it is one of the most notably inept films in existence and yet it’s certain charm has captured and held a fervent fan base since a public debut on Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1993.  Something about it keeps bringing people back- often with friends.  “Manos” would not be “Manos” if it had not always been in the Public Domain.  Frank Conniff would not have gone against better judgement when he chose Manos to be on with Joel and the Bots if it had not been in Public Domain.  And without that, it would just have collected dust and faded away like countless other films of all genre and level of skill.

A family member of Hal Warren is attempting to trademark the title “Manos: The Hands of Fate” in order to control how it is used and whose projects are deemed acceptable.  Though never successful in copyrighting the film itself, that has not stopped him from issuing Cease and Desists to a number of Manos-inspired projects over the last few years, including Manos: The Hands of Felt, a Manos: The Hands of Fate stage adaptation, the “Manos” Restoration and Jackey Neyman Jones herself for selling shirts bearing her father’s likeness.

This legal defense fund is dedicated to preserving the free use of the film’s title and was created by Jackey Neyman Jones, (Debbie in the film and daughter of lead actor Tom Neyman), and Ben Solovey (restorer of the original film).  We are represented by Ian Friedman, Attorney at Law.

Our goal is to stop the trademark from being issued, and we are running out of time to act within the parameters of the Trademark office. The first step, filing a Letter of Protest to the USPTO, was completed on Wednesday February 1st.  The Letter of Protest will not stop the clock on the publication process, nor can we guarantee that it will be accepted. Therefore, we must now prepare for the next step: an extension filed in order to give our formal Notice of Opposition the time it needs to be submitted, accepted and applied.

Filing fees and attorney fees alone will run in excess of $7000.00, inclusive of the already-completed Letter of Protest. If money remains in the budget after we have successfully met this legal challenge, it will be used to retain Ian Friedman over a greater period of time, during which he will be able to assist any fan or creator with similar challenges to the free and legal use of “Manos: The Hands of Fate”.  As Ian likes to point out, “My daughter turned five in January recently, and I’ve been dealing with (Joe Warren) since before she was born.”

We are honored at how many people have extended their support through sharing, donating and discussion.  Please continue to help us spread the word of Manos.

Thank you for your support and #KeepManosFree

https://www.gofundme.com/manosfate

Thursday, January 26, 2017

#KeepManosFree


Manos: The Hands of Fate fell into the public domain in 1966 due to Hal Warren, the film’s director, not having the film copyrighted, and the freedom of access allowed by the public domain is what eventually enabled it to find an audience. However, Joe Warren, one of Hal’s children, is now seeking to trademark the phrase “Manos: The Hands of Fate” 50 years after the fact for his exclusive use.

Manos, a low budget horror movie made by locals in El Paso, Texas, was called by Entertainment Weekly the “worst film ever made”. While that claim has always been debatable, there can be no doubt that this tale of a Texan family on a road trip running afoul of a polygamous death cult in the desert has provided a great deal of fertile ground for humor and creative inspiration ever since its release. The successful registration of this trademark would threaten the numerous incarnations of Manos: The Hands of Fate, past and present- particularly the creative works that have come from the movie being in the public domain- with legal liability for trademark infringement.

Not only will the release of the film itself in any form become vulnerable, but projects such as the independent sequel Manos Returns, the puppet adaptation Manos: The Hands of Felt, two coloring books, a video game, a memoir, Growing up With Manos The Hands Of Fate, two fiction books, multiple stage productions, and a number of creative fan projects, are now in danger.

Joe Warren has attempted, without success, to extract financial payment from numerous parties in the past incorrectly claiming “copyright infringement” on this public domain work. There is no reason to think that he will not continue the same activities if granted a trademark, however questionable it may be. We’ve seen Joe deploy these tactics against the numerous creative uses of the film since its release, and even against the restoration and preservation of the film itself.

This trademark was recently approved for publication. Due to Mr. Warren filing an Intent to Use 1(b) Trademark Application (in other words, he has not shown any use of the mark yet), the typical scrutiny given to a 1(a) Trademark Application (one that shows actual use of the mark in commerce) for a Title of a Single Work is not present. However, the window for an outside party to challenge the mark does not change, and there is no further opportunity for opposition from outside parties after this initial publication period.

An initial Letter of Protest will be filed shortly with the US Patent and Trademark Office- however, due to USPTO rules, it will be necessary to gain an extension to file the Notice of Opposition once the mark is published for opposition at the end of February.  We hope the Letter of Protest will be enough to prevent registration, but there is no guarantee that it will be granted and the scope of issues allowed to be addressed by the Letter of Protest are limited.  Filing a Notice of Opposition is extremely costly. The total cost of Attorney Fees for the Notice of Opposition, the extension, and all filing fees is estimated to be around $7,000. Additional funds will further help us offset the costs involved.

Simply put, we have one brief chance to fix this problem, and we will need your support in this battle if we want to see it through.  Jackey Neyman Jones (child star of the film and daughter of lead actor Tom Neyman)  and Benjamin Solovey (producer of the Manos: The Hands of Fate restoration) have established a legal fund to cover the filing fees and attorney’s costs to protect the right to access for all. This case will be handled by Ian K. Friedman, Esq., an Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law Attorney who has come to the defense of the film’s public domain status in the past. If you have enjoyed any of the free and legal uses of “Manos: The Hands of Fate” over the years, we hope you’ll help us to protect past, present and future access to the film and title by contributing to it.


GoFundMe Legal Defense


Please help spread the word and  #KeepManosFree

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Manos is Permanent!

Manos is Permanent!...or so it seems.  Fifty years now since the year Manos was first created and then fizzled out in a grand spectacle of humiliation.  Most everyone who had anything to do with it preferred to go on with little to no mention of it at all.  Many of them successfully completed their time on this earth doing just that.  Most everyone except for one observant kid.  She just couldn't let it go and carried the memories and stories with her through her young life.  If fact, this child grew up to be a woman and still carried those stories with her and shared them with friends from time to time. She kept them alive as one does with precious memories, knowing them never to be re-lived.

Many years went by.  Twenty seven of them to be exact, and then something strange happened. Practically a lightning strike kind of a thing.  A lottery win kind of thing.  A small cable television program in the wilds of Minnesota unearthed that long lost and rarely seen film to a open and willing audience.  And suddenly the movie that ran a cast and crew out of a theatrical premier in shame became a beloved hit.  A funny sort of hit but one nonetheless.  Many more years went by and the interest, fascination and love for it grew and grew until 50 years from the 1966 premier.  The 50th year of 2016 has seen a number of notable markers.  Especially for me personally.

Aside from Manos and because of it, I was in three films this year.


                                                             and





My book  Growing Up With Manos: The Hands Of Fate: How I was the child star and lived to tell the story was released end of March with a foreward by Joel Hodgson and an epilogue by my dad, The Master himself.

   Five months later, after a successful Kickstarter,  we filmed our sequel  Manos Returns with a talented group of actors, crew and filmmakers.  We began actually shooting on July 23rd and ended 10 very long days later. The Manos Returns  legacy cast includes my dad returning as The Master, Diane Mahree as Margaret and me as grown up pissed off Debbie, all fifty years later.  Bryan Jennings who's father played the original Sheriff is our Sheriff and Nicki Mathis the original female vocalist on the soundtrack has reprised her songs Forgetting You and Love Inside This Magic Circle both available for your listening and purchasing pleasure  on Bandcamp. In the midst of production we had a cast and crew party as part of our Kickstarter reward for our very special backers who earned the right to be part of the movie. My dad came to that party and for one grand moment in his life, he truly got to receive and absorb the love people have for Manos and for him.


                                                   Tom, Diane, Bryan and Jackey

 Manos Returns is in post production and will be released in 2017 to the public after screening it at a few upcoming film festivals.  It's coming along beautifully and we are all really happy with the level of talent, support and resources the the Primal God Manos seemed to have arranged to help us make something we will be proud of.  Check out our Teaser Trailer Here



Over the years since Manos: The Hands of Fate was shown on Mst3k in January 1993, I have had the honor to participate in Manos driven projects and have attended a few screenings but this year was my first as a celebrity guest at a fan convention.  I appeared at Crypticon Seattle in May and found an opportunity to chat with one of my favorite celebrities Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.  We traded when I gave her a signed copy of my book and she gave me a signed photo while telling me that Manos is her favorite bad film. She asked questions about John Reynolds/Torgo and wanted me to say hi to my dad.  It was truly a golden moment in a shining weekend and I had a little geek out dance once I walked away around the corner safely out of eyesight.


On November first, I took my dad and youngest sister to a screening of Manos: Restored at The Darkside Cinema in Corvallis Oregon.  The Darkside is a small community theater and it was a low key event, but for me, it was really special because it was the first and only time since the 1966 premier that dad and I watched Manos The Hands of Fate together in a movie theater.  Joe Sherlock Director of Photography for Manos Returns was there and we got a great photo in the lobby together with dad wearing one of the fan made Manos tshirts I bought him.



On November 11th I appeared onstage Chicago Music Box Theater to introduce the beautifully restored Manos The Hands of Fate, to talk about my family's role in the original film and our involvement in the popular resurgence of the last twenty three years.
I took part on a panel that included my co author Laura Mazucca Toops, Jeremy Guidry (Son of Bob Guidry Manos original DOP), vocalist Nicki Mathis and was moderated by Ian Simmons.




I signed books and met face to face with fans in the lobby before and after the show.  All in all, a truly magical evening.
The next day, Saturday was a day off to see some of the beautiful city of Chicago and prepare for my Bucket O Blood booksigning for Sunday afternoon.  Early Saturday evening, I got a message from my fathers neighbor that the EMT's had been at his house and taken him to the hospital.  For the next few hours, I sat in my hotel room 2,193 miles away trying to get more information, eeventually receiving a call from the hospital charge nurse saying they needed permission to call code and were unable to reach anyone else.  That all became a moot point when the nurse said if she were with me, she would give me a big hug.  It was over.  His heart was done and I was not prepared.  You never can be.
The next morning on the 13th, I determined I had to go ahead with the scheduled book signing and podcast interview that afternoon and set about trying to let everyone know so I wouldn't have to explain it raw at the event.  Rough day, but I knew dad would have wanted me to go ahead with the plan.

Most who came were informed and offered hugs and prayers.  Others were happy to meet me and wanted photos with Debbie from Manos so I obliged with a pale face, puffy eyes and somewhat lesser smile than usual, hoping they were OK with that.  They were.

Once the signing wrapped up, Ian Simmons, Laura and I went to another room for our interview.  The initial intention and direction shifted as it became a beautiful tribute podcast to Tom Neyman.  I could almost feel him sitting with me as we talked about him.

                                                          Click for Podcast below

                                                  Kickseat Episode 169



I traveled home on the 14th just wanting to hide somewhere and be alone and then the next day was the long awaited 50th Anniversary of Manos: The Hands of Fate since it premierde on November 15th 1966.  It was a quiet day of accepting the countless offers of condolence and support.  Sadness and comfort all in one.  The 23rd of November would have been his eighty first birthday and on the 24th, The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathon announced Manos: The Hands of Fate as the MST3k All Time Fan Favorite.

Since then, of course the Holidays and New Years and all that goes along when you celebrate these things and have family.  So much reflection this time of year as many do.  For me, the events of the past year and especially the last two months have created new determination and purpose.  Time is always too short.  There are always excuses to to not do something.  Through the dark there is light.
I have been playing this Manos game for many years and I've had incredible experiences and great fun while meeting the most creative diverse and joyful people imaginable.  Through it all I've been a single mom and self employed artist,  I bought a 100 year old home on an acre and half in a tiny Western Oregon town in which to raise my boys.  The only income the fame of Manos has ever provided me is what I created myself through merchandising tshirts and things I make (I am an artist, after all), and believe me, it doesn't pay many, if any bills.  I have donated my time to people and causes longer than I can remember.  In my town, I was on the school board for 4 years and I spearheaded and ran our community Arts Center for 16 month until it fell apart due to lack of funding.  I've always been for others while seeking my own bliss because it was blissful to watch other flourish, but for us, it's always been a struggle and it's time for that to change because I may have finally learned that the Greater Good includes me too.  When I flourish, those around me can too.
                              My sister Juli, grandson Jayce, Dad, Me and my eldest son Jack

I will honor myself while there is still time and I will honor my dad's memory in ways he never could do for himself.  I'l give you The Plan in my next post.  Stay tuned!

May you and your loved ones be Blessed in this New Year!

Love, Jackey






Thursday, December 8, 2016

Headed to Seattle and Tacoma


If you are in the Seattle area or know any crazy Manos fans, send them my way.
On Friday Dec 9th I'll be hanging out at Comics Dungeon for three hours and hoping I won't be alone.  As an author, I've heard those horror stories of book signings where no one shows up.  I will report back next week.  Stay tuned.

Comics Dungeon Book Signing



If you can't make the book signing and/or face to face contact is too much for you, please come watch the beautifully restored HD Bluray of Manos: The Hands of Fate.  You watch it with me or watch me watch it.  Either way is fun and you are are free to Riff it too.  This event is happening Saturday night in Tacoma Washington.  Come for Manos.  Stay for Rocky Horror.


                                         Blue Mouse Theater Manos Event



Ready to hit the road.  I enjoy traveling and meeting fans so if you've got some ideas of venues, just let me know.  Look forward to meeting you someday.  

If you don't live in Washington State or the weather is too crappy to go out, or the scheduling doesn't work, or you just don't want to go anywhere then you can sit in your comfortable home and listen to this awesome Podcast interview by Derek Koch of Monster Kid Radio.  Monster Kid Radio    

Email me at jackey@debbiesmanos.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Birthday to The Master


Happy 82st Birthday Dad


The man who is known to the larger world as The Master, from the 1966 cult classic film Manos: The Hands of Fate would be eighty one years old today. He was born on November 23, 1935.  
He passed away on on November 12, 2016.





I wanted to honor him today by writing about him but struggled with how to do it.  What to say.  What to focus on.  How do you sum up a person's life in a blog post?  You can't possibly.  Not for any life because life is complicated and when someone has lasted almost 81 years, there are a lot of experiences to account for.  I finally decided to share a little of what he was to me.  Not the hard stuff or the sad stuff.  Just maybe a couple anecdote's to show you the Spirit his body housed and the Spirit that is now free.  I want to share a little of who he was besides the guy in "The Worst Movie Ever Made"

Tom Neyman was my dad and I was his first born child.  He adored me when I was small and I felt his love always, even in all the years we lost.  In the end, we found our way back together and it was because of Manos The Hands of Fate.  That's a whole other story and one you can learn in my book Growing Up With Manos The Hands Of Fate.  

My birthday is on July 2nd and family lore says I was due on the 4th but the doctor induced labor early so he wouldn't miss his family BBQ and celebration of our country's Independence.  BBQ is big in Texas so no one ever blamed him for that, but dad loved any reason to blow things up so for my 8th birthday he decided to write my name out in gun powder glued to a piece of plywood and light it on July 4th from our front porch so all of lower El Paso could see.  It was such a sweet thought and although it fizzled out at every bend in the letter, he persevered nearly till the end.  I wasn't disappointed.  

After my parents divorced and he moved far away to Southern California, I knew I couldn't live without him so when he came to visit summer of 1972, I had my bags packed and could not be talked out of going back with him.  I was going to be a Sophomore in high school and dad had no choice other than to become a single dad to a teenage girl.  He was barely getting by in those days and we had to sleep in the back of the Datsun pickup on the trip and at one point he used his tools to somehow change the expiration date on a gas card so we could fill the tank in the Arizona desert in order to make it home.  As stressful as it must have been, my memories are of driving across the desert at dusk in the un air conditioned cab of the Datsun truck and belting out show tunes at the top of our lungs from plays he had done and I had memorized from helping him run lines and attending so many performances at The Festival Theater where he had owned the stage for years.

The last time I saw my dad was a few days before I left for Chicago on to appear at the Music Box on November 11 for a screening of the Restoration of Manos.  He was really happy for me and said if he were stronger and younger, he would love to go with me.  I promised to take lots of pictures and bring lots of stories home.  That day we were together, I was helping him at a community food bank. It happened every Friday and was the third time I had taken him in an effort to help him and his family in their tough times.  We were going through the line choosing items he might want or need when we came to the end where the bread and pastries were.  He was diabetic but had a ferocious sweet tooth and I saw his greatest weakness laid out before us.  A big box of maple bars.  I tried to distract him while reaching past it for a slightly more practical apple coffee cake.  As I turned back with the coffee cake, he was already holding the box of maple bars in both arms and looking down upon it with a look of great hope and reverence.  Without looking up, he whispered, "Can I have this?"  He looked just like a sweet little boy with a new train set at a toy store.  Without a beat, I laid down the box I held and said. "You can have whatever you want, dad."  
That is a choice I will always cherish.







Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Today is the 50th Anniversary Of Manos

Yes.  It has been a while since my last post here.  This fiftieth Anniversary since the November 15th premier of Manos The Hands of Fate at The El Paso Capri Theater seems a good time to start again but there are other deeply compelling reason to write again as you will see in the next few sentences.

My dad Tom Neyman who played The Master in that film, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday night, November 12,  just three days before this anniversary and eleven days before his 82nd birthday.  I was away in Chicago for a screening of the restoration of Manos at the Music Box Theater on Friday night and a book signing event at BucketOBlood Books and Records scheduled for Sunday.  I got a call Saturday night from the charge nurse at Salem Hospital in Oregon that dad's heart had stopped and they needed instruction on how to proceed with heroic measures.  My answer or anyone else's became a moot point anyway as nothing else could have been done.  The hospital was following procedure.  She said she wished she could give me a big hug before we hung up.

It was a rough night and I had to decide how to proceed in my own life and particularly in regards to the next day's book signing event.  I immediately knew that dad would never have wanted me to cancel because of him.  He was a gentle loving and humble man who was in constant awe that anyone even cared about him at all.  I knew I had to find the strength to show up authentically to celebrate and honor him.  In spite of the heartbreak I was determined to avoid a maudlin affair.

Some of the people who came to talk to me and Laura Mazzuca Toops,  co-author of my book Growing Up With Manos The Hands Of Fate, had not yet heard the news of dad's passing and some had.  It was a challenging and odd balance of smiling for photos and receiving hugs of condolence.  I had to step outside of any vanity concerning my pale face and puffy eyes.  Everyone seems satisfied with the evening.

After the signing and visiting with people who came, Laura and I stepped into the back room with Ian Simmons for a prescheduled podcast interview.  Our interview became a tribute to dad on the spot and I feel is one of the most beautiful and appropriate things I could have done for him.

Kicking The Seat Podcast


I do hope you listen to the end and learn something of what made my dad so very special and maybe is some of why you love Manos for all it's flawed glory.

Podcast Audio


I like to think now that The Master has ascended and has become Manos himself.
Manos is Permanent!

 As many of you know, the world also lost Leonard Cohen on November 7th, and the ending song that Ian chose for his podcast is a perfect way to say goodbye to both these men.


Love each other.  It is The Will of Manos