Teenage Caveman

“There are things.”  (This is a direct dialog quote in the film.  Of a very Deep Moment.)

Movie poster for  Teenage Caveman , 1958.  The picture is worth 1000 words and, apparently, 65 minutes of celluloid.

Movie poster for Teenage Caveman, 1958.  The picture is worth 1000 words and, apparently, 65 minutes of celluloid.

 I’ve spent this week recovering from shoulder surgery.  Thanks to the post-surgery painkillers, I’ve been much too loopy to do actual research and writing, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to delve into the queued up B-scifi gem, Teenage Caveman, starring Robert Vaughn and Darah Marshall.  And what a gem it was.

Vaughn doesn’t beat around the bush.  According to the Internet Movie Database, he considered it the worst film ever made.[1]  I started Teenage Caveman through an AMC link for black-and-white movies; sadly, the link coughed and died around minute 38.[2]  I finished the film courtesy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 via YouTube and if you decide to watch Teenage Caveman, I definitely recommend the MST 3K version.  I almost popped a stitch giggling at the host’s humming The Flintstones theme song during a Gripping Chase Scene.

I can’t begin to do justice to the plot, so I’ll direct interested folks to David Maine’s scathingly brilliant synopsis over at Pop Matters.  According to my notes [3], I finished Teenage Caveman with the following observations and questions:

1.  What’s with the onsie rompers? [4] 

2.  Are those proto-Ugg boots The Women are wearing?

3.  “Teenage?”  Vaughn looks like he’s pushing forty.

4.   Watching characters first “imagine” and then “construct” a bow and arrow is just…painful.

5.  Nouns (like Law and Rule and Right and Word) seem to exist based on their normative power.

6.  How many other movies are the animals recycled from anyway? The dogs?  The alligator with a tail-extension?[5]

7.  The atomic apocalypse was an unexpected twist ending and, dare I suggest, was vaguely reminiscent of the ending of Battlestar Galactica’s series.  (“All this has happened before…”)

Teenage Caveman is everything you thought you might be getting, based on the movie poster.  But nothing more.


[1] Sadly, I haven’t been able to track down the interview source for the quote.

[2] Perhaps out of boredom?

[3] Of course I took notes.

[4] Apparently the technological impetus for two sleeves eludes our good hero, much like plot and dialog.

[5] According to the Internet Movie Database, the answer is several.  Many of the animals starred in several films of both the era and genre.