Moron Movies

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But seriously, have you guys watched these?

Oddly available in every video store in North America circa 1992, even in this information-saturated internet age, it’s difficult to get straight answers on ‘Moron Movies.’ Len Cella, a gray, drab middle-aged man living an apparently very solitary life, acts, directs, and crews these flaccidly-punchlined, one-joke shorts. Forget Jandek; if you want to stare nakedly into the face of hermetic isolation, Len Cella will show you heretofore-unknown depths of human horror. A sample skit: a crude title card reads ‘How to Aggravate.’ Cella, most likely in a distressed white tee-shirt, appears on screen. He bangs trash can lids together with his feet, then says, in a dull, dead voice: “Does that aggravate you? Huh? Hahahahaha!” The closest he comes to a catchphrase is a deflated sounding, hands in the air “Jesus Christ!”

Apparently these first popped up on the Carson ‘Tonight Show’ in 1968, were a regular feature thereafter, then eventually surfaced on ‘TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes’ as ‘Len Cella’s Silly Cinema.’ Some sources suggest that Cella, a former house-painter, is a Philadelphia native, though if memory serves I’d concluded that ‘Moron Movies’ were filmed in Scranton--maybe that just seemed fitting. Philadelphia City Paper, covering the premiere of his opus ‘Crap’ (as recently as 2002!) identifies him as a native of Broomall, and then other sources identify the basement of the Lansdowne Theatre in Lansdowne, PA as his onetime home. At any rate, I guess I’m glad to learn that Len is still (so far as I can tell) alive and still doing…What he does.


Blogger robbiefreeling8 said...

Yes...even in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, this baby was stocked in about every store I entered as a tot. The serene, disconcertingly un-designed box art always scared me off...something was amiss here.

And then, many years later, the video, after the DVD craze had just begun, was still being stocked in my local Blockbuster. I know this because my parents rented it, about 1998, and let me know they had seen the "strangest thing they'd ever seen." My mom, brow rumpled, said, "It's just a guy sitting around his house, making faces." My dad shrugged. They got their money back from Blockbuster, as they swore to the clerk that "this isn't a real movie."

Enticed, everyone?

9:24 AM  
Blogger clarencecarter said...

Do I smell RS symposium?

9:45 AM  

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