Thursday, November 5, 2015

Phil Celebrates the 26th Anniversary Premiere of USA UP ALL NIGHT-November 3, 2015

Time flies you're having fun, especially if you were watching one of the best television shows of all time! Believe it or not, this year marks the 26th anniversary of the premiere of one of my favorite shows ever: USA UP ALL NIGHT!! Hard to believe that this beloved and treasured series originally debuted over a quarter of a century ago!! Now I mentioned the show several times in my other reviews but never really talked about it. So let me tell you all about its history and what made it so great. A lot you out there may already know about the show or you remembered watching it, so have fun strolling down Memory Lane with me. And if you've never heard of the show before, let me take you all on trip back to that awesome decade called the Nineties and a little late night television show that would change my life forever!

Ask any fan of horror films, B-movies, and cult classics, there was one show that you had to tune in every weekend, and that show was USA UP ALL NIGHT, which aired on the USA Cable Network. Hosted by comedians Rhonda Shear and Gilbert Gottfried, it was THE place to watch your favorite low budget gems! I discovered the show on March 21, 1992. It was my senior year in high school and I was really into horror films, comic books, and indie/punk music. At that time, I thought I knew it all, seen it all, and done it all. However, that fateful night proved to me just how wrong I was. It was a cold Saturday night and my younger brother Thomas was flipping through the TV Guide and told me that this show called USA UP ALL NIGHT was going to air all three TOXIC AVENGER films, hosted by Gottfried. Now I've heard about the movies, but I never had the chance to see them. So I watched all three films, from 11pm to 5am with Gottfried cracking jokes during his segments! It was hysterical and just laugh-out-loud fun! After that, I was hooked for life and from then on I would faithfully watch the show every weekend till the wee hours of the morning!

The series premiered on January 7, 1989 (holy crap I'm old) and comedian Gilbert Gottfried was hired on to host the Saturday night edition out in New York. Halfway through the inaugural season, actress/comedian Caroline Schlitt was brought on board to host the Friday night edition out in Los Angeles. By December 1990, Schlitt had left the show and her replacement would be the sultry, sexy and hilarious comedian/model/actress Rhonda Shear. Beginning in January 1991, Shear would tape her segments from her apartment (aka sound stage set but it was adorable looking) as well as at popular nightclubs, venues and attractions in and around LA with Gottfried doing the same thing out in New York City (in 1995 Shear would move to New York as well). The series gained a massive cult audience and became one of the network's most popular shows for years, but like all good things, it wouldn't last forever.

In 1998, the network came under new management and changes were made to their programming. Wanting to go after a more commercial, mainstream audience, many of the network's shows like Pacific Blue and Silk Stalkings were either overhauled or canceled. Even USA UP ALL NIGHT wasn't immune to the changes. In February that same year, the show was canceled and both Gottfried and Shear were removed as hosts. The network continued to use the "UP ALL NIGHT" banner but they were now using it while showing mainstream films like THE RUNNING MAN and TRADING PLACES. This angered the show's hardcore fans (including myself) and they began calling and sending angry letters to the network demanding both Shear and Gottfried to return and have the show put back to its original format. However, their voices fell on deaf ears and by 2002 the "UP ALL NIGHT" banner was finally removed from existence. It truly was an end of an era in television history.

The series maybe long gone, but fans have been showing their love for it all over the internet with blogs, websites, and on Youtube where there's a plethora of video clips of the show to watch! Even Rhonda Shear herself has uploaded most of her hosting segments on her channel (which you can check out by clicking here)! Check out some of the intros, bumpers, wacky sketches, guest stars and all the fun the show had to offer for their fans!!

If it wasn't for USA UP ALL NIGHT, I wouldn't have discovered THE TOXIC AVENGER films or Troma Studios for that matter. I also wouldn't have seen such amazing B-movies like ASSAULT OF THE KILLER BIMBOS, SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA, GOOD GIRLS DON'T, CLASS OF NUKE'EM HIGH, PARTY CAMP, DR. ALIEN, BEVERLY HILLS VAMPVICE ACADEMY, SLAVE GIRLS FROM BEYOND INFINITY, VAMPIRE VIXENS FROM VENUS, GETTING LUCKY, MIRACLE BEACHBAD GIRLS DORMITORY, SUMMER SCHOOL TEACHERS, NIGHTMARE SISTERSTHE BIKINI CARWASH COMPANY, ROLLERBLADE WARRIORS: TAKEN BY FORCE, CHOPPER CHICKS IN ZOMBIETOWN, and WILD MALIBU WEEKEND for starters. And I wouldn't have learned about filmmakers like Lloyd Kaufman, David DeCoteau, Rick Sloane, Jim Wymoski, Charles Band, Richard Gabai, and Fred Olen Ray. Plus not too mention all the legendary Scream Queens I discovered like Brinke Stevens, Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer, Monique Gabrielle, Jewel Shepard, Debra Lamb, Ginger Lynn Allen, Elizabeth Kaitan, and J.J. North just to name a few.

USA UP ALL NIGHT helped nurture my love and appreciation of these low budget films, as well as open my mind up to a whole new world of movies that I didn't even knew existed. These films hold a special place in heart, and remind me of days gone by. To Rhonda Shear, Gilbert Gottfried, and to all the talented filmmakers, actors, and scream queens, I would just like to say from the bottom of my heart thank you! Thank you all for the memories, for the laughs, for keeping me company, and most of all, for keeping me up all night!! Long Live USA UP ALL NIGHT!!!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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