The Strangler (April 1, 1964)
Released on April 1, 1964: Victor Buono is a 'mama's boy' demented serial killer in this murder crime thriller from 1964.
Directed by Burt Topper
Written by Bill S. Ballinger.
The Actors: Victor Buono (Leo Kroll), David McLean (Lieutenant Frank Benson), Diane Sayer (Barbara Wells), Davey Davison (Tally Raymond), Baynes Barron (Sergeant Mack Clyde), Ellen Corby (Mrs. Kroll), Michael Ryan (Detective Mel Posner), Russ Bender (Doctor Clarence Sanford), Jeanne Bates (Clara Thomas, nurse), Wally Campo (Eggerton), Mimi Dillard (Thelma), Byron Morrow (Doctor Morton), John Yates (intern), James Sikking (artist), Robert Cranford (Jack Rosten), Selette Cole (Helen Lawson), Victor Masi (attendant).
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Papa was a preacher, and I went to college to follow in his footsteps. Before I graduated I discovered that being a preacher was not my life's passion and I dropped out, moved to Campbell, Ohio and started searching for who I should be and what I should be. That was a trek that lasted from 1973 until 2007 when I began the journey of sharing the first years of radio, television and movies with y'all on the internet. Along the way I've had two wives and tried many careers and jobs, providing me with a wealth of 'street cred' and experiences that I will treasure forever. For a few months during those early years I was the manager of an Earl Scheib auto painting store. I won't tell you much about that experience, except to say that it every business has a 'personality' - and the climate at that company in the 1970's was definitely not my style. I quit one Friday and the Sunday newspaper help wanted ads led me to a job as a restaurant manager for a new fast-food concept being developed by the Wendy's hamburger people. The new stores sold fried chicken and fresh baked buttermilk biscuits, and for several years it was my happy duty to manage a few of them in the Cleveland, Ohio area. I will never forget Sandy, one of my best employees at one of the locations. She was my 'right arm' for several years, and was one of the most valuable workers that I've ever encountered. But she loved to complain . . . she complained about everything and everyone that was not as competent as she was, and that included just about everyone else in the restaurant. At first I tried mightily to solve all of the things and change all of the people that she complained about, but soon found much frustration and minimal success. But I learned something that has served me well in all of the years since. I have discovered that some people are natural complainers, and they don't even need to have their complaints fixed - they just need to be heard - they just need to 'vent' if you will. As long as I listened with empathy and solved the things that were in my power to solve and forgot about the rest, everything was just fine. It is only when people like this stop complaining that I know there is something really, really wrong. I have learned to love chronic complainers for what they are - good people with a great work ethic who need to vent their displeasure with the things around them that do not meet their high standards. But there are also people that are very negative and very . . . . may I use the word 'bitchy' . . . that are just plain destructive with their words and attitudes. This the kind of person that Ellen Corby plays in this movie from 1964. Now, I like to think of Ellen Corby as the wonderful huggable Grandma Walton from the hit 1970's television show, but in this movie she is a disabled mother who unwittingly drives her son to become a serial killer. Not the kind of parent that any child should have, but unfortunately, mothers like the one she portrayed in this movie still exist today, as they have in all ages. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter on it and see what kind of parent none of us should become.
Victor Buono, as the strangler, wins another doll at the ring toss game
Victor Buono as Leo Kroll, the strangler
Baynes Barron as Sergeant Mack Clyde
Baynes Barron questions Victor Buono
Davey Davison as Tally Raymond in The Strangler
Davey Davison in 1964
Davey Davison talks to Victor Buono at the ring toss game
David McLean and Baynes Barron in The Strangler
David McLean and Russ Bender
David McLean as Lieutenant Frank Benson
Diane Sayer as Barbara Wells one of the girls working at the ring toss game
Ellen Corby as Mrs. Kroll in The Strangler
Ellen Corby as the invalid mother in The Strangler
Ellen Corby introduces Jeanne Bates to Victor Buono
Ellen Corby, as Mrs. Kroll, tells her son, played by Victor Buono, that all women are evil, except for her of course
Jeanne Bates, nurse for Ellen Corby
Michael Ryan and Diane Sayer
Michael Ryan as detective Mel Posner
Russ Bender and David McLean, with Victor Buono behind them in the interrogation room
Russ Bender as Doctor Clarence Sanford
David McLean and Baynes Barron talk as Victor Buono takes his lie detector test
Victor Buono bows to kiss his invalid mother, played by Ellen Corby, on the forehead
Victor Buono as Leo Kroll, the strangler