Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Endangered List (Case File #167 )

DRAGONSPADE (1977)

Starring
Chuck McNeil (Johnny Ace)
Kathi Carey (Camile Giovanni)
Linda Miller (Carrie Washington)
Lance Calloway (Jelordie)
Teddy Carey (Sylvia)

with
Israel Hicks
Nat Moore
Michael Lewis
Don Ingraham
Robert Armstrong

Written and Produced
by
Chuck McNeil

Directed
by
Chuck McNeil

Executiver Producer
Kenneth Carey

Music by
Kathleen Carey

Released by
Aricorn International Pictures

***
The first of at least four Johnny Ace adventures that were supposedly made by African-American writer-producer-director-star Chuck McNeil, DRAGONSPADE is the only one that we know for sure was actually completed and released to a few theaters. The other three were TOOT (1978), SOUTH SIDE STRUT (1979), and DRAGON FROM THE EAST (1982), but McNeil also claimed to have made films with titles like ICE CREAM CHARLIE (1974), DISCO-DYNOMITE, and ANGEL DUST, DEVIL DRUGS. Here is footage from one of the Johnny Ace movies, probably DRAGONSPADE.
(Above): Shreveport, Louisiana - December 2, 1977

(Above): November 25, 1977 - Palace Theater - McComb, Mississippi. Here we have a pressbook ad for THE DRAGON STRIKES AGAIN (a.k.a. SHANGHAI JOE) standing in for DRAGONSPADE, and artwork of Gladys Knight and Barry Hankerson from PIPE DREAMS being used to sell a misspelled GET DOWN AND BOOGIE (a.k.a. DARKTOWN STRUTTERS).
(Above): Jackson, Mississippi - September 9, 1977

(Above): Kingston, Jamaica - 1980

In 1981, McNeil began work on DRAGON FROM THE EAST, a martial arts movie that would team his Johnny Ace character with a kung fu expert named Bruce (played by Nguyen Ly a.k.a. Jimbo Lee, but billed here as "Bruce Li"). According to the following article - from the September 1982 issue of Martial Arts Movies magazine (vol. 2, no. 8) - DRAGON FROM THE EAST was completed, but we could find no evidence that it was ever released. However, additional footage was apparently shot in the 1990s and added to DRAGON FROM THE EAST to create a 1996 movie called DRAGONS STRIKE BACK, which may or may not have been released somewhere on home video.
(Above): August 21, 1974 - No mention of footage being shown

(Above/Below): A scam in Miami that involved McNeil in 1980.


The Miami News - August 27, 1980

The Palm Beach Post - October 21, 1980

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