Worse Interview: Jackey Raye Neyman Jones (of the Manos: Hands of Fate fame)!

Posted: 01/02/2016 in Worse Interview
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We at WM Crew are of course giant Manos: Hands of Fate fans. So it’s only natural that we decided to promote the Kickstarter campaign for the  long time coming sequel Manos Returns– with this awesome interview with Debbie aka Jakey Neyman Jones. Enjoy and don’t forget to visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1840778752/manos-returns

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1. What’s the clearest memory you have of Manos: Hands of Fate filming?
I have lots of memories of being on the set but a significant memory for me was my first scene. It was the summer between first and second grade and I had been learning to read so Hal gave me my own script and taped it to the floor of the back seat so it wouldn’t blow away. It wasn’t at all necessary but it made me feel important and special.

Also is it true that you were the only actor that got paid for the filming, with a new bicycle and a food for your dog?
No one got paid anything for doing Manos and some, like my dad, invested a lot of their own resources other than their time. My dog, Shanka, the Doberman were the only ones on cast or crew who were compensated. I got a new red bike with training wheels and plastic streamers coming from the handlebars and Shanka got a 50 lb. bag of grocery store brand dog food.

2.One of the staples of the movie, the actor playing Torgo- John Reynolds sadly passed away shortly after the filming was wrapped. What are your memories of him? Were you close during the filming?
He was a very sweet quiet shy man in my eyes. Mostly during filming he kept to himself to stay in character or disappeared somewhere out in the desert. But when we were both there and not working, he would hang out with me on a low wall outside the house (Valley Lodge). We would talk a little and he would entertain me with silly physical comedy or simple magic tricks while waiting and watching the filming.

3.How did you decide to write a book that documents your experiences from the Manos filming? What can we expect from Growing up with Manos?
I am an artist but I’ve always written here and there and often thought of writing a book. Several years ago I decided to start a blog http://debbiesmanos.blogspot.com about Manos beginning with my memories and clarifying things I knew to be more accurate than the Manos Mythology that had been circulating for so long. It was also an experiment with myself to see if I could come up with enough for a book, be disciplined enough to complete a project, and I needed to know if I would have an audience. I was surprised when in less than a year, I was averaging 3000 views a month. I knew I couldn’t do it all alone so I found my fabulous co-author Laura Mazzuca Toops and I set to writing and research. We found a publisher with Bear Manor Media pretty much the moment we sent out our pitch letters and now the book is just waiting for publication. It took 16 months to complete and was an amazing journey of connecting with long lost people and discovering others who were involved in Manos and never credited. It’s a good story of how this famously bad film came together, who all the players were behind it, and how they not only got pulled into the project but stuck it out in spite of the handwriting on the wall. It goes on to follow the chain of events that brought it to today and the dark side that threatened future inspired projects.

4. How does it feel being back in the world of Manos- filming a sequel incredible 5 decades after the original? Tell us about the old and the new faces working on Return of Manos.
I’ve been in the world of Manos all along as the only surviving cast or crew willing to discuss Manos but that’s pretty much been all fun and games. This is fun too, but it is important to me to somehow give my dad especially a tribute for all the fandom and for the pop culture phenomenon Manos has become. He offered so much of himself and his family to help Hal get his movie done and all he received was emptier pockets and a load of humiliation. Current day Manos is a way for him to have fun with it, for us to have more time together and for the fans to see The Master once again. In the process of researching my book, I discovered the woman who sang “Forgetting You” in the soundtrack. Nicki Mathis has a wonderful career as a Jazz singer and still performs. She has agreed to re record “Forgetting You” for us. We have a few more surprises too for the cast of Manos Returns.

5. We at WM are overjoyed that the Master, your father Tom Neyman is back in the sequel. How does your father feel about Manos after all this time, and what does it feel like working with him again on the new one?
My dad has always stayed very private about Manos although he is always happy to hear about the happening in the Manos world. I enjoy sharing with him and passing messages from the fans. At 80 years old, he’s enjoying it vicariously through me. When the idea of a sequel came up, I knew I couldn’t do it without him, so when he agreed to reprise the role of The Master, it just had to happen.

6. How do you plan to recapture the unique atmosphere of the original Manos and will you include the original Torgo’s music theme, which was used so often in the first one.
I’ve studied this Manos thing for some time, and with closer scrutiny than most, and I believe that it would not be possible to successfully recapture the magic that is Manos. It was made earnestly and unintentionally bad. We are a group of talented indie film makers and professional creative types with a lot more knowledge, technology and resources than Hal could ever have hoped for. That and the Kickstarter funding gives us a great shot at creating a low budget independent film that will be a blast to make and fun for the fans.
One thing we are re-creating is the music. The soundtrack is really quite good and we intend to re record. We will do the Torgo Theme as close to the original as possible.

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