Phil Tucker (May 22, 1927 – November 30, 1985) was an American film director, writer, producer, and film editor. While Tucker directed his first six feature films in the span of two years (while still in his mid-20s), he is best known for his first film, the science fiction B movie Robot Monster, often considered an example of "so bad it's good" film-making in the Ed Wood vein, and for the Lenny Bruce movie Dance Hall Racket featuring Bruce's wife Honey Harlow.
In December 1953, he attempted suicide in response to the poor reception of Robot Monster and his subsequent inability to find work. According to Keep Watching The Skies! by Bill Warren, his attempted suicide was actually fueled by depression and a dispute with the film's distributor, who had allegedly refused to pay Tucker his contracted percentage of the film's profits.
There are further claims that after 1955, Tucker was blacklisted within the film industry, though he did go on to direct a number of other productions, including 1960's The Cape Canaveral Monsters.
By the 1970s, Tucker had established himself as a formidable film editor, finally escaping the stigma of his early directorial work. He contributed to such well-known films as Orca and the 1976 remake of King Kong, and remained in post-production throughout the rest of his career.
In addition to his love of film, Tucker had an avid interest in all things mechanical. He invented a rotary engine known as the CT Surge Turbine (CT stood for Carnot/Tucker) for which he was granted a US patent. Tucker built and operated a prototype of the engine which he tried, unsuccessfully, to sell to the automobile industry as a more efficient alternative to the traditional internal combustion engine.
In 2010, Zed Fest Film Festival named a top award after Phil Tucker. The Phil Tucker Spirit Award is given out to encourage and support independent filmmakers that work in the horror, suspense, science fiction, drama, action, adventure, and art house genres. The event is held annually every November in North Hollywood Arts District.
|Dance Hall Racket|
|1954||Tia Juana After Midnite|
|Baghdad After Midnight|
|1960||The Cape Canaveral Monsters|
|Kiss Me Baby|
|1980||The Nude Bomb|
|1985||Out of Control|
- MOVIE DIRECTOR'S DEATH TRY BALKED: Letter Sent to Newspaper Results in His Being Found Unconscious in Room at Hotel Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 16 Dec 1953: 18.