Ricky Don’t Lose That Number

  • videoarchives
  • June 6, 2023

The Video Archives Podcast is searching for the legendary Ruby of Gloom! In Part 2 of our tribute to the late Rick Dalton, Quentin, Roger & Gala watch three films from his Italian exploitation era – Jungle Raiders, Operation Nam and Blastfighter. We also have the final excerpt of Quentin’s interview with Rick Dalton from the Hawaii International Film Festival. I’ve got fan art and VHS boxes on today’s Counter Talk, so let’s get into it…


Here at Video Archives we are still reeling from the loss of Rick Dalton, but it’s been a blessing to share our memories of him with you all, and hear from Dalton fans around the world how much our tribute episode meant to them. All across the internet, fans have been reminiscing about their favorite Dalton roles and drinking whiskey sours and frozen margaritas in his honor. I can only include a fraction of this outpouring in Counter Talk, but these are a few of my favorite pieces of Dalton fan art shared on Instagram since he passed.

From @g.mac.detroit, a tribute to Dalton’s work in The Fireman 2:

From @felipeflorescomics, a far-out rendering of Dalton with his stunt double Cliff Booth

Finally, from @el.dee, a wonderful black and white portrait of Rick leaping into action:

I also have a treat to show you from the first episode - Roger’s “Bounty Law” reel he made in film school! Made with painstaking care on a Moviola:

Today’s conclusion to our Dalton tribute focuses on his work in the 80s, after The Fireman trilogy revived his career as an action star. All three of the movies we’re discussing this week were made on the cheap by Italian exploitation directors (often working under American pseudonyms), released in quick succession in 1984-86. Together, they provide a snapshot of a grizzled, confident late-period Dalton, with underrated comedy chops and an easy gravitas that could carry even the most ludicrous plot. He’s clearly having a ball making these films.

First up: Operation Nam, directed by “Larry Ludman” (real name Fabrizio De Angelis, which is a way cooler name than Larry Ludman). Also known as Cobra Mission, this bitter story of former soldiers returning to Vietnam hellbent on revenge features not only Dalton but Ethan Wayne, the son of John Wayne who was then just beginning his career as a stuntman and actor. Did you know Ethan was named after Ethan Edwards, John’s character in The Searchers? Bold of John to name his son after one of the most anti-heroic characters he ever played.

This Imperial Entertainment release of Operation Nam is not shy about putting the Wayne connection front and center, declaring the film is “in the John Wayne action packed tradition”:

Quentin also has a rare “trailer tape” from his former employers at Imperial Entertainment, that includes promos for Operation Nam, Days Of Wrath and Ninja: American Warrior (not to be confused with American Ninja Warrior).

Our next film, Blastfighter, was directed by Lamberto Bava, the son of giallo master Mario Bava and a major contributor to Italian genre cinema in his own right. His collaboration with Dalton was also his first film outside the horror genre, a troubled project that was conceived as a post-apocalyptic Mad Max ripoff for Lucio Fulci, but became a more straightforward Revengeamatic after Bava took over. Here’s Dalton posing as Jake “Tiger” Sharp, coolly resting his shotgun on his shoulder.

A quick Lamberto Bava sidebar – before taping our second episode of Video Archives, where the crew watched the 1979 Peter Maris film Delirium, I decided to get ahead by watching the film as well. Not knowing much about the movie other than the title, I ended up watching the 1987 Lamberto Bava film Delirium by mistake, so I was pretty confused during the episode! (Here’s hoping they decide to cover the ‘87 film on the show one day, which is delirious fun with a similar plot to Eyes Of Laura Mars. I’ll share just three words to whet your appetite: murder by bees.)


Today’s final film Jungle Raiders reunites Dalton with Antonio Margheriti (here using his pseudonym Anthony M. Dawson) after 1970’s Operazione Dyn-O-Mite! Dalton plays the delightfully named Captain Yankee, searching for a legendary ruby in a film that aspires to Indiana Jones status (just look at the title on this VHS box) but lands closer to Romancing The Stone.

That wraps it up for our Day Of The Dalton two parter, which is also the final main episode of Season 1 of The Video Archives Podcast! Thanks so much for listening everybody; follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates on Season 2, get our merch at Podswag.com, and we’ll see you next….oh wait….hold on a sec. I’m getting word that we actually have one more episode to go.

OK then! We’ll be back next week for another half hour to finish out the season…oh, hold on…I’m now seeing that this episode is neatly three hours long!?! And we’ll be handing out awards in over twenty categories, including two, Favorite Movie and Favorite Discussion, that listeners of the show can vote on right this second?

Well then. See you next week for one last Counter Talk (for now), as we send off Season 1 with a bang.