“The Hypnotic Eye”: Joe Riley’s Amazing Psychotronic Cable Access Show

By on May 29, 2015

Occasionally we come across something that reminds us of the profound influence that Night Flight has had, and today we’re sharing one of those somethings, a coupla episodes of Joe Riley’s amazing pyschotronic cable access TV show “The Hypnotic Eye,” which aired on Friday and Saturday nights, from 11pm to midnight, on Channel 25-B on DCTV, Dallas’s public access TV channel, from May 1996 until February 1999.

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His community-access cable show featured the same kinds of content that Night Flight did: classic 60’s toy commercials, clips from Japanese monsters movies, exploitation movie trailers, mondo bizarro cartoons, clips from underground films, obscure and interesting psychedelic music videos (including Japanese surf guitar bands — Riley even worked on a video by Guitar Wolf), and occasionally Riley would also do a features on local like-minded psychotronic bookstores in Texas, including Forbidden Books, Toys From the Crypt (both in Dallas) and Giant Robot (Houston). “The Hypnotic Eye” was even awarded the “Best Cable Access Show” in the Dallas Observer in 1997.

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The show was co-created by Kenneth Weinert, and was hosted by an large eyeball foam puppet named Mr. Eye and bunch of different co-host puppets, including a cat hand puppet named M.C. Tiny Bob, a marionette named “Donny” (a Donny Osmond doll), and The Great Hugo, aka Hugo, Man of a Thousand faces, a Kenner toy from the 1970s

“The Hypnotic Eye” is still being praised by the people who were able to see it as it aired live in the greater Dallas area. For years, fans of the show shared videotapes, and it eventually made its way across the country, and there are dozens of Youtube clips of full episodes for you to check out if you’re interested. We’ve found two of them for you!

Riley‘s Wikipedia page tells us he was mainly a painter, sculptor, filmmaker, and special effects makeup artist, and that he designed latex masks for horror movies like Marvel Comics’s Blade: Trinity, as well as doing conceptual art for children’s animations, such as the Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius franchise from DNA Productions. He was also a notable part of the multimedia beginnings of the Church of the SubGenius as St. Joe Riley. Much more at the link.

He died on September 27, 2007. There’s a really nice tribute to him here.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.
  • John Stich

    Cable access TV was the most fun and creative time there was ever in television history.