Coleman Francis

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Coleman Francis
Coleman Francis in a cameo in his film The Beast of Yucca Flats
Born Coleman C. Francis
(1919-01-24)January 24, 1919
Greer County, Oklahoma, U.S.
Died January 15, 1973(1973-01-15) (aged 53)
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Arteriosclerosis
Resting place Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
Other names C. Francis
Colman Francis
Years active 1948–1973
Spouse(s) Barbara Francis

Coleman C. Francis (January 24, 1919 – January 15, 1973) was an American actor, writer, producer, and director. He was best known for his film trilogy consisting of The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961), The Skydivers (1963), Red Zone Cuba (1966), all three of which were filmed in the general Santa Clarita, California area and used preoccupation with light aircraft and parachuting, coffee or cigarettes serving as a prop or a center of conversation, and a vigilante-style gunning down of suspects without a trial to conclude the film as frequent motifs.

All three films have gained notoriety as a result of their appearances on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and have been often criticized for their abysmal production values, repetitive plot devices, murky picture quality, and stilted acting. Some critics have characterized Francis' films among the all-time worst, even suggesting that he may surpass Ed Wood in terms of ineptitude.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Francis was born in Greer County, Oklahoma in 1919. He was the son of William F. Francis and Scytha Estes. During the Great Depression, he moved to Texas, then in the 1940s headed for Hollywood. He acted in several films during the late 1940s and 1950s without credit: Blondie's Reward, Scarlet Angel, The Girl in White, This Island Earth, She Couldn't Say No, Twilight for the Gods, and P. J.. 1958 brought his first credited role, Stakeout on Dope Street, where he played a detective. He went on to play minor parts in dozens of other films.

In 1960, Francis formed a partnership with Anthony "Tony" Cardoza, a welder by trade, and together they spawned three films: The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961), The Skydivers (1963), and Red Zone Cuba (1966). Francis wrote and directed the films, while Cardoza handled production duties. He appeared in Russ Meyer's 1965 film Motorpsycho, and his last work in the film industry was in 1970, when he played a drunk in Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Francis married Barbara Francis and had two sons, Alan Francis and Ronald Francis; all three have appeared in the films he directed. In addition, he was the uncle of Rebecca Marlow, as well as the great uncle of Stephanie Francis Lee and Matthew Ryan Lee.


Francis died in California on January 15, 1973 at the age of 53. Though arteriosclerosis is listed as the official cause of death, Cardoza says Francis' body was found in the back of a station wagon at the Vine Street Ranch Market with "a plastic bag over his head and a tube going into his mouth or around his throat".[2]

Francis is interred at the Columbarium of Remembrance in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.


Coleman Francis uses edits like blunt instruments. He uses blunt instruments like blunt instruments. His major themes are death, hatefulness, death, pain, and death. He looks like Curly Howard possessed by demons from Hell. He tried to pass off Lake Mead as the Caribbean Sea. His films have the moral compass of David Berkowitz.

Instead of fading into the annals of cinema history, in 1994 his films gained cult status after being featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. All three films that he directed, wrote and produced have been featured on the show.


Actor (films)[edit]

Actor (television)[edit]



  1. ^ Begg, Ken. "The Beast of Yucca Flats". 
  2. ^ Weaver, Tom. "Anthony Cardoza Recalls the Fallout From Yucca Flats". 
  3. ^ The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide. Bantam Books. 1996. p. 134. ISBN 978-0553377835. 

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