In 1956, Los Angeles area filmmaker Tom Graeff set about making his second independent feature film, Killers from Outer Space. Years and several title changes later, the film was released by Warner Brothers as Teenagers from Outer Space and a cult B-movie science fiction classic was born.
But Tom Graeff’s strange story didn’t begin or end with Teenagers from Outer Space. Living in those turbulent times when the repressive 1950s morphed into the swinging 60s, Graeff’s life mirrored that heady transformation as he threw himself into the social, religious, and sexual revolutions around him.
Low-budget auteur, gay liberation pioneer, eccentric rabble rouser, religious fanatic sent to save the world—Tom Graeff was all of these. Unknown in his own lifetime and largely forgotten today, Graeff’s fascinating, doomed journey is the ultimate Hollywood story—filled with ambition, delusion, sex, scandal, hope, and failure.
Writer and filmmaker Jim Tushinski is working on the first biography of Tom Graeff, scouring archives and public records, and interviewing people who knew and worked with Tom, in an effort to uncover the life and times of this extraordinary and troubled man. Jim has been granted access to a number of Tom Graeff's personal papers and film prints and is uncovering details of Tom's life that have never before been made public.
See a newly discovered color still from Tom's elusive first feature. The Noble Experiment (1955)
Hear Tom's voice in this excerpt from his record album "Changing Faces" (1969)
Visit the CineGraeffia YouTube channel for Tom Graeff videos