Who is Tom Graeff?Tom Graeff's FilmographyAbout Teenagers from Outer SpaceThe Boy From Out of This WorldContact Information & Links

"I shall make the earth my home ..."
After his experience on the set of Not of This Earth, Tom knew he could make a genre feature if he tried. He took out a number of ads in the trades looking for investors, and was answered by actors Bryan Pearson and Gene Sterling, who hoped to cash in on the low-budget craze and get their names out in Hollywood.

Tom wore all the production hats on the low-budget feature. As a result he often begged, borrowed, scrimped, saved, and sweet-talked to get what was necessary to finish the project. Production took place during fall 1956 and early 1957, utilizing locations near where Tom and Chuck were living on Las Palmas Avenue in Hollywood, including the Blessed Sacrament School, Hollywood High School, and the Bronson Canyon Caves. There were no permits, no stuntmen, and no money to pay the actors up front. Much of the film's dialogue was pre-recorded to save on sound equipment and force actors to memorize their lines.

Starring Chuck Roberts (under the alias of "David Love"), former radio actress Dawn Bender, Bryan Pearson, and B-movie veterans Sonia Torgeson and Harvey B. Dunn, Teenagers is often compared with the works of the notoriously bad Ed Wood. But unlike Wood, with Teenagers Tom Graeff demonstrates skill with a camera and a knack for directing that might have taken him far. As the Los Angeles Times review of Teenagers states, "when he stops spreading himself so incredibly thin, I think his work will bear watching."

Teenagers from Outer Space
Dawn Bender & Chuck in Teenagers From Outer Space.

After two years years, many unsuccesful sale attempts, and a protracted legal battle with Bryan Pearson over his investment, the film wound up at Warner Bros. in early 1959, sold for a fraction of its worth.

Teenagers from Outer Space premiered in Los Angeles on June 2nd, 1959, and was shown exclusively at drive-ins across the country and in Europe. Having lost control of the copyright earlier, Tom never saw a cent of the big profit Warner Bros. made and wasn't involved in the film's promotion. It was a huge blow to his blossoming career.

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