30 November 2016



From some weird wiki site: The Hypnotic Eye was a cable-access comedy show that aired exclusively in Dallas in the late 90's. It was created by Joe Riley.
The format of The Hypnotic Eye was a mish-mash of bizarre sketches presented by an orange puppet with no face, but a single large eye (hence the title). Despite the unconventional setup of the show and the lack of budget, the show was surprisingly popular and ran over the course of a few years. The running time for each episode was about an hour, with the first episode being aired in 1996. Joe Riley, the show's creator, has since passed away.


Joe Kenney said...

I never got to meet Joe Riley, but wish I had. I was sort of involved with the Dallas Public Access world through writing skits for my friend's show; it was called "Voodoo Plastic Arm," and Joe Riley himself was a big fan of it. A few episodes of The Hypnotic Eye feature VPA -- in particular the great episode 6 (I think it is -- the one where the Eye goes around Richardson, TX looking for fried chicken) opens with the Eye watching an episode of Voodoo Plastic Arm.

VPA was run by a total character named Taylor Hayden, my friend mentioned in the above paragraph. If I'm not mistaken, I don't think Taylor even met Joe -- I recall asking him about it, and Taylor said something to the effect that Joe Riley had only contacted him to let him know he was a fan of VPA and to ask if he could feature some of it in his own show.

I might've been in the same room as Joe, though...I went to the Dallas Public Access awards in the summer of 2000, and Hypnotic Eye was up for "best series" category...can't recall if the show won, but it was after the last episode had aired. I do recall it getting a huge reaction from the audience when its name was called out. I think I actually have a video of that award show somewhere...they were called The Crystal Awards, I think. It might be worth converting to MP4 to watch it and see if Joe Riley was in fact present.

Speaking of which, as you note he passed away -- just around 11 years ago. He was 43 at the time and it's my understanding it was a sudden, unexpected thing -- all I've been able to find was that he had high blood pressure. He seems to have been a fairly big guy so maybe he just wasn't treating it sufficiently, who knows. It's a shame, though.

Joe Riley also ran a blog, Menooshea (http://menooshea.blogspot.com/), from 2005 until his death. He rarely if ever mentioned The Hypnotic Eye on it, but in one instance he responded to someone's post asking about the show, stating that he planned to release a DVD taken from the master tapes. Unfortunately that never happened.

Anyway sorry to run on!

Bill Courtney said...

Hey Joe, thanks for all this fantastic information. I thought the way it was put together was really cool and I am a fan of the old public access shows. The ones in Seattle, while I lived there, all starting becoming really political and related to various forms of activism, so they became boring to me. The Hypnotic Eye was the type of show that showed genuine talent and love, rather than hate, for the subject matter. Maybe there are some clips of VPA on YouTube? Thanks man!

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