Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Four Dimensions of Greta

Paul Slava sent me this gem via Mod Cinema, who wrote a far better description than I could:
a scene from the 1972 film "Four Dimensions of Greta." Tacky British sleaze at its most glorious and dubious - featuring possibly the worst German accent ever committed to film, enough pubic hair to stuff two sofas, and some of the worst acting and limb contortions ever seen. Greta was Britain's very first 3D feature film and was directed by Pete Walker ("House of Whipcord" and "Cool It, Carol!")

Go on, admit it, you recognize him - Robert Scorpio!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

R.I.P. Count Yorga

America needs a Telethon !

An Americathon !
The film was released in Summer 1979 and grossed $6 mil - a flop compared to that year's comedy hits: Steve Martin's The Jerk which grossed $42 mil and Blake Edwards' sexy funny "10" which made $37 mil.

NY Times summary of Americathon:

In the future (the distant year of 1998), the United States of America is in crisis. The oil shortage has grown to epic proportions, leading to people living in their cars and bicycling to work. Cigarettes and meat have been outlawed, gold coins are needed to operate common household appliances, and the Western White House (located in a luxury apartment in California) has been forced by economic necessity to operate round-the-clock tours for vacationing Chinese citizens.

The economy is deep trouble; President Chet Roosevelt (John Ritter) has borrowed four billion dollars from Native American tennis shoe ("nike") manufacturer Sam Birdwater (Chief Dan George), and he's foreclosing on the loan. When a media expert, Eric McMerkhin (Peter Riegert), is summoned for advice (since despite all hardships, Americans refuse to give up their televisions), he suggests a telethon.

Despite terrorist attacks and the kidnapping of President Roosevelt, the patriotic spirit prevails and American citizens dig deep and pledge their gold to the cause. This outrageous farce (based on a play by Firesign Theatre alumni Philip Proctor and Peter Bergman) features cameos from Elvis Costello, Jay Leno, Meat Loaf and the Del Rubio Triplets, and is narrated by George Carlin. The Beach Boys, Eddie Money, and Nick Lowe contribute to the musical soundtrack.

The film is directed by Neil Israel ("Bachelor Party") and apparently has its zany moments despite the layers of dated flat material. Harvey Korman fares well as the meglomaniacal Monte Rushmore.

factoid: Dorothy Stratten appears, uncredited, as one of the stage dancers.

wiki lists the film's phropecies that came true:

* The People's Republic of China embracing capitalism and becoming a global economic superpower.
* The collapse of the USSR.
* Terrorist attacks on US soil
* An America with a devalued dollar and heavily in debt to (foreign) lenders
* Cliques of Native Americans becoming wealthy (although in reality much of their wealth would come from the gaming industry, mostly from tribal casinos).
* Nike becoming a huge multinational conglomerate (In 1979, their "Tailwind" running shoe was just starting to gain popularity).
* Vietnam becoming a major tourist attraction among Asia's wealthy and powerful.
* The depletion of US crude oil production.
* The Beach Boys still being popular in 1998.
* Jogging suits becoming acceptable daily casual wear.
* A panhandler asks for "$25 for a cup of coffee" - predicting expensive specialty coffee.
* The televised boxing match between a mother and son predicts reality television
* A Presidential family dynasty

Monday, February 23, 2009

Willie Best - a life remembered

Imagine you’re a busy working actor known for your professionalism, comic ability and dedication. Now imagine that you are asked over and over to play the same type of role in every film: a lazy, cowardly simpleton. I suppose you could say: “who cares? I’ll cry all the way to the bank!” …well perhaps…but what if after 25 years of film work you were suddenly ostracized and viewed as a sell-out and an embarrassment to your people?

That is the story of black actor Willie Best – who at the start of his career was promoted by racist studio heads as “Sleep ‘n’ Eat” (the successor to “Stepin Fetchit”). Best was a gifted performer who wanted to act in motion pictures, but in his era of Hollywood he was damned if he did - and damned if he didn’t.

Back in 1930, when Hollywood was just starting its sound film era, and every face on screen was white – there were a few black film actors who became bonafide celebrities. However, they were asked to play slaves or servants – or the role of subservient buffoon.

As singer Etta James once told a biographer, “They may have played fools on the screen, but the folks in the neighborhood knew it took more than a fool to break into lily-white Hollywood.”

Willie Best was discovered in a stage show and began his film career in 1930. He worked non-stop for 20 years in 118 films, then appeared in several Hal Roach produced TV shows, namely My Little Margie starring Gale Storm.

As times changed, actors like Stepin Fetchit and Sleep‘n’ Eat with their “yassuh” dialogue and pop-eyed cowardice were vilified by a new generation of civil rights activists who wanted to distance themselves from their painful past. By the late 1950s, Willie Best was persona non grata in the black community and at image conscious studios – so he dropped out of sight.

Willie Best died from cancer at age 45 in February 1962 at the Motion Picture Home Hospital. He was buried by the Motion Picture Fund. Sadly, his grave was unmarked and remained that way for 47 years.

This month, Willie Best is remembered with a new grave marker paid for by film buffs of Celluloid Slammer and Dearly Departed Tours.

Gale Storm of My Little Margie shared this statement with us about her former co-star:
"I loved Willie Best with all my heart...and so did everyone who worked with him. Not only was he a joy to be with, but as an actor he was an ultimate professional, always knew his lines and a director's delight. I am so grateful to his fans for honoring him this way."

Willie Best is buried at Valhalla Cemetery, North Hollywood near other such pioneering black actors as: Madame Sul-Te-Wan, Mantan Moreland, and Sam McDaniel.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sharon Tate Struts Her Stuff For Dean Martin

I hope you enjoyed that clip of the sexy Sharon Tate and the cool Dean Martin from The Wrecking Crew. That's a scene I really enjoy, plus I dig the hip music. If you're interested in checking out a blog devoted to Dean and the Rat Pack, pay a visit to The Dino Lounge. That's one of my blogs. I also have a blog devoted to the beautiful women of the 60's and 70's called Sugar & Spice. I'm actually going to have a post about Sharon Tate on Monday. Hope everybody is having a cool & swingin' weekend. Cheers!

Count Don Ricklesula - You Hockey Puck!

From Innocent Blood. John Landis who had a great start, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really,really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, was just a suckfest on two legs - a great script, a great cast, poorly executed like it's an undead fucking Pretty In Pink. He's probably close to being the #1 contributing factor to my 20 year disenfranchisement from American movies.

But I'm back. Who cares?

Lastly, this looks like somebody shot it off their TV but I have stopped uploading owing to YouTube's Big Brotherish Insta-reject software......bye bye major web 2.0 cool thing.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dancin' with Darcel

One of the nicest things about being in Los Angeles is meeting celebs who rocked your world as a kid or teenager. Last summer I just HAD to say a few words to former Solid Gold dancer Darcel Wynne when I saw her at a 'Salute to Tv Choreography' event. She was sweet and still looked fabulous - and when I asked (to clarify for myself) if SHE was in the film Xanadu? - she answered "I sure was."
She was sassy and fun and enjoying reuniting with some of her ol' dancer buddies that she hadn't seen in 20 years.

She came out dancing in the show later that night - and she was serving it like the old days. Kicked ass. She's still solid gold. (After they danced, the original SG dancers got a standing ovation from the crowd).

Here is Darcel (one of the coolest dancers in 1980s America) doing her animal print spandex stuff in Xanadu's "battle of the bands" DANCIN'.

It was always my favorite part of the flick. I like the idea of 40s big band merging with 80s band The Tubes.

Darcel is dancing on the 80s side (ofcourse) -- and shakes her gorgeous ass at the 6:36 mark.

This footage below shows you the film's 25th anniversary screening in Glendale, CA with shadow dancers. A real blast.

a clearer copy of the film's number can be viewed here

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bobby Jo and the Outlaw

Reader Paul Slava sends! Revel in their sleeveless, tight jeaned glory among the cacti as Lynda serenades Marjoe on a Najavo blanket:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Baby Doll

The thing is, Carroll Baker is dirty and un-made-up and at times frumpy but remians "wantable" via her pushing aside the curtains of false naievete' to reveal someone who understands her best path to living. It's really about setting yourself free.


I have no Zombie lexicon - all non-supernatural permutations of Zombie are acceptable to me. Stacy might be described as uneven, but the intent is to really jam a lot of emotional vignettes into an absurdist framework, and have it all come out in the end. It's for people who realize that movies are not life and not every one of them has to be a life-examining masterwork. Plus as they say on League of Gentlemen, it has "loadth o' killinth"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

John Waters on BALLYHOO!

This is the closing segment from the documentary "BALLYHOO! The Hollywood Sideshow" which aired on American Movie Classics (R.I.P.) in 1996.
Hosted by Frankie Avalon.
More segments coming soon!

My YouTube channel:

Journey to the Disney Vault

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dusting off an old Valentine from Farrah

If Venus the Goddess of Love could be your house guest this weekend, she may very well, look like Farrah Fawcett in all her world weary glory – as seen in her wonderful 1997 Playboy video special called All of Me.

Farrah’s All of Me is up there with The Wild Wild World of Jayne Mansfield in terms of hysterical sexploitation, tragic self promotion, and delusional sexpot past her prime narrating her inner most thoughts for viewers to understand her wild, wild SEXY! world.

The DVD begins with an A&E Biography-type spin through Farrah's wholesome Texas childhood and her step by step career transformation into that 1970s TV / poster superstar we all loved. Plus you get commentary by stylist Jose Eber, sleepy Hugh Hefner, and that loquacious lesbian: Camille Paglia.

Then comes a section documenting the photo sessions for Farrah's mid-90s Playboy photo spreads (this was Playboy promo after all), where Farrah tells us why she chose to do Playboy as she approached age 50 (strangely, cocaine and mounting debts are never mentioned); by the end of the St. Bart's shoot, Farrah crumbles into psycho-drama tears and phones an unknown intimate (maybe the creepy ex-BF who reportedly bashed her head in?) to report, ''I don't like my body, I don't like my hair.'' He apparently assures her that she's sexy and Farrah shares that she drank coconut milk that morning. Genius.

Next we see Farrah - the lifelong fine artist sculpting a female form in clay which she ends up rubbing all over her naked body. She next attacks a large canvas and paints an abstract with those famous pert nipples.

For the guys who were turned on by her naked art lesson, there is a brief interlude (providing time to grab a tissue) where they recap her important acting roles in Extremities (on stage in 1983 and on screen in 1986) where her character is assaulted by a man and she gets revenge by imprisoning him in a fireplace, and in 1984's TV-movie The Burning Bed in which her character is assaulted by a man and she gets revenge by setting him on fire.

Finally, the specia-mercial ends with Farrah’s exotic performance piece of reciting Song of Solomon in her whispery ingĂ©nue way while wearing a black dominatrix wig. She takes a final bow and her robe opens to reveal more nakedness. Cut and Print.
You can watch a claymation dramatization clip here:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Anthony Newley - Hollywood Palace, 1969

Gene Gene the Dancing Machine

Take a manic talent show host, mix in three celeb judges (any Gabor will do), and regular appearances by an NBC stagehand who dances while getting pelted with junk - and you have the ultimate 70s televised party The Gong Show.

( The Gong Show Movie is a bore- don't bother)- stick with the original

After The Gong Show was cancelled, Eugene "gene gene" Patton remained a stagehand at NBC into the 1990s. Sadly, He lost both legs to complications from diabetes in 2001.
Gene had a cameo as himself in the film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

I'm In Your House

I took the liberty of changing some of the template numbers to allow clips like "Let the Right One In" as well as the TCM widget on the right to fit properly. If it's not displaying correctly, let me know.

Grim, Bleak, Gory and Sweet!

No, not the latest names of some new boy band, but best words to describe "LET THE RIGHT ONE IN". If you only see one Swedish vampire movie this year, this should be the one:

As in most vampire tales, it really is a love story. A SWEET-ish one at that! (Ha-can't help it!)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Fall

The Fall: Saw it Saturday night. I really wasn't expecting much, probably owing to the film's lack of market presence, which is stupid on my part.

The images are exquisite, with more than a nod to Dali. While I'm not a person who actively seeks films where fantasy and reality intertwine, this one got me because the intertwining was illustrative of how we visualize oral narrative. Especially in the case of children. In short, fairytale B.S. eludes me most times - but this wasn't that.

The little girl in the film Alexandria, played Catinca Untaru captivates because she plays her part like she's in a documentary thereby widening the gap between fantasy and reality. Lee Pace holds his own with her, as if they are interacting in life and not on film.

It'll tear you up in parts. And put you back together in others. All through it I could not understand why it was not more celebrated.

Here are two clips and the trailer: