Lost Boys (Joel Schumacher, 1987).
I say again. I am in this movie.
This post originally appeared on February 2, 2010, and I’m perfectly fine with retreading it despite it not being a Take-two Tuesday nor Flashback Friday because it’s actually quite appropriate given the film.
It’s cold out there every day. Rise and shine, campers, because it’s Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)!
Phil: I went to the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl, we ate lobster, drank piña coladas … at sunset, we made love like sea otters. That was a pretty good day. Why couldn’t I get that day over and over and over??
Phil: When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn’t imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.
Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980).
See? Joey La Motta has his own two cents to add about that clock in today’s Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day. (Reference is to the image in the below entry.)
Welcome to the inaugural edition of 12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies, because Jingle All the Way and all its ilk should burn in hell. I’m kicking things off with a little Better off Dead.
Better Off Dead (Savage Steve Holland, 1985). Maybe some forgot this was a holidayish film, but I did not. How could anyone forget when you have the following scene?
What do you do when the center of your universe walks away?
A teenager has to deal with his girlfriend dumping him among family crises, homicidal paper boys, and a rival skier.
Absolutely sick pyjamas. On the kid, not on David Ogden Stiers. Scooter Stevens, who plays the lineless younger brother, did some television roles and played “Bonnie’s Date” in She’s Out of Control. That’s his final credit, so I think it’s safe to say he went on to a life of education and handsomer-than-average anonymity.
Though his voice work in this film was dubbed by Rich Little, Yuji Okumoto, the Howard Cosell brother, has gone on to act his ass off. Seriously, you give that guy a spin on the imdb and he has a credit or ten for, like, every year since this movie was released. Very impressive. He was the one I thought was cuter. So I’m pleased. Brian Imada, who plays his brother, has done a crapload of stunt work and will be appearing in utility stunt capacity in the upcoming Green Hornet film, which is getting its own post soon as a “Hot Man Bein’ Hot” for the new Kato. Ow! I like Asian dudes. Blame Sulu and alert the media.
Featuring marvelous Curtis Armstrong as Lane’s best friend, the eccentric Charles De Mar. Doin’ whippits and trying to get a line on nosespray in a top hat.
Suicide is never the answer, little trooper.
Curtis Armstrong is so good at conveying the “cool” geek. Total old school unlikely G. In fact, I do believe he was the second subject in that category.
Steve Holland: That part when Lane does this in the garage is true. I went into the garage, and I put an extension cord on a pipe, and I’m on a garbage can, and I’m thinking, “Should I do this? Maybe this isn’t a good idea.” Anyway, it was a plastic garbage can, and my weight just, like, crashed through it, and I fell, and the pipe broke!
And it starts pouring water everywhere. And I’m basically in a garbage can, drowning. And my mom comes in, and my mom starts yelling at me for breaking a pipe, which is what any mom would do.
So I started writing down stupid ways to kill yourself that would fail after that, and I put them in sort of a diary. And that diary kind of became Better Off Dead.
(“Better Off Dead – Savage Steve Holland.” Awesome interview and article on The Sneeze.)
Lane’s suicide stunts smack a little of Harold and Maude, but only a little. Certainly Jenny Meyer is worlds away from Vivan Pickles. Taking it down the very absurd road carries it far enough from Harold and Maude that it becomes apples and oranges (with raisins). Mainly.
Holland’s vision of the cafeteria as the intersection of absurd personal fantasy time and a rigidly enforced caste system is a standout in a decade that brought us dozens of shudder-inducingly accurate cafeteria scenes (I think of Sixteen Candles, when Molly Ringwold spots Jake Ryan, dumps her tray, and runs: “I can’t let him know I eat,” or Martha Dumptruck from Heathers).
R.I.P., Vincent Schiavelli. A great character actor and kickass chef.
Charles de Mar has a hand in a jar. Say it three times fast and Curtis Armstrong will appear! He currently voices Steve’s friend Snot on American Dad.
I love the animation Scooter Stevens brings to his role — it’s a shock to realize Badger has no speaking parts, yes? His eyes on the “Trashy Women” book … priceless.
One of the taglines for this film is: Insanity doesn’t run in the family, it gallops. This is a reference to Arsenic and Old Lace, where the line went, “Darling, insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.”
During a screening of Better Off Dead, John Cusack stormed out after twenty minutes, saying, “You’ve ruined my career!” He allegedly hated and despaired of the film, and told Holland, “I will never trust you as a director ever again, so don’t speak to me.”
I’m guessing that the mad science at Pig Burger was one of the scenes he found unpardonable, cause I guess if you are trying to be a cool cat, it could be perceived as kind of cheesey and out of place. But, hey, what a great anticipation of Igor. Who knew? Because that entire movie was insanely cheesey and out of place. I hold children’s movies to a very high standard and I don’t brook a bunch of shit, sorry.
And Cusack went ahead and allowed Hot Tub Time Machine to refer to the film, so perhaps time has softened his view. Or money. But most likely time, I’m just sure.
I have great fear of tools. I once made a birdhouse in woodshop and the fair housing committee condemned it. I can’t.
“I cannot do it” is your middle name. I think all you need is a small taste of success, and you will find it suits you.
[Lane's] father is so stumped in trying to understand the confusing habits and behavior of his teenage son (and, at one point, is temporarily convinced Lane is using drugs) that he clumsily attempts repeatedly to interfere in Lane’s love life.
For half a second, the q-tip face makes me like John Cusack and start to giggle, and then I remember all the reasons I’m mad at him and I wipe the smile off my face. Spiders in the mail? So immature.
It’s kind of an interesting phenomenon. Any actor wants to play the cool guy. So playing the role of a borderline mental dork in the movie is not necessarily your first choice as an actor, however, in a way you’re kind of creating it yourself.
It’s not like you’re being made fun of, you’re making fun of yourself by creating this persona. So it didn’t bother me a lot since I was playing a character who was so far away from me.
(Interview with Dan “Ricky” Schneider. The Sneeze.)
This is similar to the kind of present-giving I did one Christmas as a child. I wrapped up things we already had and was surprised when my parents were clearly feigning their enthusiasm. I think it was very zen: I considered all of our possessions to be gifts.
Savage Steve Holland: And every day we were going, “This is hilarious. Am I wrong?” And it was like, every day anything we shot was really funny. So at my first test screening… I’ll never forget it, the movie was like five or seven minutes longer, and the audience reaction was pretty good, but it wasn’t that good.
And I remember one guy walking out, and for some reason he knew me, and he goes, “Hey, better luck next time.”
And I’m like, “Oh shit, I’m doomed.” It really hurt.
The Sneeze: Do you know where he is today?
SS: He’s probably running Paramount with my luck.
The Sneeze: I was just hoping he was homeless.
SS: No, because mean people always get the good jobs.
(Aforementioned The Sneeze interview.)
John will never talk about Better Off Dead, and One Crazy Summer, and I read something recently where he called me “the director.” He wouldn’t use my name, and he said, “the director wanted to do absurdist comedy and that’s just not the thing I like to do,” or something like that.
I feel like I let him down. And it totally surprises me so much because I have to say the most important person to me about that movie, was John. I really wanted him to love it as much as I loved it. And once he said that stuff, it was like a girlfriend who breaks up with you. You can’t fight with her. It’s like everything is so great, and then they say “I hate you!” out of nowhere. There’s really no argument you can have. I had my heart broken. That was the second time my heart was broken since that girl that Better Off Dead was about — honest to God.
(Steve Holland, Ibid.)
Truly a sight to behold. A man beaten. The once great champ, now, a study in moppishness. No longer the victory hungry stallion we’ve raced so many times before, but a pathetic, washed up, aged ex-champion.
That’s actually a line from one of the car race scenes, but it’s my favorite. Challenge: call someone “a study in moppishness” this week — to their face!
I really thought as time went by, [Cusack] might feel differently. But I read one other article that he got jailed for something. Somebody in his car had something, I don’t know what, but he got jailed for something. He said, “Jail sucked the most because everybody kept coming up to me going, ‘I want my two dollars!’”
(Steve Holland, Ibid.)
The buttrape, on the other hand, was “pretty okay”.
Look, Charles, I’ve got to do this. If I don’t, I’ll be nothing. I’ll end up like my neighbor, Ricky Smith. He sits around crocheting all day and snorting nasal spray.
He snorts nasal spray? You know where I can score some?!
I do love the wink, here. It always comforts me to know that there are other people on the earth who are as truly bad at winking as I am. Not a lot of other people, but a few.
Sure, you can park your Camaro on the lawn at Dodger Stadium. Happens all the time. Goddamn if that is not the most eighties-riffic thing I’ve seen all week. Ski rack, saxophone, mom jeans, and John Cusack: winner, winner, chicken dinner!
Hope you’ve found the inaugural edition of 12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies enlightening. And now you’re armed with this very sad backstory of the dissolution of the friendship between the star and the director — because nothing says the holidays like, “You are dead to me.” So cue it up, grab your gelatinous raisin-riddled mass, and bask in Better Off Dead’s warm 80′s glow.
“Basically it’s a distillation. It’s taking things about [Wonder Woman] that are great and the things that have made her an icon and discarding the things that are less important.”
(Joss Whedon. Interview, 2005.)
He was talking about his Wonder Woman film script. The project currently languishes in development hell.
This post originally appeared on November 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm.
Got a case of the Mondays? Not me, because I pretty much do whatever I want, whenever I want. But in case you have somehow been enslaved by the System and are sneaking peeks from beneath fluorescent lights in some dreadful cubicle, here’s some Office Space quotes to snap you out of it, and some naked models too. You’re welcome!
Peter Gibbons: So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.
Dr. Swanson: What about today? Is today the worst day of your life?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Dr. Swanson: Wow, that’s messed up.
Peter Gibbons: I don’t like my job, and I don’t think I’m going to go anymore.
Joanna: You’re just not going to go?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Joanna: Won’t you get fired?
Peter Gibbons: I don’t know, but I really don’t like it. And I’m not going to go.
Joanna: So you’re going to quit?
Peter Gibbons: Nooo. Not really. Uh… I’m just gonna stop going.
Joanna: Well, what are you going to do about money and bills and…
Peter Gibbons: You know, I’ve never really liked paying bills. I don’t think I’m going to do that, either.
Peter Gibbons: It’s not just about me and my dream of doing nothing. It’s about all of us. I don’t know what happened to me at that hypnotherapist and, I don’t know, maybe it was just shock and it’s wearing off now, but when I saw that fat man keel over and die – Michael, we don’t have a lot of time on this earth! We weren’t meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about about mission statements.
Michael Bolton: I told those fudge-packers I liked Michael Bolton’s music.
Peter Gibbons: Oh. That is not right, Michael.
Peter Gibbons: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday and you’re not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, “Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays”?
Lawrence: No. No, man. Shit, no, man. I believe you’d get your ass kicked sayin’ something like that, man.
Look. I understand financial obligations and suchlike, but please be sure to draw lines in the dirt declaring how much you let the world and its ways infringe on your personal happiness, and ask yourself what you would pay to be happier; if the amount is the difference between the wage you make at the miserable job you have and a lower-paying job that you would better enjoy, then jump!
And don’t forget to refuse to be normal at all times. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, chickpeas. Quit your job and go on tour.
edit: What I like about Flashback Friday and Take-Two Tuesday is that it gives me a chance to take a recent-reflective turn in this business of self-audit. This was written nearly a year ago. Do I still “pretty much do whatever I want, whenever I want?” Not really, but not in a depressing way and certainly when I do it is not in a rude or irresponsible way — but, examining that period carefully, I didn’t really much then either. Anyway I despised that job (professional plagiarism: I hated almost everything about it) and it tarred my soul. Substituting when I can and caring for my grandmother is infinitely more satisfying, fulfilling, and uplifting. And I am doing what I want, I think perhaps much better now than then. I like it.
Delores Wells, Playboy’s Miss June 1960, shares her October 17th birthday with the anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, which stopped the World Series and collapsed the Cypress Structure on the Nimitz Freeway and part of the Bay Bridge, and with the birthday of my dearest old friendoh Big Ben, who I’ve gotten to see twice this month and am super glad of it (a much more cheery connection).
At the time of her Playboy appearance, Ms. Wells was living in Chicago, like a lot of the early centerfolds. She worked as a bunny in the Chicago club. Sources suggest that Ms. Wells made $1,000 per week working at the club, but that her payment for this pictorial was only $500.
The above picture did not make it in to the original spread because Ms. Wells’ pubic hair was slightly visible, which god forbid — until the Pubic Wars of the 70′s.
Ms. Wells eventually wung her way west and appeared in several of the surf-rock propelled, beach party movies that were popular in this era: Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, and Bikini Beach.
Beach party movies came up for us recently in the context of Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month, but I had not taken the time to discuss them because I was trying to stick to my self-imposed edict of keeping the spotlight on Ms. Tate. In this post I am beholden to no such stringency and will tell you all about it.
American International Pictures produced the first “beach party” movie, titled, go figure, Beach Party in 1963. I do not count the Gidget movies. Wikipedia does, but I do not. In my opinion the AIP beach movies were too different to give Gidget inspiration credit, and had a totally different market and theme in mind. Also I have been a huge Connie Francis guy since birth, and even though I know it is stupid and pointless, I bear a grudge against Sandra Dee for being the one who got to marry Bobby Darin. Yes, I know: stupid and pointless.
Following the success of Beach Party, AIP cooked up more films featuring beachy monkey shines, about seven in all, which mainly served as frontispieces for selling the motion picture soundtracks with appearances from popular musicians of the era. (You know — like Shrek movies.)
Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon starred in the majority of the AIP beach party flicks, and players like Ms. Wells appeared regularly as the same “Type” of person, though sometimes with different character names from film to film. The important thing was their recognizable persona. You know, the giggly flirts, the schoolbookish types, the buffed dimwits, etc … and, of course, the ne’er do wells. In the AIP beach party movies, the ne’er do wells were the comically inept Rats & Mice.
Oh, the decorative sex*. Hands-down my favorite shot.
The villains of the story were usually biker Eric Von Zipper (played by comic actor Harvey Lembeck as a parody of Marlon Brando in The Wild One) and his inept gang the Rat Pack, or “Rats & Mice”.
The most popular running gag of the beach party series is “The Himalayan Suspender” technique, originated by Professor Sutwell in Beach Party, in which the forefinger is pressed against a certain part of the skull, rendering the victim paralyzed. The victim of this move (aka “The finger”) was always [Rats & Mice leader] Eric Von Zipper, who learned it from Sutwell and threatened people with it in subsequent films, calling it “The Rats’ Revenge.”
However, Von Zipper’s finger never worked on others, only himself. Once Von Zipper became paralyzed (usually with a big open-mouthed smile on his face), the Rats & Mice would carry him out and declare “Eric Von Zipper will return!”
I am pretty sure one of my girlfriends in high school lay “the finger” on our other friend as he knelt between us in Math class trying to coax my friend to share more of her large water bottle full of vodka mixed with orange juice, from which we’d been healthily improving our outlook on the late morning for at least a half hour. We told him to go away before he made it obvious what was going on, but he was having none of it.
I was particularly concerned about “maintaining” because I was not the kind of student who got in trouble, living a very weird double life in which I outwardly exemplified a golden student and banner citizen and genuinely cared about service to others and studying for tests, yet I also secretly ditched school, drank, and smoked. I was too young at that time to reconcile those behaviors with one another. I was also worried because I was better friends with his sister than with this guy, though he too was a friend, and I looked up to her as a role model, and my opinion at that time was that the less he knew about my bad behavior, the better.
Exasperated and sympathetic to my worries, my girlfriend made hoo-doo signs in the air over our annoying friend’s head and elaborately pressed her index finger to the middle of his forehead, and he did a method face plant from his knees in to the carpet of the classroom.
We thought this was hysterical.
I have no idea how any of this was going on while a teacher was in the room, but that shit would never fly with me. My covertly misspent youth is a mixed blessing for my students: I am empathetic to their desire to break the mold and be bad, and party down and word up and whathaveyou in the process of living their life, man, but I am simultaneously wise to their shenanigans. The hell you are flashing a pack of Marlboros in here, young lady — if the girls’ bathroom during passing period was good enough for me, it’s good enough for you; and you may save your joints for behind the tennis court like everyone else since time out of mind, mister.
Coda about the three characters in this anecdote, as we stand fifteen years later. My girlfriend in this story’s son and my daughter were baptized together five years ago. She works as a physician’s assistant. The guy on whom we lay the finger and I got high a few years later on the state seal the night before he went to join the Marines, or maybe the Air Force. I’d gotten over my hang-up about fearing too greatly the judgment of people I cared about. We stumbled to the Hard Rock Cafe and ate our weight in onion rings, and he told them it was my birthday even though it wasn’t, so we scored free dessert. Later he worked as the music teacher at our Catholic high school in town and is now pursuing a full-time career in Los Angeles as a musician.
I am now substitute teaching at the very church at which we all met, and drive every day past the high school in the story. All that time I wanted to drink and smoke away the trapped feeling of the pressure of living in this town, which shrinks the longer you live here and the more people you know, so that a town of 215k or so can start to feel quite small indeedy, and now I like it just fine. Did I mellow out, or did I sell out? I think the former.
One of the above pictures has made an appearance here before, in the inaugural “Showdown!” edition. I’ve totally dropped the ball on “Showdown!”s. Those were fun. All apologies: will remedy it soon, promise.
Coda to Ms. Wells’ story: the very lovely and talented Ms. Wells continued to work in film and television in Los Angeles. Later, she worked for a while as personal secretary to the late Linda Lovelace, controversial star of Deep Throat. They met at a party at the Mansion in Holmby Hills. I assume her time with Ms. Lovelace ended before Ms. Lovelace’s denunciation of the pornography industry.
Ms. Wells is still alive and kicking and will celebrate her 73rd birthday this coming October 17th, which brings us full circle to the beginning of an entry that it’s taken me four days to write. Again, all apologies — had a lot of dogs in the fire, Stanimal. No reflection on marvelous Ms. Wells or the AIP beach flicks. This post has now reminded me that I need a movie moment on both Deep Throat and the magnificent camp parody Psycho Beach Party. I’ll try to get to that, I swar to gar! All y’all keep on rockin’ in the free world and please forgive me my absences.
*Phrase borrowed with amused admiration from chainedandperfumed right here on the wordpress, then googled and found to be of even more apt camp and vintage. Thanks for the loan, c&p. Truly you are the O.G. of this biz.
Two in a row. Scream real loud.
Had a conversation I did not think I would have nor did I want to have today. It was ugly and unhappy and none of it was unnecessary nor I think unexpected from the other end, just difficult. Difficult in the broad delivery sense to say upsetting things to someone for whose well-being I do care, and difficult in the close and personal sense to voice deep-seated, long-meditated-over anxieties. Balancing the manifest past with predictions for an even slightly hopeful future is such a fine and delicate thing, it’s like splintered glass just working its way through you. It’s so layered and overwhelming.
Edit: The still is from Masculin Féminin (Godard, 1966). Thanks to Linda for the sourcing!
This post originally appeared January 16, 2010.
Drop Dead Fred (Ate De Jong, 1991), featuring madcap redhead Rik Mayall, who makes it all better and doesn’t condescend to mollycoddle while he does it. I would be okay with him cutting my hair in my sleep, or wiping snot affectionately down my cheek.
I could use him, I think, right now … could definitely use him. Walking down memory lane watching this movie was like being repeatedly hit in the stomach with a club carved of ice. (Is that possible? Someone get back to me if it is.) Awesome. Check it out.
Elizabeth’s world has been turned upside down. Her marriage appears to be over following her discovery that he has cheated on her; but she simply can’t stop loving him. In her misery, her imaginary childhood friend Fred reappears, having been previously locked away from her.
Elizabeth stays with her mother; quite cold to Elizabeth, she intends to put Elizabeth back with Charles, but, in the meantime, makes her into a younger double of herself. Elizabeth works to get Charles back into her life, even turning up at a party (with Fred) that Charles is at. Despite part of Elizabeth being overjoyed at seeing Fred again and remembering their fun care-free times together, all he ever seems to do for Elizabeth is cause trouble.
Elizabeth returns to Charles and starts taking medication* to rid herself of Fred. It is only when taking the last pill that she realizes Charles hasn’t changed at all and that Fred is really the only person she can trust. Unfortunately, the only way she can truly [confront her mother and husband] and rid herself of her fears is to lose Fred for good by realizing she doesn’t need him any longer. (the imdb)
Fred: Why don’t we harpoon Charles straight through the head, drag him back to the apartment, and hit him with a hammer until he agrees to come back?
Elizabeth: “Harpoon him through the head?” That won’t work, Fred.
Fred: Why not? How many times have you tried it?
Fred: I can’t believe we left the party so soon. And there was so much wine left to spit around the place!
Elizabeth: I got upset.
Fred: “I got upset.” God, you’re so stupid. You never leave a party until the very, very end.
Elizabeth: Oh, really?
Fred: Yeah, really!
Elizabeth: What about Cinderella? Remember what happened with her?
Fred: No, I don’t remember what happened “with her.” I deliberately forgot all about her. Uck. She made me puke. I remember the ugly stepsisters, though — they were great!
Young Elizabeth: Did they live happily ever after?
Polly: Of course, Elizabeth.
Young Elizabeth: How do you know?
Polly: Because, she was a good little girl. If she would have been naughty, then the Prince would’ve run away.
Young Elizabeth: What a pile of shit.
*On the subject of the medication, the best single-panel webcomic I have ever seen. Natalie Dee‘s take on Drop Dead Fred: (click to make it larger)
F’reals, Natalie Dee. You nailed it. To say nothing of the high risk of tardive dyskinesia with Haloperidol, making it a very unwise choice of antipsychotics to prescribe to someone under, say, 30. Total bullshit. (Why am I having déjà vu; I feel like I was just rambling about this to someone recently — Jonohs? Panda? Miss D …? ) Anyway, to wrap up, an in-costume off-set picture by the crafts table:
Awesome! Final picture of perfection via the rocketman. Thanks, buddy — this picture, the hair, and Mayall’s hapless expression kind of made my day.
(All screencaps via Samantha, aka timed, on the lj. Huge thanks for the fun and beautiful pictures. The ice stomach club is nothing to do with your great screencaps. Thank you!)
This entry was originally posted on December 5, 2009 at 2:42 pm. Captions have been added to some of the photos.
There are many recommendable qualities about what is, to me, the title holder of all-time greatest cheeseball popcorn-flick, writer-director Jack Hill’s masterpiece of the exploitation genre, Switchblade Sisters (1975).
For one thing, the four taglines are as follows:
Dig the poster art (click any of them to blow it up).
The film, which do not think this is the last entry in which I will talk about it, centers on girl gang The Dagger Debs — a sort of ladies auxiliary of their boyfriends’ gang, the Silver Daggers — who later change their name to The Jezebels (some bootlegs of the film still have this as the title) under the advice of their new co-leader.
Name changes and the new co-leader do not sit well with what is for my money the number one reason with a bullet (or switchblade, if you prefer) to watch this movie:
This flyass bitch right here.
Her name is Patch. Former first lieutenant of the Dagger Debs, Patch came to kick ass and look hot as hell — and she’s all outta blue eyeliner.
You will want to marry her when you watch her snarl and flip and hiss across the screen. It’s wonderful.
Look at that willowy neck and perfectly snide expression. I cannot believe that Monica Gayle did not go on to ridiculous heights of stardom and fame, but at least it ups my chances of running in to her at the grocery.
Quentin Tarantino put up the money through his Rolling Thunder productions company to oversee the recent remaster and distribution of this film in dvd format. He claims it is among his favorite 70′s movies, and QT devotees insist that shades of the plotline, composition, and even characters from Switchblade Sisters can be seen in some of Tarantino’s films.
I cannot imagine where they are getting this. Even if he has seen Switchblade Sisters, I doubt it has in any way influenced his own work.*
*Obviously that’s in jest … but actually I love the fact that he based the “look” of Elle Driver on Patch. Love it. And then he put Daryl Hannah in the role on top of it?! Winner winner, chicken dinner! It’s like that loquacious elfin genius makes movies purely so I don’t have to. My hat is forever off to him.
addendum 7-2-10: It’s still true. I know it is becoming vogue for some reason to consider QT “tired” or “irrelevant” or “pretentious” or any one of a million labels that float about like baseless ice cubes in the tall glass of haterade Hollywood critics pass around, but I will love him, deeply and without measure or reservation, until the end of time. Call me.
Photographed by William Figge.
Kelly prefers making most of her natatorial plunges in the neighbors’ back-yard pool. “Besides the pool, they own two darling dogs,” she explains. “One’s a $700 pedigreed toy poodle named Suzie; the other’s a mongrel puppy that they rescued from the local dog pound for only five dollars. He’s named Toy Tiger and, needless to say, I’m in love with the mutt.”
(“Freckle-Face.” Playboy, June 1966.)
I’m an across-the-board mutt guy from Way Back: dogs, cats — men. Actually, I think I’m genuinely allergic to so-called “well-bred” dudes without debt. I’ve tried to date them and their leather car coats and confident wine-awareness makes my skin crawl. On the other hand, if you got a busted grill and drive a ’92 Honda Prelude with one broken headlight that won’t raise, know the difference between a single- and a double-wide, and front a ZZ Top cover band? I’m all yours.
Actual example: my friend J-Mys once tried to set me up on a double date with her and her boyfriend and a mortgage broker Senor R knew from Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Polly Wolly Doodle All Day. J-Mys and Senor R cut out early and I was stuck with the mortgage broker, who was clearly not in to me either but was still talking some kind of folklore about variable rates and baloney sauce that I was not at all listening to because I was watching Clue in my head due to my crushing boredom, when I got up to get another pint of beer.
At the bar, this guy in a very dated No Fear t-shirt and battered, unironic John Deere ballcap saw I had actual folding money and asked me for change for the jukebox. We picked out a couple songs — I believe we went with Tom Waits, the Beatles, and “Thriller,” for novelty shits and giggles — and I told the boring mortgage broker that I was planning on going to the bathroom and going home.
I insisted we split the bill because I felt a few compunctions of guilt for wasting the early part of his Friday evening, even if I had in no way lead him to think the night had any kind of sexytimes in its future. Then I made sure the broker actually left, slipped out of the bathroom, and bullshitted with the ballcap guy on the porch about Quantum Leap and camping ’til my beer was done. Went home much happier than I’d been an hour earlier. Sneaky I guess but so much better.
As for the rest of the purple prose in that excerpt, I got hung up on “natatorial.” Really? Natatorial? Come on. That is some rich fertilizer right there. Talk about a needless fifty dollar word.
natatorial: (adj.) of, characterized by, or adapted for swimming.
Aww. Seems that some low-paid Playboy scribbler had a crush on his thesaurus.
That shot is freaking awesome. Hats off to Mr. Figge. “Natatorial” photography at its best? The reflection, the symmetry, the attention to every tile of the composition (rule of thirds) having something interesting in it — awesome sauce. Bill Figge is the shit.
As a medical buyer for one of California’s largest pharmaceutical cooperatives, Miss June has spent the past three years helping to supervise the selection of drugs destined to become shelf stock in hospitals and pharmacies throughout the Greater Glendale area.
Another stunning composition. The light-play is brilliant.
“My job can be fairly cut and dried one minute,” says the 21-year-old brunette, “and then, in typical Ben Casey fashion, a nearby hospital phones in an emergency order and I’m suddenly off and running all over the place to find the required medicines.”
The Ben Casey to which Ms. Burke refers was a popular television series which ran from the early- to mid-1960′s. The Bing Crosby-produced medical drama was filmed at Desilu Studios and starred Vince Edwards (Space Raiders, Return to Horror High*) as the titular surgeon Dr. Benjamin Casey. The opening sequence is famous for its serious, ominous overtones: this deep voice says, “Man — woman — birth — death — infinity.” Heavy shit, right?
*Yes, I deliberately picked the cheesiest, schlockiest, campiest of Edwards’ many legitimate credits to use as his two paranthetical citations, like those obscure B flicks would somehow make you say, “Oh, him!” I wanted to be funny. Vince Edwards is actually a talented and well-recognized actor who was very popular in his time: I am just a goofy rake.
Just five months after Ms. Burke’s gatefold appearance, the Loop Fire wiped out huge swaths of the boundary between her new hometown of Sylmar and the Angeles Forest. The fatally unpredictable Loop Fire is still covered in firefighting course textbooks today as an example of the necessity for developing strong communication strategy to contain a dry canyon fire affected by high winds.
The Loop Fire began on November 1, 1966, at 5:19 am, on the edge of the Angeles National Forest. The El Cariso Interregional Fire Crew, which consisted of city and county firefighters, along with the El Cariso “Hot Shots,” a USDA-Forest crew of firefighters, sprang in to action to contain the blaze.
Tragically, a flare-up jumped from the forest to a canyon at the outer edges of Sylmar and created a wall of flame around it. A group from the Hot Shots crew was trapped inside, cut off from the rest of the firemen in a narrow and dry canyon of steep rock walls which, despite having no natural accelerants to move the fire along, still increases the energy of the fire because it functions as a “natural chimney,” creating tremendous heat and pressure.
Ten firefighters burned to death on site within minutes, while twelve others were injured, one critically.
Helicopter Pilot Troy Cook began rescue operations within 10 minutes after the men were burned. The diamond shaped area was still surrounded by fire when Pilot Cook hovered and picked up the first survivor.
(THE LOOP FIRE DISASTER – ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST – CALIFORNIA REGION: “A BRIEF OF THE REPORT OF THE GROUP ASSIGNED TO ANALYZE THE LOOP FIRE ACCIDENT.” US. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1967: Washington, D.C.)
Pilot Roland Barton and his helicopter soon joined him and rescue operations continued with great courage and skill until all of the injured men were evacuated to the Los Angeles County Command Post on the Pacoima. From there the injured men were taken by auto to the hospital.
One of these injured men died at the LA County General Hospital November 6, but the rest survived thanks to the rescue efforts of the rest of the interregional team. A committee was formed by the Forest Service in conjunction with firefighting officials to use the tragic Loop Fire to improve fire prediction and containment methods, along with task force recommendations for the strengthening of safety and communication regulations.
The highly localized decisions and actions which resulted in the tragedy points to the need of:
The El Cariso Regional Park on Hubbard in Sylmar is a memorial to the aforementioned El Cariso “Hot Shots,” the local United States Department of Agriculture – Forestry boys who were killed during their battle to keep the flames from entering the town.
That was kind of bummer stuff, so sorry, but an interesting slice of history. Wildfires in California are far more devastating than the earthquakes with which the rest of the country generally associates the state, and as a result, fire science in California is often at the cutting edge of research and methods for saving lives in the future.
But back to sunny Ms. Burke.
“I’ve become a real flower bug,” she reports, “since Mom and Dad bought a retail nursery in Yucaipa last year. Each time I visit them, I load up the back seat of the Olds with so much greenery before heading home that it winds up looking just like some sort of window box on wheels.”
Weekends, June’s bantam (5′) beauty heads for the sun-drenched beaches of Santa Monica, equipped with an over-sized straw hat and nylon sailing parka. “My freckles still show no matter what I try!”
a) Yay for little lookers! Rock on with your pocket rocket self.
b) Why do freckled people always desire to hide them? Freckles are so unbelievably cute. I don’t get it.
c) It looks like she is Thumbelina laying in an orange peel. What the what is that stuff?
PEOPLE I ADMIRE: Albert Einstein, Dr. John Rock and Dr. Francis Kelsey, beause of their outstanding medical contributions.
MY IDEAL EVENING: Have cocktails and dinner, take in a movie, and then have a pizza.
(Playmate data sheet.)
Right on to Einstein, pizza, mutts, and having a serious job while attending Cal Poly Pomona during her appearance as a Playmate. Ms. Burke is the exception and not the rule of pretentious brandy-snifter marlarkey we went over earlier this week. Fun final fact: her sister-in-law, Allison Parks, was the 1966 Playmate of the Year.
Oh, and I guess a really fun final fact is that Ms. Burke was pregnant during this shoot. BOMBSHELL! Maybe that is why she is so adorably radiant. As you probably noticed, it’s another Cowboy Kate-influenced cover, I assume to reflect the “Girls of Texas” story. R.I.P., Sam Haskins.
“In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile, and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together; not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely.”
(Hunter S. Thompson. Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time. New York: Summit Books, 1979.)
Doorway to “Values.” Get it.
“‘Happy,’ I muttered, trying to pin the word down. But it is one of those words like Love, that I never quite understood.
Most people who deal in words don’t have much faith in them and I am no exception—especially the big ones like Happy and Love and Honest and Strong. They are too elusive and far too relative when you compare them to sharp, mean little words like Punk and Cheap and Phony.
I feel at home with these, because they’re scrawny and easy to pin, but the big ones are tough and it takes either a priest of a fool to use them with any confidence.”
(Hunter S. Thompson. The Rum Diary. London: Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1998.)
Set in San Juan, Puerto Rico, The Rum Diary is a semi-autobiographical but mainly fiction novel which the good doc wrote in the 60′s but did not publish until 1998, soon to be a major motion picture starring his good friend and somewhat of a mentee, Johnny Depp, who is probably excited as shit to get to do a project he believes in and not play Captain Jack Sparrow again. (Disney slipped a clause into his contract where they get to cut off his wife’s fingers if he doesn’t appear in their convoluted bullshit. Did You Know?)
Speaking of rum, I’m'a finish some housework, then grab a case of Diet Coke and scootch on down to C-town for some mandatory spirit-lifting, this-is-deep-shit, soul-plunging chitty chat time with Paolo and Miss D and this guy Sailor Jerry.
Last night we had pizza and busted out the Scrabble diamond anniversary edition I’d got Paolo for his birthday and I only beat him by ten points in the very last part of the game. This is completely unacceptable because I need to crush him and use his bones for jelly on a piece of toast I’ve made of bread baked from the dust of his finely-ground flesh.
We’re a little competitive.
It’s a rivalry that began in 1986, which makes it a needless game of oneupmanship old enough to vote, buy alcohol, and be in the second year of a postgraduate degree. Shit, maybe it's time to bury the hatchet. I'm sure it would make Miss D happy, although she says she has gotten used to our bickering. She just shakes her head at us, the poor girl.
We'll see. Don't take any wooden nickels, have a super-duper-neato Saturday, and I'll catch you guys on the flip!
The lovely and talented DeDe Lind has come up several times before, and I am totally pumped that she gets her own post! She is an amazing woman who is sweet, funny, and deservedly popular.
This picture has been to Vietnam and the moon and its friendly, upbeat subject just keeps on truckin’. Read on and find out more about the single most popular centerfold model in the history of Playboy!
How did she get that gravity-defying figure? Spaghetti, of course.
Early in the evening, DeDe turns to the kitchen and her principal avocation, with a flair and success in cooking that does the Swedish and Italian roots of her family tree proud. “Like Mom’s, my best main course is a spaghetti dish,” DeDe says.
(“DeDe Girl.” Playboy, August 1967.)
For a quiet woman, DeDe is not without opinions. “I don’t see how we can get out,” she says of the war in Vietnam. “But — perhaps because I’m a girl and I’m young? — The thought of losing our young men way over there is awful.”
Maybe it was that anxious empathy, her sunny spirits, confession of shyness, or maybe a little something to do with the sweet rack and all these adorable girly-girl pictures? — Whatever the cause, DeDe Lind holds the honor of being the undisputed most popular Playmate of all time. She received more mail than any other Playmate before her time and since. Get it, girl!
This popularity was out of control with the soldiers serving overseas in Vietnam. I think a large part of it was her genuine, outspoken empathy for their plight. Dudes seriously flipped out over DeDe Lind, begging relatives to send multiple copies of the magazine in case something happened to their first copy, and writing DeDe truckloads of fan letters. I think that’s actually really cool and a unique and touching cultural phenomenon.
Similar to the pinups in WWII, when young men are far away and fighting for something that 90% of them probably only realize when they get there is far more huge, truly random, and more complex than they possibly imagined, and their comrades are dying around them, I know it’s cliched, but I think it is very valid to get the idea that you have something to fight for. And if that comes from a centerfold of a plucky young gal smiling sweetly in a men’s cardigan, yellow hairbow, and nothing else, then I say go for it!
Ms. Lind’s popularity was such that she has even been to space! True story, non-fiction — on NASA’s Apollo 12 mission in 1969, the nine astronauts who performed the second manned lunar landing in the history of humanity, thank you very much included DeDe’s centerfold in the Yankee Clipper command module. They labeled it “Map of a Heavenly Body.” Hilarious, true, and freaking AWESOME. Nous allons a la lune!
What’s intriguing is that Playboy really massaged the facts of Ms. Lind’s truly interesting life at the time. Yes, everything she says is true, about loving horses and Catalina Island, etc, and all her sweetness and good cheer are genuine, but it was more like a sin of omission. They sort of didn’t mention she was married and had a child.
That often gets thrown around like it is some type of evidence of the magazine’s hypocrisy, but I don’t believe Playboy has any obligation to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth about anything, let alone the private lives of the Playmates. Hef was striving again and again with the centerfolds for the Girl Next Door who happens to be naked, and it was a great opportunity for a lot of these women, like marvelous Ms. Lind, to get a jump on their careers — why bum out all those soldiers, for example, using Ms. Lind as an ideal woman in their minds for whom to survive, with all the details?
sidebar: I don’t know if this is an outtake or an airbrushed elaborate fake or what, but that is pubic hair like two or three years before that actually made its wispy, hinted-at debut in Playboy magazine, and almost four years before a Playmate of the Month fully flashed the carpet. If you have knowledge of this shoot and know what’s up, please explain, because I’m pretty surprised.
Says Ms. Lind in a more recent interview about having been in Hollywood during the swinging late 60′s but not being much of a participant:
“I did marry very young. I had a baby. I was a mom. I never got into the hippie or drug scene. … I dated Bobby Fuller. I also knew Jan and Dean. I wouldn’t go so far to say I dated Jan, but, I was friends with him. So, those are the kind of pop stars I liked. They were a little bit cleaner-cut. More American, Apple Pie.”
(“De De Lind Interview.” James, George. Undated.)
Q – Do you remember any film roles you turned down that maybe later you were sorry you turned down?
A – Yes. There was a movie called ‘Candy’. I actually turned it down. I pretty much had the part. The idea of me at the time portraying a young girl sleeping with all actors — it didn’t sit well with me. (Laughs). Because of that I really didn’t want to do the movie.
I was just thinking about doing a Movie Moment on Candy. This clinches it. A famous piece of well-shot, mostly-failed camp, the sort-of-satire’s cast includes Ringo Starr, James Coburn, Sir Richard Burton, and Marlon Brando. And Ms. Lind was right, it was mainly a scandal and flopped, to boot, so good on her for deciding against it. I can’t see someone so sweet and shy having been happy to be part of that glorious and vulgar, hot mess. You’ll see what I mean when I do the Movie Moment. Look for that sometime this week or eventually, maybe! I know myself too well to make promises with actual dates in them. Lord, I am such a lazy person.
Besides hanging out with good pal the lovely and talented Lisa Baker at their place in Boca Raton, Florida, DeDe continues to model and appear at Glamourcon and related events. And I’m happy to say she definitely retains that sunny sense of humor that is clever enough to send up the genre in which she models. Dig that shot above, which comes from her dedelind.com: “Look, Ma, no gag reflex!” Very funny.
You may see more of Ms. Lind’s present doings on her official website or hit her up any ol’ time on the myspace (current mood: amused ), on which some of her top friends are Janet Lupo, Julie Michelle McCullough, and naturally Hef.
Special edit from Ms. Lind: “My Centerfold did not go to the moon. My 2nd. Calendar Photo (Nov. 1969) holding a que stick topless went to the moon and back with Dick Gordon. That photo sold at auction for $17,511.00 this Jan. 2011.” Thanks for the clarification!
Original ViewMaster slide via Jim Lucio, aka defekto on the flickr.
ViewMaster Batman set description via Mr. ViewMaster:
“A Greenway Production in association with Twentieth Century-Fox Television.
(R)GAF Corporation, New York, N.Y. U.S.A. T.M. Reg. U.S. Pot. Off. Marque Deposes. Marcc Reg. Printed in U.S.A.
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