Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Wild One & The 4th Of July: Based on a 'True Story'

Today is Saturday, the 4th of July, and it reminded me
of several things-
1. My mate's Father's birthday, he would've been 86 had
he not have died of intestinal perforation last year due to
being constipated for a week before seeking medical help
despite urging from his daughter and one of her brothers.
Talk about anal retentive...

2. The 1953 Marlon Brando movie 'The Wild One' about a
bikers club, 'invading' a small town in the mid-West, with
lots of tension resulting between yokels and the B.M.O.C.,
well as it turns out was based on an actual occurrence in
1947 when the newly formed 'Hells Angels', composed mostly
of ex-military guys from the Air Force, all fighter pilots and
bombardiers who served in WW II, and afterwards formed the
motorcycle club to stay in touch with their brothers-in-arms
going on cross-country treks on their choppers.
Europe did not become home to the Hells Angels until 1969,
when two London chapters were formed after the Beatles'
George Harrison invited some members of the HAMC San Fran-
cisco to London. Two people from London visited California,
"prospected", and ultimately joined. Two charters were issued
on July 30, 1969 , ten days after the historic Walk On The Moon.
The group's official website clarifies that the name was suggested
to the founders of the club by a friend of theirs, Arvid "Oley" Olsen,
(Hmmm- any relation to Jimmy?) who was a member of the Flying
Tigers. No actual members of that squadron became members of the
There's a whole lot more @
to whet your appetite for starters- Vrrooom, vrrooom...

3. Last and by all means not the least is the the time in 1975 when
on a hot Summer day me and my younger brother decided to take in
a whole day's worth of various movies at the 42nd Street 'grindhouses'
which stretched from Broadway to 8th Avenue, showing all manner of
cheezy SCi-Fi, 'Blaxploitation', Horror, 'ChopSocky', and 'Soft-Core',
Admission was only, get this: $2.00- and no questions asked as my 14
year old bro could easily get into the 'R' rated schlock movie fare with
On this particular day in July 1975, we decided to go to see 2 double-
features: the heavily advertised 'Deathrace 2000' starring the just off his
successful 3-year gig on 'Kung-Fu', David Carradine, also starring in an
early pre-Rocky appearance Sylvester Stallone as 'wacky racer' 'Machine
Gun Joe', as well as Mary Woronov and her then co-conspirator Paul Bar-
tel, among others;
A Brit import 'The Final Programme' which for American movie consumers
was re-titled here as, 'The Last Days of Man on Earth'. A truly oddball SCi-Fi
film it was based on Michael Moorcock's book, 'The Final Programme', which
is part of his 'Cornelius Chronicles' featuring his all-purpose (for our purposes here)
super-hero Jerry Cornelius, and directed by Robert Fuest who earlier directed the
'Abominable Dr. Phibes' series and several of 'The Avengers', episodes of which
this movie has more than a passing resemblance to.
Then crossing 42nd Street amidst dealers hawking 'Thai-sticks', 'loose joints',
'mescaline'- all probably fake -we went into the next double-feature and
'Flesh Gordon'- the soft-core pornostar festooned spoof of the 1936 Buster
Crabbe 15 Chapter serial by Universal, which was fairly accurate as a spoof
especially some of the characters- 'Dr. Flexi Jerkoff' which was their version
of 'Dr. Zarkoff', for one who was pitch perfect -as well as miniatures by Greg
Jein and SFX by Jim Danforth.
'The Groove Tube', forerunner of both 'Saturday Night Live' and 'The Kentucky
Fried Movie', and countless other comedy TV shows and movies.
Ken Shapiro who was the genius behind all this, writer, director, producer, and
actor (!) was joined by a very young pre-SNL Chevy Chase and Richard Belzer
in this movie which purports to show a day in the life of Channel One programming.
So in the 'Spirit of '76' here's 'Kramp's EZ-Lube Vegetable Shortening 4th of July
Heritage Loaf' as seen in 'The Groove Tube':

Bon apetit!

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