Sunday, August 22, 2010

Psychotronically Yours by Robert Emmett

The KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival returns to Foothill College this Saturday.

When: Saturday, August 28 7:00pm to 11:00pm (come early for best seats)

Where: Room 5015 on the Foothill College Campus

What: 16mm films (the vinyl of visuals), formerly unwanted and unloved, now presented for your entertainment

Cost: $5 Donation for KFJC and $2 for parking on campus

Why: Summer 2010 not-busters like Clash Of The Titans and The Last Airbender have kept us out of the theatres. Sex And The City 2 didn't have enough of either and most 3-D movies have been dull, deadly duds.

Though rumors of the coming of the next Edward D. Wood, Jr. notwithstanding, none of us has been able to adequately assess the relative merits of Birdemic. Where does one turn, at this point between ennui and activity that always marks the period between Summer's end and Fall?

Don't distress or stay depressed! We are squeezing in an extra Psychotronix this year, as we usually only have one in December and another in Spring.

There has been a deluge of new-to-us ancient commercials, forgotten cartoons, bizarre movie trailers and antique music performances. Our overstocked archive is bursting at the seams with new material that demands another show, to show-off some of the coolest odd-ball films you are likely to see.

But it's not just about films - fabulous door prizes will be given away, like Star Trek - The Wrath Of Kahn figurines, "drinking monkey" shot glasses, a Psychoanalyst comic book and delightful DVDs like I Bury The Living, Hercules In New York, Jesse James Vs. Frankenstein's Daughter and many more films that will never make the AFI "Best Of" list.

Foothill remodeled Room 5015, so we have to say "NO Food" at this time. Also, there aren't any vending machines close by. So, come hungry for films and fun, not hungry.

The good thing about the remodel is the new chairs in 5015 are wider and comfortable - no more broken springs. Unfortunately, to get wider, we lost a couple of seats overall, so please come early.

Let's finish the Summer of 2010 the right way - Psychotronically (as if that is really a word).

Bring your friends and have a blast!

Be seeing you!

(on Saturday)

Robert Emmett, The Norman Bates Memorial Soundtrack Show,

Friday, August 20, 2010

Burt Bacharach Day

While partial to anything Rat Pack-related, I've never seen this 1971 sendup of westerns, complete with Bacharach theme song.

Dean Martin stars alongside a stellar supporting cast, including Brian Keith, Ben Johnson, Honor Blackman, Albert Salmi - and especially the crappy little dog we see here at 0:08.

Looks like campy fun, and if this features anything other than Dino consuming mixed drinks with showgirls at the Cal-Neva Corral, I'd be very disappointed.

Since Mel Brooks soon ended up featuring a gag in which Count Basie And His Orchestra perform in the middle of the prairie (in Blazing Saddles), it's a good bet that we don't see Burt Bacharach whooping it up on the ivories at the Lone Star Saloon in this film. . . but I could be wrong.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

And This Blog Loves Lillian Roth

Some go for Garbo. Some dig the blonde bombshells - Thelma Todd, Jean Harlow, Joan Blondell and Carole Lombard - or the gal who spoofed the sirens, the hilarious Lyda Roberti. For 1920's fellas, the babe most from Babe-A-Lon was the "It Girl", Clara Bow. . . or, in Paree, Josephine Baker. Some dyed-in-the-wool film buffs give Janet Gaynor and Margaret Sullavan, notable for amazing performances in the classic movies of uber-romantic visionary Frank Borzage, a serious nod in the incandescent department.

If the preference is "rough and tough", Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck and Bette Davis, at least onscreen, provoked men to pretty much make complete asses out of themselves. And both men and women go West over Mae, Lola-Lola over Marlene Dietrich, and - even more so in the 21st century - positively Lulu over Lulu, A.K.A. the radiant Louise Brooks (A.K.A. Brooksie), silent screen actress, dancer, author and provocateur.

Alas, for this blogger, the bomb, lo these eight decades later, remains the fabulous Lillian Roth.

Here she is, in all her glory, in Take A Chance and Story Conference, so beloved here at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog that it's getting a second run (this time in its entirety).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dear Psychotronic Paul

During a busy morning putting off accomplishing anything on the dreaded to-do list for as long as humanly possible, I perused my e-mails and found a request for relationship advice.

Although the mere thought of my offering helpful hints for the lovelorn - frankly, only an utter inability to bounce back quickly after getting dumped (and then resume the very Pepe LePew antics which earned the rejection in the first place) prevented me from enduring more matrimonial train wrecks and subsequent divorces than Zsa Zsa Gabor - provokes quite a laugh, here goes:

If you find yourself thinking about how much you want that special someone to:

  • communicate in a forthcoming, open way

  • be accountable for behavior, admit wrongdoing and apologize

  • resolve conflicts together, not just unilaterally dictate terms

  • acknowledge when communication problems arise and work together on tackling them head-on

  • at least be present (emotionally, intellectually, spiritually as well as physically) some of the time

  • treat you with respect and consideration

  • be happy with you by his/her side - and not want to date others

  • stop doing and saying things that seem calculated to drive one away

  • consider you at least 1/17 as attractive as the poor love-starved bastard played by Emil Jannings found Marlene Deitrich's Lola-Lola in The Blue Angel

And NONE of the aforementioned things has been happening. . .

Stick a fork in it, it's DONE. End it, run, don't weaken - and don't go back.

Then grieve, rage, curse, run, go to the gym (take out your anger on inanimate objects or exorcise aggressions on exercise machines if need be), take as long as needed to heal and get on with your life.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

South Sea Island Bolero: The Worst (Pre-Disco) Musical Number Ever Filmed

Submitted for your disapproval: the following whirlwind of WTF and monument to sheer camp, "The South Sea Island Bolero", one of the production numbers from Down To Their Last Yacht, a 1934 debacle that lost plenty of dough-re-me for RKO Radio Pictures and abruptly ended the career of producer Lou Brock.

Tacky costumes? Yes. Unrelenting bad taste? Affirmative. Ungainly dance moves, not in unison? Check. Notable for the presence of 1930's screen comedy mainstays Sterling Holloway, Mary Boland, Polly Moran, Ned Sparks and ubiquitous "lumbering dumb lug" Tom Kennedy? Uh-huh.

My guess is there are early 1930's production numbers I've yet to see (probably Busby Berkeley's handiwork) that surpass this in the WTF department. And, then again, there's that clip of Carmen Miranda and chorines dressed as giant bananas. . . but that's grist for another posting.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Yet More 1930's WTF Musical Moments

Here are "Three Short Musical Vignettes", sure to provoke gaping-mouthed WTF reactions.

The opener looks like a 1932 commercial for Coca-Cola and features cheesy dance moves by that Roaring Twenties staple, 30 year old actors unconvincingly portraying perky collegians. That is followed by two production numbers set in a prison (I'm not kidding), "The Sing Sing Serenade" and "Ballin' The Chain", where high-kicking showgirls entertain condemned men in a film that is neither pornographic nor written by Mel Brooks.

While I haven't a clue what magnum opus these pre-code musical clips came from, it's a good bet they were NOT directed by Fritz Lang or G.W. Pabst.

Next up, and somewhat less from the "what were they thinking?" file, is an excerpt from Singapore Sue, a 1931 Paramount short featuring sprightly vaudeville entertainer Anna Chang, as well as, in the anonymous role of "horny sailor on shore leave", an actor whose voice is very familiar. . .

The latter can be found on the Kino Video DVD Hollywood Rhythm Volume 2 - The Best Of Big Bands And Swing. The former - who knows?

Friday, August 06, 2010

Another Goofball Musical From Vitaphone

After the Disney Studio's Silly Symphony cartoons in 3-strip Technicolor proved emphatically to be box office gold, Vitaphone started producing musical comedy shorts in glorious Technicolor (if not yet Cinemascope or "stereophonic sound").

Here, with big time thanks to my favorite cable channel, the indispensable Turner Classic Movies, is a beaut from that mid-1930's series, Service With A Smile. Prolific screen comedian and Ziegfeld Follies veteran Leon Errol provides the wheezy jokes, while showgirls supply the pulchritude.

The same crew produced Story Conference, a wonderful classic short, and one of two musical shorts (the other being Masks And Memories) Vitaphone produced featuring the legendary Lillian Roth.