Daddy-O (1958, directed by Lou Place)

Like Elvis before him, Phil Sandifer (Dick Contino, who played a mean accordion back in the day) is a truck driver who wants to be a rock and roll star.  He’s also a street racer who has just fallen in love with Jana (Sandra Giles), the one woman fast enough to run him off the road.  However, before Phil can pursue either Jana or rock and roll fame, he has to investigate the mysterious death of his friend, Sonny.  Someone drove Sonny off the side of the road and the police aren’t willing to investigate.  Instead, they’re more interested in giving Phil a hard time, taking away his license and making it impossible for him to do his thing.

Working with Jana, Phil goes undercover as Daddy-O, the world’s greatest rock and roller.  He gets a job singing at a club owned by the shady Sidney Chillas (Bruno VeSota), the man who Phil believes was responsible for the death of Sonny.  Phil investigates and also finds time to sing a deathless song called Rock Candy Baby.

Today, Daddy-O is probably best known for being featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.  In fact, I didn’t even mention Phil’s strange habit of hiking his pants nearly halfway up his chest just because Joel and the Bots pretty much said everything that needed to be said about that when they watched the show.  The same can be said of the song Rock Candy Baby, which is both terrible and insanely catchy.

Beyond the pants and Contino’s performance of Rock Candy Baby, Daddy-O is a typical delinquent youth B-movie.  Contino was best known as an accordionist but this film tries to rebrand him as a rock and roller.  He was 28 when he starred in Daddy-O but Contino looked closer to 40 and his discomfort in obvious in every scene.  Far more convincing are Sandra Giles and Bruno VeSota.  Sandra Giles has the right look to be convincing as a 50s bad girl who actually isn’t that bad while Bruno VeSota specialized in playing crooked club owners.

Daddy-O is mostly interesting as an example of how filmmakers tried to reach teenagers in the early days of rock and roll.  Contino was not a rock and roller and he looks plainly uncomfortable trying to be one but it was 1958 and Elvis was everywhere.  Of course, Elvis would have known better than to have called himself Daddy-O.  That’s totally squaresville.

Music Video of the Day: Hear Me Out by Pixies (2020, dir by Maximilla Lukacs)

This is a gorgeous video.  The American landscape is haunting.  In this video’s YouTube description, the cinematography is credited to Leslie Satterfield.


Cinemax Friday: Young Nurses In Love (1987, directed by Chuck Vincent)

Chuck Vincent was widely considered to be one of the best directors to work in the adult film industry during the Golden Age of Porn.  As a director, he put as much emphasis on characterization and plot as he did on getting the so-called money shots.  One of his adult films, Roommates, even got a favorable write-up in The New York Times.

Unfortunately, Vincent was less successful when he tried to move over into mainstream filmmaking.  Vincent directed B-movies, most of which went straight to video.  The majority of them were either dumb sex comedies or erotic thrillers and they often featured porn stars in “straight” roles.  Though the majority of Vincent’s mainstream films were adequately put together, they never got the attention that his adult films did.  In the adult film industry, Vincent was an artist but, when it came to mainstream films, he was viewed as just being another competent director who churned out B-movies.  One of the few places where Vincent’s movies were appreciated was on late night Cinemax.

Young Nurses In Love is  typical example of Vincent’s mainstream work.  It takes place at Hoover Hospital, where the doctors are all rich and strange and the nurses all wear the tightest uniforms around.  The plot, as it is, involves a sperm bank where sperm from some of the most brilliant people in history is being stored.  Nurse Ellis Smith (Jeanne Marie) is an agent of the KGB who has gotten a job at the hospital so she can steal that sperm and the Russians can use it to create supercommunists.  Dr. Reilly (Alan Fisler) is also a CIA agent and he hopes to use his “bedside” manner to convince Nurse Smith to turn against her employers.  Can he do the trick?

Young Nurses In Love is meant to be a satire of medical soap operas.  (It was advertised as being a sequel to Garry Marshall’s Young Doctors In Love, though Marshall himself was in no way involved with the production.)  While Dr. Reilly is trying to save the super sperm, the rest of the hospital staff get caught up in their own softcore dramas.  There’s a mafia subplot.  There’s plenty of nurses trying to land a rich doctor husband subplots.  Jamie Gillis, Annie Sprinkle, and Veronica Hart all have small roles.  The humor is frequently forced.  Instead of letting the jokes develop naturally, Young Nurses In Love just piles one incident on top or another without much comedic rhyme or reason.  With the exception of Jamie Gillis, none of the actors seem to have a natural talent for comedy and the stiff delivery of their “funny” lines will probably inspire more groans than laughs.  For all the attempts to be racy, this R-rated film is mild enough to qualify as a PG-13 today.

This was one of Chuck Vincent’s lesser mainstream films.  For a better Chuck Vincent-directed comedy, check out Student Affairs.

The Florida Project : Ross Jackson’s “Sticky Sweets”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

If life in suburbia constitutes a kind of long, drawn-out soul death on the installment plan — and I’d contend there’s probably no need to start that sentence with an “if” — then what must life in suburban Florida be like? The mind shudders at the prospect of such a barren cultural wasteland, and yet — either enough people simply don’t care where the hell they live, or don’t see a problem with the idea of chugging gas-guzzling SUVs from one monstrous “cookie-cutter” chain business to another that the so-called “Sunshine Stare” is literally loaded with suburbs. And, like anywhere else, the kids who live there need to do something for fun.

In Portland cartoonist Ross Jackson’s 2017 Cold Cube-published mini Sticky Sweets, a pair of bored (of course) young teens decide the best way to while away part of their ample free time is to fuck off at…

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The Lonesome Trail (1955, directed by Richard Bartlett)

Returning home from the Civil War, Johnny Rush (John Agar) discovers that his family’s land has been confiscated by corrupt rancher Hal Brecker (Earle Lyon, who co-wrote the script).  With the aid of corrupt Sheriff Baker (played by Richard Bartlett, who also directed the film), Brecker has taken over the entire town.  Honest ranchers like Charley Bonesteel (Douglas Fowley) are giving up their land and heading out of town.  Meanwhile, Dan Wells (Edgar Buchanan) has managed to hold onto his land by offering up his daughter, Pat (Margia Dean), as Brecker’s bride.  Since Johnny’s in love with Pat, he’s not happy about this development.

Johnny wants to take on Brecker but the local bartender, Dandy Don (Wayne Morris), talks him out of it.  Realizing that there’s nothing he can do alone, Johnny tries to leave town but, as he rides out, he’s ambushed by Baker.  Though Johnny survives the ambush, his shooting hand is injured.  Fortunately, Indian Chief Gonaga (Ian MacDonald, the script’s other writer) and Charley are on hand to teach Johnny how to fight with a bow and arrow.  Johnny goes on to become an old west Robin Hood, using his newly learned archery skills to fight the greedy land grabbers and protect the poor land-owners.

The Lonesome Trail is a low-budget, grade Z western that is slightly saved by the novelty of seeing John Agar fighting off the bad guys with a bow and arrow.  The film is clearly set up to be a western version of the Robin Hood saga, complete with a corrupt sheriff, a greedy landlord, and an archer who has just returned from war.  Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland could have really made something out of this story back in 1938.  Unfortunately, to say that John Agar is no Errol Flynn is putting it lightly.  There’s nothing “merry” about John Agar’s performance.  He looks genuinely miserable in the majority of this scenes.  Agar is just as stiff as usual but the bow and arrow is just enough of a twist to make his confrontations with Brecker’s men more interesting than the typical gunfights that usually wrapped these films up.  Otherwise, this is another forgettable Robert Lippert-produced western, though old pro Edgar Buchanan does give a good performance as a man desperate enough to offer up his daughter in order to keep his land.


Scribbling Down Some Thoughts On “Scribbles” #2

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

One of the reasons I keep this blog going, despite having a fair number of other writing commitments and a distinct lack of time, is that around here I can write about whatever I want. And while I highly doubt that any cartoonist expects that they’ll get more than a 75- or 100-word “capsule” review for a 10-page mini they’ve made that sells for two bucks, reviewing stuff that nobody expects to see full-length reviews for, including the book’s creator, is one of those “whatever I want” things that I love doing. And you know what? A lot of those things nobody else is gonna review actually offer a fair amount to discuss and dissect.

All of which brings us to Scribbles #2, the latest (I think, at any rate) self-published mini from Bay Area “ink stud” Cameron Forsley, this time flying as a solo act without a story assist…

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