Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Turner Classic Movies and why I never leave the house....

Turner Classic Movies will be showing Godard's Contempt featuring Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance and Fritz Lang (pictured above w/snazzy monacle) on Oct 5th @ 2 AM EST, set your Tivo (or as my cable company calls it DVR). They'll also be showing a Todd Browning triple feature of Mark Of The Vampire/Freaks/Devil Doll on Halloween which is a bit of a disappointment as they're the easiest Browning films to see. Last year they showed the silent versions of West Of Zanzibar (which William Cohn remade in 1932 as Kongo with Walter Huston in the Lon Chaney role as Phroso "Dead Legs", perhaps the most chilling character in film history, TCM is showing Kongo Mon, Oct 20th @ 6 AM EST). and the Unholy Three (remade in 1930 as a talkie by Jack Conway, it was Lon Chaney's only speaking role). Mr. Browning is pictured above second from the right (it's from a snapshot the wife found). Browning started out as a carny and entered the world of film through his old Louisville pal D.W. Griffith serving as the assistant director on Intolerance. Browning directed sixty two films (found here). He was also a writer, producer, actor, and sport. He made his last film in 1939 and was shunned by the industry until his death in '62. Another oddball TCM double feature coming up is Tim Carey's The World's Greatest Sinner followed by Frank Zappa's 200 Motels (starring Ringo Starr as Zappa) which I haven't seen since I saw it at Ft. Lauderdale's seven screen Thunderbird Drive In in 1971. They're running on Friday, Oct. 24, starting @ 2 AM EST. The Carey flick is truly unique, I lack the words to do it justice. Zappa and the Mothers recorded the theme song as Baby Ray & the Ferns and it was issued on Donna (a Del-Fi subsidiary), it's easily his best record. You can hear it here. The flip side is called How's Your Bird. Both tunes feature Zappa's best Johnny Guitar Watson impersonations. On Oct. 30 @ 1- PM EST they're showing Freddie Francis' Torture Garden with Jack Palance, Burgess Meredith and Peter Cushing. Hoo-boy, that's a good one. Too bad they're not following it with Edmund Goulding's Nightmare Alley, although that Tyronne Power classic (produced by George Jessel, who also owned the exclusive U.S. rights to the Scopitone machine) seems to be shown weekly on the Fox Movie Channel. If you can find William Lindsey Gresham's original novel it's even better than the movie. A few updates. A few days after my post concerning Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian a curious item arrived in the mail. A Reader's Guide To Blood Meridian by Shane Schimpf. It's basically a set of footnotes for a proposed annotated volume of Blood Meridian which of course Mr. McCarthy vetoed. It's quite interesting and there's a few bibliographical sources that were new to me. I'm currently on the hunt for the fall 1962 issue of The Smoke Signal which features an article called "John Joel Glanton, Lord Of The Scalp Range". Anybody out there have a copy they can xerox for me? The only problem with A Reader's Guide.... is that it seems Mr. Schimpf doesn't speak Spanish, and many of McCarthy's sources were from Spanish documents that have never been translated into English. Que lo hace incompleto. Para decir lo menos. The bass player in the Ike Chalmers video clip is Matt Fiveash. He claims he met me and I was talking in a Bostonian accent and pretending to be from Boston. That doesn't sound like me and I don't remember it. Matt, there's photos of me in the Aug. Kelly Keller postings and on Eric Ambel's Knucklehead NYC site if you want to check. I'm still looking for a copy of a Hound WFMU air check from May '96 with Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain as special guests and will trade something nice it.


The RedBoy said...

I can't remember if it's highlighted in David Skal's book 'Dark Carnival' or 'the Horror Show', but have you ever heard the strange rumor that Browning was injured...umm "sexually" in a car accident in 1915, thus fostering his obsession with human oddities?

A more plausible connection to Browning's sideshow obsession would be his early work as a carnival barker, but as far as unfounded rumors go, the prior certainly has a neat 'The Sun Also Rises' kinda vibe to it.

Anonymous said...

Hound, this blog has got your name written all over it.

The Hound said...

I don't remember that in Skal's book, I'll dig it out and look. I do know that Don Robey (of Duke/Peacock records fame) crushed Little Richard's balls giving him a beating. There was another Browning bio in the works, I can''t remember the author's name but he was a pal of Nick Tosches', maybe that'll see the light of day. There's still a freak show in Coney Island, Sideshows By The Sea-Shore. If you showup on a day they're closed (Mon-Thur) you can indulge in Shoot The Freak. For $5 you get a paint ball gun and can shoot 25 shots at said freak. My nephew-in-law hit him in the balls and dropped the poor fella.

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