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April 1966



Europa Theater
 7165 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90036

The first of two "electrifying documentaries" is the 1962 Committee on UnAmerican Activities, from Robert Carl Cohen, who would go on to produce, direct and photograph Mondo Hollywood (1967). Cohen's company, Emerson Films produced the 1969 film Jennie, Wife/Child. Cohen went on to become president of the Citizens Committee to Preserve Beverly Hills Landmarks in the 1980's.

The second feature was Emile De Antonio's 1964, Point of Order!

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Built in 1929, the West Hollywood site was a candy store/ice cream factory by the name of Gene Colvin's. By the late 1930's, "Madcap Maxie" was whooping it up at his namesake joint "Slapsy Maxie Rosenbloom's". The cafe/nightclub lasted until around 1946, and a series of Continental restaurants took over; "La Madelon", "Le Lafayette"

By 1950, dodgy foreign food was out. After remaining vacant for a while, the space was remodeled to make way for the New Globe Theatre. The venue kicked off with the musical-comedy The Banker's Daughter. Five years later, the space was the Hollywood Repertory Theater, which became the Dahl Theater two years later, and was used by the Playgoers Company organization.

Live theater was gone for good. On October 23rd 1958, the Beverly Boulevard spot officialy became home to the Capri and the Riviera. Audiences who couldn't decide what type of film they wanted, benefited from these two new luxurious new theatres under one roof; the Capri for American, and foreign at the Riviera. Operated by veteran exhibitor Robbert L. Lippert, the neighborhood theater was nice enough to reserve seats and offer free coffee for a while. Lippert was also behind Tarzana's ultra-modern Crest theatre, on the corner of Ventura and Corbin. Built in 1956 by architect Gail Santocono, the 1200-seat theater boasted one of the largest sceens, coming in at 70 feet by 30 feet.

The unique twin-theater situation on Beverly was designed to give patrons a screening-room intimacy - something only top Hollywood executives were privileged to. Not forgetting the younger crowd, the theater introduced a series of children's programming in 1960. The Riviera was the first to show Mr. Arkadin in 1962.

More name-changing ocurred with the New Yorker in 1963, and the Europa in 1964. In its latest incarnation, the Europa boasted it was 'Home of the Russian Film'. And indeed, where else could one have sat through When The Trees Were Tall paired with Ivan's Childhood?

For a while the 350-seat Europa was operated by Shan Sayles, president of Continental Theatres. Sayles expanded his chain with the addition of the Baronet (formerly the Valley West Theater). According to Sayles, the Europa was partially funded with earnings from Sayles' other theaters that ran exploitation film; the Vista, Appolo Arts and the Paris.

Foreign film must have been popular. New owner Frank Lee took over in 1967, and all of a sudden you had Chinese spectaculars The Golden Buddha (Wei Lo, 1966) and Empress Wu (Han Hsiang Li, 1963) playing for weeks on end.

Lee was gone by 1969, and the shift was dynamic. The Europa was now showing "All experimental adult films", as were so many other independant theaters. For the next couple of years, the Europe was strictly adult. The saucy nature continued, despite two more name changes. In 1971, the Eros operated for 5 minutes, until Beverly Cinema was on the marquee. Couples could take in Bill Osco's X-rated Harlot and Whatever Happened to Stud Flame?.

Even though hardcore was still on the bill in 1973 with attractions like Teenage Tramp Gang and Deep Roots, the theater sometimes advertised itself as the "New" Beverly Cinema. Perhaps it was the "free refreshments". And then it was over. The theater cleaned up its act in 1978 and became a revival house, run by UCLA sociology graduate, Sherman Torgan. Torgan was president of Horizon Enterprises Corp., who leased the theater.

The Grand Opening of the New Beverly Cinema in May programmed two Brando classics, a week of sci-fi and a "Star Wars" spoof. Admission was $2 and there was free popcorn. The theater enjoyed an unqualified run as L.A.'s premiere revival theater until 1983, when two second-run theaters turned arthouse; the El Rey and the Four Star, both on Wilshire. The Gordon Theater followed suit, but only briefly. After a refurbishment, the Gordon reverted to second-run and became the Cineplex Odeon in 1985. In the Valley, the New Baronet in Canoga Park also turned revival.

The theater remains active to this today, although life-long film-lover and theater owner, Sherman Torgan passed away in 2007. Torgan's son took the helm, and not long after, Quentin Tarantino assumed control. Fortunately for the movie-going public, Four Rooms (1995) is not required viewing.




October 1966



Cinematheque 16
 8818 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 900

Cinematheque 16 (Pasadena)
 73 North Fair Oaks Avenue 91103

With the success of places such the the 800-seat Cinema Theatre on Western, and its popular 'Underground Cinema 12' program (put on by Michael Getz), L.A.'s underground film culture was gaining ground.

In 1964 exploitation film producer Robert Lippard purchased a theater on the Suset Strip. The theater only had 16mm capability and Lippard's intent was to screen nudie-cuties. But when the Strip became the destination for the hippie culture, his programming choice proved fruitless.

The theater ('little more than an anonymous doorway under anawning') was taken over by Lewis Teague, an NYU graduate in film studies. Teague offered to run the theater as an art house, and after introducing new weekly programs (European art films), renamed it Cinematheque-16.

The art films didn't fare much better than the previous nudies. Initial programming was certainly a mixed bag. In 1966, what was billed as 'A Horror Show', gave a stunned audience the following; The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920), Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1935), Andalusian Dog, and Way to Shadow Garden (Stan Brakhage, 1954).

But after adding Psychedelic Film Trips to its advertising, locals in the music and drug culture gave the theater new momentum. Comedian Lenny Bruce closed his last professional performance at San Francisco's Basin Street West, he allowed producer John Magnuson to capture the show. The result ended up becoming the 65-minute film Lenny Bruce - shown at Cinematheque 16.

Experimental filmmakers such as Shirley Clarke, Jack Smith, Robert Kramer, Gregory J. Markopoulos, Thomas Reichman, Robert Downey and Kenneth Anger all had work shown at the West Hollywood theater; Downey's Chafed Elbows, No More Excuses and The Sweet Smell of Sex ("A drama of people who claw their way to the bottom") and Anger's Scorpio Rising. Warhol movies found a home there, and Bike Boy had its West Coast premiere.

Doors' front man Jim Morrison premiered his 40-minute Feast of Friends, along with Warhol's I, A Man. This was followed some time later with readings from An American Prayer.

The success of Sunset Strip location spurned two more location; San Francisco and Pasadena (which didn't last long). Promoting itself as "Possibly America's Most Unusual Theatre", the Pasadena Cinematheque 16 opened at 7:00PM on April 25, 1968, and debuted with Warhol's "latest triumph", I a Man. The second feature was the 10-minute animation, Lapis (James Whitney, 1966).

Programming remained inspired with Paris Earl in Johnny Gigs Out - also screened at the Watts Summer Festival, Pimple, Pimple, It's Only a Pimple and Portrait of Jason (Shirley Clarke, 1967) - "A landmark in both queer and confessional cinema". In 1968, the JFK assassination documentary Rush to Judgment (Mark Lane, 1967) was shown.

But if documentaries with Huey Newton in jail weren't your cup of PG Tips, there was The Legend of Lylah Clare (Robert Aldrich, 1968) over at the Loews Colorado, The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967) at the Hastings Theatre, or Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford's nutty caper, Salt and Pepper (Richard Donner, 1968) at the Monrovia Big Sky drive-in.

The Pasadena Cinematheque 16 was located at 73 North Fair Oaks Avenue and after closing down, the site became an office building around 1981.




November 1966



Regent
 1045 Broxton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Encore Theatre
 5308 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Loz Feliz
 1822 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027

"From rehearsal hall to perfection to performance..." Bolshoi Ballet '67 - Leonid Lavrovskiy's full-length feature film about a young girl dreaming of becoming a prima ballerina. The cast included Natalya Bessmertnova, Nina Sorokina and Students of the Moscow Choreographic School. The color film was distributed through Paramount Pictures and shown in anamorphic wide-screen. The movie was also shown at The Esquire in Pasadena (closed in late-2000 and currently a bank).

A double-decker of British beef was served up at the Los Feliz. The main attraction was the underrated romantic drama Time Lost and Time Remembered from director Desmond Davis. Davis was also responsible for Smashing Time (1967) and Clash of the Titans (1981).

Adapted from Edna O'Brien's 1966 story A Woman by the Seaside, the intimate cast included Sarah Miles, Julian Glover and Cyril Cusack. Shot in black & white, the picture was initially known as Passage of Love and retitled I Was Happy Here for the U.K.

Even with three titles, critics were mostly favorable, "A thoughtful study of an unhappy marriage' and a "softly beautiful, hauntingly poetic little film, a fragile piece of filmmaking". However, Bosley Crowther of the New York Times was not moved, calling the Britsh film "pretentiously poetic". Crowther had little patience for the director, whom he called "ponderous and banal". Lead actress Sarah Miles was not spared his venoumous words either, "sadly insipid and totally de-energized".

And yet the most caustic comment was aimed at Sean Caffrey as a fisherman... "a pudding without flavor".

Strangely, Crowther doesn't specify which type of pudding he's refering to: Cumberland Pudding, Yorkshire Pudding, Rhubarb Crumble, Steamed Apple Pudding or my personal favorite, Irish Cream Crème Brûlée.




November 1966



The Granada
 9000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069

The Walter Reade Organization was a motion picture distributor and theatre chain owner. In the 1930's, Walter Reade owned The Astor and Columbia theatres in New York.

In 1959, Walter Reader Jr. was backer in the AromaRama process, developed by Charles Weiss and planned to showcase it with the documentary, Behind the Great Wall. But he wasn't alone in this field. Reade faced competition from Mike Todd Jr., whose vehicle, Scent of Mystery, was shown with Smell-o-Vision! - a term trademarked by Todd.

After acquiring Sterling Television in 1966, Walter Reade began presenting a wide variety of films, including the following;
  • 1960 - Room at the Top
  • 1964 - La Ronde - renamed Circle of Love for the U.S.
  • 1964 - Seduced and Abandoned (original title, A Matter of Honor).
  • 1965 - Mediterranean Holiday from 1962
  • 1965 - The Wrong Arm of the Law
  • 1965 - Slave Trade in the World Today ('See for the first time - the smuggled motion pictures of a sheik's harem and an actual slave auction!), with co-hit, Yul Brunner's Invitation to a Gunfight
  • 1965 - Lord of The Flies, with co-feature David and Lisa
  • 1965 - Gypsy Girl
  • 1965 - Agent 8 3/4 (original title, Hot Enough for June)
  • 1966 - The Crazy Quilt (which Reade termed an underground film)
  • 1968 - The Shameless Old Lady (original title, La Vieille Dame Indigne)
  • 1968 - Night of the Living Dead, paired with the 'shocking color co-hit', Dr Who and the Daleks
  • 1968 - Faces
  • 1968 - War and Peace. The seven-hour Russian version, shown in two segments.
  • 1968 - Tell Me Lies.
  • 1969 - Ulysses. Sometimes paired with Teorema.
  • 1970 - The Broken Wings. The first full-length Lebanese film to be shown in the U.S.
  • 1970 - Ryan's Daugher (Reade paid a $500,000 guarantee to being this to his Ziegfeld Theatre)
  • 1971 - An Elephant Called Slowly
  • 1972 - The Gospel According to St. Matthew (played with Mr. Hulot's Holiday).

By 1968, Walter Reade owned and operated 60 theatres across the U.S., two in San Francisco (The Larkin and The Music Hall) and seven in Manhattan. The Walter Reade Organization took over the original Ziegfeld theatre (at that time a legitimate theatre, and torn down in 1966-67). A new complex built by Fisher Brothers was constructed on the site, and retained the Ziegfeld name. The 1969 opening was attended by Florence Ziegfeld's widow, Billie Burke and their daughter.

Walter Reade Jr., the company president was one of the first to fight Jack Valenti's newly institiuted rating system in 1969. Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Picture Association said, "Remember, we censor no films for adults. We ban nothing. What we do is classify films for guidance of parents. It is a rational system, and it is working.". The key to Valenti's new plan lay with the theatre owners, who would have to enforce it. Walter Reader Jr. eventually agreed to feature the ratings in his theaters' ads, bot not from those of his subsidiary, Continental.

Ironically, years earlier, Walter Reade refused to play High School Confidental ( Jack Arnold, 1958), which he found 'morally objectionable for teen-agers'.

The Reade Theatre at 44th and Broadway in New York, opened in 1971. Of the lobby, Reade said, 'There will be continually changing views of Broadway life projected on the walls'.

By the mid-70's, the chain was financially troubled, resulting in the closure of some screens. Two factor being the emergence of multiscreen theatres and lack of good movies. In 1977, Walter Reade closed 29 single screen theatres 'because it couldn't get enough good films'. Other single screen movie houses were affected; Hollywood's Pantages Theatre was converted to legitimate theatre that same year.

Philippe de Broca's wartime drama, King of Hearts, starring Alan Bates and Geneviève Bujold opened in New York in 1967. On the West Coast, The Long Beach Film Society, in cooperation with The College Symposium Commision of the Associated Students screened the French comedy-drama at Long Beach State College in 1969. Some theatres chose it as second feature alongside two other French productions; A Man and a Woman (1966), and Life for Life (1967) - both from director Claude Lelouch.

Known as the Erskine Book Shop in the 1930's, construction on the 15-storey office building begain in 1963 at a cost of $6.5 million. Developer and owner, Ronald Buck would figure heavily in Los Angeles history, through his involvement in civic affairs and his West Hollywood club, The Factory. Planning and design was handled by Sheldon L. Pollack.

The elegant high-rise was home to a variety of entertainment industry offices; Robert Lippert and Midnight Special producer Burt Sugarman called 9000 Sunset their home. Composer Mike Curb had a terrific view from the 10th floor, and the Artists and Models Costume Ball headquarters were on the 8th floor.

The Artists and Models Costume Ball was an annual costume-only event hosted by Rowan and Martin. In 1967, the event was held at the Century Plaza Hotel Ballroom and handed out various prizes. An ecclectic (to say the least) array of industry folk were on hand to judge: Steve Allen, Tony Bill, Nancy Sinatra, Edith Head, Adam West and Sal Mineo. Promoted by Harvey Fierstein and Jordan Wank, the event cost $6 for admission and featured live music from Eric Burdon and The Animals.

In July 1967, the 375-seat Granada (L.A.'s newest theater) debuted with the comedy King of Hearts (Philippe de Brocca)

The opulent building also brought Los Angeles a new experience in dining, Scam - A Restaurant in the Sky. The plush 16th floor skyroom restaurant, originally called The Top o' the Strip was designed by Richard Kramer and Associates. Additional plans called for a posh ground floor coffee shop to be called Napoleons, as well as a cocktail lounge, The Waterloo Room.

One of the only other penthouse dining experiences could be foud at the International Hotel, situtated by the airport. Hungry patrons quaffing Scaloppini were also treated to spectacular views, but only from the 14th floor.

Beating its competition by two stories, the 9000 Sunset restaurant with exquisite views opened in May 1966 by Stephen Crane and Al Mathes (hence the name). The decor was a blend of French Moroccan, Foreign Legion and early Taj Mahal. Well-heeled diners could choose between the Casablanca Room or stick their necks out among the subdued lighting in Rick's Lounge (with Herb Martin at the keyboard).

Waiters in white suits, sashed in red with Nehru-like hats would bring your Manhattan Steak with Au Gratin potatoes, and you'd pay less than four dollars. A late night cappucino was a dollar thirty-five.

Under the Macrane banner, which operated the Kon-Tikis chain of restaurants in the East, Stephen Crane enjoyed success with a string of eateries, namely:
  • The Luau of Beverly Hills (1953)
    421 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills.
    Construction on a new dining place and lounge began in 1935, led by Harry Sugarman (one time managing director of Grauman's Egyptian Theater). The spot became the Tropics Cafe (later Beverly Tropics) - "a place with bamboo walls and dark corners where movie stars pick next year's mates." For almost twenty years, Sugarman's South Seas ambiance remained a Beverly Hills fixture, until the Luau arrived.

    Sugarman's next venture was rumored to be the Haunted House, at 6315 Hollywood Blvd. In the 1920's, the site was home to See's Candies. That was followed in 1933 by Eddie Brandstatter's newest enterprise, Sardi's - 'A Distinctive and Popular-Priced Restaurant'. Noted architect Rudolph Schindler designed both interior and exterior.

    Despite a major fire in 1936, Sardi's remained in business, and found itself on the list of top Southland restaurants - along with the Florentine Gardens, Tick-Tock Cafe, Gourmet Hollywood, Melody Lane and Ontra Cafeteria. Radio personality Tom Breneman hosted 'Breakfast at Sardi's' during the 1940's... "from the world-famous corner."

    During the late 40's, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce were opposing licences for entertainment, dance and liquor permits, citing "public welfare". The Chamber wanted to "clean up the Boulevard because it is responsible for the downgrade of the whole community."

    Maybe the cleanup worked, as the Arthur Murray Studios merengued in and then out during the 50's. In 1965, Haunted House had animated monsters and a cave-like decor. Mickey Crouch and Larry Grant were listed as proprietors. The monsters departed, but the decor remained, when the site became adult movie theater, The Cave, which survived until around 2012.

    The Luau lasted until the late-70's when it was razed to the ground. In it's place was The Rodeo Collection - 40,000 square feet of luxury retail space, comprising of high-end boutiques. After perusing the wares at Nina Ricci, hungry shoppers with a hankering for Chicken with Cognac Flambe could head to The Excelsior. The lavish Penthouse restaurant was headed by Mario Casarini. According to Rodeo Collection developer Daryoush Mahboubi-Fardi, the Excelsior "will be the most extravagant restaurant ever. The general decor is Art Noveau. People will come here to see and be seen".

  • Au Petit Jean (1964)
    9474 South Santa Monica Boulevard.
    The former site of Dean Witter & Co. Au Petit Jean was owned by Jean Leon (also of La Scala, across the street). By 1974, diners bid au revoir to the roast duckling, and hello to chilled peanut soap, when the vaguely colonial Rangoon Racquet Club took over. The site that once served Parisian dining was redeveloped and a Brooks Brothers now occupies the space. Jean Leon passed away in 1996.

  • Stefanino's Trattoria (1965)
    9229 Sunset Blvd.
    The small Stefanino's was housed in the City National Bank building, built in 1961. Actor Louis Quinn, from ABC's '77 Sunset Strip' gave daily food tips from the restaurant in the early 70's, which soon became Henry Slate's Stefanino's by 1973.

  • Caravelle (1968)
    Ground floor of the Union Bank Plaza.

  • Camelot (1968)
    Westwood Center Building. 1100 Glendon Avenue
    The building known as the Wilshire Westwood Office Center was home to Terry Hunt's Penthouse Health Club in 1966. The King Arthur-themed restaurant opened in May 1968. Eddie Dibella from the Villa Capri, was manager. A private elevator whisked patrons to the restaurant. Pianist Morty Jacobs provided entertainment.

  • Californian (1968)
    23500 Park Sorrento, Calabasas
    Situated by the newly developed Calabasa Park, the Californian overlooked the lake and boasted the most up-to-date electrical commerical kitchen in Southern California. Crane might have experienced a kitchen nightmare, as the Californian soon closed.

    In 1972, former manager of the Hungry Tiger restaurant chain, Wally Hollenstein took over the property and the Calabasas Inn was born. Assisting Wally was his wife, Jean.

    The new venture was a success, and gained a terrific reputation for its vintage wine selection and Main Lobster Clambake. The beautiful 5.43 acres of grounds offered banquets, business conferences and by 1973, hosted weddings. By 1983, the idyllic site for young couples taking the plunge, was performing around 200 weddings a year.

    The couple retired and sold the property in 2006.

Two years later, Crane formerly took over Scam, which was renamed '9000 Restaurant'. Diners in the sky could order the Chicken Sauté Romana or Sumatra Steak Bouqeutiére for under four dollars. Same view. Same reasonable prices. Stephen Crane's daughter, Cheryl, was a hostess.

For a while, the 16th floor restaurant was 'Rembrandt's 9000' in 1970. The Mediterranean cuisine stayed on the menu, but another new name arrived in 1971, Robert Diamant's 9000 Restaurant. A year later, the Top Deck dining spot was now Helen Berry's 9000 Restaurant, with entertainment provided by Jacqueline Fontaine or Gloria Lynne.

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By 1977, theater equipment was being auctioned off, and just over a decade later, an extensive renovation began on the entire building. Restaurateur Steven Crane died in 1985.




August 1967



Century City Playhouse
 10508 Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Toho La Brea Theatre (closed). Now 'Bethel Presbyterian Church'.
 857 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

The Century City Playhouse was home to many great shows. Among the more notable were;
  • 1968 - Tiny Alice (Edward Albee)
  • 1968 - The Deer Park (Norman Mailer's 'biting attack on Hollywood society').
  • 1970 - Futz ('comic-morality play set to music'). This was at a previous location at 19563 West Pico Blvd.
  • 1970 - The Lover ('couple caught up in comical game of sexual fantasy').
  • 1972 - Crawling Arnold (Jules Feiffer comedy).
  • 1973 - Astro Comedy Chronicles. Mystic Knights of Oingo Bongo, troupe of French and American mimes, musicians, dancers, comedians and acrobats, stage "surrealistic conception of planetary development."
  • 1973 - By Elaine May ('Adaptation' and 'Not Eough Rope').
  • 1976 - The Death of Dr. Faust
  • 1977 - An Evening by Woody Allen
  • 1981 - Seduced (From Pulitzer Prize winning playright, Sam Shepard).
  • 1985 - Bleacher Bums

Situated next to the Rancho Park Golf Course in West Los Angeles, the building went up in 1927. The converted store building was built into a working theater by the Cheviot Hills Community Players in the early 1950's -- and 150 seat venue the name Rancho Playhouse. In 1964, The Renaissance Players staged their first production, Example of a Non-Political Man.

By 1968, the name changed to the Century City Playhouse and the venue added live music and film to its services, a move probably initiated by financial problems (new Equity rules and the loss of financial backers). A Midnight Film Festival - spotlighting student and underground film - was held in 1973. The same year, open session jazz jams were held (structured and free-form).

The Playhouse also proved popular with younger audiences, with many shows aimed for children, such as Alphabet Soup, "a culinary journey through Mother Goose", shown in 1975.

The Playhouse has continued into the late 1990's. David Schwimmer starred in a production of "d girl" in 1997.

Photographic chemist Yasuji Uemura founded Photo Chemical Laboratories (P.C.L.) in 1929. Uemura's goal was providing lab services to the flourishing movie studios; Shochiki, Shinko and Nikkatsu. With the advent of talkies, P.C.L. expanded with sound stages and recording facilities.

Aside from merely renting out their facilities, P.C.L. began making their own features. Their advanced technology and increasing outout caught the eye of railroad magnate Ichizo Kobayashi, who was looking to diversify with a chain of theatres.

With his growing chain of theatres needing product, Kobayashi took control of P.C.L., and moved on to talent acquisition; actors, directors - some lured from other studios, such as Shochiku.

By 1937, PCL and other smaller companies consolidated into Tōhō. Looking to expand globally, Toho opened the Toho La Brea in the late 50's. Another reason for expansion in the U.S. was luring audiences to Japanese film.

Within time, Tōhō purchased other theaters in New York, Rio, Sãu Paulo and Honolulu. The 700-seat Toho La Brea became L.A.'s mecca for Japanese film and survived into the 70's and marketed through ads in popular martial arts magazine Black Belt.

By the 80's, the Kokusai Theatre located at 3020 Crenshaw Boulevard was one of the last places for Japanese film.

Yasuki Chiba's The Daphne was first shown at the Toho. Based on the television serial Haruya Haru by Zenzo Matsuyama, its original language title was Jinchoge.




October 1967



Jean Shrimpton was, quite simply, the most beautiful woman in the 1960's. A British model who achieved unbelievable fame during the mid-60's and graced countless covers for every top fashion magazine. Photographer David Bailey, who along with Brian Duffy and Terence Donovan, captured the culture of the Swinging Sixties, said of Shrimpton, "She was magic and the camera loved her too. In a way she was the cheapest model in the world - you only needed to shoot half a roll of film and then you had it. She had the knack of having her hand in the right place, she knew where the light was, she was just a natural."

In 1967, The Shrimp was the highest paid model. Elieen Ford, of the New York modeling agency said the Shrimp gets as much as $2,500.00 a day. (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Shrimpton's co-star was Paul Jones - the singer for British 60's group, Manfred Mann. The band enjoyed a degree of success with, 'Do Wah Diddy Diddy', 'Pretty Flamingo' and 'Mighty Quinn'. Jones left the band to focus on acting.

Peter Watkins directed them both in Privilege, a story of pop-star worship and modern youth rebellion gone wrong. In the role of Steve Shorter - a young pop singer forced to change his image from a symbol of modern youth in revolt, to one of inspirational leader of a world-wide evangelical crusade - Paul Jones sings 'Bad Bad Boy' and 'Free Me'. Jean Shrimpton played Vanessa Ritchie - a young artist commissioned to paint his portrait. As Ritchie follows his routine, she witnesses the cold and calculating manipulation of his life, and gradually realizes that beneath the celebrated image, is a confused young man.

Released by Universal in the U.S., Privilege was co-feature to The Diary of an Innocent Young Boy (Michel Deville, 1968).

  Click for Gallery




October 1967



Park Theatre
 710 South Alvarado Street, Los Angeles, CA 90067

The most "hushed up" picture in California history was actually the silent short Un Chant d'Amour (1950). In 1966, the State Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling banning the showing of Genet's movie. The silent film concerning sexual relations between four inmates and a prison guard, "was nothing more than hard-core pornography", the Supreme Court said.

The movie didn't fare too well in San Francisco, where it was banned by Police Chief Addison Fording in 1966. That year, the California District Court of Appeal ruled the movie was unfit to be shown in Berkely. Three years later however, Judge Earl Warren Jr., who would approve the showing of Sweden's I am Curious Yellow (Vilgot Sjöman, 1967), drew the line at Un Chant d'Amour, calling it "pure filth".

By 1973, censorship had relaxed. The Sheldon Art Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska showed Genet's film along with Queen - which might have been The Queen (Frank Simon, 1968).




October 1967



Cinema (closed).
 1117 North Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

Cinema (closed).
 12136 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

Filmed on location in Kent, England, with local residents in the cast, The War Game opened in London in April 1966. The drama-documentary depicting a nuclear war, was intended for release on British television but not shown for over twenty years due to the subject matter being considered unsuitable for mass audiences. Sir Hugh Greene, Director-General of the BBC, said it was 'too horrific for the medium of broadcast'.

In Britain, reaction to the movie veered between outrage, "The film is the most sickening in the world today and one the public should never see." and approval, "THIS FILM MUST BE SHOWN... No wonder the Establishment wants to stop the film being widely shown. If several million people saw it, the campaign for the banning of nuclear weapons would receive an enormous impetus".

In 1985 it finally emerged that the government had persuaded the BBC not to broadcast.

But it was through its theatrical release in 1966 – and its Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1967 that it gained a new audience. The War Games was finally televised in 1985, twenty years too late.




October 1967



Park (closed).
 21622 Sherman Way, CA 91303

Noted for his exploitation films, Kôji Wakamatsu was a prolific director with over a hundred film credits stretching up to 2012.

Considered the 'Godfather of pink cinema', Wakamatsu started in construction before developing his film career at the Nikkitsu movie studio in 1963. His early work was directing exploitation films, or pinku eiga - the term given to a certain type of independent sexploitation film with regards to sexual content and number of sex scenes. These films were often low-budget black and white 'stag' films (with sparing use of color).

Wakamatsu's 1966 film, The Love Robots was later paired with countless other drive-in staples of the time; Lila (William Rotsler, 1968), London in the Raw (Arnold L. Miller, 1965), Grimm's Fairy Tales for Adults (Rolf Thiele, 1969), Hot Spur (Lee Frost, 1968), The Pick-Up (Lee Frost, 1968), and Tropic of Scorpio (Zoltan G. Spencer, 1968).

Wakamatsu passed away in 2012 at the age of 76.

Although Bob Cresse began as an actor in such films as the 1962 comic whodunit Surf Tide, Cresse headed up sexploitation distributors Olympic International - responsible for a smattering of drive-in staples including: Massacre of Pleasure, Night Women, Mondo Bizarro, Ecco, Mondo Freudo, The Girls on F Street, Little Girls and Love Camp 7.

After his time with Olympic International, Cresse then formed Republic Amusements. The Dallas-based company was behind two big hits for 1970; Pleasure Plantation - "Come walk through the garden and pluck something of your choice!" and The Arising. Two of Olympic International's key players, Lee Frost and Wes Bishop formed International Film Associates in 1971, scheduling three properties for that year: The Cell, Impulse and The Trap.

Frost and Bishop went on to produce The Thing with 2 Heads and Chain Gang Women, both directed by Frost in 1972. Three years later, they were behind Bryanston Films' Ghetto Warriors, aka The Black Gestapo - which had Soulmates of Shango (Raymond Marsh) as second feature.

The Van Nuys movie house was originally the Canoga Theatre. Movie buffs could catch Lex Barker in Tarzan's Magic Fountain, and maybe stay for the Spanish-language features El Charro y La Dama and En Tiempos de la Inquisicion. Apart from the Victory Drive-In Theatre at Goldwater, there was the Encino Theatre at 16342 Ventura Blvd. (demolished), and the Reseda Theatre on Sherman Way.

By the early 1960's, it was operating as the Park Theatre. Julien Duvivier's Lovers of Paris played for one night only. Since the programming was starting to heat up, owner and operater Vincent Miranda found himself tangling with local civiv and church groups objecting to the marquee advertising. Their efforts pushed the Park Theater to having its permit revoked - which was later reversed.

Vincent Miranda, one-time owner of the Hotel San Diego, was dubbed the Porno King of the West and later formed the successfull Pussycat Theatre chain. It wasn't all X-rated, Miranda operated San Diego's Off Broadway Theatre in the early 1970's. Strictly legit; Bob Crane - 'Send Me No Flowers', Tab Hunter - 'Barefoot in the Park' and the stunning pairing of Rod Serling and Steve Allen - 'Storm in Summer'. A far cry from a year earlier, which saw Miranda avoiding obscenity charges for showing Sexual Freedom in Denmark at his West Hollywood Pussycat Theatre (previously the Left Bank Theatre, and then the Monica).

The son of a Portugese fisherman, Miranda (who never married), passed away in 1985. Taking over the reigns in 1975 was Miranda's business partner, Jimmie Johnson. Walnut Properties was located at 5445 Sunset Blvd.

But it wasn't just movie houses coming under fire in 1966. The Representative Committee for Moral Betterment and the West Valley for Decent Literature pressured local merchants to "drive girlie magazines off Valley news stands". Miranda faced similar opposition in 1974. The Highland Park organization STOP (Stamp Out Pornography) objected to the Eagle Theater from showing adult content.

By 1971, lowbrow was in fashion and the intimate Sherman Way theater was now a Pussycat Theatre - and the name was just Park. The new owners were happy to announce their new luxurious lounge seats, superior projection and first-run films from Hollywood, San Francisco, New York and Denmark. The X-rated attractions were still going strong by the mid-1970's, with Harry Reems in Sex Wish and Sensuous Fly Girls as second feature.

After the 1994 Northridge quake destroyed the building, it was rebuilt and reopened in 1997 as the Madrid Theater.




December 1967



The delightful and radiant-sounding Black Magick Sex & Witchcraft film festival offered a quartet of underground short film, advertised in national newspapers with the word "Eros" switched for "Sex".

Vali (1965) - Produced, directed and photographed by Sheldon Rochlin, the 65 minute movie also by its full title Vali, the Witch of Positano when it played the Sequoia Theatre at Humboldt State College in 1971.

The American-made production starred Australian artist/recluse Vali Myers, and co-produced by George Plimpton. Diane Rochlin was listed in the credits as Assistant Director and appeared in the cast. Vali was filmed in Paris and Positano, and billed as "an underground cinema verité explosion of cult and color". The "provocative new short" was also part of the Long Beach City College Film Festival in 1970.

The Rochlin's also directed Dope (dates listed in various sources as 1966, 1968 and 1969) concerning the activities of a London commune and their drug use. The 16mm film also went by Boots at Midnight and Head. The 90 minute underground film featured Pink Floyd and screened at midnight along with Vali at the New York Ensemble on 62 East 4th Street in 1983.

Sheldon Rochlin and Diane Cramer made Diane the Zebra Woman in 1963. The color film was described a fanciful 'underground' yarn about a temperamental girl that is actually a zebra (makes sense). Rochlin got behind the lens on Guns of the Trees (Jonas Mekas, 1961).

Along with D.A. Pennebaker, both Sheldon and Diane Rochlin were credited as photographers on the improvisational Maidstone (Norman Mailer, 1970). Filmed in 1968, Maidstone was shot without a script by a small group of film crews (a photographer with a 16mm camera, and a soundman) over the course of one week. The film sharply divided critics, but is best remembered for it's final scene; as Mailer and family were cavorting on a lawn (where most of the movie was shot), actor Rip Torn runs across and attacks Mailer. Torn ends up up bloodied, with his ear bitten by Mailer.

In 1985, Sheldon Rochlin and Maxine Harris started the New York-based underground video company Mystic Fire Video, which released works by Kenneth Anger, Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, Andy Warhol and also put out Rochlin's own Tantra of Gyuto.

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Solo (1965) - Hailing from Canada, Bob Cowan was a notable force in underground cinema, and a regular performer/collaborator with filmmakers, the Kuchar Brothers (George and Mike). In the mid-'60's, Bob Cowan was projectionist at the Filmmakers Cinematheque in New York (42nd Street and 6th Avenue).

Cowan starred in Mike Kuchar's Sins of the Fleshapoids (1965), a 16mm parody inspired by The Creation of the Humanoids (1962). Filmed in the Bronx, the film also starred Kuchars regular, Donna Kernes, as the "voluptous princess".

A series of films from Cowan and the Kuchard Brothers was shown at New York's Millenium Film Festival Workshop in 1984.

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Fighting Witches (1966) - Robert Shaye's 21 minute, black and white short didn't go down too well when it played the San Sebastian Internation Film Festival in 1966 (under it's alternate title On Fighting Witches). It seems 'viewers didn't understand the meaning of the film'. But two decades later, viewers would feel differently about another movie - A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven, 1984), produced by Robert Shaye, the founder of New Line Cinema.

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Rape - The final short by Vander Linder was not well received. The story of a nun attacked by an academic type whilst walking through the woods was called "silly, sophomoric and tasteless".




December 1967

The 10th Annual Anthology of UCLA Student Films had a week-long run at the Loz Feliz Theatre, under the heading Changes. The successfull series was taken to additional theaters for midnight shows. The following year, a series called 'Best of Uppers & Downers' screened at the Cinematheque.




December 1967



Joseph Strick's production of Ulysses was the first and only motion picture made from James Joyce's controversial novel. The motion picture industry struggled to find a way to bring the book to the screen, and several film giants, Sergei Eisenstein and Jerry Wald were unable to develop a screenplay that was both faithful to the author's concept and within the bounds or contemporary 'good taste'.

But in 1962, director Joseph Strick obtained the rights. Strick, whose previous films included The Balcony (1963) - called another "impossible" project by Hollywood standards (also from a Jean Genet play) - immediately began work with producer Walter Reade Jr. on the project. Strick wrote the screenplay with Fred Haines, and filming took place in 1966, along the actual Dublin locations described by Joyce.

Executive producer Walter Reade distributed the film, which he described as "a motion picture that is more personal, more explicit and more adult than anything ever presented in a motion picture theatre."

Despite the hurdles from local film boards objecting to the coarse language and erotic content, Ulysses opened to rave reviews.




February 1967

April 1968



Up first was Morianna, directed by Arne Mattsson and released in Sweden. This saucy number from 1966 often went by its full title, Morianna (I, the Body). Unbelievably - depending on your viewpoint - it was actually based on a novel - "Morianerna" by Jan Ekström.

The co-feature from Shôhei Imamura - considered one of Japan's 'New Wave' directors - was the black & white The Flesh is Hot (1963), and only ran a lukewarm 77 minutes. Made for the Nikkatsu studio, Imamura's prostitution expose was known under two slightly less erotic titles, Pigs and Battleships and Hogs and Warships - proving that sometimes a bawdy title is required.




August 1967



From 1967, Mikio Naruse's The Thin Line told the story of "Tashiro, a middle-class businessman - a suspect in the investigation of the murder of his best friend's wife. Eventually, he admits to his wife that he accidentally strangled the woman while making love to her. The wife agrees to keep his confession secret, but when his guilt drives him to consider giving himself up, she poisons him to protect the family name". Fair enough.

The End of Summer (1961) - Second on the bill was Yasujirô Ozu. He followed this up with Early Autumn.

Soul Freeze (1967) - Canadian Bob Cowan's 25 minute black and white short told the story of a priest torn by the temptations of the flesh and driven to acts of self-loathing by repressed desire. Cowan was considered a unique talent during the late 1960's, and his work was called "violently beautiful". Cowan's feature took second prize at the Bellvue Film Festival, which netted him $300.

Cowan, a Filmmakers' Cinematheque projectionist worked closely with the Kuchar Brothers leading lady, Donna Kerness. Cowan also wrote for film journal "Take One".

Vinyl (1965) - Shot in one afternoon, the 16mm black and white movie featured Warhol regulars; Gerard Malanga, Ondine and Edie Sedgwick (making her screen debut). Warhol's 67 minute movie begins with a character named Victor, a juvenile delinquent, who beats up a passerby who reads books.

In 1966, Warhol's movie was screened at the Methodist Student Center in Austin, Texas. The event was billed as 'an evening of expanded cinema', and purported to feature a 5-D light show, The Velvet Underground (who did not perform).

Mosholu Holiday (1966) - The 9 minute black and white short featured appearances by Canadian TV star Bill Ronald and 'Mrs. Bronx', Frances Leibowitz and her girlfriend Iris. Kuchar's film also played the Canyon Cinematheque at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1973. The lineup included The Sunshine Sisters, Portrait of Ramona and Pagan Rhapsody.

Corrida (Sometimes written as Anti-Corrida) - (1966) For such a short movie at a scant 2-minutes, Hill's bullfighting feature had alternate titles that lasted longer; Who's Afraid of Ernest Hemingway and Death in the Forenoon.

Jerome Hill, an heir to a Minnesota railway fortune, became a painter, artist, writer and filmmaker. Hill's documentary Albert Schweitzer was shown at UCLA's "Men and Women of the 20th Century" film series in 1967. Hill's earlier film The Sand Castle screened at the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1967. Jerome Hill died in 1972.




August 1967



Time to load up on Junior Mints, because Andy Warhol's The Cheslea Girls clocked in at around a whopping 195 minutes. Warhol's fictional look into the lives of the hotels' residents was designed to be shown side by side as a split-screen projection, from twelve reels - each one being 33 minutes long. Originally running over six and half hours, Warhol and Paul Morrissey divided the footage to a more manageable length, running side by side with alternating audio or color.

Writing in his book POPism (Harper & Row, 1983), Warhol said, "If anybody wants to know what those summer days of '66 were like in New York with us, all I can say is go see Chelsea Girls".

An impressive lineup of Warhol regulars made it in front of the camera; Nico, Mario Montez, Ingrid Superstar, International Velvet, Eric Emerson, Gerard Malanga, Ondine and Mary Might (Mary Woronov). All they had to do was show up, talk a lot and improvise various bits provided by Warhol or Morrissey. The results were often raw and emotional battles (often incited by Warhol or Morrissey themselves).

At a reported cost of $5,000 and taking in $500,000 at art-houses across the U.S., The Chelsea Girls was considered Warhol's first money-making film. Reviews were mixed - mainstream press found it boring. Variety commented that it "lacked tension and development" and wrote "Viewers are asked to spend a long, painful evening with various residents, almost all of whom are lesbians and homosexuals."

A follow up was planned, The Kennedy Assassination, starring Edie Sedgwick.




September 1967



Paramount's big, bold and brassy 1967 film, Tarzan and the Great River was shot in and around Rio de Janeiro.



September 1967



Before turning to film, Ed Emshwiller was a successfull painter and graphic artist. After studying art at the University of Michigan, Emshwiller worked on cover illustrations for science-fiction magazines.

By the 1950's, Emshwiller's interest turned to a new medium - film. An interest in dance led to Dance Chromatic (1959).

Relativity (1966) was a 38-minute color feature that 'meditates on the place of man inthe cosomos'. Emshwiller used photographic effects to show interstellar distances in parallel to clos-ups of the human body.

The short received a special diploma from the 1968 Oberhausen Experimental Film Festival, as well as Cannes, Venice and Edinburgh..

However, the short film was banned in Australia. The Censorship Board refused to register the film, believing it to be blasphemous, indecent or obscene.

Not the case in New York, where Relativity was screened as part of Amos Vogel's Fifth New York Film Festival, showcasing New American Cinema. The two other films were Peter Goldman's Echoes of Silence (1965) and Tony Conrad's Flicker (1966).

By 1966, Emshwiller was considered part of an inventive new breed of filmmakers. For the 1966 broadcast 'The Shape of Films to Come' on the '21st Century' series, CBS News Correspondent Walter Cronkite said "They're cutting the screen into pieces, scattering pictures everywhere on walls, floors and ceilings". Emshwiller was using mixed-media productions that combined film with live performances.

One of Ed Emshwiller's later works, Scapemates (1972), was shown on the TV show Video Visionaries in 1973. The following year, Emshwiller's 1973 dance/narrative piece, Pilobolus and Joan was broadcast late at night.

TV listings from The Bridgeport Telegram offered a brief summary, It was a new video work, in which the author applies the technique of video image transformation including synthesis and computer graphics, in order to produce a video narrative.

As "one of the foremost artists in the relatively new field of video art", Emshwiller was a guest on Dick Cavett in 1978. Television viewers might have missed his appearance, as both Mary Tyler Moore and Sanford and Son aired during the same time as Cavett.

By the end of the 1970's, Emshwiller was teaching and joined the California Institute of the Arts. Later work included Sunstone and Skin Matrix.

For more information on the work of Ed Emshwiller, Electronic Arts Intermix is good place to start.




June 1967



The Legend of Jimmy Blue Eyes was a 1964 short, directed by Robert Clouse. Described as a "folk ballad with a jazz background", the movie starred Jeff Burton, Isabelle Cooley, and Garland Thompson as Jimmy Blue Eyes - jazz trumpeter who sells his soul to the Devil.

Thompson wrote the screenplay for D'Urville Martin's art film Madgame (Corey Allen, 1970), a 17-minute "moving statement about war toys and violence in today's society". Garland and Martin worked together previously, sharing the stage for "the Toilet". The play by Leroi Jones was directed by Burgess Meredith.

The Legend of Jimmy Blue Eyes won the Golden Eagle from CINE (Committe on International Non-Theatrical Events) and also received the prestigious Academy Award as best live-action short subject in 1964. A year later, the movie had its' world television premiere on KNXT/Channel 2.

Director Clouse would go on to helm the Bruce Lee epic, Enter the Dragon (1973). Some theatres paired the jazz movie with Roger Vadim's Cicrle of Love, starring Jane Fonda.




June 1967



Filmed over a period of four years, The Exiles, from director Kent MacKenzie tells the story of 'three American Indian youths who leave their reservation to find a new life in Los Angeles', (where it was filmed). The Exiles was shown at the 1961 Venice Film Festival, and the following year, a packed house at UCLA's Royce Hall saw the movie. The Sheldon Art Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska ran The Exiles as a second feature in 1975, alongside another documentary, The Shadow Catcher {Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian).

The Exiles was not Kent MacKenzie's first youth-oriented film - in 1965, MacKenzie was hired by The David Wolper Company for an hour-long ABC-TV special, Teenage Revolution, which aired in October of that year. Actor Van Heflin was host and narrator.




April 1968



Sweden was responsible for more than just flat-folding furniture that's hard to fit in the back of a car, even with seats folded down. They also produced a glut of mid-60's sex films. This randy romp was a follow up to Mac Ahlberg's I, a Woman (1965), released one year earlier. The Maryland Daily Forum called it, 'a bright and naughty bedroom farce'.

At drive-ins, the Scandanavian sex film was often a co-feature with many other great genre films; Mondo Cane #2 (1964), Weekend with the Babysitter (1970), Therese & Isabelle (1968), Fanny Hill (1968), Inga (1968), and Camile 2000 (1969).




April 1968



Andy Warhol's 1967 feature I, a man featured a familar cast of regulars; Nico, Ingrid Superstar, Ultra Violet, and Tom Baker - not to be confused with the time-traveling titan of the Tardis, 'Tom Baker. Directed by Warhol and Paul Morrissey, I, a man also featured 28 year-old Valerie Solanis (an actress in previous Warhol films), who was later convicted of shooting Warhol in his 6th floor Union Square office on June 3rd, 1968. Warhol was hit with one bullet but survived after extensive surgery.

Solanis said she shot Warhol because he "had too much control in my life". A year later, Solanis was sentenced to three years in prison, after a plea of guilty to first degree assault. She was quoted as saying, "I didn't intend to kill him. I just wanted him to pay attention to me."

In 1970, the Humboldt Forum and Film Society showed I, a Man with Jean Renoir's Rules of the Game at the Arcata Theatre. Audiences in San Bernadino in 1968, would have caught a midnight showing at the Adult Art Cinema Stage 1, in Riverside. Pasadena's own Cinematheque-16 also showed the movie.

And for what must have been a mind-altering couple of hours, the now-crumbling Fresno's Fine Art (also known as The International Theatre) paired Warhol's movie with the x-rated Use the Back Door, ("She always had the delivery boy use the back door"). Not to be confused in any way possible with Mary Pickford's silent film, Through the Back Door (1921).




April 1968

November 1968




April 1968



Fox Fine Arts (closed).
 8556 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

For a while at least, "New British Bombshell" Carol White was considered a threat to a few leading ladies of the time. Wanda Hale of the N.Y. Daily News gushed, "A feminine Alfie! Carol White emerges as a rival of Julie Christie and Faye Dunaway, A STAR IS BORN!."

Playboy were equally enthusiastic, "Carol White the most beguiling bundle from Britian since Julie Christie." And indeed the praise was not wrong - Carol White was named "Most Promising New Female Star of the Year" for her role in Poor Cow.

White appeared on British televsion since the mid-1950's and achieved success when she originated the role of Sylvie in the BBC Wenesday Play, Up the Junction. Neil Dunn's play got the big screen treatment in 1968 from director Peter Collinson.

White made her biggest impact in another BBC The Wednesday Play, Cathy Come Home. Filmed with flagrant realism from Ken Loach, the truly bleak and heartbreaking story of a young couple facing homelessness and their ensuing journey through a brutal and unforgiving welfare system, caused national outrage and empathy when first shown.

American audiences got their chance to see the 'BBC docu-drama' in 1971, when it was broadcast at 8:30PM for the NET Playhouse.

Teaming once again with Ken Loach and with a screenplay from Neil Dunn for another bleak slice-of-life, Poor Cow (1967) starred Terence Stamp and John Bindon - a legendary character on and off screen. Bindon was a known hardman and friend to Princess Margaret, who achieved cinematic fame as Moody (a slab of hired muscle in Harry Flower's gang), in Donald Cammell's/Nic Roeg's Performance (1970)

Moody put it best when he said, "Violence is my game, violence pure and simple."

In the U.S., Poor Cow ("For broad-minded adults") played with a wide variety of second fetures: Sweet November (1968), The Whisperers (1967), Barefoor in the Park (1967), Dark of the Sun (1968), No Way To Treat a Lady (1968) and even Jennie-Wife/Child (1968).

For its Exclusive Engagement, the Fine Art felt so strongly about the realism, their advertising carried a strong warning, "If you are squeamish or have a weak stomach, may we recommend that you do not watch the first 5 minutes of Poor Cow during which an actual birth scene is vividly and graphically portrayed on the screen." Basially, grab yourself a box of Milk Duds.

The co-feature was the short, Bach to Bach - about two pseudo intellectuals in bed for the first time.

The Fox Fine Arts was formerly the Regina and became the Fine Arts around 1950. The marquee adopted Fox in 1967, though it was gone by the time Death in Venice had its 1971 West Coast premiere. Mega-chain Mann Theatres operated the cinema until 1987, when Laemmle's briefly took over. The theater clearly had Daddy issues, as yet another company stepped in around 1994, and was renamed Cecchi Gori Fine Arts.

Under the auspices of AMC ("There is a difference"), the chain proudly boasted the theater was "Restored to its Original 1936 Glamour". More change on the horizon when the Italians said "Così lunghi ventose" in 2005.

  Click for Gallery




November 1968



International director Peter Medak's Negatives starred Glenda Jackson and Diane Cilento -- fondly remembered as Miss Rose in The Wicker Man (1973). The Paramount picture was another Walter Reade/Continental release, and called "an off-beat modern drama" when it opened at the Playhouse in Maryland. Esteemed critic Charles Champlin said the kinky film is "a small, strange, feverish, marvelously executed picture, a dazzling if demented cameo."

One newspaper called the psycho-chic movie "the most unusual picture of the year". Apparently, they hadn't yet seen Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's Thunderbirds Are Go (1965).

The Hungarian-born director's next film was slated to be Stanley Mann's fugitive drama "Figures in a Landscape", with Peter O'Toole. Although the project didn't materialize, Medak and O'Toole would work together four years later on The Ruling Class.




November 1968



Beverly Hills Music Hall
 9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Beverly Canon
 205 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Dale Davis, an accomplished surfer and filmmaker from Santa Monica, was credited as 'Surfing Film producer' in the movie Mondo Hollywood (1967). Davis went on to direct the surf documenatry The Golden Breed a year later. The film focused on surfers searching for the perfect ride... traveling to the Hawaiian surfing resorts of Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay, Velzyland, Banzi Pipeline, Haleiwa, Pupakea, and Makaha.

A soundtrack with a distinctively Hawaiian flavor, was released on Capitol (ST 2886).

At The Campus Theatre in Texas, Davis' 88 minute documenatry was the next feature following The Day the Fish Came Out (1967). And the good folks in Tucson, Arizona got a sick double-bill at the Fox Theatre, when it was paired with Bruce Brown's The Endless Summer (1967), but it wouldn't stay on screens for long... the next feature was Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967).

After breaking his back in a surfing accident in 1968, Davis returned to filmmaking with Liquid Space (1973), which was not a success . Davis wound up making soft-core adult films and passed away in 2001.

Formerly known as the Elite, the Beverly Hills Music Hall had been around since the mid-1940's. It came under the Laemmle banner around 1977.




November 1968



Based on the 1962 novel Obsession by Lionel White, Pierrot le Fou (Crazy Peter) from Jean-Luc Godard starred Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina. Two years earlier, Godard's 10th work was added to the international program of Lincoln Center's fourth New York Film Festival. The second film being the recently completed Masculine-Féminine (1966).

In Hollywood, The Loz Feliz Theatre celebrated French filmmakers with the debut of Jacques Demy's The Young Girls of Rochefort (1968) with Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac. Other films in the series included Philippe de Broca's Male Companion (1966), Louis Malle's The Fire Within (1964) and Robert Bresson's Pickpocket (1963).

Godard's movie proved popular on the arthouse circuit... in 1974 The Nickelodeon in Santa Cruz ran it with Bertrand Blier's 1974 movie Going Places (Les valseuses).




November 1968



Park Theatre
 710 South Alvarado Street, Los Angeles, CA 90057

Activist and filmmaker Pat Rocco produced gay erotica in the 1960s and his work was widely embraced by the gay community, and received favorable reviews from mainstream press. Rocco got his start as a physique photographer of male nudes. During these photography shoots, Rocco brought his camera to film the sessions. Armed with a sizeable collection of these short films, Rocco sold the prints via mail order.

In L.A.'s Westlake neighborhood, The Park Theater was one of the first venues to program gay film. The theater was owned by Shan Sayles and Monroe Beehler.

The two owners discovered Rocco while looking for filmmakers to provide content for their series at the Park, and asked to see his work. Sources claim "The Original Pat Rocco Male Film Festival" at the Park Theatre in July 1968, as the first program of all-gay films.

Rocco's prolific output of erotic films decreased in the early 1970s as trends shifted toward hardcore. By the late 1960s, Rocco's attention shifted toward serious issues; shooting gay demonstrations, parades, marches, festivals and events - providing some of the only existing film at the start of the gay rights movement in the U.S.

A collection of Pat Rocco's soft-core films were given to UCLA in 1983. The works included Pat Rocco Dares (1969), A Breath of Love (1969), Mondo Rocco (1970), and Sex and the Single Gay (1970).

One of the dominant studios at the time was Athletic Model Guild (AMG) - a physique photography studio started by photographer Bob Mizer in 1945. Mizer gained ground with the pocket-size, mass-distributed quarterly publication Physique Pictorial - essentially an adult magzine masquerading as a bodybuilding magazine. The pictorials were packed with amateur models - "rough-looking, muscular men". Many of the male models considered the "human debris of the movie industry", unable to to find work in Hollywood.

For a while Mizner got around strict mail-order guidleines on nudity with innovative ways to cover up the models dangly bits. The magazine was a success, selling up to 40,000 copies per issue.

By the late 1950's, the business evolved toward mail-order cinema. And withing time, Mizer's output went full-frontal. But the studio was in decline by the 1980's, hurt by the demand for hardcore content which made its way into theaters, and the advent of the VCR.

For more information on Pat Rocco
Pat Rocco

Built in 1914, the Alvarado Theatre was the sole theater in the upscale Westlake area. It was under new management from Robert Lippert in 1927, and the main attraction was Lon Chaney's Flesh and Blood (Irving Cummings, 1922). This was followed by Charles J. Hunt's 1926 The Dixie Flyer - billed as "A Great Railroad Thriller" (as if there could be a bad one). Admission was ten cents for children, and 25 cents for adults. Later that year, the Alvarado gave audiences a thrill with While London Sleeps, starring that faithful German Shepherd, Rin Tin Tin.

As the area and tastes changed, so did the attractions. The double-bills went from Elmer Gantry with Ocean's 11, to Damaged Goods (Haile Chace, 1961) and Carry on Nurse (Gerald Thomas, 1959). And not forgetting their canine origins, patrons had a rare opportunity to meet 'London', the Dog Star of Littlest Hobo (Charles R. Rondeau) in 1959. According to the theater, 'The dog and trainer will put on special acts and answer questions about the Littles Hobo'. Presumably, the famous German Shepherd said very little. For those not into dogs (or trainers), patrons could catch The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (Nathan Juran, 1958) instead.

A "new luxurious" Park Theater opened in April 1966, with two mainstream features: The Flight of the Phoenix (Robert Aldrich, 1965) and What a Way to Go! (J. Lee Thompson, 1964). The bustling Westlake theater opened early and admission was 50 cents until noon. For those willing to go the distance, they remained open until 5AM.

A year later, calling itself an Uptown Adult Theater (run by Mr. Chapman), the Park moved toward adult-only goods. In 1967, the marquee was giving you Satan in High Heels (Jerald Intrator, 1962) with Battle of the Thrill Dancers - with Candy Barr. Out of work job seekers wishing to become an 'experienced well groomed' usher at the Park, could do so for $1.85 an hour.

For a while, the Park went all-male with its programming, and screened first-run features at another male adult theater, The Hollywood Avalon. It wasn't unusual to see Mike Apache in A Midsummer Night's Dream - the fantastic male version, from Taurus Productions. The Athletic Model Guild (A.M.G.) presnted screen-sizzling male escapades with Johnny's Birthday Present. The Park and downtown's Mayan were the few places showing all-male film. At some point, both theaters showed the work of Pat Rocco.

Two years later, the Park was operated by the Sayles Brothers Theaters, operators of Hollywood's long-demolished Star Theater and Santa Monica's Mayfair Repertory. The all-male adult features were gone, and the Park was now offering big mainstream hits like M*A*S*H* (Robert Altman) and Patton (Franklin J. Schaffner) -- both for 49 cents.

As the chain boasted, "Family Theatres at Bargain Prices". Shan Sayles was President of Continental Theatres, which operated the Europa on Beverly.

Sayles ran into inconvenince when one his theaters was raided in 1971. The Paris Theater in downtown Arizona screened a 30-minute feature called Captain Peter. Citing obscenity, Judge Howard V. Peterson ordered sheriffs to destroy the film.

Back in Los Angeles, the Park managed to stay alive up until the mid-1970's, when The Exoricst and Dracula's Dog were on the marquee. Unable to compete with glitzier multiplexes, and facing a changing demographic, the curtains closed for good around 1986. The building sat vacant. Within a few years, the interior was gutted and the Park became the Westlake Mall - a swap meet.




November 1968



Vogue Theatre
 6675 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Head... The Monkees in 'a movie for a turned-on audience!'. Commenting on the Monkees only movie that he produced and directed, Bob Rafelson said, "It was a dud. But I loved it. There might be two explanations why it was a dud. The easy one is to say that if failed because The Monkees were an anathema to anyone over eight, which they were. But it might have been because it was a bad film. I don't know."

By all accounts, Head was not a success. Rafelson and Jack Nicholson wrote the story, which was more a series of vignettes or psychedelic episodes - beginning with Micky Dolenz jumping off a bridge, suspended in the water, while The Porpoise Song plays. Both the movie and soundtrack were commercial disasters and the bands' career suffered immensely as a result. A year later, The Monkees' NBC TV special 33 and ⅓ Revolutions per Monkees was generally panned. Not that it mattered too much, Pete Tork exited the band by the tie it aired, followed by Mike Nesmith. By 1970, the group disbanded.

The Laurel Drive-In in Hazelton, Pennsylvania showed Head in July 1969. The second feature was George Peppard in Pendulum. The Fox Midwest Theare in Illinois went with the G-rated feature, Save Free T.V. Wisconsin's Retlaw Theatre went a different route altogether and ran the British spy thriller Assignment K (Val Guest, 1968) for its 2nd feature ('The K is for kill').

West Coast audiences got a bang-up treat seeing Rafelson's film with 2nd feature, the cracking Duffy (1968), with Susannah York, James Fox, James Coburn with Donald Cammell providing the story.

And if you were living in the Bay Area, the Fox Theatre in Redwood City made it worthwhile by adding the British oddity, Cop-Out (1968). Director Pierre Rouve had produced the seminal Blow-Up two years earlier. Cop-Out had a cracking cast that included Bobby Darrin, Ian Ogilvy (The Witchfinder General), Geraldine Chaplin and the truly amazing and underated actress Yootha Joyce, star of the ultra-suburban British TV show George & Mildred.

Hollywood's Vogue Theater, with its free parking, had been around since the mid 30's, playing everything from Woman in the Wind,, Love Before Breakfast and Petrified Forest. Sturdy drama aside, the Vogue didn't say no to exploitation and schlock either; Girls of the Big House (George Archainbaud, 1945), Woman Who Came Back (Walter Colmes, 1945) and getting its first L.A. showing, the uncensored Camps of the Dead ("Stark ugly films that make you gasp!") surely gave 1946 audiences an upset stomach.

During the 60's, National General ran it under their Fox West Coast Theatres banner, and held the World Premiere of Pretty Poison on September 18, 1968 at the Vogue. Mann Theaters took over in the 1970's, renaming the venue the Mann Vogue. This held until the 90's, when you could catch Brewster's Millions, or line up to see Emilio Estevez' Men at Work.

In 1973, famed Hollywood costume designer Edith Head judged a beauty contest at the Vogue. The sinuous Snake Beauty Contest was publicity for Universal Pictures' Sssssss. The other two judged were Richard Zanuck and Ray Folsom (International Snake Expert). Winners were given a Universal Studios Contract.

The Vogue became Supperclub Los Angeles in the same year Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps opened. Neither lasted too long.




November 1968



Fox Village Theatre
 961 Broxton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024

After Yellow Submarine opened in London, The Chicago Daily News reported, "The Beatles entry in to the world of myth and folklore is The Yellow Submarine, an animated film fairytale which recently opened to great critical acclaim". It was described as, "a dazzling array of styles in film - art noveau, op pop, kinetic and psychedelic - and each style beautifully fits the subject matter it illustrates."

Highlighting various numbers in the movie, the paper said, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is given the films flashiest, most shimmering touches in changing kaleidoscopic colors that sparkled across the screen".

More succint was Renata Adler of the New York Times, "Yellow Submarine is a delicate, friendly, unpretentious film, which, if it did not have the imprimatur of the Beatles with their special talent, power and grace, would be of no great importance". Adler explored the films' connection to illicit substances, "There is no question that Yellow Submarine (and a lot of totally undistinguished movies like the Monkees' recent Head) are to a certain extent informed by marijuana, and that regardless of what its legal implications are, its esthetic importance is becoming more than marginal."

Print advertising for the movie was suitable turned-on, "You've seen a movie that you really loved - but have you seen a movie that really LOVES YOU!".

The Rideau Britannia drive-in, way up in Ontario, Canada paired the animated film with Richard Lester's 1966 musical-comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) -- a perfectly reasonable co-feature, given that Lester helmed A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965).

And if one needed further proof that 1968 was a great year for movies, Ottawa choice of movies included ; The Fixer (John Frankenheimer, 1968), Finian's Rainbow (Francis Ford Coppola, 1968), Candy (Christian Marquand, 1968), Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (Clive Donner, 1968), and The Wrecking Crew (Phil Karlson, 1968) - "Matt Helm gets it in Denmark!".

Back on the West Coast, Yellow Submarine ("a comic-cosmic fantasy in color animation") had its premiere at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and shown in the Bing Theatre. Tickets for the event were $15 for members, or $25 for people who kept saying they would one day purchase a membership but had to settle for paying more than they cared to. The Valley was a great place to catch the Blue Meanies - the Pacific Drive-in paired Yellow Submarine with Paper Lion (1968) - a sports-themed movie based on a George Plimpton novel.

Need more reasons to time-travel? Discerning film lovers in Los Angeles could choose from a dizzying array of film; Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968), Robert Mulligan's The Stalking Moon (1968), Uptight (1968), Devil in Velvet (1968), Robert Aldrich's The Killing of Sister George (1968), Joanna (1968) with Geneviève Waïte, Petulia (1968), and everyone's favorite zany car comedy Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) featuring British funnyman and eternal boob-chaser, Benny Hill.

Even the Church took notice. The Broadcasting and Film Commision of National Council of Churches gave Yellow Submarine an 'Award of Special Merit'. The Church described the animated movie as a film which "reaches new dimensions of creativity in the art of animation to proclaim a multi-level message that love overcomes evil and that man is at his best when he celebrates the art of being alive." In fact, there was more to the movie than just Ringo's off-key singing,they also interpreted the movie as a retelling of the Genesis story.




November 1968



Cine 1
 1358 North La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028

The building at 1358 was the Nico Charisse School of the Dances and Theater Arts, which officially opened in September 1937. A year later, the reknowned dance instructor advertised his studio with the following proclaiming "Isn't it significant that a 16-year old pupil of Charisse - Sid Finklea - was given a contract to succeed Prima Ballerina Danilova with Ballet Russe?"

The name Finklea belonged to Tula Ellice Finklea, better known as Cyd. The young student would go on to marry her instructor in 1939, when she was 18.

Keeping things musical during the 1940's, the American Operatic Laboratory ran the School of Piano Tuning and Maintenance - luring potential ivory tuners with the quote "This Vocational Field Is Rich In Opportunity". The dance studio vacated the spot in the mid-1950's, and Charisse moved his school to 319 North La Cienega Blvd., and offered more contemporary styles; Modern, Calypso and Primitive.

Ironically, the building found itself in the newspapers in 1963, when chiropracter Dr. Ruth Drown used the site as Drown Laboratories - albeit surreptitiously. Along with her daughter and two others, they were foud guilty of bilking patients with fraudulent electronic diagnoses and treatments for non-existent diseases. Touting itself as a "radio-therapy center", the charlatans were accused of using worthless electrical devices. The Superior Judge declared the devices "no more effective than voodoo or witchcraft."

It seems the quackery was not appreciated by the landlord. The 3000 square foot building was offered by a broker to suitable tenants, with the proposition "can vacate present medical tenant within 60 days." The broker also mentioned the building was adjacent to the Perry Mason Studios.

Charisse (who died in 1970) would have been thrilled with what was being offered 50 years later, when 'Hollywood's Newest Theater for Male Viewing' showed How To Be a Dancer in 1969.

The Cine 1 advertised they'd lost their lease and were closing in August 1973.




November 1968



Filmed at the Mad Hatter restaurant in Manhattan, Andy Warhol's minimalalist comedy Nude Restaurant was part of a trilogy that included I, a Man and Bike Boy (both screened at Cinematheque 16).

Not everyone was a fan of Andy Warhol's Nude Restaurant (1967), in which Viva "that bizarre Garbo-like beauty" and Taylor Mead sit around discussing the Vietnam war. When asked to comment on nudity in film, director Otto Preminger said, "People won't tire of nudity, as such. What they will tire of is dull films in which there is nudity." Preminger cited Warhols' Nude Restaurant as an example.

The Humboldt Forum and Film Society had a different opinion, and screened Nude Restaurant with Warhol's Bike Boy (1967) in a program called Parts 2 & 3. Andy Warhol's Love Trilogy, the X-rated event was held at the Arcata Theatre, and cost two dollars.

Things weren't so good in Honolulu. When planning their first outdoor underground film festival at the Waikiki Shell, an official for the City Department of Auditoriums banned the showing of Nude Restaurant. Officials said the film went beyond the bounds of good taste and banned it.

But one theatre was more than happy to show it... the 299-seat Garrick theatre in New York's Greenwich Village. In fact, while Warhol was recuperating in hospital after his near-fatal shooting in June 1968, the theatre was renamed the Andy Warhol Garrick theatre. Warhol's Bike Boy and Nude Restaurant (both 1967) had just opened there. A spokesman for the Belle-Bo Cinema, operators of the Garrick, said the renaming was based on Warhols contributions to films that are "responsible for the acceptsnce of underground movves by art houses and moviegoeres".




September 1969



Mayan Theatre
 1040 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

More Euro-sex from Carlos Tobalino's 1969 hit Infrasexum.

The movie ran into a spot of bother in one U.S. city; the town of Littletown, Colorado. The Jefferson county area was not comfortable with a movie about, 'A frank projection of unrestrained love of a boy and a girl', so Distric Attorney Robert Gallagher Jr. filed a court action to stop the Gothic Theatre from showing two Tobalino pictures; Infrasexum and Notorious Big Sin City (1970).

Gallagher said he was taking action under Colorado's new anti-pornography law on grounds the two films have no redeeming social value.

Still, the sexploitation film was a big hit on the drive-in circuit - the X-rated picture was paired with countless other adultd-only fare; Double Initiation (1970), Executive Wives (1971), Easy Virtue (1972) and Tonite... I Love You (1972).

Things might have relaxed in Coloroado - Infrasexum was advertised with co-feature, Laughter in the Dark (Tony Richardson, 1969).

Saturday night at the adults-only movies must have been spectacular at The Tyngsboro Drive-in in Massachusetts. Those folks clearly knew what they were doing by adding yet another Tobalino sleazefest to the attraction, I am Curious Tahiti (1970) and threw in A Hard Man is Good to Find (Jacques Bergue, 1969).

In fact, 1972 felt like a banner year for sexploitation/horror film, as the following were all on the big screen; Schizoid aka A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (Lucio Fulci, 1971), Bucket of Blood (Roger Corman, 1959), Mondo Erotica (Filippo Walter Ratti, 1973), Matinee Wives (Kendall Stewart, 1970), and Who Slew Auntie Roo? (Curtis Harrington, 1972) with Shelley Winters.




September 1969



Pantages Theater
 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028

When AIP (American International Pictures) released its multi-million dollar feature De Sade (1969) as a roadshow attraction, it marked the first hard ticket spectacular in their history. Acknowledging its racy content, producers, Sam Arkoff and James Nicholson, gave their picture an 'X' rating without bothering to send it to the Motion Pictures Association of American for its customary slice job on objectionable content. In discussing the dicy content, Nicholson explained, "We made it for adults... our film is literate and not excessive in depicting the sex scenes".

Filmed in Berlin, De Sade launched in mid-'69 with a cast that included Keir Dullea, Sena Berger and John Huston. Appearing as De Sade's licentious Uncle, John Huston said, "It is not a sex film, any more than 'Pride of the Yankees' about Lou Gehrig was a baseball film".

Perhps the AIP picture needed more sex, as Thomas Driber, critic for the Playground Daily News in Florida wrote, "Too much of the production is designed to arouse. It is gaudy, colorlessly flashy and an over-advertisment for Max Factor". Driber was just as enthused about the cast, "Even the guest appearance of 'John Huston' could not save the swishy dialogue of the obscure film".

The British-German coproduction wasn't without its problems - the film was behind schedule and original director Cy Endfield took ill during production (or had a mental breakdown) so Roger Corman flew to complete the last quarter of the film. Dullea claims this one reasons the film lacked style, as Endfield never got around to completing his own cut. Corman mostly worked on the orgy scenes, which Endfield wasn't happy doing, or unwilling to do.

In her column 'Focus on Film' for The Lincoln Star, Holly Spence was also left cold, "Between the orgies with herds of naked women and the pleasure the marquis derives from beating prostitutes, the story becomes confused. In its entirety, the film is boring and nonsensical".

It made sense to the Italians however, when they explored 18th century sadism with their own X-rated effort; Juliette de Sade (Warren Kiefer, 1969) - which made a great double with The Minx (Raymond Jacobs, 1968) at The Crest in Long Beach. Keeping things LBC, the Long Beach State Walk-In went even further with their 1970's programming, and slapped De Sade on a bill with Chastity, AIP's 1969 hitchhiking epic starring Cher, with screenplay by Sonny Bono.

Elsewhere, De Sade played with second features such as Fanny Hill (Mac Ahlberg, 1970) or The Gay Deceivers (Bruce Kessler, 1969).

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Although known as the place for countless World Premiere's of both stage and screen, Hollywood's famed Pantages Theatre had seen a few scandals and incidents over the years. None were more scandalous than the 1929 case against multi-millionaire owner, Alexander Pantages. The owner was accused of raping 17 year-old Eunice Pringle - "university girl and dancer". The alleged attack ocurred in an office at the Pantages Theatre Buildig at 7th and Hill Street, downtown Los Angeles.

During the first trial, Pantages, represented by Jerry Geisler, was found guilty and sentenced to between one and fifty years at San Quentin penitentiary. Having spent seven months in jail on the 14th floor of the Hall of Justice, Pantages was eventually released on bond.

Pantages won a new trial in 1931. The Supreme Court ruled the original judge erred in barring defence testimony and that prosecuting District Attorney Buron Fitts committed misconduct during the trial. The defense then argued it was a cover-up and cited Miss Pringle's lawsuit for $1,000,000 against Pantages directly after the first trial -- although she was awarded $3000 and collected in 1933. More damaging was Miss Pringle's friend - a 40 year-old Russian bachelor and would-be playwright whose play Pantages was supposed to being into his theater.

During this time, Lois, the theater magnate's wife was facing her own trial for manslaugher. Louis Pantages was charged in the autombile death of a Japanese gardener. However, she was given ten years probation and eventually released. Lois Pantages died in 1941.

After almost three days of deliberation, a jury of eight men and four women acquited Pantages. Pantages retired in 1929, after his first trial, but made a brief return to showbusiness a few years later. In 1936, the theater impressario was found dead in bed. The Pantages family home at 590 North Vermont Avenue was torn down in 1950. The 80,000 square-foot building had been occupied since 1946 by the Jewish Community Council. It was replaced by the Federation of Jewish Welfare Organizations. In the 1970's, the building was home to the Israel Aliyah Center, as well as the Anti-Defamtion League's audio-visual department. A decade later, the busy corner building was home to the Cleveland Chiropractic College, which exited in the late 1990's to become West Coast University.

The young dancer who brought charges against Pantages didn't allow a rape case to quell her ambitions, and went on to appear in the 1932 stage play "Some Baby" at the Fox Palace Theatre. In 1996, Eunice Pringle (born Eunice Irene Worthington) died of natural causes at a San Diego County hospital at age 84. Years later, rumors of a deathbed confession circulated -- the story being that Joseph P. Kennedy (a rival in the theatre business) asked Pringle to stage the rape, thus causing Pantages to crumble and sell his business to Kennedy for pennies.

This never happened. Negotiations for the leased building began in 1943 when the Pantage Theatre went into escrow to Clarence Brown, director at MGM studios. Six years later, Pantages was sold to RKO in 1949. The deal was signed by Pantages' son Rodney, and RHO head honcho Malcolm Kingsberg. Rodney Pantages died in 1986.

Under RKO, various changes were implemented to the existing look, but major alterations didn't happen until a decade later. To prepare for the West Coast Premiere of Operation Petticoat, RKO implememted a new marquee sign and plastic glass was used for the lobby. Furthermore, the floors were a mix of carpet and terazzo. RKO moved the previous box office from the center and built another on a side wall. They operated the theater until 1967, at which time they sold to Pacific Drive-In Theatres Incorporated.

Pringle's family home was listed as 1116 North Mariposa Avenue, in Hollywood. In 1942, Hollywood producer Michael Hoffman (owner of the Libery Pictures Coporation) died in his office at the theatre. Judgement at Nuremberg (1961), "Cleopatra" (1963), "Finian's Rainbow" (1968), "Sweet Charity" (1969), "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (1970), Carol Channing in "Hello, Dolly!", Charles Aznavour (1977), "Beatlemania" (1978), "Sugar Babies" 1979), Rex Harrison in "My Fair Lady (1980), Richard Burton in "Camelot" (1981).




September 1969



What makes a man live with another? Splitting the rent would be one answer.

Nevertheless, that question was posed by 20th Century-Fox for Stanley Donen's 1969 drama Staircase. Filmed in Paris, the story of two aging barbers "bitching boyfriends" in their London flat opened to decent reviews - although speaking to Rex Reed in 1972, Rex Harrison considered the film a disaster.

Life magazine's Brad Darrach presented a blunt, yet catchy headline "Rex and Dick in a Sick Gay Flick". Critics commented that Harrison and Burton acted like several of their ex-wives.

As another critic noted, "Staircase neither promotes nor deplores the condition of this unusual couple. With a rare and disturbing comprehension, it chronicles their pathetic life, revealing it in all its sad reality".

Charles Dyer's stage play, from which the movie was based, opened in London at the National Theatre, earning rave reviews for Paul Scofield and Patrick McGee. This was not the case on Broadway where the play lasted less than a month. This time, Eli Wallach and Milo O'Shea were the U.S. counterparts.

Direcor Stanley Donen took a direct approach in his casting when offering the role to Burton, telling him, "You must think me stark raving mad, but I want you to play a homosexual."

Trouble brewed on the set, with reports of Burton drinking and forgetting his lines, while Harrison apparently walked off. After shooting wrapped, the studio was desperate to find a way of marketing their very expensive and risky film with a gay theme. One of the many taglines summed it up "Richard Burton and Rex Harrison play what?".

Theatres put the R-rated Staircase together with a variety of second features: The Boston Strangler, Valley of the Dolls, Justine and The Anniversary.

But if "a sad gay story", as one as Canadian ad put it, wasn't your thing, there was no shortage of great sixties cinema to choose from: The Mummy's Shroud, Funny Girl, Doctor Zhivago, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy, Easy Rider and Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Hummpe and Find True Happiness?

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September 1969



Vine Theater
 6321 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028

"Medium Cool is Devastating" screamed North Carolina's High Point Enterprise newspaper. Film critic Robert Marks went on to say, "Medium Cool is a personal film statement by Haxell Wexler... about what is wrong with America today. It is a country with its heads in the cloudy-rhetoric of its ideals while its feet of clay are crumbling".

Titled "An Angry Look at Real Events", Vincent Canby called the film "an angry, technically brilliant movie".

The Paramount release was filmed on location in Chicago during the Democratic convention, and used dialogue recorded on the spot without the use of dubbing or looping, as critics pointed out. Some of that dialogue earned it an "X" rating. When asked what the policy was for strong language, Gene Dougherty, administrator for the Industry's Production and Ratings Code, explained, "There is no quick rule of thumb. Medium Cool was classified X not only for its language, but because of 'a scene of nudity in a sex-oriented situation'."

None of that would have mattered to Frank Daley, film critic for The Ottowa Journal. Daley was less enthused, "Forgive me if I opt out of the general parade of flag waving and gushing over Medium Cool the semi-documentary about the 'cool' medium, televison. Haskell Wexler is unquestionably an uncommon cinemaphotographer... be he also indiciates he is neither a writer nor a particularly skilled director".

Of course, Daley might have sniffed at some of the other youth-oriented movies playing at the time; Alice's Restaurant (Arthur Penn, 1969) - "Where the heads of all nations meet", She-Freak (Byron Mabe, 1967) - "In frightening color", Riot (Buzz Kulik, 1969), The Wicked Die Slow (William K. Hennigar, 1968) and Weekend with the Babysitter (Don Henderson, 1970).

The young crowd in Maryland were in for a treat had they driven along Rout 40 to the Hi-Way drive-in; Wexler's picture was playing with Barbarella (Roger Vadim, 1968).

It's interesting to note that the two most critically acclaimed films of 1969, Midnight Cowboy and Medium Cool, were classified 'X'. This must have struck MPAA honcho Jack Valenti as ironic. It was Valenti who admited he originally intended the X to be a "leper colony" for films of no artisitic quality whatsoever.




September 1969



Astro Theatre
 320 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

An incredible double-bill. Herschell Gordon Lewis and 'King Leer' aka Russ Meyer... together at a downtown L.A. cinema.

Lewis' second soft-core film concerned itself with sex-education and moral issue on the use of birth control. Screenwriter Allison Louise Down had worked on Lewis's earlier Blood Feast (1963). The Pill (as it was also known) introduced "the teenie-bopper bombshell", Nancy Lee Noble. The pretty blonde also featured in She Devils on Wheels.

Some newspaper ads included serious taglines, "The new morailty is here (and a little pill is the prophet)". On the drive-in circuit, Lewis's "mini-skirts and mini-morals" epic Blast-Off Girls (1967) was added as co-feature. And between the frugging wildcats and eye-blasting color, The Colonel himself, Harland Sanders made an appearance.

Film lovers in Deleware got the real deal at the MacDade Drive-In (which closed in 1982). You had "3 Hits - See It Like It Is...", Single Room Furnished (Matt Cimber, 1966), The Hooked Generation (William Grefe, 1968) and Lewis' The Pill. The contraceptive theme was popular that year as the 202 Drive-In offered Deborah Kerr and Rod Steiger in Prudence and the Pill (Fielder Cook, Ronald Neame, 1968).

Russ Meyer's Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (The Mankillers) was a big hit. The story of three watusi dancing girls looking for adventure, violence, and seduction was filmed on location in California. Meyer's 83 minute movie, with music by The Bostweeds was often paired up with Arch Hall Jr. in Eegah! (1962) or Russ Meyer's Motorpsycho! (1965).

Indiana's North Drive-In got down to brass tacks when they paired Russ Meyer with co-feature The Jesus Trip (Russ Mayberry, 1971).

The downtown Los Angeles 5-storey building that once housed the Astro Theatre encompassed a variety of merchants" dry goods store City of London "The Store that Started Broadway", Boericke and Runyon Co (a homeopathic pharmacy), the Goodyear Raincoat Company, and The Broadway Army Salvage Store that sold water buckets for 50 cents in 1920.

In the late 1940's, the 350-seat venue was known as Cozy Theatre - "Always Three Big Hits". By 1968, the just-as-comfortable Astro was competing with downtown's Pussycat and Mayan for unbelievable programming. The Astro may have won, with Lujuria De Marihuana aka Esclava del deseo in 1970. But by then the Astro had moved on to Spanish-language music events.




January 1970



Vagabond Theater
 2509 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90057

Told through a series of flashbacks, Max Ophuls 19th century story traced the career of the notorious Spanish dancer, Lola Montes, played by Martine Carol. Time magazine called the film "one of the most sumptous romances ever filmed!" More praise came from Andrew Sarris of the Village Voice in 1963, hailing Ophuls' final film "the greatest ever made". Sarris later revised this to reflect his opinion on Martine Carol.

The 140 minute French-West German film was shot at studios in Paris, Munich, Nice and filmed on location in Bavaria at a cost of 650 million francs. Ophuls' final film marked the only time he filmed in either Eastmancolor or Cinemascope.

Critisism was divided between those who found the film confusing and those who loved the excessive, sumptous decor and unusual narrative. Matters weren't helped with the Lola Montes being marketed as a vehicle for sex goddess Martine Carol - hailed as France's number one enchantress - instead of being treated as a more serious effort.

While not a commerical success (especially with Parisian audiences), the widescreen film received recognition from critics and filmmakers; Jacques Tati, Jean Cocteau and devotees of Cahiers du Cinéma. Despite Ophuls protests, the producers pulled prints and re-edited the film, which cut the running time down to about 90 minutes. Missing were the flashbacks and a new epilogue was introduced. This butchered version performed worse than ever.

American audiences got this sexy version under a new title The Sins of Lola Montez. The Rivoli Theater in San Benito, Texas showed this new version along with Follies Bergere and threw in a unique Cinemascope short, Colorful Courtships.

In the mid-60's, the film was pieced together from purchased prints to correspond closely with Ophuls' original cut (although 30 minutes were still missing). In 1969, Richard Schickel said, "it must be regarded as one of the most significant cinematic events of the year."

This version was a huge hit on the arthouse circuit for many years. The lavish film played Indiana's 'International Film Series at the Community Theatre' in 1969, and proving its lasting popularity, the film was shown a decade later at The Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham, North Carolina. The Saturday night Late Show advertised the film as 'Complete, Uncut as Ophuls made it!'. Some theatres put the impressionist biography together with La guerre est finie (Alain Resnais, 1966).

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Back in 1927, two businesses were known to occupy this Wilshire District building; Paul Smith Portrait Studios, followed by the Martini Grill. Dinner was $1.50 and the new establishment proudly advertised of having a 'super fan installed on the roof to keep the Dining Room well ventilated'. For a period of time in the late-1940's, the building operated as The Masque Theater, which operated the Vagabond later on. It was here where Eva Gabor had $2500 worth of jewelry stolen while she was on stage in 1946.

One time owner Herbert Rosener, also operated the Music Hall and the Beverly Canon. Rosener began in the 1930's with the the Esquire, which became Canter's Deli, on Fairfax in the early 1960's. Rosener's other theater was the Laurel on Beverly Blvd, which became a synagogue.

Officially opening in May 1950, the Vagabond Theater's inaugural attraction was Saints and Sinners. As reported, the "new art house offers beauty and comfort and fills a reported long-felt need for a motion picture theater in the Wilshire-Town House district." Initial address was listed as '2511 Wilshire'.

The Vagabond did a solid job of first-run and foreign art-hhouse programming (Kurosawa, Hitchcock, Bergman, Fellini), in addition to the odd live music event. However, one imported title landed the theater in trouble. Citing the city's obscenity law for showing Fire Under Her Skin (Marcel Blistène, 1958), two theater managers were cleared of any violations, after Municipal Judge David W. Williams viewed the movie in private and acquited them both. They were represented by attorney Stanley Fleishman, who had success defending Ingmar Bergman's Monika (1953), another title deemed obscene by vice squad officers. A similar issue occured with Roger Vadim's And God Created Woman in 1957. And once again, attorney Stanley Fleishman asserted the film was not obscene.

By the mid 60's, a Peter Sellers double was keeping ribs firmly tickled; The Mouse That Roared! with Only Two Can Play. If hilarity wasn't your thing, heading west to Hollywood got you a seat at Cinema on Western for Tod Browning's Freaks ("Banned for 30 Years in Many Countries") with Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising ("L.A. Court Rules, Not Obscene").

Setting themselves apart from the pack, the Vagabond hosted the Gala World Premiere of Weekend of Fear; written, produced and directed by Joe Danford in 1966 -- 'A Film by the New Talent of Hollywood'. According to one synopsis, "The actors do not speak in this low-budget film: narration is dubbed through a stream-of-consciousness device. The plot centers around a middle-aged woman who hires a deaf-mute to kill the girlfriend of the man she desires."

Maybe some of the lowbrow programming rubbed off, as X-rated fare such as He and She (Mauro Bolognini, 1969) and Matt Cimber's Africa Sexualis 'Black is Beautiful' (1970) brought the punters in. Patrons were required to be over 18 or bring their marriage licence. Perhaps afraid they were losing the 'Cahiers du Cinéma' crowd, the place was renamed The New Vagabond in 1971, and artsy programming resumed; $2 admission got you into Godard's Weekend and Contempt.

The ecclectic programming continued with an exclusive L.A. engagement of One Day in the Life Ivan Denisovich (Caspar Wrede, 1970) in 1974. Yet more changes, as the Vagabond Theater announced a Grand Re-Opening in 1975, kicking off with 35mm prints of Weekend in Havana and The Mark of Zorro. Considering how many theaters were showing adult film, the erotica was back in 1975, with Georgina Spelvin's X-rated Wet Rainbow - now calling itself the New Downtown Vagabond.

Not slowing down, the 350-seat Vagabond (now run by owner Tom Cooper) said farewell to erotica, and made a return to serious arthouse programming, striving for the best 35mm prints. In the 1980's, the theater held numerous retrospectives; a seven-month festival celebrating MGM, showed over 220 films. Joan Crawford's The Unknown was screened (once thought lost), as well as Gone With the Wind in its original aspect ratio.

In 1984, a 16-week tribute to 20th Century Fox presented the uncut, three-hour version of Star, with director Robert Wise in person. If that didn't give film lovers a thrill, Police Academy - the #1 Comedy in America, was showing just about everywhere. That same year, a six-week retrospective of D.W. Griffith kicked off with The Birth of a Nation (1915). But if Civil War didn't mix with your Milk Duds, the music scene in L.A. was a good distraction; The Cars played The Forum in Inglewood, joined by Wang Chung, and The Knitters headed over to West L.A.'s Music Machine (long gone).

Cooper left the Vagabond in 1985, citing the demise of revival film falling to the popularity of video. During that time, Cooper was also programming arthouse at the Tiffany Theater on Sunset. Cooper's final attraction for the Vagabond was "The Best of Warner Bros. Cartoons". Although his time at the Vagabond came to an end, Cooper remained active a few miles away at the Loz Feliz on Vermont Avenue.

The neighborhood theater was on the verge of becoming a shopping center or restaurant, but received an 11th-hour reprieve when Cooper signed a lease. At the time, the family-run Laemmle theater had already lost their own lease in a rental dispute when Denley Investements & Management Co purchased the spot a year before. Cooper said he planned to reopen with Gone With the Wind.

By 1988, it appeared nobody gave a damn; revival was out and Bertolucci's The Last Emperor was in. Cooper claimed he was losing money, as demand for revival had fallen. The lease was handed over to Fred Hicks, president of Plaza Entertainment. The Loz Feliz wasn't the only theater Hick's was involved in; Fred Hicks held the master lease on Silverlake's Vista Theater, having purchased a long-term lease from Landmark. By the time Landmark turned it over to Hicks in 1985, the 700-seat Vista was ready for closing. Theater manager Mark Weber surmised "We used to do well with 'Harold and Maude', 'King of Hearts, 'Road Warrior' and 'Gone with the Wind', but they're all now on videocassette or cable."

Other factors given for the Vista's demise were; the confusing intersection, lack of parking and the areas unsavory reputation, not helped by an adult bookstore across the street. For the final evening, the Vista ran a John Waters' double; Polyester and Desperate Living. Despite the loss, moviegoers around town were spoiled for choice; Rambo: First Blood Part II, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Ladyhawke, Secret Admirer, Amadeus and Perfect were all sound alternatives.

Now with Hicks running the show, the Vista reopened as a second-run theater in June 1985 with it's first new double; Beverly Hills Cop and The Breakfast Club. Hicks also operated the Plaza Twin in Escondido and the Plaza in Valencia. At the time, Landmark were still running other revival theaters; The Fox Venice, West L.A.'s Nuart (which they purchased in 1974) and the Rialto in South Pasadena (which soon switched from revival to first-run independant art films).

In March of 1988, the owners of the Onyx Cafe, an adjacent coffee house, were served eviction papers (despite petitions from local artists to save it). Hicks claimed he needed the small space for theater expansion; hoping to build a three-screen complex by adding two 150-seat theaters on either side of the Vista. However, L.A.'s oldest independently run coffeehouse relocated to a spot nearby on Vermont Avenue. Ten years later, the Onyx was done for good. Bohemian artists sipping espresso while thumbing over a dogeared copy of 'Last Exit to Brooklyn', were replaced by faux-bohemian actors and models ordering goat cheese and prosciutto brochetta whilst ordering movie tickets on their phone.

Former Vista owner Fred Hicks has seemingly vanished. His company Plaza Entertainment, encountered financial problems in 1986. The Landmark Theater Group (once known as Parallax), was purchased by the Samuel Goldwyn Company, under the Metromedia Entertainment Group banner.

Throughout its long and varied history, since the days it advertised 'Girlie Films for Unshockable Adults' (when it was the Vista-Continental), Macho Hit '77 / Rough Trades and Spread Eagles in the 70's, or Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks in the 1980's, the Vista still stands.

........................

Unable to stay away from the Vagabond, Cooper returned for it's reopening in 1991, with a Frank Capra Festival (Capra had passed away that year). Other sources listed Woodstock and Quadrophenia for the opening. No that it mattered, if you couldn't stand seeing Sting on the big screen, there was always Jimmy Smits in the fast-paced, good-hearted screwball comedy Switch (Blake Edwards).

The Vagabond was still in business up until the early 1990's, with offbeat, independent titles such as Laws of Gravity (Nick Gomez, 1992), Barbara Trent's Feed: The Panama Deception (1992) and David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992). The Vagabond also took part in L.A.'s first 3-D film festival, which treated audiences to Cat Women on the Moon (1959) - shown in twin-projector 3-D., Flesh for Frankenstein (Paul Morrissey, 1973) and Dogs of Hell (Worth Keeter, 1983). Luckily, not in 3-D was Milton Berle, who introduced a selection of his past work in 1992.




January 1970



Not to be confused with Stewardesses Report (1971), The Naughty Stewardesses (1974), Blazing Stewardesses (1975), or even Stewardess School (1986) -- The Stewardesses (1969) was the original flight attendant movie.

Shot around Los Angeles Internationl Airport, the X-rated mile-high movie was a massive hit at the drive-in, despite less than stellar reviews. Bill Crawford for Oklahoma's Lawton Constitution called it, "Sexploitation at its worst." It seems Crawford flew Coach, "It's pure garbage. A hardcore pornography stag film in color at hiked admission prices".

Yet according to Lawton, The Showcase Cinema (demolished in 2013) reported sold out houses for opening night, and had racked up more box office take than Love Story or Patton.

The added '3D' was a terrific marketing ploy (although theatres did provide glasses), as was the blurb about the 'unpublishable novel'. The clever marketing tricks continued full force with print ads including semi-serious blurb about, 'the heightened realism of our new ultra-graphic 3-D process... considered too controversial for today's audience'.

In the 1940's, Colonel Robert Bernier's was a pioneer in single-strip 3D projection. Bernier had developed a 16mm single-strip frame system that used a rotating polarizer attachement. This new function minimized flicker. Bernier would perfect this system for 35mm in 1965, and gave it the name SpaceVision. SpaceVision was used for photography on 3D films such as Paul Morrissey's Flesh for Frankenstein (1973). However, StereoVision lenses buuilt by Chris Condon were used to exhibit the film in 3D. Condon's StereoVision projection was used for The Stewardesses. Condon's patented process was used in other feature films including Parasite (1982), Metalstorm (1983), and Jaws 3D (1983).

In Texas, The Stewardesses followed a run of Scorpio '70 at the downtown Aztec. But if titliating transatlantic totty wasn't for you, drive-ins were packed with an incredible array of horror/exploitation film to choose from; Scars of Dracula (1970), The Long Swift Sword of Siegfried (1971), The Blood Brothers of Horror, Chrome and Hot Leather (1971), Dagmar's Hot Pants (1971) and Chain Gang Women (1971).

If mainstream was prefered, you could spend your hard earned money on a variety of movies; Play Misty for Me (1971), The Omega Man (1971), Richard C. Sarafian's Man in the Wilderness (1971) and even Disney's The Living Desert (1953).




January 1970



Theatre VII
 1445 N. Las Palmas Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028

The Hollywood Center Theatre moved between film and legit theatre, depending on who rented its facilities. For a brief period, the spot was known as the Writers' Club Theatre - perhaps due to the original Writer's Club being located nearby, on the corner of Sunset and Las Palmas.

Primarily, community theater was it's bread and butter. Everything from 'The Caine Mutiny' to the musical-satire 'Unisex '72'. In 1963, the Los Angeles Youth Theater producer, Gerald Gordon's presented 'The Fantasticks', which celebrated its 1000th performance in 1968 (the same year it was given a new production featuring an 'All-Negro cast').

Gordon's long list of productions included, Barbara Allen's 'Dark of the Moon', 'The Wind in the Willows' and Neil Simon's 'Come Blow Your Horn'. The busy producer, actor and director worked extensively throughout Los Angeles; the Ivar Theatre, The Playhouse on 940 South Figueroa Street, the Lindy Opera House on the Miracle Mile, the Las Palmas at 1642 North Las Palmas Avenue and Le Conte Auditorium at 1316 North Bronson Avenue in Hollywood (Le Conte Middle School).

Gordon moved into directing for his first feature film in 1973; So Long, Blue Boy. The World Premiere was held at Hollywood's Egyptian II at 6712 Hollywood Blvd (now home of the American Cinematheque). Reviewing the the R-rated movie, the Advocate had this to say, "This film will set public acceptance and newfound tolerance of homosexuality back 50 years..."

The next chapter for the Hollywood Center Theatre started in 1969, when the venue became Theatre VII ('Where friendliness is Contagious') and acts such as Charles Pierce (The Master of Camp) hit the boards. A year later, and now advertising itself as 'The only gay theatre like it anywhere!' -- the Mark VII offered Live Male Stage Shows. The name didn't hold; the new moniker was gone a few years later, but male oriented material continued from the likes of Casey Donovan The Back Row (Doug Richards), Gary Yuma Fun Farm and Calvin Culver Tubstrip.

In the mid-70's, all sorts of esoteric theater groups staged shows; The Media Center for Community Action staged 'Soul Alley', featuring Felton Perry. Perry was best known years later as Johnson, in Paul Verhoeven's 1987 hit Robocop -- "He's legally dead. We can do pretty much what we want to him."

Adding to yet another chapter in the building's history, the venue was home to the Sherwood Oaks Experimental College (once located at Crossroads of the World on Sunset) in the early-80's; offering workshops and record engineering classes. Various name changes ocurred throught the next decade; the Actors Center, the Comedy Playhouse and back to the Hollywood Playhouse.




January 1970



More X-rated Euro imports in downtown Los Angeles. The Female (Setenta veces siete) was a racy Argetinian drama with Isabel Sarli, from 1962. Sarli playes a prostitute named Lara and gets involved with a fugitive horsethief. Sarli, a one-time finalist in the Miss Universe contest, was a fixture in '60s and '70's X-rated features, namely 1969's Fuego, of which some outlets said, 'Sarli makes Racquel Welch look like Twiggy standing backward'.

But in the late '50s, Sarli was touted as 'the first major film queen from South American since Carmen Miranda', which wasn't far off the mark. After her nude splash scene in her film debut, Thunder Among the Leaves (1958), Sarli grabbed the headlines - not unlike Hedy Lamarr disrobing in Ecstasy (1933).

Local movie goers in Buenos Aries went crazy for her and Sarli was considered more audacious than Brigitte, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe or Jayne Mansfield. Her fame was cemented at the premiere of her second movie, Sabaleros (1959) - which caused a frenzy with eager crowds.

For the U.S. release, The Female was pushed to make it appear more explicit, 'A starkly realisitic film for adults only'. And one-sheets screamed a new tagline, 'It makes I, A Woman look like Mary Poppins'. I'm guessing Mary Poppins never got invloved with a horse thief. While The Female contained nudity, it apparently was not the body of Isabel Sarli. In her 1970 lawsuit, Sarli claimed the producers inserted nude shots of another woman for its U.S. release. Sarli sued for $1.5 million, claiming mental suffering. In the suit, Sarli said she signed a contract with Cambist Film with a non-nude scene clause.

The other 'monstrous hit' was Her Odd Tastes (Don Davis, 1969). The 'laughable soft-core movie' starred Marsha Jordan and was released by Crest Film Distributors. Marsha Jordan went on to appear in the aptly titled Marsha the Erotic Housewife (1970) -- playing, one would assume, an erotic housewife.




February 1970

The Toho continued it's Japanese programming with Masahiro Shinoda's Double Suicide (Shinju ten no Amijima, 1970), the uplifting tale of a married owner of a paper shop in Osaka, in love with a courtesan in bondage to the Kinokuniya Tea House. When Double Suicide opened its run at the Tohn La Brea, it was called one of finest Japanese films in years, and an audacious experiment. It was praised for the beautiful black and white, high intensity contrast that gave the film the look of Japanese woodcuts. Shinoda's Double Suicide was the opening film for a Toho Film Festival at New York's revival/arthouse theater the Bijou, and was followed by Kurosawa's Sanjuro and The Bad Sleep Well. The film was screened the previous fall at the Museum of Modern Art.

Second on the bill was Katsumi Iwauchi's The Night of the Seagull (1970), released Japan as Suna no kaori. Critics called the picture "intriguing and offbeat".




January 1970

January 1970

Mann Plaza Theatre (demolished)
1067 Glendon Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Mann Plaza Theatre



Robert Downey's satire Putney Swope caused all kinds of conniptions with the ratings board and certain viewers. The strictly x-rated film told the story 'of a black militant who turns the advertising industry upside down when he takes over a Madison Avenue ad agency'.

Many critics wildly raved about the film; "It is funny, sophomoric, brilliant obscene, disjointed, marvelous, unintelligible and relevant. If anybody tries to improve it, he should be sentenced." (NY Times)

Other critics had this to say, "Putney Swope raises satire to heights of obscenity... It may not be the worst movie of the year, but it comes close to being the movie with the most frequent utterance of four-letter words".

Critic Frank Daley observed that, "Much of the time too, Downey reaches for a laugh by inserting a dirty word... Such shock tactics work well the first time but lose their comic force with each repetition".

Even though it was called, 'A two-color Mad Magazine story come to life', Putney Swope (The Truth and Soul Movie) performed very well. Downey's movie was on programs with an assortment of hits; King of Hearts, What's Up Tiger Lily, In the Heat of the Night and Me, Natalie.




January 1972



An odd double, if ever there was one. The first, a pseudo-documentary about the Algerian FLN (Front de Liberation Nationale) and the struggle for freedom, and the second, a story about a sluttish white woman on a New York City subway car who provokes and seduces the only other passenger, a well-to-do black man, whom she later kills.

Not sure I see the connection, but anyway...

On it's release in 1967, Gillo Pontecorvo's critically acclaimed The Battle of Algiers was called "one of the most effective statements against United States involvement in Vietnam", and had already won The Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival.

The Battle of Algiers found itself booked on the revival circuit, gaining a new audience. In 1978, it was screened at the Magic Lantern theatre, as well as the Anderson Valley high school in Boonville, Ukiah.

By 1984, Pontecorvo hadn't stopped his interest in political cinema. Although he hadn't made a movie since Ogro (1979), Pontecorvo, who had spent two weeks in Nicaragua, was planning a new film to protest U.S. involvement in Central America.

Following its run with Dutchman (1967, Anthony Harvey), the Los Feliz ran Battle of Algiers with Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967) in 1973.

Dutchman was hailed as a "shocking but significant film... one of the most extraordinary happenings in motion picture history". Taken from Leroi Jone's controversial play, Dutchman's movie adaption "practically splinters the screen", as one critic observed.

The Nickelodeon in Santa Cruz paired the black and white epic with John Cassavetes' Faces.

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