December 1971

Cinema Theatre
 1122 North Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029

Made over a six-week period, Flesh was directed by Paul Morrissey while Warhol was recovering from his June 1968 bullett wounds inflicted by Valerie Solanas. Warhol regular Viva supposedly wanted to make a movie which allowed her to have sex on screen.

Morrissey's first production for Warhol became the first of a trilogy (the others being Trash (1970) and Heat (1972). The notorious film, complete with male and female nudity also marked the debut of two Warhol Superstars, Candy Darling and Jackie Curtis.

In the land of a good strong cuppa and a plate of biscuits, Morrissey's film bypassed the Brtish censor (who would never have passed it) and the film went through the Open Space Theatre - a cinema club and gained a wide audience. Those who weren't enamoured were the British authorities, who found the film distasteful. Police raided one of the clubs' evening shows and duly confiscated the film, took bits of the projector and wrote down names (never good when names are taken). John Trevelyan, Secretary of the British Board of Film Censors (958-1971), had earlier approved showings in a club context and decried the police action. After some legal back and forth, the club's owners appeared in court, plead guilty and fined (although Warhol picked up the tab). Flesh was granted an X certificate in 1970.

At a reported cost of $4,000, Flesh was intended as a hardcore Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger, 1969), and made a star out of Joe Dallesandro (one time actory bouncer). The successful film enjoyed a long run at the Garrick on Bleecker Street.


The second feature on the program, billed as Andy Warhol's Women was officially known as Andy Warhol's Women in Revolt (1972) - although Andy Warhol's PIGS ('Politically Involved Girls') and Andy Warhol's Sex were also used - the last one being used for its premiere ar the first Los Angeles Filmex film festival.

Filmed over time between 1970 and 1971, the shoot took place at the Factory, located at 33 Union Square West. The film featured Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis as the trio of feminists. The Women's Lib storyline was attacked by some media, accusing Warhol of mocking the movement.

Warhol's movie was paired with a lot of incredible 70's programming; the UA Cinema 2 in Santa Cruz, added 'the original uncut version' of 491 (Vilgot Sjöman, 1964) as co-feature.

Tucson's Cineworld 4 Theatre was the place to be for adult film; Warhol was paired with the X-rated To Ingrid, My Love, Lisa (Joseph Sarno, 1968) - under the title Yes!. The theatre opened in 1971, and met a sad fate in 2009 when it became a Chuck E Cheese's restaurant.


Listed under 'Independent' in movie guides, the decades-old Cinema Theatre was a great place for underground film (with a few adult titles thrown in). Everything from I, A Woman, Mondo Cane and Don't Look Back could be seen. In 1967, Cinema screened Genet's The Balcony (Joseph Strick, 1963) with Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out (Robin S. Clark, 1967) - which asked "Is He a Mad Messiah, or a Charlatan???". Not sure why he couldn't be both.

By the early 70's, Cinema became was operated as a Topar Theatre, a chain created by Topar Films. The Beverly Hills firm was run by Tom Parker, at one time acquited of selling obscene films to undercover police. Topar Films released a string of adult titles, such as The Ways of the Harlot (Perry Dell) - which ran at Santa Monica's Yale Theatre, owned by Parker.

Now under the Topar banner, the programming took on a more adult nature; It Happened In Hollywood, The Sexual Secrets of Marijuana (Dennis Van Zak, 1971) and Gerard Damiano's 1973 classic The Devil in Miss Jones were keeping patrons satisfied. 24-hour adult movie theaters were everywhere; The Po No Adult Theater on Cahuenga were showing the topical Female Watergate Buggers, the Cave in Hollywood had Teenage Cowgirls, the Xanadu on Melrose offered Girl Nappers, the Beverly Cinema went for Sweet Agony and Cine Cienga gave you Score.

Topar Theaters ran into some bother in 1973, when Republican State Senator John L. Harmer from Glendale, challenged the theatre chain for showing The Devil Miss Jones. Harmer argued the film was obscene and therefore a public nuisance, and under the 1913 Red Light Abatement Act, could be closed down. Also known as Proposition 4, the 1913 Abatement Act had originally been used to curb prostitution and gambling.

The chain prevailed, citing an earlier case against Deep Throat, in which the appelate court ruled that 'a film shown only in a closed theater to those persons who have paid admission prices and have entered the theater does not constitute a public nuisance'. Senator Harmer later served as Chairman of the 'Lighted Candle Society' where his bio stated he is 'an individual citizen in opposition to the production, distribution and consumption of pornography'.

May 1972

May 1972

"Fritz is enough to set Disney spinning in his grave, but it's a funny, brilliantly pointed and executed entertainment", said New York magazines' Judith Christ.

Ralph Bakshi's Fritz the Cat (1972) combined drawing with live-action and well earned its' X-rating. Bakshi had worked at Paramount's Cartoon Studio in New York until that unit closed around 1967. After collaborating with producer Steve Krantz on Rocket Robin Hood and His Merry Spacemen television series, Bakshi wound up directing the first animated Spider-Man television series.

Based on Robert Crumb's 'underground comic', Fritz the Cat, Bakshi's first feature film animation was backed by Krantz. It was Krantz and Bakshi who approached a reluctant Crumb and asked to adapt his character for an animated film.

Warner Bros. were attached and agreed to finance the film, but backed out after Krantz and Bakshi refused to tone down the sexual conent. Producer Saul Zaents and distributor Cinemation Industries took over. Numbers varied over the years, but Bakshi claimed the total budget was $700,000.

Written for adults, the 78 minute film had its sneak peak at the Museum of Modern Art in the spring of 1972. Reviews were positive (although Crumb was not fond of it). And despite certain theaters unwilling to show X-rated features and some mainstream newspapers maintaining their policy of not running ads for X-rated films, the landmark animated film developed a massive following and became a midnight movie favorite.

May 1972

Robert Mulliagan's slow-moving but atmospheric period thrilller was written for the screen by Thomas Tryon, from his own novel.

A former actor, Tryons "shocking best-seller" sold more than 3.5 million copies and received much praise; The L.A. Times raved "This first novel from Thomas Tryon is a distinguished one, it may well leave you blenched with horror... In due time The Other will doubtless become one of the classics of horror tales...".

And the Chicago Sun-Times couldn't put the book down, "The Other is an all-out war on reality."

Mulligan already had a few hits under his belt; To Kill A Mockingbird (1962), Love with a Proper Stranger (1963), Inside Daisy Clover (1966) and Summer of '42 (1971).

The great cast included Diana Muldaur; simply wonderful as Rosalind Shays on NBC's L.A. Law (with one of the greatest onscreen deaths), and John Ritter; the double-entendre dynamo Jack Tripper on ABC's Three's Company.

Reviews for the film were excellent, at least according to the newspaper ads, filled with tons of excitable blurb; 'IT'S PURE HITCHCOCK!' 'It staggers the imagination - the horrors that happened that summer! There were secret terrors. Secret places. But the most macabre secret is too frightening to tell'. And no less than Rosemary's Baby author, Ira Levin, claimed, "OH-MY-GOD HORROR!".

And in a clever nod to Robert Mulligan's previous hit, some ads came with, "The Summer of '35 was a nightmare!".

As if one horror wasn't enough, the Roselawn Drive-In Theatre in Ohio added another 20th Century-Fox horror, The Legend of Hell House (John Hough, 1973) as a co-feature... 'For the Sake of Your Sanity, Pray It Isn't True!.

May 1972

In submarine lingo, 'silent running' means shutting down a ships' engines to avoid sonar detection.

Douglas Trumbull's futuristic ecological film almost starred Larry Hagman as botanist, Freeman Lowell, the lone hero savings earth's vegetation. On what was perhaps a bad career move, Hagman passed on the movie and wound up directing Beware! The Blob (1972)

Before making the movie to directing, Trumbull was known for his seminal special effects work on movies such as 2001 A Space Odyssey, The Andromeda Strain and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

With a budget around $1 million, and a 32 day shoot, the movie, while considered sensitive and intelligent, bombed at the box office - deemed far too sermonizing. Critic Robert Dahl called the science-fiction opus "an absolute stunner... it manages to reach one's emotional consciousness in a way that few filmed works of the sci-fi genre ever have". But Dahl had some resrevations when it came to the "utter misuse of Joan Baez' voice on the soundtrack and a very weak supporting cast".

Praise went to Bruce Dern, finally getting his chance with a 'normal' role after years of playing madmen and psychos. "I think it started on an old Alfred Hitchcock TV show. I played a hillbilly psychotic peach picker who terrorized Teresa Wright and made her eat a dead squirrel", Dern told Rex Reed in 1972. "The word was out in Hollywood; 'Want a maniac? Get Dern.' And I played them all."

The TV show in question was 'Lonely Place', a 1964 episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Although the dim-witted peach picker was actually played by Pat Buttram. Dern played the psychotic hired hand who nearly rapes her.

The soundtrack featured an orchestral score by Peter 'PDQ Bach' Schickele, who provided folks songs for Joan Baez; (Rejoice in the Sun), written by Diane Lampert. A soundtrack was released in 1978 on Varèse Sarabande (originally released as Decca: DL 7-9188).

May 1972

English playright, Joe Orton (1933-1967) had an earlier play adapted for the screen, Entertaining Mr. Sloane (1964), from Warner-Pathe.

Orton's second major play openend in London in 1966 to good reviews (though it was performed as early as 1965). But the 1968 U.S. stage production was widely panned when it opened at the Biltmore Theatre in New York. "The quite deplorable story is about death, religion, money and the police... The work is sacriligeous and blasphemous, and, indeed, some of it is also distasteful."

Regardless, Loot carried on with successful runs; 1975 at the London's Royal Court Theatre (with Albert Finney directing), 1986 at the Manhattan Theatre Club (with Kevin Bacon in the lead), and the Music Box on Broadway, with Alec Baldwin replacing Kevin Bacon.

The PG-rated 1972 movie (recommended as adult entertainment in some theater chains) received mixed reviews. New York magazine lamented that Richard Attenborough and Lee Remick "are wasted in a heavy-handed banal take-off". Ottowa's Frank Daley agreed on the heavy-handed aspect, but called the film 'provocative and funny'. The Chicago Tribune called it, "a knockout farce guaranteed to offend everybody". Kevin Thomas for the Los Angeles Times praised its "savage wit" but noted the film's "gleeful sallies seem a bit redundant".

If a movie about knocking off bodies, banks and birds wasn't their cup of PG Tips, audiences in Los Angeles had other tasty choices for May 1972; Loew's Theatres were screening the X rated Eroticon (Richard Franklin, 1971), there was a Humphrey Bogart Showcase at the Beverly Canon (tickets were $2.50), Woodstock (Michael Wadleigh, 1970) was in Full Stereophonic Sound at the Doheny Plaza, Fellini Satyricon (Federico Fellini, 1969) played the Nuart and Blow-Up (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966) was at the Plaza Theater in Westwood.

But if you'd had enough big screen adventure, the Hollywood Palladium on Sunset gave you Steve Miller Band with Youngbloods.

May 1972

Based on author Alex Haley's book, the Warner Bros. documentary was nominated for an Academy Award alongside Manson, Marjoe, Ape and Super-Ape and The Silent Revolution. Kevin Thomas for Los Angeles Times called it 'immensley powerful' and 'an admirably responsible documentary'.

In downtown Detroit, Michigan, the Grand Circus paired it with Sidney Poitier in They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (Gordon Douglas, 1970). Black cinema was evident in Philadelphia; Top of the Heap (Christopher St. John, 1972), Boots Turner (Edward J. Lakso, Herbert L. Strock, 1972) and Buck and the Preacher (Sidney Poitier, 1972) were all playing. Over at Cinema 19, you could find Shaft (Gordon Parks, 1971) paired with The Split (Gordon Flemyng, 1968).

May 1972

May 1972

This nutty PG-rated caper from United Artists starred Burt Reynolds, Raquel Welch and Yul Brunner. Rounding out the cast were Tamara Dobson and Charles Martin Smith (memorable as Terry the Toad in American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973). Life Magazine's Richard Schickel called Fuzz a 'relaxed enterprise', observing that the two leads manage to 'keep their clothes on and read most of their lines intelligently'. Kevin Thomas refered to it as a "slick police thriller with broad comedy accents". New York Magazine were not impressed, calling Fuzz an "out-of-context sex-and-violence version of the Keystone Cops" and noted the "rotten script and incoherent direction".

In Los Angeles, this was paired with Cold Turkey (Norman Lear, 1971), or if you happened to be in Gaston, North Carolina (and there's no reason you wouldn't be), your second feature was Live and Let Die (Guy Hamilton, 1973).

May 1972

Mayan Theatre
 1038 Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Less luxurious was San Bernadino's Fine Arts theatre, which also ran Tobalino's film with Easy Virtue (D.L. Monty, 1972). Apparently, demand was high for adult fare, as regional print ads carried the following important message; 'By overwhelming public demand and for a limited time only, we bring back 'Affair in Rio de Janeiro'. We cannot ignore thousands of letters and phonecalls requesting this picture. Many people want to see it again'.

This brilliant bit of marketing could only have been dreamed up by the director, as the theater ran it with two more X-rated features, I am Curious Tahiti (1970) and Infrasexum (1969) -- both by Carlos Tobalina. If being put in a hot climate wasn't your thing, the Jerry Lewis Cinema in nearby Rialto was showing Bedknobs and Broomsticks (Robert Stevenson, 1971).

It's unfortunate that the deluge of phonecalls and letters could not save San Bernadino's Fine Arts, as it's currently home to a strip mall, housing Franky's Donuts and Deli, and a dental office.

May 1972

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

Loz Feliz

The Loz Feliz Theater's French Series kicked off with Jacques Rivette's anti-clerical classic The Nun (La Religieuse, 1966). Rivette's film (which began as a play) was nominated for a Golden Palm at Cannes in 1966. Although initially banned by the French Ministry of Information, the ban was lifted in 1968, and released under the title Suzanne Simonin, La Religieuse de Diderot. That same year it played the New York Film Festival.

Reviews were solid. Kevin Thomas for the Los Angeles Times said the film is 'so harrowing, so overwhelming, that once seen, it leaves an indelible impression'. Classic cinema was making the arthouse rounds in Detroit, where it played the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1974, along with Foolish Wives (Eric von Stroheim, 1922).

May 1972

The PG-rated film from Columbia starred Harry Belafonte as a Bible-bleating con man and Sidney Poitier, in his directorial debut. The Cincinnati Enquirer found the film 'ingratiating', while Hazel Garland of the Pittsburgh Courier said, "the excellent movie says for blacks what Fiddler on the Roof says for Jews" and concluded by saying it's "a movie the entire family can enjoy". Kevin Thomas for the Los Angeles Times called the film, "lively entertainment underlined by some stinging social commentary".

Loew's Theater chain knew a good double-feature when they saw one, and paired the comedy-Western with Getting Straight (Richard Rush, 1970). Pacific had other ideas and paired the film with The Girl Who Couldn't Say No (Franco Brusati, 1968) and The Honkers (Steve Ihnat, 1972). National General Theatres gave the San Fernando Valley a treat with their second feature; Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971).

Shot in Durango, Mexico, the films' original director Joseph Sargent, relinquished his duties within a few days and Poitier took over. Despite decent reviews, the film was not a success.

May 1972

Harry Novak, a formidable powerhouise of exploitation film, gave audiences a treat with The Godson, directed by William Rostler (and was not to be confused with Jean-Pierre Melville's 1968 film, starring Alain Delon). A staple of drive-ins, Novak's feature was paired with Big Doll House and House of 1000 Dolls when it played Wilmington, Delaware. Over at the Rialto Art, The Toy Box (Ronald Garcia, 1971) another Novak gem, was giving mature adults their money's worth.

As the founder of Box Office International, Novak was no stranger to clever hyperbole and cashed in on recent hits. The Hi-Way Drive-in Theatre in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania ran Novak's adult's only syndicate film ("If you saw The Godfather, now you must see the Godson") with yet another Novak feature, Midnight Plowboy (Bethel Buckalew, 1971) -- 'Meet the original Hollywood Hillbilly'. Seemingly intent on cornering the market, Novak's The Exotic Dreams of Cleopatra (Dwayne Avery, 1971) played with The Notorious Cleopatra (Peter Perry Jr., 1970) in Chicago.

May 1972

From 1971, Richard Franklin's X-rated Eroticon was called, "another pseudo-documantary about the emerging American sexual permissivness", by the San Diego County Sun. They were honest enough to mention that while most of it is raunchy, "sex film freaks will be horrified to learn that it has all beeen censored".

According to an article in The Philadelphia Daily News from 1972, producer Barney Sackett used to date Hedy Lamarr, before getting in to the business of skin flicks. Loews's Valley Theatres in Los Angeles paired Sackett's racy romp ("One Step Beyond Reality!... Adults 21 and Over!") with Barbarella (Roger Vadim, 1967).

Vincent Canby for the New York Times observed the proliferation of porn houses on Eight Avenue and that 'bad movies remain junk'. Canby refered to Eroticon as 'a home-made sex survey film', and whether you saw the hardcore version downtown or the softcore version playing the neighborhoods, 'they're both terrible'.

If neither version motivated you, theaters were showing more lightheatred fare; Butterflies Are Free (Milton Katselas, 1972), Bananas (Woody Allen, 1971) and Joe Kidd (John Sturges, 1972).

May 1972

Ventura Theatre
1454 5th Street, Santa Monica CA 90401

Ventura Theatre

Not sure about the throbbing color, but the stimulating sounds might have come from the Beach Boys, who recorded there between 1973 and 1979, when it was known as Brother Studios. In 1982, it was taken over by Unicorn Records and Recording Studios. By 1987, it was the Shoshana Wayne Gallery, and Predator (John McTiernan) was in 70mm all over town.

May 1972

Venus Adult Theatre
 2226 East Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107

The air conditioning might be the only remaining feature, as the entertainment establishment is long gone. Currently, the Sahara Restaurant is serving up delicious freshly made tabboule, and chicken kebab to discriminating adults.

June 1972

The fourth in the simian series from 20th Century Fox, the PG-rated Conquest of the Planet of the Apes received mixed reviews. In her critical essay titled, 'Time to Cut the Monkey Business', Jean Dietrich for Louisville's Courier-Journal, enjoyed the Century City locations and fine photography from Bruce Surtees, but wondered "now that the chimps have taken over, isn't about time to knock it all off?".

Reasonable question. But the Fairbanks Daily News saw things another way, writing that the film was "cinematically etched in broad, brash strokes and blends slashing social satire and science fiction suspense with large scale spectacle snd special effects".

The revolt of the apes played very nicely with Vanishing Point (Richard C. Sarafian, 1971) and Man Called Horse (Elliot Silverstein, 1970) at Cincinnatti's Mount Healthy Drive-In. Ape afficionados in Pittsburgh saw the film with One Million B.C. (Hal Roach, 1940).

August 1972

Born in Long Beach, the Oakland-raised Halsted became a self-taught filmmaker and actor, putting out Sex Garage, Sextool (1974), Trucking It, 3 Day Pass (1980) and his best known work; LA Plays Itself. Shot over a period of three years, LA Plays Itself was a sexually explicit gay film and found its way into the Museum of Modern Art's film collection.

The aformentioned Sextool also played the Vista in Hollywood in 1975 - advertised as 'Tool'. This was a time when major newspapers ran ads for X-rated content - both gay and straight.

The L.A. Times had an entire page devoted to mindblowing X-rated adult movies/entertainment and ran ads for; Deep Throat, Heavy Load and The Private Afternoon of Pamela Mann - all shown at Pussycat Theatres. The Mayan downtown showed Teenage Girls, the Fine Arts on Wilshire rose to the occasion with Roger Vadim's Charlotte (La Jeune Flle Assassinée, 1974), and the Beverly Cinema showed no mercy with The Big Rape (1974).

Taking the 405 freeway south to Long Beach got you a seat at the John Holmes Festival, being held at the Mitchell Bros. Theater at 217 East Ocean Blvd. The Mitchell's were nice enough to screen, Tropic of Passion, Blonde Lace and Flesh of the Lotus. Senior citizens were charged the pricely sum of one dollar. However, the only deposits being made there right now are financial - the street corner is now one large bank.

As for the Paris Theater, it was destroyed by a fire in 1976.


Born to a family of opportunistic Pentacostal ministers, Marjoe Ross Gortner was a precocious ordained minister by age four. With slick showmanship, Marjoe developed into a child evangelist, and made a lot money along the way (his gospel preacher father allegedly ran off with his earnings). He quit preaching at 14, discovered the hip underground culture. As Marjoe put it himself, "For seven years I was a heroin addict, pill popper, LSD tripper, high ridin' and low slidin', bustin' heads and poppin' reds, slashin' tires and settin' fires."

After a brief foray into the fashion business and middle class, Marjoe then finished three years at San Jose State College. After returning to his evangelical roots, he eventually retired.

The Award winning documentary by Howard Smith and Sarah Kernochan, detailed Marjoe's final months as a traveling revivalist minister on the Pentecostal circuit, chronicling his life as he worked the crowds to fever pitch, selling salvation with a silver tongue and then going backstage revealing the tricks of his trade. The documentary had little if any exposure to Southern audiences, as the distributor was too afraid of the uproar it might cause.

Vincent Canby for the New York Times said, "No matter how you slice it, it still comes out as self-exploitation of a sort that srikes me as being exceedingly sleazy". Judith Christ for New York Magazine called it "a striking example of intelligent cinéma vérité".

June 1972

July 1972

July 1972

Nuart Theatre
 11272 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

One of West L.A.'s premiere revival theaters, the Nuart has been around since the 30's. For a brief time in 1934, the Nuart closed and advised patrons to 'Visit the Tivoli for Good Shows'. The comfortable and convenient Nuart-West (as they called themselves) offered Filmfest Membership Cards for $9 during the 60's. The Repertory Winter Film Festival lasted nine weeks, showcasing the world's outstanding films.

In 1972, the Nuart went through a renovation and trumpeted it's new upgrades; Flawless Automatic Projection, Deep Pile Mohawk Carpeting, and Technikote Wide Screen. If plush flooring didn't entice you, Resplendent Drapery, Spacious Uncluttered Lobby and the Friendliest Staff in Town would leave you speechless.

By 1974, the Nuart was part of the Parallax Theater Systems banner, which also operated the Fox Venice at 620 Lincoln Avenue. For years, the Fox Venice screened The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which was already getting audience participation. The cult hit was paired with Quasi at the Quackadero.

By the early 80's, 20th Century Fox talked about a sequel called "The Brad and Janet Show", which was dealyed indefinitely. By 1981, 'Rocky Horror' was screening at midnight all over Los Angeles. Jim Sharman's follow up, Shock Treatment got the 2AM show at The Tiffany Theater on Sunset, right after 'Rocky Horror'.

The Nuart's 'Outlaw Cinema Festival' in 1981 kicked off with Desperate Living (John Waters, 1981) and showcased the works of Andy Warhol, Russ Meyer, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Roman Polanski and others. In March of 1984, My Breakfast With Blassie (Johnny Legend, 1983) had its premiere. Lasting well into 1991, the Nuart was host to Ridley Scott's 70mm rough-cut version of Bladerunner, which enjoyed a sold-out two-week run.

July 1972

 961 Broxton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Richard Schickel for Life Magazine called The Candidate "superfluous". Schickel found Redford's character and ideas "bland and agreeable". Robert Redford's drama, touted by Warner Brother's as 'a provovative film of a liberal lawyer's attempt to gain a Senate seat' was paired with Universal's Groundstar Conspiracy (Lamont Johnson, 1972) for some West Coast audiences. Pennsylvania's Roosevelt Drive-In found it 'more shocking than Watergate!', where it played 2nd feature to Class of '44 (Paul Bogart, 1973).

Newspapers were keen to cash in on Redford's recent hits; 'The Sundance Kid is now The Candidate' and by that time, three other Redford movies were playing; The Way We Were (Sydney Pollack, 1972), The Sting (George Roy Hill, 1973) and The Great Gatsby (Jack Clayton, 1974)

In 1951, the Fox Village Theater reopened after $200,000 was spent on remodeling. The theater received new sound projection apperatus, superintensity lamps, and new concealed cove lighting to yield soft, mellow lighting. Charles P. Skouras, the head of Fox West Coast Theaters undertook a $2 million face-liftig program to modernize seven of its theaters.

When 20th Century Fox improved their CinemaScope process, they headed to the Westwood Village Theater to demonstrate it. In 1956, Daryl F. Zanuck proclaimed CinemaScope 55 was the most effective dimension - having tested 60 and 70mm. Zanuck touted improved screen image with less grain or fuzziness. Zanuck went on to explain that pictures obtained on 55mm could be reduced to normal 35mm and then shown with the apparatus available to most theaters. Some theaters would be able to exhibit at full size, with a 55mm projector.

For the demonstration, clips from two recent Fox pictures were shown; Carousel and The King and I.

In 1963, the Westwood Village Theater was the setting for the innovative 'Immediacy of Transmission' demonstration. The press got their first look at images shown on the screen being picked up 'live' at the NBC Studios, and instantly reproduced. The demonstration had a name; Talaria, the name given by Theater Color-Vision Corporation (owned by National General). It was seen as a foreshadowing of what was possible in live events from anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, to movie theaters equipped to receive them.

During the mid-1960's, the Adat Shalom synagogue at Westwood and National used the Village Theater for High Holy Days.

July 1972

Following up where Cotton Comes to Harlem (Ossie Davis, 1970) left off, Come Back Charleston Blue, was again, based on a Chester Himes novel (The Heat's On). Kevin Thomas for the L.A. Times wasn't enthralled with the sequel, observing "the picture's considerable slapstick violence gets harder to take as the context becomes increasingly blurred". He did however, find much to like with the "diminuitive, saucer-eyed, irresistible Jonelle Allen", as the exploited girlfriend of a Harlem hood. In a nod to the James Cagney gangster flick, Public Enemy (William A. Wellman, 1931), Allen has a grapefruit shoved in her face.

In some theatres, the PG-rated film ran with the Warner Bros hit, Cleopatra Jones for L.A. audiences. Philadelphia's Starlite Drive-In took care of business, adding Voodoo Heartbeat (Charles Nizet, 1973) and The Night Visitor (Laslo Benedek, 1971) to the bill.

Not surprisingly (given the talent on board), a soundtrack was released on the Atco label. Supplying their chops were Quincy Jones, Donny Hathaway and Valerie Simpson. Director Mark Warren was previously behind the camera for NBC's Laugh-In and went on direct The Bill Cosby Show.

July 1972

Pacific Beverly Hills
 9404 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Kevin Thomas for the L.A. Times wasn't having any of it when he called the film "glum erotica", and was left cold by Metzer's "ponderous direction". Starring the lovely German crumpet Christiane Krüger, the film was retitled Woman of the Year, and sometimes put out as just Mother. Metzer's R-rated flick received a 'C-' rating from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. All things considered, that wasn't too bad; Love Under 17 (R.B. Winston, 1971) received an 'E'. Not sure what grade it received from Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Built in the early 1930's the Pacific Beverly Hills began as the Warner Beverley Hills Theatre. The World Premiere of Little Mother was held there in 1972, and is currently the site of a very nice parking lot. Juan Perón died two years after Metzger's movie came out.

August 1972

British comic Peter Sellers made the slapstick hospital-comedy Where Does It Hurt? in 1972 and the tepid reviews came rolling in. When it opened at the Cinerama on Broadway and 47th, Judith Christ for New York Magazine wrote "Your enjoyment of this medical spoof depends entirely on your tolerance for doctor jokes and your affection for Peter Sellers". She went on to say "the film thuds along and is merely smutty rather than sexily satiric".

Charles Champlin, the 'Critic at Large' for the L.A. Times, titled his piece 'Fleeting Evidence of Sellers' and clearly didn't see the fuuny side of things; "I still wish a way could be found to unite Peter Sellers once again with a script equal to his eccentric and unduplicated gifts" and was saddened by the "witless vulgarities of the script". Champlin was more enthusiastic about another member of the cast, Pat Morita as an 'Oriental hematologist', and felt he'd "be interesting to see again". Equally unimpressed was Dick Shippy for the Akron Beacon, calling the film "A witless, hopelessely contrived comedy".

Regardless, Arizona's Rodeo Drive-In ($2 per carload) got the joke, and sandwiched the zany film between Nightcall Nurses (Jonathan Kaplan, 1972) and The Swappers (Derek Ford, 1970). Mann Theaters in Los Angeles paired the medical spoof with The Happy Hooker (Nicholas Sgarro, 1975) at the long-gone Fairfax (Regency) on Beverly.

If nutty malpractice mayhem wasn't your thing in 1975, there were plenty of good movies to choose from; 3 Days of the Condor (Sydney Pollack, 1975), Black Christma (Bob Clark, 1974), and Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975). Stoners and serious muscicians alike could make their way to the National in Westwood to see Yessongs (Peter Neal) in full Quad Sound. The concert film was billed with Death of the Red Planet (Dale Allen Pelton, 1973) and Cheech & Chong's animated short Basketball Jones (Paul Gruwell, 1973).


August 1972

Fox Theater
 6508 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028

The film performed well at the drive in and was paired appropriately with other X-rated fare. Philadelphia's Lincoln Drive-In charged $2 per carload for their Swing-A-Thon. The program ran as follows; Swinging Models (Ilja von Anutroff, 1975), Swinging Stewardesses, Campus Swingers (Ernst Hofbauer, 1972), Swinging Pussycats (Alexis Neve, 1969) and Hay Country Swingers (Alois Brummer, 1971).

The Fox Theatre stopped swinging a few years back. After closing in 1994 due to earthquake damage, the building lay dormat until recently, when it became a nightclub.

September 1972

September 1972

In her September 1972 piece for the L.A. Times, Joyce Haber wrote about the drug scene; "The director's of Manhattan's landmark Carnegia Hall plan a crackdown campaign against kids who've been smoking marijuana during rock concerts. The reason: They've caused damage to the venerable auditorium...".

Haber's hazy column continued "While here in L.A., the "in" film is called Reefer Madness at the Doheny Plaza. And no, it's not new, it's the thirtyish movie about the perils of pot. Kids are jamming the theater, but they don't take the documentary straight: they laugh at the dire threats predicted for users of cannabis, as they call it in India - and in England".

The jaded reaction and ironic laughter was a far cry from the films' initial release in 1936. The Courier News in Blytheville, Arkansas reviewed the teatime movie in 1940, calling it a story about "the greatest foe of youth". The review continued to say "this thrilling feature daringly tells nothing but the truth about marihuana and its menace to the minds and bodies of young people today." The review concluded that "Reefer Madness reproduces with detailed authenticity the machinations of that low order of criminals whose wealth is created through creation in the bodies of America's high-school children an appetite for marihuana".

Over thirty years later, someone at National Cinema Theatres knew how to roll a good West Coast splif; Reefer Madness turned up all over Southern California. The Doheny Plaza ran a '5-hour Rock and Roll Film Orgy' ("Where was your head at in the Screaming 60's?"), and billed the 1936 classic with the Albert Brooks' short School for Comedians. They were also screening a homage to Max Fleisher, who passed away in 1972, by running Betty Boops Rise to Fame and Return of Captain Marvel.

A few years later, Reefer Madness was paired with Cocaine Fiends (William A. O'Connor, 1935) at the Valley View in Garden Grove, Orange County.


Getting its well-deserved World Premiere was The Great Massage Parlor Bust (John C. Harris, 1973). Paired with just about every other adult feature, namely; Sleepy Head, Sex Machine (Pasquale Festa Campanile, 1975), Refinements of Love and Dingle, Dangle.

The second feature, from 1971, was the X-rated Danish import The Captives, directed by Lee Frost. The popcorn was probably local.

October 1972

October 1972

Directed by Walter Boos, this was yet another import from the land of bratwurst and Kraftwerk. Schoolgirls Growing Up was one of many 'educational' films to flood the market. Walter Boos had been in the film business a long time; first as an editor on mainstream fare such as Situation Hopeless... but Not Serious (Gottfried Reinhardt, 1965) and Heidi Comes Home (Delbert Mann, 1968). Boos then moved on to directing film of a different genre; The Swinging Co-Ed's (1968), and one of the first Exorcist rip-off's; Magdalena: Possessed by the Devil (1974).

Tempe's South Twin II Drive-In understood the importance of a good theme and billed the frolicking fräuleins with Schoolgirls, Schoolgirls Report and Highschool Girls. The Orpheum Theatre in Waco, Texas weren't as motivated - the X-rated movie screened at midnight after The Godfather II (Francis Ford Coppola).


Made for under a million dollars, Martin Ritt's Sounder dealt with a black sharecropper family in the South during the depression. The moving drama was very well received and nominated for best picture, best screenplay, best actor (Paul Winfield) and best actress (Cicely Tyson). However, the best film went to The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola). Winfield lost out to Marlon Brando for best actor, but saw the loss as a personal achievement; his nomination as best actor in a leading role by an African American was only the third in Academy history. Winfield, who died in 2004, was memorable as Lieutenant Ed Traxler in The Terminator (James Cameron, 1984).

Home to everything from The Paperchase (James Bridges, 1973), The Getaway (Sam Peckinpah, 1972), American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1972) and Car Wash (Michael Schultz, 1976), the 4-screen Avco Center Cinema in the Westwood neighborhood closed their curtains in 2011 and reopened as the spiffy iPIC Westwood. Awesome.

October 1972

October 1972

As Harlem drug dealer and sharp dressed man Youngblood Priest, Ron O'Neal played one of the most iconic characters in the 1972 Warner Brothers' film, Superfly. O'Neal, who died at age 66 from pancreatic cancer, felt some audiences missed the point of the movie ('to get out of the game'), and felt the films' success backfired on him. Good acting parts might have dried up, but O'Neal went behind the camera for the sequel Superfly T.N.T (1973), which found the retired kingpin living in Rome, mixing it up with an African weapons dealer and overthrowing an oppresive regime. I guess the Trevi Fountain just wasn't exciting enough for him.

The Sig Shore production came under fire from a protest group in Washington, calling itself Blacks Against Narcotics and Genocide (BANG). Led by its president, Marion Barry, the group said Superfly was an example of black-oriented films that amount to 'mind-genocide' because they "rob us economically and spiritually". The future Mayor of Washington, D.C. added that 90 percent of the profits from the movies went to white people. He didn't end there. "Superfly says the way to make money is to be supercool, superhip, and push dope. Superfly says to the black community that the way to get a Cadillac is to hustle rather than to get a job".

Perhaps Marion Barry felt better about the terrific Curtis Mayfield soundtrack, which reached number one and spawned three massive hits; Superfly, Freddie's Dead ("If you want to be a junkie, remember... Freddie's Dead") and Pusherman. The soundtrack was released on Curtom/Buddah.


Writer/director Henry Jaglom had known co-star Jack Nicholson for a number of years, having worked together on Psych-Out (Richard Rush, 1968). In a memorable scene, Jaglom, tripping on something stronger than tobacco, attempts to remove his hand with a buzz-saw.

Shot in 1971, A Safe Place snagged notable names such as Tuesday Weld and Orson Welles (as a magician) but A Safe Place did next-to-nothing at the box office. Jaglom's directorial debut was selected as an official entry to the London Film Festival in 1972, but was panned by most critics. Charles Champlin for the L.A. Times called the film "an incessant exercise in editing..." and noted that large hunks of the film "play like acting class improvs".

October 1972

October 1972

Beverly Canon Theater
 205 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The rest of the 90 minute bill included; The Birth of Aphrodite, She Is Like A Rainbow, Masters of the Sky, Wheel Dealer, An American Time Capsule, The Trandsetter and Steel.

The L.A. Times critic Charles Champlin said "As a package, Illusions is a bit more subjective than most, but the charm and variety of the short form is reconfirmed - also the blessed truth that nothing lasts too long".

The short subject film, that's anything but short at 25 minutes, can be viewed here;

The Wilshire District in Beverly Hills had around a dozen movie theatres in the mid-1940's; Ambassador, Del Mar, Esquire, Laurel, Music Hall, Pan Pacific, Picfair, and Uclan. In November 1946, sophisticated Beverly Hills got its new theatre, "The Hitching Post". The inaugural event kept things dusty with appearences from Roy Rogers (reading a dedication to Will Rogers) and Bob Nolan of the Sons of the Pioneers as m.c. Hopefully no-one had to sit behind Trigger.

Two other locations existed; Hollywood and Vine, followed by Santa Monica.

Populated with mostly Westerns, all three locations hit the dusty trail around 1950; Santa Monica raised the white flag for good, while in Hollywood, the horsey atmosphere was replaced with flowers, ferns and sophisticated murals. Located across from the Pantages, Hollywood's Hitching Post was renamed the Paris Theater, and the plush new movie house offered smart, subtle foreign fare, such as the very British Passport to Pimlico, courtesy of J. Arthur Rank. The Southland's newest first-run foreign film theater sported a new neon marquee with a replica of the Eiffel Tower and Gallic decor througut the lobby.

The Beverly Hills location also spruced up its own cinematic fare, and was renamed the Beverly Canon. In 1976, theater director Rudy Solari signed a 5-year lease on the space and it became The Solari Theatre. Solari, founder of the Actor's Theater in 1961 was also involved with Guy Stockwell at the Gallersy Theater, passed away in 1991.

Legit theater remained after Solari moved out by the mid-1980's, and L.A. Stage Company West took over, albeit briefly. The venue was back to the Canon Theatre by 1986, when comics like Jackie Mason were making 'em laugh through a series of incomprehensible jokes.

The curtains came down on the Canon Theatre around 2005. The 59-year old theater was demolished and a monstrously large, tan-colored hotel built in its place.

December 1972

Lido Theater
 8507 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035

Critic Michael Ross for the L.A. Times didn't mince words for his review of Rainbow Bridge; "The film is a shameless rip-off of the youth culture and of the late Jimi Hendrix and we have come to bury it."

Originally titled Wave, the two-hour R-rated movie, released one year after Hendrix died, followed the adventures of Harltey, a skinny, spaced-out female in see-through blouse and dirty jeans, who winds up in Maui (via the Sunset Strip and San Diego) at the Rainbow Bridge Occult Research Meditation Center - cue an abundance of cosmic drop-outs and surfers. A somewhat dishelved Hendrix briefly appears near the end for a short set (edited down).

Directed by Warhol colloborator Chuck Wein (listed in some sources as Barry de Prendergast), Ross had this to say "The films' direction resembles that of a Warholian reject, the acting (mostly improvisatory, sometimes actually scripted) is even worse. And Jimi's obligatory set is one of themost trivial he ever gave." Nevertheless, the film was selected to be part the Atlanta Film Festival in 1972.

Detroit's Northwest Drive-In asked the tough question, "Is He Or Is He Not With Us now?" when they added Gimme Shelter to the Hendrix bill. The I-44 Drive-In in Missouri clearly understood the youth market when they put on their 'KSHE Dusk to Dawn Show' -- an astounding '10 Hours of Hits!' with 'Free Popcorn to every car!' and 'Free Coffee after Midnight!' -- one would expect no less. The program ran as follows; Let It Be (Michael Lindsay-Hogg, 1970), Rainbow Bridge, 2 Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971), Chastity (Alessio de Paola, 1969), Peace Killers (Douglas Schwartz, 1971) and Making It (John Erman, 1971). How they stayed awake on just coffee is admirable.

The Fox Lido Theatre is now a bank. Manic Depression.

December 1972

May 1973

Two years before he directed Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider in Last Tango in Paris, Bernardo Bertolucci made The Spider's Stratagem (La strategia del ragno). Starring Alida Valli, Bertolucci's film (made when he was 28) was based loosely on 'Theme of the Traitor and the Hero', a short story by Jorge Borges. Widely acclaimed at the Venice Film Festival in 1970, Bertolucci's film was produced by R.A.I., the state television network in Italy.

Kevin Thomas for the L.A. Times was enthusiastic about the much-discussed but long-delayed film. "Filmed in ravishing, exquistitely modulated color, 'The Spider's Strategem' casts a powerful spell and possesses great sensual beauty. Once again, Bernardo Bertolucci has challenged himself to the utmost and succeeded triumphantly."

Following its engagement at UCLA's Royce Hall, Bertolucci's film was screened at the El Camino College Audiorium. And arthouse lovers in Tucson, Arizona got a heavy dose of brooding at The New Loft theater where the Italian film was paired with Orson Welles' The Trial (1962) as part of their 'Genius Week'.

December 1972

Called "an outrageous and a frequently hilarious spoof" by Kentucky's Courier-Journal, Is There Sex After Death? received mostly positive reviews. The raunchy sex comedy was written, produced and directed by Alan Abel, notorious humorist and prankster. Abel (who financed the picture himself), founded the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals.

The anarchic and often crude movie which featured Buck Henry and Robert Downey, had some low points for New York Times film critic, Vincent Canby, "I, for one, could have done without the interview with Holly Woodlawn, whose motion pictur career may have peaked with Trash." Gene Siskel for the Chicago Tribune gave the movie three and half stars and said "the utter lack of taste... is refreshing and also potentially offensive". United Artist Theatres gave L.A. audiences a double-dose of nakedness, pairing the movie with Le Sex Shoppe (Claude Berri, 1972).

Film lovers in the small suburb of Wilmette, Chicago weren't so lucky. The city's only movie house was forced to stop showing the movie, after citizens called the 'sex' movie obscene. In response, theater manager changed the program to Heidi, and switched once again and offered good old-fashiond GP fare; Diamonds Are Forever and Skyjacked. However, the manager did acknowledge that the crowd for Heidi was 'small to moderate', and 'packed' for the X-rated feature.


Hard to believe, but One Swedish Summer (Gunnar Höglund, 1968), the sensual Scandinavian skin-flick from the country that gave you musical giants ABBA and Ace of Base, was paired with What's Good for the Goose (Menahem Golan, 1969), the British sex romp with Norman Wisdom. The coming of age story was promoted as 'a young man's sexual awakening in the countryside' and featured a fair amount of full-frontal nudity, and bits and bobs concerning S&M, incest and voyeurism.

In the U.K., the film was given a more studious title ...As the Naked Wind from the Sea.

December 1972

Michael Caine, the star of every funny guy in the office who is pretty good at impressions, starred alongside Lord Olivier in Sleuth, the wicked whodunnit directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Sleuthwas based on the stage play by Anthony Shaffer (brother of Peter), which ran for eight years on London's West End stage and four on Broadway (where it was moved to in 1971 and won a Tony).

During this period, Shaffer came across a novel called Ritual - dubiously refered to as the basis for his next screenplay; the legendary British horror classic The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973). Shot at Pinewood Studios, Sleuth snagged Academy Award nominations for both Olivier and Caine, although Marlon Brando would win for The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972).

Reviews for the crafty cat-and-mouse thriller were excellent across the board. New Jersey's Asbury Park Press said "Sleuth is a teffic mystery, a razor-sharp comedy-drama, and a devastating psycho-study of human jealousy and killer gamesmanship." Reserving their giddiest compliment for the end, they gushed "It is Joseph L. Mankiewicz's best film since All About Eve."

During its run at New York's Baronet and Ziegfeld theaters, film critic Bernard Drew called the film "ingenious but overrated". Drew praised the cast, singling out Olivier as "the greatest actor in the world" and Michael Caine for matching him scene for scene.

May 1973

Copenhagen Adult Cinema
 5230 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles 90027

Built by architect John A. Larralde in 1931, the historic Spanish Colonial Revival building was known as the Don Carlos Apartments. The complex offered single rooms for $45 and double rooms for $65. The building was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2002.

The building was home to the Central Real Estate Bureau, soon to be followed by The Odyssey Theater. The Odyssey staged legit productions such as "The Serpent" (which had its West Coast premiere), but soon joined the adult content party and reinvented itself as The Copenhagen, which operated until 1977.

May 1973

March 1976

March 1976

March 1976

Georgina Spelvin starred in 3 A.M. The Time of Sexuality (Robert McCollum, 1975) one of her many films selected to the XRCO Hall Of Fame (X-Rated Critics Organization).


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