Thursday, June 17, 2010

Movie Madness

Mostly from a post I did on another site:

My wife and I saw Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (written by Roger Ebert) in 1970 or so, on an all-night movie crawl in and around L.A. Right after, I think, Ice Station Zebra. Part of a multiple bill with the Lee Remick/Temple Drake version of Sanctuary, as I recall.

(Why we wanted to do this, I don't recall. But we got a baby-sitter, my sister-in-law, and off we went.)

Dolls showed at one of those fifty-cent admission theaters in central L.A., probably Broadway, where they kept the sound cranked really loud to keep the homeless (called bums, back in those days) from sleeping. You could still smoke in the back of movie theaters, and the floors were an inch or two deep in mummified popcorn and Coke syrup and long-dead Jujubes. Not the greatest venue.

Probably around two a.m. when we got there, and we'd seen five or six movies by then and were getting punchy.

Halfway through the picture a man ran down the aisle and slammed out the emergency exit; a beat later, two of LAPD's finest charged down the aisle and after him. Nobody in the theater gave it much notice that I could tell -- half the audience snored away unperturbed.

Not to be a spoiler on a forty-year-old exploitation movie, but the line near the end, from David Gurian's paraplegic character Harris (whatever happened to Gurian?) -- "I can walk!" almost put my wife and me giggling onto the begrimed and surely-diseased floor. It became part of our private couple-speak thereafter. When something unbelievable happened, one of us would look at the other and offer it up, in an amazed voice.

"I ... I can walk!"

Thanks, Roger. I owe you that one. And for a distant connection to a nice review -- I had a few uncredited lines in the Batman animated movie Mask of the Phantasm, written by the story editors of the TV show, one of whom (Reaves) was my collaborator.

Problem with being a writer who gets published or onscreen is that it is always there to haunt you. I had a character hiss the word "damn" in a story once. Can't do this. Noooo sssssibilants. Fucking editor let it pass. My writer friends downtown never let me forget it. I was once afflicted with a major case of exclamation point poisoning. I misused "hopefully." I had folks blinking their eyes and shrugging their shoulders. And those are the mildest examples I admit to -- I've done worse. Then again, them stories got published and I got paid for 'em which offered a bit of Gileadian balm ...

Don't bogart that joint, my friend ...

No comments: