The Crap of July

Well, the 4th of July Parade (held on the 3rd of July) was, as predicted, a dreadful ordeal. Setting up cameras in the heat, moving the camera back into the shade so the electronics wouldn’t cook, walking back and forth from the cameras to the air-conditioned control center. At one point when I checked, the heat index was 111 degrees. The nice thing about control being air-conditioned was having that place to retreat. The bad thing about it was it necessitated running a lot of cable. Cable we did not possess or even own, as it turned out. Could have been prevented by moving control out to the heat with the rest of us, but that wasn’t going to happen. By the time the Parade actually began, we had six out of seven cameras online, which was a minor fucking miracle. The Parade itself was rather underwhelming, but the fact that we managed to pull our part off carries with it a certain feeling of accomplishment.

I wasn’t needed for the actual 4th of July broadcast, which was very good, since when I got up Monday morning I couldn’t put any weight on my bum leg. So I spent most of the day with my leg up, searching out episodes of Mythbusters I had not yet seen on Netflix Instant. For America.

I knew it was going to be like that. I knew there was a fairly good chance that the 3rd would be the day that either crippled me permanently or outright killed me. (As I write this, it is the 6th. I was able to come to work without the cane, and I am not dead. I attribute this to my willingness to sit down as much as possible and let the enthusiastic younger employees do all the work) Therefore, I bullied all my compatriots into a Crapfest on July 2nd. I had no shows that weekend, a financial problem but not an emotional one, as I’m also pretty sure I might have murdered or at least maimed a few drunken audience members.

This still almost did not happen; Dave called about 2pm to inform us that he had a clogged drain problem affecting his whole house. A Crapfest canceled by plumbing problems? My irony gland was throbbing. A quick visit by a plumber, though, and we were underway only an hour later than planned.

While we got settled down, food was set up and cooked, I trotted out my three disc This Is Tom Jones set, which was not crap by any means. Tom Jones is a hell of an entertainer and these selections from his 1969-1971 ABC variety series… well, here is a taste:

That is a bare minute and a half out of a set that lasts some fifteen minutes at least. The very first show has The Moody Blues, Mary Hopkins (“Those Were The Days”), Richard Pryor and Peter Sellers. One episode. We went on to episodes featuring The Who, and, as seen above, that luminous appearance by Little Richard. The eps always end with Jones in a concert setting, sweating and singing his heart out.

Well, it’s kind of hard to force yourself to sit through crap after that, so rather than ease us in, I went for the throw-the-patient-into-some-cold-water treatment, and an episode of Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos, of which there appears to be only five episodes anyway. Enough to run each afternoon for a week, and sell some action figures.

There is a real desire evident to make this the Chuck Norris equivalent of GI Joe; Chuck and his troops have far-ranging authority in his fight against an organization of super terrorists. There is a lot here to work with, and some day I should do a full review.

Food still not ready? Time for some Birdman!

Birdman is one of the lesser Hanna-Barbera superheroes, frankly (I still have no idea who this BIRMAD might be…). He got a complete season DVD set due to the Adult Swim Harvey Birdman Attorney At Law series, and since The Other Dave was a big fan, I brought it. We watched two Birdman stories and one of The Galaxy Trio shorts, and I remember nothing about them. Except Birdman constantly shouting “BIRRRRRRRRRRDMAN!” because he was very conscious of his branding.

Thank God, the fajitas are finally cooked, and now it is time for a movie. Dave was foiled when he discovered that Netflix had removed his choice, Jaws The Revenge, and instead trotted out Jack The Giant Killer. The musical version.

Jack was a fairly infamous attempt to imitate the success of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, right down to hiring its two leads, Kerwin Matthews and Torin Thatcher, and its director, Nathan Juran. Columbia threatened a lawsuit, and in an attempt to recoup their investment somehow, the producers had to change Jack into something 7th Voyage was not: a musical. But not by bringing back the actors and shooting additional footage, noooooo. There was already a leprechaun in a bottle (an ‘imp”, if you believe the script), who spoke in verse; that’s a natural for some music. But the rest…

It is best to simply let this version speak for itself, as it were. Jack is trying to sneak into the evil sorcerer’s castle to rescue the princess:

If anything, we thought this version of Jack needed even more musical numbers. It was very, very bizarre, easily the high point of the evening. Having created and uploaded that clip, I am becoming obsessed with the idea that seems to be Thurl Ravenscroft providing the basso side of that duet.

By now, Rick was positively vibrating to complete the Ginger Trilogy by watching Girls Are For Loving. I have a longer review of it here, but suffice to say: It ain’t no Abductors.

There is a lot more money invested in Girls, and perversely, the movie suffers for it. There is a general bid for respectability; Don Schain (or, as I prefer to think of him, Mr. Cheri Caffaro) really wants to do a Dr. No-style movie, but doesn’t have the chops. The sleazery is there, though not enough to salvage the flick for Ginger fans. Ginger is sluttier than ever – no, that’s not fair. Caffaro is playing a Liberated Woman, 1973-style, and that means being bewilderingly frank about engaging in the carnal act. Yeah, I still miss the 70s. You youngsters missed out on all the good stuff.

As alluded to earlier, Girls is not a very good movie. Not that this is a requirement for Crapfest, but it is largely bad by dint of being boring, which is bad for a Crapfest. Cheri sings in this one – she’s undercover as a lounge act – and sure enough, just as someone says, “I liked her better when she was taking off her clothes,” she switches to a strip-tease number. There is a Ginger movie struggling to get out, but it’s lost in an ill-defined plot by the anti-Ginger to get rich. Even the nudity seems to be somewhat toned down. This must have really frustrated the grindhouse patrons familiar with the Ginger brand.

Finished up with Five Fingers of Death, which Rick and I both claimed we had watched before, but Dave claimed we had not. Not that it matters – it’s a good flick, and I needed some winding down time to sober up for the drive home. Paul and the Other Dave had already wussed out. Wusses.

So I faced the grueling Next Day with something approaching some peace in my heart and a song on my lips. “A spectacle! A spectacle!”

 

3 Comments

  1. I so very much need to see this Tom Jones variety show. I love that guy.

    Also, BIIIIRRRRDDDDMMMMAAANNNN is one of my brothers childhood favorites, and it is impossible to convince him how very lame Birdman is.

    • That Tom Jones set was quite a surprise. The shows are incomplete – and I see people complaining about it on the Net (fancy that!) but though Time/Life may not be doing a favor to strict historians of the medium, DAMN but the music they do preserve is amazing.

      I picked it up for cheap at one of my local Half-Price Books. I need to see if they also have the second set and the single-disc Tom Jones Christmas Special.

  2. Rifftrax is using Jack as their liveshow in august. (Not sure which version though.) I remember seeing the non-musical years and years ago; it struck me as a fairly cheesy but fun kid’s flick.
    But the musical, oh lordy, no attempt to have the dialog carry as a tune, no attempt to match the mood of the scene, no attempt to edit in a non-jarring fashion. Wow. You could have re-dubbed Inception over that Tom Jones/Little Richard number and it would seem as natural.


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