The Making of an Underground Film, originally broadcast on CBS News with Walter Cronkite on New Years' Eve 1965, begins with reporter Dave Dugan saying, "Not everyone digs underground movies, but those who do can dig 'em here." in front of the Bridge Theatre in New York City's Greenwich Village. An interview with avant-garde filmmaker and exhibitor Jonas Mekas then segues into footage of the making of Dirt by filmmaker/poet Piero Heliczer, as a pre-Nico incarnation of the Velvet Underground (with both Maureen Tucker and original percussionist Angus MacLise) plays silently in costume in the background. Other highlights include interviews with Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick, plus the uninterrupted airing of a Stan Brakhage film in tribute to poet Michael McClure.
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite PABLO FANQUE'S CIRCUS ROYAL TOWN-MEADOWS, ROCHDALE Grandest Night of the Season! AND POSITIVELY THE LAST NIGHT BUT THREE! BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR.KITE, (LATE OF WELLS'S CIRCUS) AND MR. J. HENDERSON, THE CELEBRATED SOMERSET THROWER! WIRE DANCER, VAULTER, RIDER, etc. On TUESDAY Evening, February 14, 1843. [more inside]
In the mid-1950s, Dickie Goodman was a struggling song writer working with song publisher Bill Buchanan, when the two men came up with the idea of a fake radio program interrupted by a UFO attack (similar to the hoax Orson Welles broadcast of War of the Worlds), except in this case, the aliens spoke the language of rock 'n' roll. The result was Flying Saucer, Parts 1 and 2 on Luniverse Records, the first novelty break-in record and a forerunner to the modern mashup. [more inside]
Fake the Beatles : WFMU DJ Gaylord Fields delivers an entertaining presentation on the mid-1960s cottage industry in Beatles soundalike records. Other Beatlesque imitators to follow below the fold. [more inside]
In August 1990, when Spin magazine was still an edgier cousin to Rolling Stone, it published a list of the 35 Greatest Moments in Rock 'n' Roll Television. [more inside]
Autistics on LSD Elephants on LSD British Troops on LSD Spiders on LSD Cats on LSD Argentinians on LSD Childhood Schizophrenics on LSD
In honor of the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street, let's take a few moments to honor those Sesame Street humans overshadowed by their Muppet counterparts. Check out Bob (Bob McGrath) singing Danny Boy in Japanese on a 1966 broadcast of To Tell The Truth or singing a Japanese ballad. Watch Gordon (Roscoe Orman) as the big pimpin' title character in this original trailer for the film Willie Dynamite. See Maria (Sonia Manzano) as a lady trucker on B.J. & the Bear or getting menaced by Jeff Goldblum in the movie Death Wish. And Mr. Hooper (Will Lee) plays Pac-Man in an Atari commercial. Meanwhile, the Muppet stars of Sesame Street have gone some interesting evolutions as well in their career. [more inside]
Jack Mulqueen presents Kiddie a-Go-Go. Check out the intro brought to you by Mickelberry's Plump & Juicy Franks and their fine variety of cold cuts. Hostess Pandora (played by Jack Mulqueen's wife Elaine) introduces the Stop and Go-Go dance, followed by a live performance from the New Colony Six in full Revolutionary War costumes. Unlike the Buddy Deane Show (which inspired the movie Hairspray), this later clip indicates that Kiddie A-Go-Go had racially integrated without incident. Other happenings inspired by the Kiddie A-Go-Go include a children's album, the public access TV show Chic-A-Go-Go, and San Francisco's Pip Squeak A-Go-Go (featuring go-go dance lessons from the Devil-Ettes).
Before 1969, the city of Zap was best known as the punch line of a joke about three towns in North Dakota that sounded like Rice Krispies—Zap, Gackle, and Mott. But when student body president Charles "Chuck" Stroup at North Dakota State University needed an alternative to Fort Lauderdale while stuck in North Dakota for spring break, he enlisted the help of some student journalists at the Spectrum newspaper to promote the "Zip to Zap," an event that became the only "official" riot in the history of North Dakota. The tiny coal mining town originally looked forward to the impromptu "Zip" festival, which had so much advance buzz that the Wham-O toy company created a toy called Zip Zap in honor of the imminent event. Unfortunately, after throngs of students descended on Zap, the only two bars in town quickly ran out of beer, and the North Dakota National Guard was called into extinguish the bonfire, beer brawls, and riot that ensued. For more info about about how the "Zip to Zap" fit in context with the 1960s zeitgeist, look here, here, and here.
!WOm!WAm! WOMEN Doing Things To Men! An insane but illuminating website of bizarrely "wholesome" fetishism depicting examples of women attacking men from 50s/60s popular culture. (slightly NSFW)
Japanese leftists seize plane with samurai swords. AWOL Marine sets record by hijacking plane from Fresno to Rome. Female Palestinian hijacker becomes radical chic pin-up. D.B. Cooper parachutes from 727 with $200,000 in unmarked bills. Have airplane bombings made us nostalgic for old-school skyjackers who just wanted money or a trip to Cuba? Academic papers analyze skyjacking in the 60s & 70s according to contagion and rational choice models. Check out a prescient pre-9/11 documentary on the subject with great archival clips.
No-Hit Wonders Ever hear of Thuh Sqwamps? How about Rhinoceros Snot? Perhaps you're familiar with King Solomon's Minds? Not ringing any bells? Of course not. These are all local garage bands from the 1960s that would have fallen into pure oblivion if it wasn't for the My First Band web site. Several of the stories are so bizarre that a very entertaining movie could be made out of any one of them.