Claudia Jennings Stops In Hollywood, Meets Roger Corman & Gives Show “B”iz A Whirled New’d!
Grrrrreat Dynamite Woman Car Chases Unholy Rollers Unto Death, Sport!
“4, No, 3 Claudia Jennings Pitures Fur U!
The Keeper of the Pit
Grrrrreat Dynamite Woman Car Chases Unholy Rollers Unto Death, Sport!
“4, No, 3 Claudia Jennings Pitures Fur U!
The Keeper of the Pit
Thirty years of drive-in creature feature fears, and under the stars kissed leers, of years ago today, former PLAYMATE, “B” movie babe and giant screen high in the sky goddess Claudia Jennings perished. Of course, she went up to the sky, left us mere mortals down here to enjoy the last remaining days of drive-ins when they WERE drive-ins, ripe ev’ry night with uncaged heated passions, hot ass backseat vinyl, while entire multi-acres lots kept a’rockin’ and a’schlocking ev’ry weekend. Naughty to lay, I SAID not to say there wasn’t just action off the screen: you know, different kinds of carhorniness and hot rod ramblings. True blue and grue drive-in-sters actually, eventually, watched witchever kinda corn was a poppin’ above and “B”yond us.
Claudia Jennings was a drive-in diva-ette, no way aROWLnd it. She worked, fur seems like only instants, Roger Corman’s New World, David Cronenberg, Marty Scorcese w/ Corman at AIP. If ya axe the ole Keep who reigned as the Queen of Blood, Beasts and Breasts during the sleazefest of R-rated 70’s features, I’ll gladly hop a toppa the Keeper Kurvette and shout to the Saturday night thrills and chills seekers the following: “May ‘B’ Claudia never got in as ‘bigga’ pics as Jessica Lange, but when IT CAME to the drive-ins, she had no Kongtenders.”
Check out who she starred with: the late, great David Carradine, John Saxon, Roberta Collins, Tara Strohmeier, William Smith, the Vint brothers, Corman vets all. Plus Nicholas Campbell and rocker David Bowie if ya wanna get catty, people, or bring in stuff witch later got a little more Nasty Kinkski.
Not that she was in the remake CAT PEOPLE, but my uncle the truck driver, a feller some folks who read these things may dis, I SAID remember, fell in love with Claudia J. over 1974’s TRUCK STOP WOMEN.
I still have the 1-sheet to that drive-in truck crash and burner as directed by FIRESTARTER’s Mark L. Lester, the blurb of witch proudly proclaims of its gear-jamming gals that “no rig was too big for them to handle.” See, “Unk” had caught TSW over at a drive-in in Joisey that was close to his fave’rit Pit Stop, that being any ole White Castle. How he handled his big rig into any of those joints I hope to never know, but after he saw the ‘80’s CAT PEOPLE he always told me he wished it had starred “that pretty little spitfire from TRUCK STOP WOMEN.” And no, I dunno x-actly what knotty thoughts he was driven to, or what got his peter built.
But I saw TSW when it was new at our own fave’rit drive-in, near the Pummeled Dwarf my own elf, and loved it. Allow me to take a vehicle wreckin’, Peckinpause here and say I love TSW better than CONVOY, the fuh, uh, the rubber duck. ‘Fact, Unk would say that on HIS movie-meter, TSW was weigh scale up there “with a big 10 4 AND fur on the floor.” Bed her truck stop here before he comes off sounding any more shifty.
1974 also saw the release of the Sebastians’ rape, riot and rampaging swamp woman’s wrath wonder, ‘GATOR BAIT. Truly a pic worthy of walking tall as a‘70’s drive-in crassick to make ya carsick, like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, witch into that categorey always coffin fits. Claudia in GB takes it hard and gives it back harder, and the bad guys reely learn that despite what they made her pay, C. J. makes it cost them far more than the downhome rapemongers can Pusser-ably a-Buford. Claudia comes across so rough and tough that even the worst backwoods wantons hain’t gonna white lightnin’ lick her.
Swill and malt, no Kongfirmation from Temple of Schlock archives that Alfred Hitchcock ever wanted to reekmake ‘GATOR BAIT as CROCODILE M. FOR MURDER. Although I “B”lieve that had she lived, Roger Corman woulda starred Claudia Jennings in a way down South women’s prison pic, prob’ly called CAJUN’ED HEAT.
I axed Unc once what he thought of GB. Comment’s baffled me ever since. He simply reekplied, “Nertz. It’s good, but it’s no THEY CALL HER ONE-THIGH.” Anybody ever finds that, uh, one, send it along to the Temple, witch reely knees it…
Socome witch the ole Keep now as he reeklives a crassick dusk-to-almost-dawner that was never a yawner, down near the Pummeled Dwarf at what loco drive-in horror fans liked to call the “Grue-Slay.” It was called that because the marquee, witch gore-iginally read MOTOR-WAY, never read that again after the night it got permanently melted and mutated into MU-WAY. Yeah, happened when the marquee got frankly zappafied after a showing of FROGS, fright in the second creature feature, twitch was SQUIRM. Needless to say, no one got croaked, BUT…. years later, when the ghouled old Grue-Slay was demolished…I was, choke, sob, there…the marquee still glowed in the daytime and felt more than a little worm for human forms.
The owner/manager of the joint, one “Lanky” Muldoon, whose brother Frank ran a theater over in the coal regions, came up with an ider late ’78. Seems there was this guy who always came aROWLnd to see C.J. pix at the M-W, kept pesting for “more than one movie of her two” at a time. Got the Lankster to thinking…Lanky knew “this guy” out in sunny CA. who worked the movies, been a script doc on horror flicks that may”B” needed some Hammering out, and the guy’s “I think ex-wife” was in “some of the pictures he pested fur.” Lanky thought that ex had even starred with C.J. “once or twiced.” Lank’s pal said his ex wound up to“B” the only ex ever kept his name. Don’t axe me. Sounded like a great ider, though, nothing but C.J. to see, I haunt kiddin’. But I sordid, I SAID sorta knew better, it would never happen. Furgot all about such an entertainment extrava-gams-za ever coming to our fave’rit passion Pit. Put it all in the rear of my old drive-in brain, along with many udder back-seated eeek!-motions.
Suddenly, weeks and weeks later, there were 4 blank poster displays in the Kongcession stand. Didn’t matter howl I pleaded, Lanky played it so MUM w/ ME he musta been taking all his morning wakey up drinks Im-Ho-Tepid. Newspaper ads kept saying Mu-Way mavens should “Watch fur R BIG surprize show.” Week before it hit, the big whoopla got displayed, posters filling a quartet of frames that made me glassy-eyed. Later came the following print ads, “B”lieve it or “parking” lot not:
“CLAUDIA JENNINGS Film Festival, Fur BIG ONES 4 U!”
Yeah, it’s ghouled Lanky wasn’t from a family of sorcerers and sorcerettes, cuz he never friggin’ could spell. Not only that, only three of the movies listed starred C.J, proving that “fur” a man who ran so many vampire movies one week to the necks’t, he couldn’t ritely Count.
The pulsating pix w/ C.J., you axe? Sure. To this day I still wish I had the newspaper ads, and not to line my BIG BIRD CAGE. Ready? Set? Alright and all night, go “fur” it!
# 1) UNHOLY ROLLERS
# 2) THE GREAT TEXASS DYNAMITE CHASE
# 3) DEATH RACE 2000
# Fur) DEAF SPURT.
Serially. I never stopped raggin’ Lanky till the day the Mu-Way fell its last, that a) DEATH RACE, that he’d played plenty befur, didn’t HAVE Claudia J. in it. And, “B”) if he was gonna show something called DEAF SPURT, he better equip the joint with speakers fur patrons he called “the hard of earring.”
Needless to say, when the C.J. fest came we were there with our old 70’s bells on. My date and I were so hot fur it we were prob’ly both pants-ing.
I often axe drive-in old and new timers what were the biggest drive-in bills they ever caught, the ones that filled the lot and out to the maim drag and “B”yond, through the boonies to the town one direction, the country village the udder Way and hay past it. Some say largest lines happened “about any night with a dusk to dawner.” True. Then there’s EAT MY DUST w/ GRAND THEFT AUTO, a Corman/New World car crash and burn combo that got tons of M-W fans’ motors Ronning. Or there was PIRANHA w/ EATEN ALIVE, not that there’s evidence that’s of-fish-ya’all. EATEN ALIVE nearly claimed the honor when it played w/ THE TOOLBOX MURDERS, almost “B”coming the M-W winner for awl slime. Until, that is, DEATH RACE 2000 returned with the new New World futuristic crash ‘em up smash, C.J. in DEATH SPORT. Those two, with C. J. in DS and David Carradine in both, took the record. No doubt about Pit. Ed wouldn’t “B”, like Unk always said, “slurp thighs’ed” if the line stretched those nights from the M-W to Unk’s Joisey drive-in, where he’d catch it the following year because he missed…
Only, no, wait. Tell ya layed her…
My point, nothing compares to the night the fur 4 one C.J.-rama ruled the drive-in earth. If you could find the earth for the food wrappers, beer cans, discarded underwear, and various disposed of items that any clean-up crew saw ‘em the next morning, they’d get so digusted that no Way into returning next break of day Lanky coulda conned ‘em.
Furst up Lanky’s big night was UNROLLY ROLLERS, an AIP quickie prob’ly made to capitalize in what was spozed to not-a-“B” “B” a big hit, Raquel Welch in KANSAS CITY BOMBER, witch did indeed bomb, headspinningly. UR’s one of the three Cormans of the night, the one he produced perhaps for a contractual cause w/ AIP after he vacated the PREM-ATURE BURIAL-ises, as he prob’ly did w/ BOXCAR BERTHA. That BB’s director Martin Scorcese is credited as supervising editor on UR would KEEP said theory on track. Whatever…either pic ya still get to see at lust one sexiful starlet hit de rails.
ROLLERS opens w/ a security guard at the rink muttering about his boss being “the cheapest guy in the world.” I gave my date an elbow in her side, said, “Yeah, that would be Corman!” Then I got an elbow lower down fur having missed her side by a country mile, big and bra’ed.
Once called an activist director, Vernon Zimmerman’s efforts looks fairly grimy and full’a that oily 70’s look that means to say this one’s fur reel. So’s C.J., whose character herein has nothing going for her butt heading down to the stinkin’ rink. So she does, becomes one raunchy rinkette in no short odor. After we sat, as they say over in Skukel County, “tru” enough pep talk & chalkboard diagrams to get US bored, we hadda wonder: why doesn’t that cheapest guy in the world tell that coach chalk costs money? Then Coach will jest have C.J. charge out on the rink, find the biggest, baddest babe on the udder team and eraser… No sooner had we thunk it then Wam Bam! C.J. slammed a gal clear down through the floor all the way to Asia, where they’re prob’ly still finding, um, “T.” bits.
We loved the announcer telling us,when bad guy Masked Marvel gets floored ‘bout through the boards, “Down he goes like a ton of hot air!” By then, though, the night air was getting a mite cold. Folks at the M-W warmed up quickly, howlever, started, as they say in the the afore-mentioned anthra-sites, “tro”-ing things at the screen. Especially beer cans, usually tossed with a honk of the horn. A certain thing that caused d-i honks and can tosses? Blood. Always blood. Cars blatted forth even when, slay, Blacula would “B” dispatched on the “d-i die!”screen. And hey, the blood flowing from him wasn’t reely whatcha call honky.
Then there’s, like Joe Bob Briggs sez, Beasts. Beasts were never as ghouled fur honk and toss. Fur one thing, most “B” horror movie beasts never got “B”yond cheap, and wasting a fine even cheaper brewskie on such seldom rubber suited. Although later that night, when the DEATH SPORT mutants came on, one gal, not the Keeper Kurvette, hurled a can with a cry of “That make-up guy’s fur Schlitz!”
Two udder things that caused a profusion of projectiles? Breasts. I’d seen guys, as we came in, good ole boys back’a pick-ups happily pawing through Claudia’s PLAYBOY appearance, and they were ready “fur” her. Wasn’t long befur C.J. on screen began enticing potential new lover Nick, he of the fabled “upward mobility,” with a follow me ‘round the rink strip tease that made Nick, and lotsa udder thighs engaged guys in the M-W, wanna roller.
And while most guys’eyes were popping, my lady love showed me some action made my ears pop. Don’t worry, the effects finally wore offa me. When? I “B”lieve it was, oh, lust tweak.
C.J.’s heroine is the anti-heroine type. She blasts away with her lover’s gun as she plays passenger on his motorcycle, fur-oring at will and narrowly missing pedestrians, cars, anything that does or don’t move. I started to wonder if I’d, like on some New World poster blurb, “see boats, cars, buildings destroyed.” She lets fame go to her head, ole C.J., even mouths off to her mother. Mum’s played by Kathleen Freeman, ev’rybody’s fave’rit t.v. maid, houseKEEPer, witchever. Freeman’s perhaps most remembered nowadaze fur her role as the burly her-ly holiness who sets the Blues Brothers on their filmed mission from God. She’s so good there, and briefly here, there shoulda been a BLUES BROTHERS novelization from “Penguin” books.
Corman regulars in the cast include Allan Vint and Roberta Collins as Vint’s girlfriend Jennifer. Lust I think so. Near the end, when C.J. gets so violent and out control she reely needs to “B” iced, I musta lost it somewhere along the lying’ in back. Prob’ly during a pickle clutch, I SAID tickle match with my date that turned into what the rink announcer woulda called “a furious fusillade of fisticuffs” from her that, again, made my ears rink.
GREAT TEXAS DYNAMITE CHASE, aka DYNAMITE WOMEN, turned out to “B” a bang-up time. C.J. in this is a younger version of Corman’s BIG BAD MAMA, butt w/out the kids. She starts out alone, going to small town banks packing sticks of dynamite and threatening to blow things up reel good unless they hand over the buck$ before they have no hands. Can ya digit?
Anudder young femme, Ellie-Jo as played by Jocelyn Jones, sees the heist and wants to join in the fun. Soon enough C.J. and E.-J. are tearing through alleys, va-voom booming through marching band parades…off course there’s parades!…and scattering marching cheerleaders. Pluckily the marchettes leap away before they get flattened & have to go to New World rival Crown-International as POM-POM GRILLES!
Crowd was amazed howl near ev’ry CHASE-in cop car managed to park over the left behind for them dynamite. Who sez drive-in goers couldn’t recognize a running stick schtick ticking away? Beer cans rained at the screen as they had many a M-W night in the Pabst. Crowd also loved it when a character yelled “Where’d you get that honky dynamite?” Me, I yelled back that “Corman had it left over from BLAST!”
Witch leads me to reekstate my elf: there was a fourth, I SAID furth thing on 70’s d.i. screens made fur beer cans and blatts: car crashes. Especially car crashes where the cars furst burned, THEN exploded. Yeah, I know, shoulda mentioned that oilier.
Along the way C.J. and E.J. pick up ex-t.v. star Johnny Crawford as Slim, who sees their bank-robbing Ways and gets all spitfired up.
Well, yeah, especially since he’s shacked up with guess witch DynaMistress, and he’s out to win the Nubile Thighs! Dunno what ex-RIFLEMAN star J.C.’s done since, but I’d bet he voted for McCain.
Yes, there’s in jokes. At one point the gang tries to rob the New World Bank. Only it’s closed. Apparently the boss and his gang were out counting all the ducks, I SAID buck$ made by ROGER CORMAN’S CHEAP.
And yes, at anudder point somebody sez “We rob banks. With dynamite.” My date yelled “Yeah, why don’t ya just use Master CHARGE?”
Off course when things go bad tomb worse, after much in hers tumult our trio decides they gotta take “one more bank.” You could hear the whole M-W crowd shout. "NOOOOOOOO, not just one more BANNNK!” Hey, anything happened after that on screen, it wasn’t the viewer’s vault. No time at all a gang member’s blown away by cops into a soon to “B” all bloody lake of, uh, bloody lake. After witch we hadda wonder why said deadster didn’t bob up. Nertz, if the gang had decided to have more sense than to go fur a few more cents, it wouldn’t have happened in the furst place. Not by a dam site!
Between all the gunplay onscreen and the gal-play off, my ears rang all the harder.
Was one of those nights that fur the young Keep was like lobe at first bite. Ears were still rinking by the time of TRUCK STOP WOMEN. Crowd was hyped, but more fur the Carradine crash ‘em smash ‘ems to follow. Batcha good old boys wheelin’ n’ a-dealing from the back’a their van…witch was painted with big symbols that read above ‘em PIECE, SISTER!... kept trying to pick up any female walking near them. The hustled hens caused a ruckus when boyfriends and husbands decided they’d had enough and got gruff. Since all this occurred right in front’a us next row up, we missed a few finer TSW plot details. My head still hurt from that UNHOLY ka-bonking, and it didn’t help that ev’ry time the boyfriend or hubby left one offender in a heap of dust after he bounced off our car hood, a new fight would start. Oh, it calmed down till a lil later, when some rowdies got into this chant and and kept yelling it at all the female truckeron the screen. My ears began wiggling out, though. when the lusty lads started yelling it at ev’ry LIVE female strutting and a’truckin’ within their raunchy reach. More of these obviously Chuck Norris fans may have survived their beat-on-by-beaufriend bashings, if only they hadn’t been shouting at ev’ry, ahem, innocent female howl they wanted to “BREAK HER! BREAK HER!”
Things calmed down some next intermission, before witch I’d conned my lady I honest and fur true needed nursing. Missed much of the break, didn’t realize something was up till I went to potty up. Had to, like the sign in the M-W piddle boys room said, THIMK OR THWIM in the soaked to the ceiling men’s room, so steep and deep the Titanic shoulda floated so smell, I SAID well.
I defart, I mean, departed, glommed there seemed to be one helluva lot of M-W patrons running all at once from the Way-backest rows up to the Kongcession stand. Luckily I’d already got out while the getting was Goobers. And who should I see running away from a particularly huge lynch mob but my uncle, who in mid-flight forward jumped spun backwards just as this guy built like Joe Montana, he was that range-y, tacked Unk’s mid-section. I couldn’t “B”lieve my eyes, but Unk weasel squirmed aWay and landed running. I won’t say Unk knew he was making a Corman reference, but even befur he’d landed he yelled back to his sprawled on the ground missailant that he could “Eat my dust!” Sheesh. I’d known Unk wanted to come to the show, it was Unc’s idea fr the C.J.amboree in the furst place, but the poor guy hadn’t known if he’d be on the road or not. Well, he’d made it, and made something and someone else, like he’d always lay, dangit, SAY, “lick thighs.” Watching Unk sprint toward the the back’a the Grue-Slay, I saw his rig parked parallel to the barb-wired fence I knew lurked in the shadows. There was lust, I mean, just enough light in his cab that I caught a glimpse of shapely V’d legs working the truck’s sound effects, BLATT, BLLLLAAATTTTT! ONK, ONKK! Unk slammed a quick salute at me, winked once again as he shifted into a faster movin’ his rear gear, said, “Kid, Aw got me one who’s reely HORNy.”
Witch X-playin’s howl Unk managed to leap inside his cab so lickedly splittedly. There followed a mob on foot reaching his truck in a screeching cartoon of a halt, turning, then running away from the truck and dodging ev’ry witch Way as it charged tru ‘em and managed to miss ‘em all. Whereupon they picked themselves up and pursued once more. Some of the fastest survivors hopped into their own vehicles and furred up and off, inspiring a headed OUT the M-W chase scene woulda done Chuck Norris and Kris K. proud. Watched fur awhile, certain Unk and his big rig were gonna take out the M-W’s screen, but he didn’t. Where he and his ersatz C.J. went from there, he never said. Nor did he ever d-i-vulge what he did to inspire such a ruckus to blare furth. All Unk ever told me was “summa those boys got me so good afterward that I was really LAID up!”
No biggie. Lust I saw that C.J.-rama night, Unk was roaring toward Highway 462. Know he musta headed that way cuz I’d seen a particularly well-known tattoo on one’a those splayed V ankles. Tattoo “B”-babe-belonged to a certain town’s business woman., a gal Alfred Hitchock woulda called a “good lady of the even-ning.” I headed back to the car, realized the giant truck in escape mode episode was nothing, reely. Fur, you C.J. see, Lanky had a near riot on his hands. Either that or lotsa folks who’d bought the deep-fried fajitos left over from summer of ’69 were revolting.
As I wandered back to the Keep Kurvette there were all these rinky dink bikes zooming about on screen making a noise like hysterical prehistoric bumble bees on a crash dive. Oh Lord, howl could I furget? Those danged things had about ruint my ears the furst time I saw DEATHSPORT. My love informed me as I sat down that we were watching a future, she’d written it down by glove compartment light, she said to “this time get it write” that was “1000 years from tomorrow, after the great neutron bomb wars.” Then she matter of factly added, “Oh yeah, something was going on with a big truck. Wuzzat somethin’ Lanky came up with fur the last movie?”
Ignore that. Younger readers may not know of the proposed neutron bomb, a weapon that, during the timeframe of DEAF, I said DEATH SPORT, could have proven even worse than a Ronnie Raygun.
My ears kept taking a beating. How come? Well, along with the bikes’ buzzbomb bleating, the soundtrack…that my date claimed was done by Jerry Garcia and someone named Blue Jean Tyranny… is this busily bizarre combo of guitar and synthesizer, one even J. Sebastian woulda tossed Bach. Add what look like hard plastic, red for blood tipped DS swords called Whistlers that sound like they’re auditioning for friggin’ Slash…and, well, I began to wish for a platoon of piano players on the soundtrack, so I could this watching go back to the projection booth, grab the print and rip out the players’ auditory organs.
It all came back to me. C.J. see, in DEATH SPORT there’s city dwelling Statemen, they’re the bad guys as headed by Zarpola…David McLean… and his bad bike boy David Lynch. Lynch has his own head bike boy, Allan Vint’s bruzzy Jesse. Curse, “B” a DS biker, he’s more like a’-BUZZ!-y. Ears felt better a sec, until DL came on screen furrst time and my date shouted at the screen that“Yeah, there’s loads of dicks oughta be lynched!” I hugged my side of the car till she calmed herself. No problem. Lynch is always a great heavy, he’d “B’een terror-fic in Corman’s oilier GOD TOLD ME TO, aka DEMON, and he’s at his beast here. Me and my love had seen Lynch in GTMT here at the M-W/G-S, when it played with Cronenberg’s RABID. A combo that must “B” the only double bill ever based on their common, uncommon theme of killer armpits. It’s a wonder civic groups didn’t get up in arms and have ‘em both Banned. In DS Lynch’s the guy who killed David Carradine’s Range Guide mother in the backgorey. Mom, we we’re told, “could just feel the air and know even days in advance when a flashwind was coming in off the wasteland.” Yeah, but there’s lotsa desert in DEATH SPORT, so what good is that if she can’t even tap dunes?
All those bikes blasting away helped, howlever, get me back up to speed. Carradine plays a Range Guide named Kaz O’Shea. Rangers are your basic horsemen, and Kaz tells C.J. as a Guidette named Deneer that he’d “rather have a horse than a machine” and she never sez him neigh. See, Statesmen’s bikes aren’t just bikes, they’re “Death Machines.” These babies DMZip making that awful noise AND zapping folks with disinegration rays...he said, beamingly. Later, when Deneer and DC needs must learn to ride blast-a-rama bikes for the Death Sport event, Carradine sez riding such a thing, compared to riding horseback, takes “none of the instinct.” Still, “B”eing a rural kid myself, I hadda agree. I’d often walked behind a horse and stepped in stink. Kaz O’Shea likes a free range life, his motto being “Like sand in the wind, KEEP moving.” More deRanged litanies include “Everything is within the self. Nothing is outside,” “My true path never wavers,” “Each of us is alone when he dies,” and “I am my only master, take away my body and my soul will still be mine.” That one I could hear hoardes of males yelling to their honeys:” If I did this…or that…to you, would YOU still be mine?” Ah, drive-in love. Of cars, I SAID of course it wasn’t just the guys got frisky at drive-ins, and many a male would claim his best babe/ 70’s miss Ms.-behaved so much at the d-i he hadda fender off.
Years of leers later, howlever, my date and I used the Range Guide pledge in our wedding vows, swore “Our union is strong.” We’re still together, proving that many a drive-in union proved to “B” reel!
Witch brings to mind…a coupla folks who read these things have axed the ole Keep, “Keep, howl scum then you been known to call her the ‘Keeper-eccch’ lately?
Howl bat dit she blimp out?” I gotta reekply that no, ya got it wrong. My drive-in damsel of the ‘70’s is still with me, still the Keeper Kurvette. So who is the Keeper-eccch, you axe? Chiller out. IT’s blob-vious: the Keeper-eccch’s the Mothra-in-law.
Hack to our story: Carradine doesn’t stay free long, gets hauled to Statemen h.q., where ruler Zarpola likes to watch as naked women are tortured by, uh, dangling wires of disco-sparkly electric confetti. They think it’s fun until they start getting Zarpola zapped, when they learn what came before was just futuristic Studio 54 play.
So, Carradine and C.J. are captured and intended to “B” enlisted in the Death Sport arena. Ain’t too long befur our Ranger and Rangerette get strapped to gurney type thingies and given the unsound treatment. And yes, C.J. in nude spurt order gets herself as bare-chested as Kaz, butt unlike him strapped down helpless AND naked. Witch inspired the breasts ever at a d-i flurry of honks and beer cans I ever saw, even bedher than the scene where Zarpola has her purr form the dance of the deadly confetti. Fact, I wouldn’t be slurp thighs’ed if said pix wind up here, you know, for Temple of Schlock shock value.
To get this story in gear, my ears never got a break. By the time we got Statemen vs. Rangers on screaming Death Machines whistling through modern CA. highway construction zones the noise got even worse. What the heck was going ON back to the deepest reaches of the M-W? “Take notes,” I said. “On it,” said the Keeper Kurvette. “Nah,” I told her, “save the ‘on it’ fur later.” I got out, saw that enough people were charging the snack bar there seemed to “B” a Cecil B. D.-million of ‘em. Each and ev’ry guy and gal was shaking upraised fists and calling out cuss-word names like they were auditioning for the M-W’s next week’s biker flick blow-out, may”B” in ANGELS DIE HARD AS THEY COME.
I pushed and shoved “tru” and further back, past the snack bar building, finally edged me a kinda klear path away from the charging, shouting crowd. My ears wanted to die. Wanted to rip them off when a wall of horrid sound emanated from the lot behind the M-W, behind the barbed wire fence…both joints had once been farms…that separated the two businesses. The second biz being the ever-popular Pummeled Dwarf Bra.
Yep, that’s what their sign said. Sure it shoulda read BAR, not BRA, but they never changed it while the M-W stood. Next decade, when the M-W was down, the PDB became a b.y.o strip joint, and for a whole two tweaks, I SAID weeks the sign made purr fit scents. Until they changed it back to the Pummeled Dwarf BAR. Go-go figure.
I soon learned one reason for the stampede to the M-W building. Earlier I could only hear the sound play to the M-W front. Not back here. Back here were no DS buzz bikes, no Whistling plastic ear-piercers. No movie sounds at all. My ears curled inward. What the seven bells from hell WUZZ that? Then I saw the PDB venue sign for the night, witch read: AMATEUR BAND KONG TESTES. No, I’m not ape-shite-in’ ya.
Kong pounding the felony: witchever band was playing featured a demean eeecch-cordion, as it none too swiftly stumbled through a version of a coal region fave’rit turned, they musta thought, soulful: “She’s My Kill Bossa Woman.” Sounded like it was being performed by Marvin Pebbles and Bam-Bam.
I raced back my ears aflame. Knew a hidden way into the projection booth, took it. Lanky and his film flunky Spunky, the projectionist, were grabbing their heads and tearing their hairs out, witch would have amounted to a total of three specimens if I wanted to take an on-head count.
Seems not only was that offal band too loud, it was such because Lank and Spunk had lost the sound, for no reason I ever learned of later, to the entire back 10 rows. And the joint was, as you’ll recall, packed to the grilles.
Having eeek!-cessed the situation, I eased on outta there, fled full tilt to the Keeper Kurvette, heard the loudest screech of Death Machines and Blue Junky Tiretread moog-sic yet. Settled in, snuggled up, said to my self, “Ah, sweet music to my ears.” The Keeper Kurvette couldn’t “B”lieve it when I blurted out “I gotta buy the friggin’ LP sound dreck!”
On screen things came ear, sorry, Deneer the end. Lynch decides to take on Kaz in a duel, saying “Man is like a candle. He must radiate life by burning himself. I have a destiny to meet.” Ha, and I’d thought Carradine and Deneer had had all the matchless die-a-logue! And “B”eing Lynch playing a villain, something between himself and the front’a the M-W audience clicked with those fiery words. Cuz they threw things amonks the cars, booed, hissed.
Don’t wanna give the end a Mu-Way, but Whistlers whirled and head rolled. Quite crani-yummily. No bloody geyser or terrible screams, though. Musta been one of them thar silent deaf spurts.
But, the “music” smelled, I SAID swelled. So did the clamors outside. The Kurvette K.vetched, “Geez, what’s WRONG? The crowd loved DEATH SPORT when it played here with DEATH RACE those other times.Ya think it’s all cuz Lanky saved DEATH RACE fur last?”
“Nah,” I said. “RACE will always beat SPORT, no KONG TESTES.”
“Never mind.” I took one last look at the snack bar while the next ad came on fur green burgers, rot to mention hot dogs with Texas schooners, oil wad a pair. Lanky and the Spunkster were being carried by line-back looking huskies toward the Pummeled Dwarf Bar. You’d think they were being movie manhandled by Universal peasants heading for the castle, the Way L. & S. were hollerin’ and a-Whale-in’.
We left fright “B” “fur” the cop cars, who musta missed Unk highballin’it same road opposite direction, started rolling on in. Hey, it was the late ‘70’s, and we didn’t wanna their space Boss Hogg.
Since you axed so Poe lightly: the Mu-Way survived. To its next and last season of ’79. ‘79’s also the year we lost the queen of the drive-ins, Claudia Jennings, who gave us the night to remember you’ve just heard d-i described. Joint went down with its last night, last showing “B”eing what witch I still kong testes is the last great drive-in Piture MADE for the drive-ins: Roger Corman’s ROCK ‘n’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL. Or, as a bud of mine, Don K. Barbecue, calls it, ROCK ‘n’ ROLL THIGH DROOL. Udder thighs, Barbecue’s the nicest guy ya ever wanna meat.
So I sit here at the Pummeled Dwarf Bar, having finished this raunchy rambol. And Ed Woodn’t ya know it? The PDB marquee finally has it right! Last month the joint opened under un-nude management, became an actual bar again when the strip club went, uh, bust. I close my note book, gaze out a fly-specked window at the lot across the way, witch WAS the Way. Get up, toss a buck to the bartender. Hey, I didn’t watch all those Roger Corman movies fur nothin’! He gives me a don’t-come-back-again scowl, so I dig in my pockets for spare change. “Tro” him some, look down in my hand. Un “B” lievable! Cradled there’s a ticket stub for the Motor-Way. I suddenly recall, these gewgaws were once Lanky’s pride and joy, and he always said he spent “mucho moola” to have them “specially made.” Whoa, the rush of memories it brings, as I read “More Tor Way Drive-In -- Lankey Muldune, bowner and mangey grrr.”
I lovingly straighten the ticket out, put it in my always flat not fat wallet as a KEEPsake. I mutter into my collar, making a gathering of already drunk in-comers wonder just howl plotzed I am as we pass.What did I say? I think it was “Some things are best taken with a brain of malt.”
I head on out, look at what the M-W “B” came. A tear comes to my bleery eyes.
I look up to a cold, unfriendly night sky. But not befur I find a beer can in the PDB parking lot, wing it over the still extant barbed wire fence. It bounces, although not as pretty and sweetly as did Claudia Jennings. Nope, no Way.
And from over in the M-W lot comes the honk of invisible car horns. Honest engine.
Is there anywhere on the planet where one can enjoy nights like this anymore? I doubt it. I know there’s still people who care about drive-ins past and present. Know my Pummeled Dwarf, I mean gnome, dang it, HOME state of PA. is like #2 in the “our union is strong” nation for having operational drive-ins. But there’s no biker movies, no dusk-to-yawn creature features, just the same new pix, all major reekleases, that play downtown at the multiplex the same weak weekend. I know, it’s sad “B”yond “B”lief, as was Claudia J.’s death. And, oh man, C.J. spots Don K. B.’s ole bud who knew her when she first hit Hollywood and she made him the best spaghetti dinner he ever had. They run, collide, hug. Hold on. There’s David Carradine now, riding a bike toward them that, praise “B,” is as quiet as his smile…
He removes one’a those funky DEATH SPORT helmets. “Hey, babe,” he greets C.J. “Your union still strong?”
She takes his hand from the handle, places it wherever you might imagine. “Still real, too.”
As Lanky would say, “B” “fur” ya know it all 4 of them are off, charging into a never-ending sunset. Holding hands, kicking, splashing, laughing. Claudia sez “You got any drive-ins up here?”
“Got ‘em?” Carradine grins, from above us all and into the final fade-out. “There’s a MILLION of them. And wait till you see the flick I’m doing with Bruce Lee!”
Us down here, we DO gotta wait, without decent drive-ins or their stars who played fur us under the stars. But C.J. and D.C., and (drive-in) lots of others, are waiting at a place called, and they ain’t kidding, the Sky-Hi Drive-In. Waiting with love for each and ev’ry drive-in fan to join ‘em , when his or her own end’s Deneer.
And, they say the pic with C.J., D.C. and Bruce Lee is a reel mother Fu’er!
-- 30 Years --