Friday, February 27, 2015

SALT OF THE EARTH

My neighborhood, unaware of the horror
that was about to unfold.
The prosaic, predictable Upper East Side lifestyle to which I'm happily accustomed was briefly shattered yesterday afternoon when high-pitched, unintelligible screaming broke the usual silence outside my building. 

Figuring it was one of the local school kids letting off steam, I ignored it for about two minutes before deciding it was time to give my typically courageous response: Lowering the shade, opening the window a few inches, and bellowing "HEY, SHUT UP OUT THERE!" before quickly ducking out of sight. Just call me Upper East Side Sniper.

As I got to the window, it became clear this wasn't just some kid showing off to his friends. This was the yelling of a woman who sounded mighty angry, and not because she disagreed with her husband about whether the dress was gold and white or blue and black. (For the record, I go with gold and white.)


And there she was: a woman in the building across the street pounding on the window of her first-floor apartment. Pounding so hard, in fact, that the window bulged out every time she hit it, as if made of plexiglass. I still couldn't understand what she was yelling, but it was loud enough to transmit through a closed window. 

I neglected to say that she also appeared to be at least partly unclothed. What the hell, lady, where do you think you are, the Reeperbahn? This is the Upper East Side. We only walk around naked with the shades open because we don't think anyone across the street is looking.

Passers-by, in their typical New York fashion, took little notice of the drama, giving it no more thought than they would a siren down the block. I was thinking that this might be a good time to call 911, when she suddenly stopped and backed away, out of sight. OK, show's over, bub, nothing more to see here.

Suddenly, when what to my wandering eyes did appear was the woman, around 30 years of age, opening the window and carefully hoisting herself out. She was naked, alright, ambling up the block toward York Avenue in the 27-degree air, pausing from time to time as she glimpsed into the parked cars, inquiring, "Mom? Mom?"

As I watched this freak show unfold before me, one obvious thought came to me: Y'know, if this chick wasn't crazy, she'd be pretty hot.

Not even the jaded Manhattanites could ignore it anymore. One older woman took out her cellphone to call 911 instead of doing what anyone else would have done: shoot a video and post it online. 

As the naked woman traipsed out of sight, two words entered my head: bath salts. And not because I was feeling all achy. Take a gander at these real headlines:

 
                 ‘Bath salts’ suspected in nationwide naked crime wave

 Miami's 'Naked Zombie' Proves Need to Ban Bath Salts, Experts Say

Crazed naked man high on bath salts threatens to eat police officers

 Woman High On Bath Salts Strips Naked In A Park For The Second Time


The gateway drug.
Anybody else starting to notice a pattern? 

These people weren't all naked because they were getting ready to step into the tub and thought, I've got these bath salts here. Hey, let's see what would happen if I snorted them. According to a DEA spokesman, ingesting bath salts causes the body temperature to spike dramatically. Other side effects include violent behavior and unnatural strength. (Don't give NFL players any ideas.)   

As for la femme nue, she was carted away in an ambulance a moment later. By the time I finished putting on my shoes and coat to go out, another ambulance and three squad cars were double-parked outside my building. They were still there when I returned about 45 minutes later. I guess those guys really wanted to find another naked woman.

You'd think this adventure would've been worthy of a paragraph or two in the local tabloids this morning, but you'd be wrong. If only I'd had the presence of mind to take a video with our iPad! It probably would have been good for a C-note or two from the local Fox affiliate's 5:00 news.

But the worst part? The crazy naked woman put on her show after the little brats from the private girls school on our block were dismissed for the day. That's an education they never would've forgotten.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES EDITION

Health and Human Services' Office of Refuge Resettlement (ORR) has confirmed  that abortions must be made available by federally funded caregivers of illegal alien unaccompanied minors. 

Asked to comment on the idea of free abortions for illegal aliens, Republican spokesman Joe Mendi said, "I'll have to get back to you on this."

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MOVIE OF THE DAY: "WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?" (1945)

You'd think a movie with a script by Morrie Ryskind (A Night at the Opera) and a score by Ira Gershwin and Kurt Weill (no credits needed), would be long-considered a classic. But the answer to the musical's title, Where Do We Go From Here?, is "down the memory hole."

It's certainly an unusual concept for a musical, being the story of Bill Morgan, a 4-F scrap dealer who wants to impress the soldier-crazy slut Sally Smith, while blind to the affections of the good-girl Lucilla Powell. An inept genie in a magic lamp tries to grant Morgan his wish to join the army, but succeeds only in sending him back and forth through time -- the American Revolution, Christopher Columbus' voyage to the New World, and 16th-century New Amsterdam -- while encountering Sally and Lucilla's ancestors along the way.

Fred MacMurray tries unsuccessfully
to look down June Haver's dress.
Alternately refined and juvenile, lively and tedious, Where Do We Go From Here? feels like a Broadway show that 20th Century-Fox decided would make a swell Technicolor movie instead. Gregory Ratoff's directing style consists of long, unedited takes without the panache of, say, Alfred Hitchcock or even Laurel & Hardy. While it works for the astonishing USO production number "Morale," it tends that much more to make the movie resemble a filmed play.

Not that Where Do We Go From Here? is without charm. Fred MacMurray, the man least likely to sing Kurt Weill, does a nice job with the dreamy "All at Once" and "If Love Remains" -- two numbers that are probably Cafe Carlyle staples even today. "The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria" (guess which scene), on the other hand, is a 10-minute mini-opera that impresses for its sheer audaciousness. 

But the score's overall sophistication is so far out of step from other '40s movie musicals and its own silly script that Where Do We Go From Here? probably bewildered its original audience. Sometimes bizarre is good. Other times it's just... bizarre.


Anthony Quinn and Fred MacMurray get cozy
while ignoring the hot squaw on the rug.
Along with MacMurray, the cast is something of a ragtag bunch. Joan Leslie and June Haver are beautiful but bland second-tier leading ladies. Mexican-born Anthony Quinn is a fast-talking 15th-century Indian chief who threatens to scalp Morgan, before selling him the island of Manhattan -- which already has Times Square street signs. (If you love relentless anachronistic humor, Where Do We Go From Here? is for you.) 

Gene Sheldon goes back
in time so he can refuse to
make this movie.
Stage actor Gene Sheldon speaks more dialogue as the idiot genie than he probably did in the rest of his career. If you're old enough, you may remember Sheldon on TV as either Zorro's mute sidekick, or variety shows playing banjo while making funny faces. Actually, you probably don't, but I do.

Where Do We Go From Here? has some trappings of an A-picture but with a B-movie running time of 74 minutes. (A sequence featuring Roy Rogers and Gabby Hayes, presumably set in the Old West, was excised before its release.) Too, its May 1945 release date -- rather late for a flag-waving, World War II-themed picture -- suggests that it had been sitting on the shelf for at least a year. Like Fred MacMurray's character, Where Do We Go From Here? was probably never in quite the right time or place.

                                             ********************************** 
Anyone interested in watching the lengthy "Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria" production number can go here.

The demo for a deleted song, combining tongue-twisting lyrics and insulting Native American humor, can be heard here performed by Gershwin & Weill.
 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: ISIS EDITION 2/24/15

In a recent series of online videos and messages, ISIS has threatened to invade Rome and throw gay men off the Leaning Tower of Pisa; shown footage of seven year-olds training for battle; and published a manual for ISIS brides demonstrating how to raise children and prepare meals for their husbands.

When asked for a comment, Republican party spokesman Joe Mendi said, "We applaud their commitment to family values."

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Monday, February 23, 2015

WHAT I SAW AT THE SNL 40TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY

What a night! Sorry it's taken so long to post this, but I've been on such a high after attending Saturday Night Live's 40th anniversary bash that I've only just come down to earth. Sure, it was cold outside, but it was warm with memories inside!

What a shock it was when I saw Dick Cheney at the buffet table. Oops! It was really Chevy Chase. Hey, Chevy, I'm healthy and you're not!


I had barely swallowed my canape before noticing Jim Belushi. "Hey Jim," I called, "in all your years on Saturday Night Live, what are you proudest of?"

"That's an easy one," he grinned. "Riding on the name of my far more talented dead brother. Otherwise, I'd be a bouncer at a strip club in Encino." Ain't it the truth!

Of course, the biggest thrill for everyone was the return of former comedy icon Eddie Murphy, whose greatest movies delighted audiences during the Reagan administration. When he wasn't thinking of ways not to be funny during the show, Eddie spent the evening avoiding Joe Piscopo.

It wouldn't be a party without former cutie-turned-Mae West past-her-prime impersonator Victoria Jackson. The wacky blonde, whose foray into political commentary makes Mike Huckabee look like Rennie Davis, was delighted when I asked her to pose former SNL star Kristin Wiig, who, as you can see, was thrilled at the prospect. For some reason, Kristin has since refused to return my calls.



And speaking of politics, it was good to see Rudy Giuliani with his third wife (and only the second who wasn't his cousin). "How's it going, Rudy?" I asked, shaking his hand.

"Let me tell you something," America's Mayor replied. "I was in New York on 9/11. I lived through that terrible time."

"Right, I remember. So, uh, what're you up to these days?"

"I lost friends on 9/11. It was awful, just awful."

"Uh hunh. So, uh, who was your favorite SNL cast member?"

"You have no idea what was like in New York on 9/11," he replied unhesitatingly. "I was mayor, I was at Ground Zero. I saw what happened. Nobody knows 9/11 like me." 

"OK, Rudy," I said, "good talking to you." I gotta give this to him, he's one focused guy.


Rudy wasn't the only politician at the party. Half-wit, half-term governor Sarah Palin hugged it out with agitator-without-portfolio Al Sharpton. When I asked why these two political opposites were so chummy, Sharpton admitted, "Simple. Without the other, we die."

"The Rev's right," agreed Palin. "Who are we otherwise but a couple of big mouths whose opinions aren't worth moose shit? We need each other the same way the press needs us so they have something to talk about instead of real news." 

"Kind of like Saturday Night Live," Sharpton noted. "They started out as 'take no prisoners.' Politicians were afraid of what the show would do to them. Now, people like Sarah and me -- and Al Gore and John McCain -- wanna appear on the show because they know they're gonna be treated with respect. Lorne Michaels is the new Carol Burnett!"

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

50 SHADES OF GREY HAIR



No one in their right mind would pay good money to dine at a mediocre restaurant just because “everybody else” does. Yet that kind of herd mentality is deemed perfectly acceptable when it comes to what by all accounts is a badly-written book.

When 50 Shades of Grey was published last year, my wife briefly expressed an interest in reading it. This disturbed me, but not for the reasons you might think. My wife, you see, tends to be immune to the disposable pop culture trends that I’ve been known to be a sucker for. (You should’ve seen me in my ‘80s fashions back in the day. Actually, it’s better that you didn’t.)

In that regard, you might say I hold her to higher standards than I do for myself. But I would counter that I merely think of her as a better person than me, which any of our friends would heartily confirm.

Ming knew how to swing!
But as I thought it over, the idea started to appeal to me. Perhaps now, pushing 60, I could finally indulge in the kind of fantasies that had first swirled through my mind when, as a mesmerized eight year-old, I watched the sexy Dale Arden held captive by Ming the Merciless in the old Flash Gordon serials on Saturday morning TV.  (Oh, how I pity today’s youngsters who have only Spongebob Squarepants to dream about.)

The “experts” always say sex gets better as you get older. Well, here was our chance to prove it, and prove it good! I might not own a feather brush to run up and down her quivering body. But I had an oxtail attached to a carved wooden stick, courtesy of my mother’s trip down the Amazon, that could more or less get the job done.

I knew, however, I had to tiptoe around the subject first. “So about that 50 Shades thing,” I said casually, as if I were drawing up a shopping list. “Does this mean that you, uh, would be interested in, er, acting it out yourself?”

She looked at me as if I had three heads, if only because she usually looks at me like I have two. “No! Of course not.”

Her answer was as shocking as snow in winter. Most women, she informed me, prefer mentally indulging in certain fantasies without actually acting them out. To me, this makes as much sense as, say, her reading cookbooks while I do all the cooking – which, come to think of it, is the way things work around our home.

The subject was dropped until recently, when the movie version of 50 Shades of Grey was released. Once again, my wife made noises like it was her cultural duty to drop $15 to see something that had received the worst reviews since, well, the book version of 50 Shades of Grey.

Like a fish who knows what fate awaits him when he swims to the annual bass tournament, I willingly took the bait. Only now I waited until we were in bed. “I’ve read about the 50 Shades of Grey movie, and, you know, I’ve got a sleep mask you can use for a blindfold. And we can use my earplugs for… something or other…”
Maybe she'd find this fantasy
more acceptable.

After she stopped laughing hysterically – not the first time a woman has done so when I was lying naked next to her – she returned to the more important matter of reading her emails on the iPad.

I suppose it didn’t help that, the day before, my dermatologist had removed several unsightly “old man” growths from my body. Growths which were currently covered by even more unsightly bandages – one of which was stuck directly across my forehead, as if I’d been on the wrong end of a bush league William Tell routine.

Maybe the handsome, 30 year-old Mr. Grey could have gotten away with such a look. But when you’re the not-quite-as handsome, 59 year-old Mr. Blogger, you have to take your marital sex sessions as they are.

So it looks like I’ll have to be satisfied with making do without props during our moments of intimacy, relying strictly on what we came into the world with. That’s probably not a bad thing. Frankly, at our age we don’t have the energy to paint our room red, or remember our “safe words” when things start getting out of hand. I’m lucky to remember where I put my cellphone.

And as for my memories of Dale Arden… Well, we’ll always have the planet Mongo.

                                                  ******************

Friday, February 20, 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

WORLD NEWS ROUND-UP: 2/19/15


Victoria Jackson, a six-year veteran of Saturday Night Live, is publicly wondering if her opposition to gay marriage prompted Lorne Michaels to treat her differently than the other cast members who attended the 40th anniversary of the show Sunday, writing on her website, "Is Lorne ashamed of me?"

Asked for a response, Michaels admitted, "Actually, I'm ashamed of myself for thinking she was funny in the first place."





The Clinton Foundation reportedly is seeing an increase in contributions from foreign governments after ending a self-imposed ban on such donations.

When asked for a comment, Hillary Clinton said, "Hey, if it's good enough for ISIS, it's good enough for us." 

Mississippi  State Rep. Gene Alday apologized on the floor of the state House of Representatives on Tuesday for accusing African Americans in his hometown of being lazy and receiving "crazy welfare checks."

"What I meant to say was," Rep. Alday stated, " was that African-Americans are crazy and collecting lazy welfare checks."

Republican Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas has rescinded an order protecting all gay state employees from job discrimination.

Asked why he wants to fire the gay workers, Gov. Brownback told reporters, "I just find them -- distracting, y'know? I mean, seeing those muscles bulging under their shirtsleeves. And the way they walk in those fitted jeans... the cologne they wear... brushing up to them in crowded hallways..."  Gov. Brownback then abruptly excused himself before heading towards the men's room.

 

A new documentary on Russian President Vladimir Putin reveals he was branded a drunken groper during his time as a KGB spy by his Soviet masters. 

When informed of this new finding, Joe Biden said, "Damn, and I only made Vice-President!"



The manuscripts are The Cat in the Casket, Oh The Funerals You'll Go To! and Horton Has a Stroke.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WORLD NEWS ROUND-UP: 2/18/15

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: APPLE CAR EDITION


David Garrity, principal at GVA Research, said that Apple's entry into the electric car market is exactly what investors want.

Garrity told reporters, "Every owner of Apple products is looking forward to purchasing a car that has takes forever to load, freezes when you least expect it, and needs to be shut down for regular updates. They'll be lining up around the block!"

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: BOB SIMON EDITION

Bob Simon, the longtime "60 Minutes" correspondent and legendary CBS News foreign reporter died suddenly Wednesday night in a car accident in New York City. 

When asked for a comment, Brian Williams said, "I was in that car with Bob. I was afraid I was going to die."

UPDATE, 7:45AM: In a correction of his statement, Brian Williams said, "In an effort to honor and thank a fellow reporter, I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 hours ago. I said I was traveling with Bob when it collided with a another car before slamming into the barriers separating the north- and southbound traffic. I was actually in a car behind Bob, and somehow conflated the two incidents. To Bob's family, I offer my sincerest apology."

SECOND UPDATE, 9:05AM: While investigating Brian Williams' apology, we've learned that his car was actually an hour behind Bob Simon's.

THIRD UPDATE, 10:00AM: Further investigation has shown that, at the time of Bob Simon's fatal accident, Williams was in fact still at home, eating a chocolate chip cookie over the kitchen sink while preparing a cup of Sanka.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

MANSON MARRIAGE MELTDOWN

A few weeks back, I wrote a piece about the love story of the decade: Charles Manson had finally found a woman who had made him happy. His girlfriend had gone so far as to take out a marriage license on their behalf. At the age of 80, Manson would finally hear wedding bells instead of the perpetual cuckoo clock inside his head.

But it was not to be. Cupid has had his arrow returned, broken in two:


Charles and Afton in happier times.
What a disappointment. I mean, who wasn't looking forward to the happy couple marching down the aisle to the strains of "Helter Skelter"? And geezers everywhere were rooting for Manson, who, at the age of 80, still had it in him to turn the ladies' heads. This was actually pretty easy, since those heads weren't screwed on too tightly to begin with. 

So what brought about the break-up? Political differences? Possibly -- I don't see a swastika carved in her forehead. She wanted kids and he didn't? Hash it out with Dr. Phil. His tendency to order mass murders? Let's take a look at that news article and find out:

 
Funny, in all those "Move to California" commercials that used to run incessantly in New York several years ago, I don't remember Manson being one of the attractions. Surfing, palm trees, the chance of seeing Jack Nicholson courtside at the Lakers games, absolutely. But Charles Manson on display in a glass grotto? Maybe that was for the locals who still pine for the '60s. 

Manson, no sucker he, got out in the nick of time, no doubt unwilling to be the latest in a string of old celebrities being strung along by a gold-digger young enough to be his psycho disciple. Dames, hunh?  

Yup, you can't say Manson didn't come to his senses. Or can you?


This looks like a still from half of
Quentin Tarantino's movies.
Manson might be on to something. Take a good look at him. Hipster goatee. Trendy haircut. Looks like he works out more than I do. Not a wrinkle that I can see. Would you take him for 80? If he yelled, "Hey you punks, get off my lawn!", you'd get.

Ms. Burton insists, however, that the marriage is still on, and will be renewing the license. But even a state as wacky as California might balk at going through this kind of publicity again. If so -- and if Manson proves to be a candidate for parole -- he and Ms. Burton can always move to Alabama. They might be nuts, but, dammit, they're straight.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED


While some employers are cutting back on hiring, at least one just can't seem to keep workers to save their lives. Literally. The London Daily Mail reports:


"I want YOU... to blow yourself up so I don't have to."

 
Man, isn't that typical of kids these days? You have one down quarter and, bam, they quit to join a rival team. No loyalty anymore. If ISIS wants to recruit more people, they're going to have to make some changes before they hang out a sign reading  مطلوب مساعدة (that's HELP WANTED for you Allah-hating Americans who will soon be swimming in your own blood).

"How did I get involved with them?"
First of all, they've got to decide on a name. ISIL, ISIS, IS, Islamic State -- sheesh, every month it's something new!  To make things more confusing, some European news outlets have taken to calling it Daesh, the acronym for the translation of "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant." You're never going to keep customers, let alone a staff, if nobody knows who you are.

The solution is easier than a camel in heat. Find a name and stick with it. Example: Everybody knows what Charleston Chews are because they've been Charleston Chews since 1922. They didn't become Charlotte Confits, then Jacksonville Jawbreakers, before switching to Beaufort Bonbons. They're Charleston f'in' Chews. Deal with it.

Another thing. Every time I turn on the TV, you guys are destroying a village or killing another hostage. Weekends, holidays, morning, noon and night, it's work work work. 
Or maybe start an after-work dance troupe.
Now I get that you have a lot on your plate these days, but there's nothing like an occasional R&R (and I don't mean rampage and revolution). For instance, did it ever occur to you that your workers might need a little change of scenery? You know, for the rest of the world, sand eventually leads to an ocean in which to swim. A few dips in Neptune's back yard is enough to rejuvenate a nihilist faster than you can say "Death to the West!"

And in case you haven't figured it out by now, there's not much of a future in blowing yourself up to get a promotion, so you might as well use the felafel-on-a-stick approach. Like a 401(k). Each year your recruits stay with you, contribute an extra 10 virgins to the allotted 72 they're going to get after they go blooey. And it's not like you're losing on the deal. Your workers are going to be so psyched, they won't even realize they're not going to survive long enough to see any profit. It's worked for Walmart.

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Friday, February 6, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: MORAL EQUIVALENCY EDITION

President Barack Obama on Thursday condemned those who seek to use religion as a rationale for carrying out violence around the world, declaring that "no god condones terror." The president added, "Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ."

"And while we're on the subject," Mr. Obama said, "You know how the Brits love their royal family? Well, back in the 16th century, Henry VIII thought it was cool to kill one of his wives. And then there's Romania. They probably want us to protect them from a possible Russian invasion. But let's not forget that when Vlad the Impaler was running the show 700 years ago, he was also running stakes through people he didn't agree with. And unlike what a certain cartoon show would have you believe, cavemen weren't riding around in foot-powered cars and eating brontoburgers after a day at the rock quarry. Those dudes were clubbing each other and dragging their wives around by the hair. So let's not pretend we're any different from today's extremists, OK?"

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: BRIAN WILLIAMS EDITION

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted Wednesday he was not aboard a helicopter hit and forced down by enemy fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a false claim that has been repeated by the network for years. Williams and his camera crew were actually aboard a Chinook in a formation that was about an hour behind the three helicopters that came under fire. In his on-air apology, Williams placed the blame on his "fog of memory of 12 years."

Williams went on to say, "Now that I think of it, there are some other incidents I misremembered that I'd like to clear up now. Contrary to my earlier reports, I was nowhere near President Kennedy's car when he was assassinated. I blame that memory on the fog of kindergarten. Nor was I on the Hindenburg when it exploded, as I mentioned on the 75th anniversary of that tragic event. That was the fog of newsreels. And I must now admit that, despite my initial statement, I was 3,000 miles away from the subway train in England that was blown up by terrorists in 2005. That would be a foggy day in London town."

"If any good can come out of this," Williams added with a wry smile, "it's that knowing that my daughter Allison engaging in analinguis on a recent episode of Girls was just a figment of my overactive imagination. Thank God for little favors, hunh? I mean, I didn't really see it... did I?"

                                                    *************************


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: THREE-PARENT BABIES


The genetic diseases that scientists hope women no longer pass on to their offspring include taking 30-minute showers, re-arranging men's closets without their permission, and eating every piece of chocolate within a five-block radius.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

MOVIE OF THE DAY: "THE WHITE GORILLA" (1945)


One of the most popular movies at this year's Sundance film festival was shot on an iPhone. The White Gorilla outdoes this DYI style by consisting mostly of footage from a movie made nearly 20 years earlier. The only way the moviemakers could have been lazier would have been to simply release it without the newly-shot material. In fact, it would have been better.  

The White Gorilla uses "highlights" from the 1927 serial Perils of the Jungle as flashbacks narrated by Steve Collins, a hunter recounting his African adventures with a friend, Bradford. 

"Let's you and him fight."
Well, not exactly with Bradford. You see, the actor playing Bradford is running around in 1927 while the actor playing Collins is skulking behind bushes or atop trees in 1945 allegedly watching the action unfold before him. No matter how much danger anyone is in, Collins uses every excuse in the book to avoid getting involved ("With the lions between me and the shack, there was nothing I could do but sit tight.") This is supposed to explain why the two actors never appear together, but actually makes Collins look like a coward. So much for the brave white hunter.


"If only someone from 1927 could save me!"
The moviemakers further try to hide the antiquity of the silent footage by badly dubbing in sound effects, music, and the occasional cry of "Help!" (which Collins, of course, never responds to). This doesn't rationalize, however, the drastically different fashions or brief scenes where characters' mouths move but no dialogue is heard. Even for undemanding B-movie fans of the '40s, The White Gorilla must have been greeted with flying popcorn boxes by everyone except kiddie matinee attendees. 


Ofay the Jungle Boy.
The "flashback" scenes, however, are good for reminding us of the classic jungle movie cliche of the white interlopers holding sway over the natives. The Perils of the Jungle footage takes it once step further by presenting some five year-old white kid as the ruler over anyone with skin darker than a coconut. They even kiss the brat's hand. Al Sharpton would love this picture. (The one "African" in the 1945 footage speaks with a Southern patois. South Africa, perhaps?)


My wife would love a coat like that.
But wither Konga, the titular white gorilla? He's in the 1945 footage, courtesy actor/stunt man/ professional gorilla imitator Ray Corrigan. Konga's bad attitude is due to being rejected by his darker-skinned "tribe." If you think the screenwriter intended The White Gorilla to be a social metaphor, don't bother. The movie was merely cashing in on the popularity of a similar movie then in release, White Pongo. Yes, there was a white gorilla movie craze in 1945. 

Grown men got paid to do this.
In addition to impersonating Konga, Ray Corrigan also plays hunter Steve Collins, thus giving him the chance to chase himself onscreen for a moment. When they come to fisticuffs, however, a double appears to step in as Collins. (Corrigan was quite protective of his monkey business.) Konga is later killed in a fight with another ape, which looks more like a bad wrestling match between two drunks in, well, monkey suits. 

This new footage runs less than half of White Gorilla's 60-minute running time, accounting for its alleged 3-day shoot. The scenes at the trading post which appear throughout the movie look like they could have been shot between breakfast and lunch. Make that breakfast and coffee break.

Yet I can't help but admire the moviemakers' chutzpah in promoting it as "The Greatest Wild Animal Picture Ever Made!" (Never trust a movie whose opening credits lists two actors followed by "AND AN ALL-STAR CAST.") And since producer Lou Weiss was responsible for both Perils in the Jungle and The White Gorilla, he didn't have to pay anyone for the rights to the old footage, thus lowering the already cut-rate budget. 

Don't give Harvey Weinstein any ideas. Given the chance, he'd happily find a way to combine the next Quentin Tarantino picture with Shakespeare in Love.

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