23. The Woodstock On Wheels

In 1970 Warner Brothers had a surprise hit on their hands when they released the documentary/concert film Woodstock. Having spent less than a million dollars on it, the film would eventually gross 50 million at the box office. The question for the suits at the WB was, how do we make lightning strike twice?

Medicine Ball Caravan Poster

That’s where the Medicine Ball Caravan comes in. A tour across America in tie dye buses stuffed with hippies, bands, counterculture clown Wavy Gravy, and more drugs than a Walgreen’s warehouse. Free concerts staged with major acts like Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Hot Tuna, and Alice Cooper! Hippies in middle America freaking out those squares who just don’t get it! Add in Academy Award winning documentarian Francois Reichenbach to film it all and it’s gold right?

Of course not. Reichenbach’s French film crew ended up just as high as any hippie on the trip resulting is terrible footage, the caravan was labelled a sellout by the exact audience it was trying to cultivate, and the squares in middle America turned out to be mostly nice people.

In this episode of The Industry we explore what went wrong for this forgotten movie by talking to the people who know what went down and who were there when it happened.

Lobby card with the alternate title We Have Come For Your Daughters

Guest Links

Get Michael Oberman’s book Fast Forward, Play, and Rewind. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fast-forward-play-and-rewind-michael-oberman/1135880500

Read Rick Ouellette’s Reel and Rock blog on the Medicine Ball Caravan. https://rickouellettereelandrock.com/2013/03/03/the-strange-forgotten-saga-of-the-medicine-ball-caravan/comment-page-1

Visit Sean Howe’s website http://seanhowe.com

Visit Jackie Weisberg’s photography website. https://www.jackieweisberg.com/

Listen to the Pretend podcast. http://pretendradio.org/

Sources

Rosenbaum, Ron. Hog Farm;s Wayward Bus. Village Voice, September 10, 1970. https://www.villagevoice.com/2005/10/18/hog-farms-wayward-bus/

Ouellette, Rick. The Strange Forgotten Saga of the Medicine Ball Caravan. Reel and Rock. March 3, 2013. https://rickouellettereelandrock.com/2013/03/03/the-strange-forgotten-saga-of-the-medicine-ball-caravan/comment-page-1

Oberman, Michael. Fast Forward, Play, and Rewind. October, 2020. Backbeat Books.

Mastropolo, Frank. Revisiting Medicine Ball Caravan; The Woodstock On Wheels. Ultimate Classic Rock. August 5, 2015. https://ultimateclassicrock.com/medicine-ball-caravan/

Till, Chris. Yellow Springs in the ’60s and ’70s: Medicine Ball Caravan. A Yellow Springs Blog, November 7, 2011. http://ayellowspringsblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/yellow-springs-in-60s-and-70s-medicine.html

The Tom Forcade Story: Medicine Ball Caravan. Directed by Steven Hager. YouTube. June 24, 2009. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnKWfJaeY5U

Bonus Episode: My Wife!

When I first met Aigul Kaparova, the woman whom I would eventually marry, she told me she was from Kazakhstan. And of course there was basically one thing I knew about Kazakhstan: Borat.

I remember asking her how she felt about Borat, because I remembered the reaction to that film in Kazakhstan. She told me the whole controversy didn’t really bother her much and that the country had seemingly accepted that Borat would always be associated with her home. And that was about it.

Until this week. That’s when Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat unexpectedly turned back up in everyone’s world with Borat Second Moviefilm, now streaming on Amazon Prime. To my surprise, Aigul told me two things: She had never seen Borat before, and she was really excited to see this new movie.

So with that in mind there was only one thing for me to do: Turn on my recorder and document the experience of Borat with someone from Kazakhstan. You can listen on Apple or Spotify or here:

22. Christopher Reeve’s Two Picture Deal

In 1978 Superman made Christopher Reeve a star. Two sequels later, Reeve was publicly saying he was done with the role. And he was. That’s when Cannon Films came calling. The upstart would be studio was looking to jump from the B pictures onto the A list. And the one thing they thought would get them there was Christopher Reeve.

Director Jerry Schatzberg, author Bruce Scivally, filmmaker Daniel Kremer, and Oliver’s Retrospectives host Oliver Harper all help tell this story. You can watch Harper’s documentary on Superman IV here.

You can watch Harper’s documentary on Superman IV here.

Sources

Scivally, Bruce. Superman on Film, Television, and Radio. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers, 2008.

Richard, Julie. Reeve Not Happy With Last Film’s Promotion. Sun-Sentinel, June 19, 1987.

Andersen, Christopher P. Somewhere in Heaven: The Remarkable Love Story of Dana and Christopher Reeve. Thorndike Press, 2008.

Reeve, Christopher. Still Me. Ballantine Books, 1998.

Kremer, Daniel. Sidney J. Furie: Life and Films, University Press of Kentucky, 2015.

Superman IV: The Man of Steel and Glass. Directed by Oliver Harper. Oliver Harper’s Retrospectives, YouTube, 2017.

21. The One Ring Circus

In 1985, Baltimore infomercial star Santo Victor Rigatuso, aka Santo Gold, produced an extravaganza with something for everyone: It promised horror, wrestling, rock, and even a “three-headed Munga Magoon.” It was all supposed to be filmed and turned into a feature film more exciting than the recent Rocky III.

The spectacle, called Blood Circus, was also supposed to introduce some exciting new technology called a “scream bag.” Attendees were promised a Thundervision sound system, atomic fleas, and a “new type of movie unlike anything you will ever experience.”

They received none of these things. But the failure of Blood Circus is a remarkable story that brings together The Wire creator David Simon, indie music star Santigold, and Mark H. Weingartner, who would later work on Inception, Dunkirk and The Hunger Games Saga.

Show Notes

The American Cinematheque Podcast, hosted by Grant Moninger.

https://americancinematheque.com/podcasts/

Video

The song Santo Gold about the product Santo Gold, sung by Santo Gold:

 

The Santo Gold auction infomercial:

 

Articles

Anft, Michael.  “Fool’s Gold” – Santo Rigatuso: The Man with the Four-Way Lips, Baltimore City Paper, February 16, 1990.

http://www.baltimoreorless.com/2011/01/fools-gold-santo-rigatuso-the-man-with-the-four-way-lips/

Harrington, Richard. The Fans Cry for ‘Blood’!But the Gore’s Not Real In Filming of Wrestling Flick, The Washington Post, February 11, 1985.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1985/02/11/the-fans-cry-for-bloodbut-the-gores-not-real-in-filming-of-wrestling-flick/08b3117c-36fc-43bf-8538-aa66c9ae3801/

Jacobson, Joan.  State Slaps Down Prison ‘Enterprise’, The Evening Sun, March 16, 1990.

Warmkessel, Karen. $2 Million Fund Ordered To Repay Those Bilked By TV Huckster, The Baltimore Sun, November 14, 1989.

Simon, David.  Too Little Carnage to Satisfy Crowd, The Baltimore Sun, February 11, 1985.

Case Summary: U.S.  v.  CEN-CARD AGENCY/C.C.A.C.

https://casetext.com/case/us-v-cen-card-agencyccac

P.S. Docket No. 30/77, August 19, 1988.

https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/judicial/admin-decisions/1988/30-77d.htm

20. The Other John Barry

John Barry is a deeply respected set designer, responsible for the Korova Milk Bar in A Clockwork Orange, the cantina in Star Wars, and the Fortress of Solitude in Superman, among other starkly original film locales. But when it came time to make his own film, Saturn 3, things fell apart.

The setup for Saturn 3 is fine: Farrah Fawcett and Kirk Douglas are a May-December Adam and Eve in space. Then Harvey Keitel arrives. With a clumsy robot.

John Barry escaped from Saturn 3 just in time to work on the sequel to Star WarsThe Empire Strikes Back. But from there, his story took a tragic turn.

Show Notes

Books

Film Design Terence St. John Marner, Michael Stringer Tantivy Press, 1974

British Film Culture in the 1970s By Sue Harper, Justin Smith · 2013

The Man from Krypton: A Closer Look at Superman by Glenn Yeffeth

Magazines

Brosnan, John (July 1980). “Saturn 3”. Starbust Magazine. No. 23. p. 12.

Brender, Alan (April 1980). “Saturn 3”. Starlog. p. 17.

Crawley, Tony (March 1980). “Saturn 3”. Starburst. p. 28-33.

Websites

The Making of Saturn 3 http://makingofsaturn3.com

Web of Stories – Billy Williams Interview http://webofstories.com/story/search?q=billy+williams

Roger Christian’s website http://rogerchristian.ca/

 

19. Five Days of the Tiger

In 1971 actor Elliott Gould was on top of world. Then he started A Glimpse of Tiger, a new movie that he was starring and producing. What followed was a tumultuous five day production that would see Gould fire his director, terrify his co-star, and have armed guards be called to the set.

 

Show Notes

Cover Art by Kat Manderfield http://katmanderfield.com

Articles

SAM WEISBERG, The Little Movie That Couldn’t: An Oral History of Elliott Gould’s Never-Completed “A Glimpse of Tiger” – Hidden-Films.com, November 9, 2014 https://hidden-films.com/2014/11/09/the-little-movie-that-couldnt-an-oral-history-of-elliott-goulds-never-completed-a-glimpse-of-tiger/

James Mottram, “Elliott Gould: ‘I didn’t have a drug problem. I had a problem with reality'”, The Independent, July 22, 2012 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/elliott-gould-i-didnt-have-a-drug-problem-i-had-a-problem-with-reality-7956788.html

Elliott Gould Will Ride a ‘Tiger’ –  NY Times, Oct. 18, 1970 https://www.nytimes.com/1970/10/18/archives/elliott-gould-will-ride-a-tiger-plenty-for-pakula.html

Brian Kellow, “Can I Go Now?: The Life of Sue Mengers, Hollywood’s First Superagent”  Penguin Books, 2016 https://www.amazon.com/Can-Go-Now-Hollywoods-Superagent/dp/0143108875

Jack Hicks, “Trying to Doctor an Ailing Career”, TV Guide 1984 https://web.archive.org/web/20110218210815/http://www.elliottgould.com/archive/tvguide.html

WTF with Marc Maron: Episode 851 – Elliott Gould http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episode-851-elliott-gould?rq=Gould

Bonus Episode: A Very Special Presentation

Slow, melancholy, and the true meaning of Christmas. It might sound more like a December mass at a local church but it’s actually commonly used description of a beloved holiday classic: A Charlie Brown Christmas.

In this bonus episode we go over how this timeless tale, that was originally as wanted as a withered Charlie Brown tree, became to be the enduring classic it’s considered today.

 

Show Notes

Articles

The Christmas classic that almost wasn’t – By Bill Nichols, USA TODAY, 2005 https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2005-12-05-charlie-brown-christmas_x.htm

The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation: Celebrating Fifty Years of Television Specials – Charles Solomon, Chronicle Books, Jan 18, 2013 https://books.google.com/books?id=dz4E5mpwm6UC&authuser=0&num=11

Video

Charles Schulz on Charlie Rose, 1997 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQBBt_PR9VE&t=1229s

A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1963) clip:

17. A Not So New Hope

Patrick Read Johnson first wrapped on his autobiographical film 5-25-77 back in 2004. The title refers to the day Star Wars was released and how it changed his life. In the years since then he’s be working to get the picture finished his own way. In 2019 he’s almost there.

 

Show Notes

Articles

HEARTS OF DORKNESS: PATRICK READ JOHNSON ON THE STAR WARS TRIBUTE FILM THAT CONSUMED HIS LIFE – Max Every, 2013. http://www.mtv.com/news/2771010/star-wars-5-25-77-interview/

………………………………………………………………………… Cover Art by Kat Manderfield http://katmanderfield.com

Music by Jeremy Blake and the 126ers.

Watch the trailer for 5-25-77

16. How To Slice A Sicilian

Director Michael Cimino has a complicated history. As Oscar and Razzie winner who only made seven films, Cimino frequently found himself struggling with producers to get his vision out.

When the producers of The Sicilian felt his version was too long he used his final cut clause to give them something else. It wasn’t a good idea.

 

Show Notes

Articles

Fun While It Lasted: My Rise and Fall In the Land of Fame and Fortune – by Bruce McNall, Michael D’Antonio https://books.google.com/books/about/Fun_While_It_Lasted.html?id=Y5bcwAEACAAJ&source=kp_book_description

Michael Cimino’s FINAL CUT – Steve Garabino, Vanity Fair (March 2002) https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2010/04/ciminos-final-cut-200203

Contract Law: Film Directors and Editing Rights for Television – Susan M. French https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1084&context=elr

VIDAL SUES TO GET CREDIT ON ‘SICILIAN’ – LA Times, Feb. 17, 1987 https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1987-02-14-ca-2975-story.html

……………………………

Cover Art by Kat Manderfield http://katmanderfield.com

Music by Jingle Punks, Josh Lippe and the Overtimers, and Kevin MacLeod.

Hot Swing by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100202Artisthttp://incompetech.com/