Thrillville - Archives for Thrillville Beat
| ATTENTION FELLOW FORMER FANS OF KABL 960AM:
FIGHT THE AWFUL NEW FORMAT!
Join Will the Thrill and Monica, Tiki Goddess in protesting the horrendous change from classic Standards, Swing & Big Bands to creepy "Adult Contemporary" - if you prefer Louis and Keely to the Captain and Tennille, or if you know Dean Martin is way cooler than Ricky Martin, write to the clueless Corporate clucks who think only old people like great music, email@example.com, and demand they bring back our music that no one else plays! Don't let the eternally cool sounds of Sinatra disappear from the Bay Area airwaves - or die altogether in the 21st Century!
Also, call the KABL comment line to complain: 415.344-9060
By Will ("The Thrill") Viharo
By Will "the Thrill" Viharo
On This Month's Thrill-bill:
CRASS 'N' CLASSY COMEDY CLASSICS!
PLUS: Special Friday Night Thrillville Psychotronic Blowout Show: "AN EVENING WITH RAY DENNIS STECKLER" - who will appear IN PERSON with "A Tribute to Ron Haydock"! The triple-bill includes RAT PFINK A BOO BOO, LEMON GROVE KIDS MEET THE MONSTERS & BLOOD SHACK! V. Vale of Re/Search Publications and several SURPRISE CELEBRITY GUESTS including cast members will also be in the house! Complete show starts at 8PM, FRIDAY, AUGUST 4TH - ADMISSION: ONLY $8!
e are now eight months into the 21st Century, and I am not impressed. More like depressed. Increasingly, it appears that the Art of Cool is a relic of the past and hipsters are an obsolete breed - Dino really is a dinosaur. The most recent and egregious example of this cultural tragedy is the drastic change in format at KABL 960AM, formerly THE favorite radio station of Monica, Tiki Goddess, me and all of our of swingin' pallies. DJs Jim Lange, Carter B. Smith and Mike Cleary - even upstart Joe Romagna - were included in that circle of friends. I've never met Jim Lange in person, but we spoke to him on the phone a number of times, and he used to give Thrillville free plugs on the air. Jim is the man any businessperson wants to cozy up to - he talks about his favorite restaurant (and now ours) Scoma's incessantly, donating large portions of air time to this fabulous establishment on Fisherman's Wharf, which makes the best seafood - and martinis - in the known galaxy and beyond. KABL was a perfect radio station. The DJs are still there, but the music has gone from hipster to hippie, from yummy to yuppie. Standards, swing, Sinatra - KABL had a unique personality all their own in a world of din and droning clones. They played all the great artists you can't hear anywhere else on the airwaves: Frank (the Capitol and the Reprise AND the Dorsey eras), Dino, Sammy (possibly the greatest entertainer of the century, and who else knows that?), Bobby Darin (and not just "Mack the Knife"), Julie London, Eartha Kitt, Louis and Keely, Steve and Eydie, Tom Jones, Rosey Clooney, Henry Mancini, Martin Denny - in short, everybody who ever made beautiful music. Now the misguided corporate morons have given their legions of loyal listeners the rudest brush off imaginable - their playlist now consists of creepy, depressing "adult contemporary" crap, advertised as being "songs you can't hear anywhere else." In the case of "Don't Cry Outloud" and Christopher Cross, that may be true - and there's a good reason for that. But do they really think we're going to buy it when they play the god damn Beach Boys and push that as an exclusive broadcasting deal? Their incredibly clueless marketing execs decided twenty something dot commers will shuck out major advertising bucks if only they played the likes of Olivia Newton John, Jim Croce, Billy Joel, and Simon & Garfunkel. Right. I can hear 'em now, with their little ear-rings and backward baseball caps and tattoos, cranking up the volume of "Muskrat Love" in their little cubicles and high-fiving in the hallways: "Oh yea, Anne Murray and Andy Gibb are SO righteous, dude!! Let's cut those cool cats at KABL a huge check right now!"
What the HELL world are these people living in?
KABL's big miscalculation was that their advertising was centered on the geriatric portion of their audience, which was not the majority, contrary to what the corporate cluckheads back in Texas want to believe. We don't ALL listen to Jimmy Buffet out here, cowboys. This is the domain of Thrillville, not Margaritaville. Keep your lousy tastes in music and governors to yourself! My Manifesto states the following: Frank will always be Chairman of the Board while Harry Connick Jr. is forever a lightweight bum; Eartha Kitt can kick Whitney Houston's soulless butt any day; Dean Martin is eternally cooler than Little Ricky Martin could ever dream of being; and one more thing: THE BEATLES RUINED AMERICAN POPULAR MUSIC! Whether or not you agree with that last assessment, if you loved KABL just as it was, please write to the Chronicle (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) and to KABL corporate (email@example.com) and demand a return to the only swingin' playlist on Bay Area airwaves! Let them know you're not writing from a nursing home, either (unless of course, you are)! Only a massive groundswell of fan support and media coverage can save the last great Bay Area radio station.
In a world gone mad, now that KABL has gone the way of John Denver, meaning straight down and fast, there is only one place left to turn: THRILLVILLE THEATER!
JUST ADDED: I advertised in last month's column that I would be interviewing Ray Dennis Steckler at the Roxie Cinema - but due to uncontrollable circumstances I am moving the party back here to The Parkway! Ray will be here in person Friday, August 4 at 8PM with "A Tribute to Ron Haydock" - a triple feature of cult classics: the outrageous Batman take-off Rat Pfink a Boo Boo, the hilarious Bowery Boys inspired Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters and a brand new print of the little seen thriller "Blood Shack." Cast members from each of the films will be on hand as well - plus Ray is bringing some never-before-seen lost footage from The Thrill Killers, which I showed back in April. This is a must-not-miss event for all cult movie thrill seekers. Admission for the entire program is only eight bucks. (For more info on the incredibly strange world of Ray Dennis Steckler, check out my interview with him posted in our archives.)
This month I offer yet another raunchy, raucous respite from reality with Crass 'N' Classy Comedy Classics. That means exactly what it implies - these movies are the equivalent of a really well-dressed clown who spills his martini on your lap. The style is there, but so is the stupidity, all in classic combinations - four out of five of 'em have a jolting shot of sex appeal as well. Of course I'm kicking it all off with a Three Stooges Fest (8/3; the theater is closed on Tuesday 8/1 for the Employee Picnic, so no Nursery, sorry - but I'm sure you parents get enough of these juvenile hi-jinks at home anyway). I'm featuring four Curly classics - "An Ache In Every Stake" (1941),"Grips, Grunts & Groans" (1937), "A-Plumbing We Will Go" (1940), "I'll Never Heil Again (1941), and, for good measure, one with Shemp, "Brideless Groom" (1948). Of course Moe and Larry are in all of 'em. The appeal of the Stooges is ageless, timeless, sexless, and classless - people from all of walks of life dig 'em, and Monica and I are longtime fans. A recent fan is my old man, Robert Viharo - when I visited him in LA recently he was extolling the genius of Curly Howard and even did a little impersonation. It was heartwarming - and frightening.
Next is 1934's sex-comedy masterpiece from Frank Capra, It Happened One Night (8/10; Nursery 8/8), starring Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. It won a slew of Oscars, for every major category, but in spite of this, it is one of the fastest, funniest, sexiest movies ever made, an absolute must see for dreamers and deviants everywhere. It is a romantic screwball classic for the ages displaying more wit in less than two hours than you've seen in a decade of modern Hollywood misfires. Beware hitchhikers with killer gams.
The following week is my Big Event of this Month and the Year So far: The Elvis D Day 2000 Party featuring a rare screening of his pretty, sleek, fun 1963 flick It Happened at the World's Fair (8/17; Nursery 8/15). It came out the day after I was born! This one has loads of beautiful scenery and a lot of retro-futuristic stuff on display at the Fair, plus the screen debut of Kurt Russell, who kicks Elvis in the shins - twice. Later Kurt tried to make up for it by starring as Elvis in the first TV biopic of The King, directed by John Carpenter. He did okay, but I enjoyed watching him kick the real Elvis than imitate him. The TV movie came out the year after Elvis disappeared, on August 16, 1977. Do I believe he is still alive? Well, compared to the top selling artists of our current pathetic era, like N'Sync and Garth Brooks - hell yea! Of course, as always there's an open invitation to The King to show up, but since we don't have doughnuts on the menu, I ain't holdin' my breath. So instead we have fortunately secured two of E's stellar co-stars from World's Fair, Gary Lockwood, also of 2001 and Star Trek fame (he was in the premiere "Where No Man Has Gone Before" episode); and Yvonne Craig, AKA Batgirl from the classic '60s TV series Batman, the only Batman that matters, as far as I'm concerned. They will appear at the 9:00 show only on Thursday August 17 - tickets are ten bucks and will be sold in advance at The Parkway box office only beginning Thursday, August 3 at 5:45.
I first met Gary a few years ago at a sci-fi convention where I was a special guest of my good pal, the lovely Julie Parrish. Gary's the last of the real cowboys. I was just getting over my first stupid so-called marriage and he was consoling me as we sipped exotic drinks over at the Tonga Room in the Fairmont Hotel. "I pulled a few no-brainers, dude," he said, "you'll get over it." And of course I did, and am now happily engaged to Monica, Tiki Goddess. Ironically, Yvonne and her dazzling sister Meridel attended my first cartoonish engagement party a few years ago (I was married two days after that in the comedy section of the video store where I met my first so-called wife). We were only married for about six months, after knowing each other for one, so it doesnt really count that much. To be brutally honest, I really just wanted to have an engagement party with Batgirl as my special guest. And it was also an Elvis B Day party. My friends and I used to put on two big Elvis parties every year: on B Day (January 8) and D Day (August 16). Before this one, we'd had Elvis co-stars Julie Parrish at our Paradise, Hawaiian Style party and my stepmom Anne Helm at our Follow That Dream party (in a church!). (Annie also co-starred with Gary in 1962's The Magic Sword.) So anyway, I had just met this crazy chick at Movie Image, we both wanted to get hitched for reasons I can't recall, and I couldn't resist the novelty of doing it at an Elvis party. The theme was Kissin' Cousins, the other Elvis movie Yvonne starred in after World' Fair, in which she has a major role (she only has one scene with Elvis in World's Fair, but it is damn sexy). Elvis Herselvis was our musical guest that evening, and she kicked royal ass. I really didn't need to get engaged to make it a successful shindig, but what the hell. I was actually going to get married at the Kissin' Cousins party, but we belatedly decided to wait those two whole days. I won't be distracting anyone with any nutty nuptials at this Elvis party, I promise. That will take place next year in the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Showroom at the Cal Neva Resort in Tahoe. I'm dong it right this time, since I finally have the right bride. The Parkway party is strictly a tribute to The King and our very special guests. Gary (who also co-starred with Elvis in 1961's Wild in the Country) and Yvonne will be selling and signing photos from all their many TV and movie appearances after the flick and an on-stage interview conducted by yours truly. Yvonne will also have copies of her autobiography, From Ballet to the Batcave and Beyond. (Yvonne is an accomplished dancer - she played a Russian ballerina in the great spy spoof starring James Coburn, 1967's In Like Flint.)
Also in attendance will be the World's Foremost Elvis Fan and Collector, Rockin' Robin Rosaaen (Elvis himself nicknamed her), direct from her trip to Graceland. Robin, author of the book All the King's Things, about her astounding Elvis collection, lives in San Jose and is a bigwig at eBay, in charge of all the Elvis memorabilia auctioned off the site. The whole event is co-sponsored by Cory Levenberg and the gang at 42 IS, the world's only Elvis sanctioned computer consulting company, located in Berkeley (if you have a computer issue or just want to listen to their Elvis hold music, call 510.548.7948 or check out their web site, www.42is.com).
People who read this column on a regular basis already know I first met Monica when I showed Jailhouse Rock in my old Midnight Lounge a few years ago. This was after my split-up from my first wife/assistant, who didn't last too long. I was kind of auditioning new ones (assistants, not wives). Monica showed me her Elvis tattoo (inside a Navajo symbol), spun my wheel, then I didn't see her again until our next Elvis B Day Party (January 8) six months later, and the rest is obvious. We always give The King credit for bringing us together. Come pay tribute with us, and maybe get lucky yourself.
Recently I had to keep reminding myself I was engaged when Eddie Dane showed up with some of his burlesque beauties to spice up the surreal screening of Elvis devotee John Michael McCarthy's Elvis Meets the Beatles and Superstarlet A.D. in a special Thrillville show last month. Of course, no one is hotter than the Tiki Goddess in my world, but there were some real cuties strutting across our stage and stripping down to their pastries, all to the sultry tunes of Eartha Kitt and other 50s ditties (the ONLY great stripper music was made forty years ago). It was like a Las Vegas grindhouse circa 1960, which of course goes right to the core of what Thrillville is all about. I'm bringing back one of these honeys to dazzle the crowd when I show the hilarious ultra-50s Jayne Mansfield classic Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (8/24; Nursery 8/22), co-starring Tony Randall. This 1957 send-up of show biz and the culture of commerce is director Frank Tashlin's follow-up to his great rock n' roll sex comedy classic The Girl Can't Help It, also starring Jayne, which I showed last year. Tashlin directed cartoons before he turned to live action and you can tell - he also did a few Martin and Lewis flicks, including my favorite, Artists and Models(1955). (The live burlesque show will happen at the Thursday August 24th 9:15 show only - definitely not at the Nursery. Sorry, Dad.).
Last is one of my favorite Marilyn Monroe flicks, 1955's The Seven Year Itch (8/31; Nursery 8/29), directed by Billy Wilder, who gave us Some Like It Hot a few years later. Co-star Tom Ewell reprises his middle-aged horndog role from the Broadway hit (Rock Hunter is also based on a play). This one contains the famous sequence wherein Marilyn stands over a subway (after leaving a movie theater where she and Tom took in The Creature From the Black Lagoon) and the rushing train blows up her skirt. Reportedly her hubbie at the time, Joe DiMaggio, blew his top and this contributed to their break-up. Their marriage was almost as brief as my first one. But now I'm marrying a modern Marilyn. Speaking of which, I'll have special prizes on hand for the Marilyn Monroe lookalike contests we'll be judging at all three shows. Marilyn will live in Thrillville on the wide screen in Technicolor and in the audience, too.
Blonde bombshells, living legends, silly sirens, stooges, swingers, babes, and babies - where does it all happen? It happens in Thrillville Theater, shnooks.
Thrillville - Archives for Thrillville Beat