Friday, April 13, 2007

FROM THE NIPPLE OF RAMALAMA STRAIGHT TO YOUR LATE NIGHT CABLE GUIDE

In a comment to last week's post, Mort suggested a certain sequel as a future FSMOMYOTD. As required by law, I said no and moved on. The Elders insist that this is a running post of laws, not of men.

But, that's not to say I didn't think about the substance of what Mort suggested. In fact, I did. So after a soul-searching week that saw me climb the peak of K2 to seek the counsel of a 214 year-old monk named Privdha before meditating for 37 straight hours, I believe I've heard the call of the gods. A vision of filmic truth came to me in the form of an eight-armed, six-breasted, elephant-head goddess named Ramalama (I bet you think her last name is "Dingdong," right? Well it ain't! It's "Goldstein."). She spoke to me in tongues, writhing and gesticulating in such a manner so that five of her six nipples aimed skyward, while the sixth faced me directly, beseaching me to hear its solemn message. Something about wool. About knitting a sweater.

And I'd swear it said "tallywhacker." Anyhow, I believe I understood what Ramalama's teet was telling me. And it wasn't channeling How To Make An American Quilt. Ladies (god forbid!) & gentlemen (talk about a loosely-used term), may I present to you, for your Friday morning pleasure, a movie we all knew juuuuuust a little too well back in high school, your Friday Silly Movie Of My Youth Of The Day . . .

Porky's
Look closely at that movie poster: "You'll be glad you came," it says. Indeed.

It also says it's the "funniest movie about growing up ever made."

It wasn't. It wasn't that funny, and more importantly it had very little to do with the "growing up" of your average American teenager. Unless the average American teenager looked 25, got beat up by an obese pimp/strip-club owner, had his dick yanked through a hole in a shower room, and also learned valuable lessons about anti-semitism and friendship all in the space of a few weeks.

I experienced most of those things, it's true, but growing up in suburban New York, lessons about anything relating to Semitism (anti- or pro-) would've been grossly redundant. I got into lots of losing fights with Jewish guys. But since I was Jewish too, it didn't have quite the same resonance it had for Tim Cavanagh and his white trash father.

(Plus, I knew the insult wasn't "kite," but a similarly spelled word that rhymes with my name.)

Anyway, funny or not, strangely earnest in an unexpected way or not, it should go without saying I was a big fan. Let's review: 1982. Strangely, I did not see this one in the theaters, despite having experienced such titty-laden fare as Animal House & former FSMOMYOTD The Kentucky Fried Movie, in theaters years earlier, at a far more tender age. Hard to know why exactly. I was in the middle of my freshman year at a new school, under the glare and emotional whip of typically overbearing familial pressures. But that alone wouldn't explain it. The frank answer is, "I Don't Know Why."

But by the time (a) it made it to cable in summer or fall of 1982, after (b) we'd gotten cable for the first time that spring, I was ready! I'd heard plenty about this one from friends and schoolmates. Oh yes, I had. I knew what "Get it at Porky's" meant, and what went on at the establishment of the same name. I knew about knitting sweaters and all that.

And when I saw it, it did not disappoint. In terms of adolescent boy expectations, it met them and then some. I mean, for goodness sake, this flick had bush. Bush, I tells ya, back in the days when the word had but one connotation, and it was a good one!

All that being said, despite the groundbreaking shower scene, and the alluded-to semi-substantial subplots, Porky's was a profoundly silly movie. On the dumb side of silly, if we can be honest. So enough analysis, enough explanation, enough, enough, enough. Let's get to the cast, and let's get to it quickly:

Dan Monahan, forever known as "Pee-Wee," actually played Tom Sawyer in a TV version of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," from summer of 1981. It's funny that it came out in summer, because I read "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" for the first time in freshman English class the following fall. Had it aired just a few months later, I'm sure the teacher would've "assigned" us to watch it, or geek that I was, I would've watched it myself.

And I wonder how I'd have reacted to seeing Tom Sawyer act like an idiot, trying to get laid with every cheerleader and prostitute in 1950's Florida. Come to think of it, I bet the "real" Tom Sawyer was a total horndog just like Pee Wee & the gang. Huck had a philosophical side, but Tom was all id.

Twain should have done "The Continuing Adventures Of Tom Sawyer," with serialized narratives of Tom's (mis)adventures as he grew older. The guy was hot-wired for trouble, and in a racist, puritanical society like mid-19th century Missouri, the possibilities for hijinks would've been endless: nailing Becky Thatcher by the time he was 14 or 15, maybe knocking her up; desecrating Injun Joe's grave, bringing down the wrath of the Great Spirit; stealing money from Aunt Polly to buy moonshine; growing hemp in Judge Douglas' flower bed; calling the wrong man's wife a nappy-headed ho. I'm feeling pretty sure about this. Tom would've fit in just fine in Porky's.

And Monahan's character could've been named "Tom," rather than Pee Wee. Easy.

(And RUSH's "Tom Sawyer," from Moving Pictures? Came out in 1981, popular in '82.)

Cyril O'Reilly played "Tim Cavanaugh," the kid whose white trash father kicked his ass for losing a fight to a Jew. One of O'Reilly's earliest roles was in Airplane! as a a soldier. That probably means he was in the bar during the flashback scene when Robert Hayes turns into John Travolta and the girl scouts brawled. O'Reilly went on to compile a pretty active career, appearing in a slew of terrible movies and TV shows including Carnosaur 3: Primal Species (Tagline: "Terror Will Never Be Extinct." Wasn't that Bush's 2004 campaign slogan?) and Bloodfist VII: Manhunt.

He was also in Midnight Blue, in which he played "Dude." Dude? I think Jeff Bridges & The Coen Brothers may need to have a talk with him. Better yet, let's let Walter Sobchak speak to him. I can imagine it:
Walter: No. You are not the fucking Dude. The fucking Dude is the Dude.

Cyril O'Reilly (as "Tim" from Porky's): What are you gonna do about it, KITE. I wonder if there's any KITES around here we can fly?

Donny: It's kite? I thought it was--

Walter: Shut the fuck up, Donny. [Back to Cyril] It's not kite, it's fucking KIKE! K-I-K-E, "kike." You know, you're too fucking stupid to even be a good bigot. Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax . . .
I think it could've happened. Anyway, back to the cast. Tony Ganios, who played "Meat," had his first role in The Wanderers, the other NYC gang movie of 1979, the one that was not a FSMOMYOTD back in November, even though it starred a few of the actors who appeared in the better, far more important NYC gang movie of 1979.

Kaki Hunter played Wendy, the most fully-developed female character in Porky's. Meaning that, in addition to appearing completely nude in a shower, getting leered at and sexually harrassed throughout the movie, she had maybe two mildly amusing lines. Nothing much came of her career, which is a shame. She was cute and seemed to have a semblance of acting ability, based on a real role as a good-natured nurse in the otherwise depressing Who's Life Is It Anyway. Too bad.

Incidentally, anyone who's seen Who's Life Is It Anyway may remember that she was in the only scene in the entire movie that didn't make me want to slit my own throat: she and the Rastafarian orderly snuck Richard Dreyfuss' character down to the hospital basement to smoke weed and listen to a reggae band. And playing the Rastaman? Thomas Carter, who played "Hayward" on the "White Shadow."

Back from that digression, probably the most famous "star" in Porky's was Kim Cattrall, playing an exceptionally horny woman a good 15 years before playing an exceptionally horny woman on a popular HBO show. Funny how it works sometimes.

Playing Brian Schwartz, the aforementioned Jewish kid (who drove a swank sports car, indicating he had money, of course), was Scott Colomby, who played caddie Tony D'Annunzio in Caddyshack. With characters named "Tony D'Annunzio," as well as "Tony LaPlaca," "Tony Paladino," "Tony," "Flash Dinetti," and "Albert Delorio," Colomby's ability to play Italian-Americans cannot be impugned.

(Or maybe casting directors are just close-minded morons.)

But, lest we jump to conclusions, look deeper: "Brian Schwartz" as well as "Sandy Gordon" showed he could poison the wells with the best of them. And, with other roles including "Steve Pastoronis," "Jose Torres," "Sonny Ruiz," "Bill Vista," and even "The Armenian," it's clear that Scott Colomby was perhaps The Go-To Guy for swarthy ethnic types over the course of a decade or so. Hell, he even played a guy named "Blackie Mason" back in 1975. I think after all these years, it's time to give the man his due.

(He also dated Valerie Bertinelli back in her "One Day At A Time" days. I guess he got his "due" 30 years ago. Bastard.)

Boyd Gaines played the young coach who screwed a screaming Cattrall while standing up in a the laundry room. He later appeared as wimpy-but-good Lieutenant Ring in Heartbreak Ridge. Meaning of course, that he delivered the embarrassingly pathetic "Go get 'em, you Devil Dogs" line. Oooo, that was tough to watch.

(Incidentally, Gaines, like Colomby, also appeared on "One Day At A Time." No indication, however, that he slept with Valerie Bertinelli. Maybe he had Mackenzie Phillips.)

Doug McGrath was one of the older coaches, Coach Warren. Whatever.

Speaking of older folks, the actor & actress that played "Porky" & "Beulah Ballbricker" have both passed on to the great shower room in the sky. A moment of contemplation, if we will.

{Ohmmmmmm}

Back to McGrath, the "interesting" thing about him is that he appeared in a short streak of Clint films in the late-70s and early 80s. Why? I have no idea. But he was in The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Gauntlet, Every Which Way But Loose, and Bronco Billy, all between 1976 and 1980. In 1985 he was back, in Pale Rider. Maybe he's the Deputy Mayor of Carmel, CA?

Susan Clark
, as prostitute "Cherry Forever," also played such real-life characters as Amelia Earhart and "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias, as well as appearing in mainstream fare like Airport 1975 and The Apple Dumpling Gang. But most notably, she was Katherine Papadapolis, Webster's mom! From a prostitute trying to service a Pee Wee, to the mother of a pee wee.

And who played George Papadapolis, Webster's dad? None other than football great, Alex Karras. And why do we care about the man who was suspended for a season along with The Golden Boy, Paul Horning, and also played "Mongo"? Because he was in Porky's as Porky's brother, the Sheriff. He also played "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias' husband, George Zaharias, in the TV movie I mentioned under Susan Clark.

Oh hell, enough of this, it should be obvious by now: Karras and Clark have been married in real life for 27 years.

And enough of that shit.

Finally, Principal Carter, the man who just couldn't say "Penis," preferring "Tallywhacker" instead, was brought to life by the improbably named, Eric Christmas. And quite a career Mr. Christmas had before shuffling along seven years ago: he started off on television in three performances in 1938 and 1939, then did no acting at all until reappearing in 1962 as "Montilbury," in a TV version of "Cyrano DeBergerac." In the years that followed, he was in the Andromeda Strain, Johnny Got His Gun (based on Dalton Trumbo's novel, on which I gave an oral report in freshman English class -- it's all connected. Metallica also got the clips it used in the video for "One" from that film), Harold & Maude, Attack Of The Killer Tomatos, as well as appearences on "Cheers," "Night Court," Seinfeld," "Bonanza," and "Kojak."

All that, plus being known all over the world as the man who single-handedly brought tallywhacker into the vernacular as a euphemism for penis.

(Wait a second. Tallywhacker never came into the vernacular as a euphemism for penis.)

Anyhow, Mr. Christmas had quite a career for himself. I guess he was a very merry Christmas.

Sorry! I couldn't help myself.

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25 Comments:

Anonymous John Royal said...

Ah, Kaki, I remember her well.

You forgot to note two important things. Bob Clark, the director, would follow-up "Porky's" with "Porky's 2." But his next movie after that was the G-rated holiday classic, "A Christmas Story."

And, the second note: Clark was just recently killed in a car accident.

Also, if I remember correctly, Boyd Gaines was Valerie's boyfriend/husband on the last several years of "One Day at a Time."

10:47 AM  
Blogger Ed in Westchester said...

Mike - I cannot for the life of me see who left the first comment.
It is overwritten by something else. Very odd.

Anywho, it's been a number of years since I've seen this cinematic masterpiece. I don't recall totally enjoying it. It had its moments, but not one that was memorable for me.

Glad to see Kim Catrall was able to continue to fake orgasms in her later works. Too bad she is fugly.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Unless Clark was killed in the last few minutes, I have to question you on that. No searches on google, IMDB, Wikipedia, Dead or Alive, or any other sources show her to be dead.

I hope you're wrong, John.

Anyhow, I think Boyd Gaines was Val's hubby on ODAAT. But I think Eddie was probably in the picture by then, so Boyd may have had to stcik with Cattrall.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Ed - First comment is John Royal.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous John Royal said...

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-crash5apr05,0,6240856.story

He and his son were killed in a car crash last week.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Toasty Joe said...

"No searches on google, IMDB, Wikipedia, Dead or Alive, or any other sources show her to be dead."

"Her"? He's talking about BOB Clark, the director (and writer I believe).

By the way, how's that for an eclectic body of work: from Porky's to A Christmas Story.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

John & Toasty -

I thought you were referring to "Susan Clark," wife of Alex Karras, TV mother of Emmanuel Lewis, and mocker of Pee Wee's wee tallywhacker.

Not to diminish the director's death, but I didn't even know who he was til I started writing this yesterday. Susan Clark, I "knew" a bit.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Toasty Joe said...

You "knew" her in the biblical sense?

11:40 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Wow, that was a very poorly-considered use of quotation marks, wasn't it?

Yikes. I gotta learn to watch the semantics here; too many lawyers all over the place.

I meant that even though I wasn't a knowldgeable fan, I was aware of the general trajectory of her career.

(Have fun with trajectory if you need to.)

11:52 AM  
Blogger George said...

Trajectory isn't the problem--it's where the trajectory chooses to land.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

But it's out of my hands by that point.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Mort said...

Not that funny? Porky's? Not funny? Perhaps you have forgotten about this scene. Porky's had bush, this is true, but Porky's Revenge had Kimberly Evenson. Now we're talking about my generation, oh yeah! Sigh.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Oh, I remember the scene. I'm just not so sure it's quite as funny as I thought when I was a lad.

(And I thought it was then, that's for sure.)

But I'll give you this: it's certainly well over the Chucklesome Line.

12:17 PM  
Blogger maurinsky said...

I have never seen this one, although I wanted to add that Boyd Gaines was also in the movie Fame and has done some Broadway...I believe he was in a revival of Stephen Sondheim's Company.

Also, with your mention of Bush, I saw a car yesterday that had a bumpersticker that said "The only BUSH I trust is my own." The car was driven by a woman who looked like she could be a real estate agent, which is not what I expected.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Boyd Gaines was also in the movie Fame

And if I recall my perusing yesterday, so was Scott Colomby.

"The only BUSH I trust is my own."

Nice one. I particularly liked, "Lick Bush in '04." Or was that in '92 when Clinton ran against his dad? Either way, message is the same.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Mort said...

How about "Buck Fush, forevermore!"?

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

Good movie choice.

Not very funny, not very good, but I LOVED IT. I've probably seen it at least 10 times.

By the way, I don't think anybody has actually seen Porky's in the movie theater.

Oh, on a separate note: kudos to Mr. Furious for his library suggestion. I went to my local library recently and took out the following CDs:

Death Cab for Cutie - Plans

Beck - The Information

Audioslave - Out of Exile

The Who - Tommy (I have the record and I had the CD at one time, but over the years it disappeared)

There's a four CD limit, so I'll have to make a few return trips.

Applesaucer

4:19 PM  
Blogger Mort said...

I did so well for the week of Friday the 13th I predict Mike will review Meatballs III next week.

signed, Mean Gene

4:26 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Mean Gene

A wrasslin' reference?

I'd prefer if Gene Wean commented here, but I'll take all the celeb action I can get.

I don't think anybody has actually seen Porky's in the movie theater

This has to have been a good thing for the clean-up crews.

I don't know Death Cab or that Beck album, but cool stuff on the Audioslave ("Be Yourself is a good song to get on the IPod), and Tommy is a killer. LOts of songs, and some really good ones. I'm psyched to sponge on you with some of those.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Mort said...

Mean Gene

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

This was my introduction to Audioslave -- the "Doesn't Remind Me" video:

http://www.pcplanets.com
/videos-19579-Doesn-t-Remind-Me.shtml#

I like the song, but the video actually makes my eyes tear up. No kidding. Just a little, though.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous The Frogster said...

Porky's taught me that "Meat" was what all girls wanted, and it was my 15-year-old opinion that meat was not something I offered in large portions, and for that very reason I remained "unactive" until after I had already left high school. Now, with this long-forgotten memory brought back, I'm gonna need a therapist. Damn you, Mike! Damn you and your movie reviews!

5:58 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Mort - I nvere knew there was a Meatballs III, and you know character from it. Damn, I'm impressed.

I won't see it, but I'm impressed.

Frog - These posts are the therapy. You mean it didn't help?

Apple - I'd never seen that video. I like the song, but first time with the video. Pretty good.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Mort said...

I won't see it, but I'm impressed.

Well, well. So you're going to be all closed minded, huh? Eat your brussels sprout young man, or no dessert for you. Can't judge a book by its cover, a stitch in time saves nine. Pip, pip, little buckaroo.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous the frogster said...

You know, you're right, Mike. After a couple of days I do feel better. I'm lucky to have such great virtual friends.

11:43 AM  

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