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> {quote:title=helenbaby wrote:}{quote}scsu1975--I just got my Now Playing for June and there is going to be a night of Mamie's films on 6/20 including Sex Kittens Go to College. You're welcome.



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I was going to take the bait and tune in but won't be back from my reunion and Mom's until the next night. The only thing I've ever seen her legitimately act in was a Western with John Agar and she was quite believable. (Yes, she was covered from neck to waist but fitted enough so that you knew it was Mamie). I guess I mostly know her for her publicity stunts and marriage to that baseball player but I try to be fair-minded. Maybe I can catch the movies later. Oh, and Brigitte Bardot's sister is also in *Sex Kittens Go to College* which makes it really intriguing.

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The Beat Generation (1959)
Directed by Charles F. Haas

Fairly watchable sleaze, with something for everyone. There is beefcake (Steve Cochran, Ray Danton), cheesecake (Mamie Van Doren, Fay Spain, Irish McCalla) and fruitcake (Jackie Coogan and Sid Melton in drag).

Cochran is a detective investigating assaults on married women by someone dubbed “the aspirin kid.” We know early on the culprit is Danton, who hangs out with beatniks, spouts incoherent phrases, and hates women. One of Danton’s victims is Spain, who is married to Cochran. When she discovers she’s pregnant (we’re not sure if the father is Cochran or Danton), we get a somewhat interesting side plot, leading to a talk with McCalla and the neighborhood priest, William Schallert, who wears a baseball cap. But let’s not get too far off track.

Cochran is a bit weird himself, blaming the victims as much as the perp. His partner (Coogan) shows more than a little disgust with Cochran, although he may just be reacting negatively to Cochran’s caterpillar eyebrows. Cochran chews gum a lot, just to show he can act and chew gum at the same time.

Mamie shows up about halfway through the movie, as a possible victim for Danton; but Danton sends his flunky, played by Jim Mitchum, to do the job just to confuse the fuzz. Mitchum worms his way into Mamie’s apartment, and she welcomes the company. In fact, she puts up about as much resistance as Joe Frazier did against George Foreman. But before Mitchum can do anything, he is interrupted by the appearance of Mamie’s husband (played by Mamie’s real-life hubby at the time, bandleader Ray Anthony). Nevertheless, this incident gets reported to Cochran, who spends the rest of the movie on Mamie’s tail. I wonder why. Danton and Mitchum manage to snag Cochran and Mamie, and take them back to their beatnik bungalow. Mamie convinces Mitchum to help her escape. During a bizarre climax, Cochran is shot at six times by Danton, who misses every time. Then Cochran is taken down by former boxer Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom, but manages to break free. Cochran subdues Danton while the two are underwater, Danton in scuba gear, Cochran in a dress shirt.

There is a movie in here somewhere, trying to get out. But there are just too many characters and too many useless scenes, padded out with non-actors. Dick Contino (sans accordion but avec guitar), musclebound Woo Woo Grabowski (who looks stoned), and Vampira (who recites poetry with a white mouse on her shoulder) play beatniks. Personally, I preferred Vampira sporting her three-inch waist in Plan 9 From Outer Space. Louis Armstrong sings a few songs. British character actor Paul Cavanaugh, whose career (if he had one) peaked in the 1940s, has a small bit as Danton’s father. McCalla’s non-acting ability is wasted as Coogan’s wife (and who is gonna believe that match-up?). She sports a short, brunette, Italian-type haircut for some unknown reason. Then again, maybe she was just trying to disguise herself. She also keeps her clothes on, which is a major disappointment. Spain is decent, but talks so softly I had to keep adjusting the volume. Danton is slimy as always, and moves about by gliding and leaping, as if he were auditioning to play Legs Diamond – oh, wait a minute. Cochran stands out, as he seems to be fighting off some inner demons, and sees himself as nutty as Danton. Mamie is Mamie, and the director had the good sense to film her in tight white outfits every chance he could get. Thank you.

The most revolting scene in the movie is when the cops go undercover to snag a lover’s lane bandit. Coogan and Melton get the privilege of pretending to be dames. They are the ugliest broads in film history. We won’t argue here how Melton could ever get a job on a police force. Suffice it to say, after seeing these two trying to look like women, I gave up cross-dressing, much to my girlfriend’s delight.

Maggie Hayes tries out the latest ‘50s fad – hoop tights.


A rare still from the unreleased Three Men and a Babe.



Jackie Coogan guns down his fashion consultant.


Ray Danton stars in the new medical series, “Ben Dover, Proctologist.”


A bunch of extras form a giant “A” to let the director know what they think of him.



A local white-trash production of Deliverance.


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The Explosive Generation (1961)
Directed by Buzz Kulik

The film opens with a bunch of high school kids (who, as usual, look like college graduates) partying in a beach house. Some of them decide to spend the night. Trust me, nothing happens, otherwise there might have been a plot. Two of the girls (Patty McCormack and Suzi Carnell) tell their parents that each spent the night at the other’s house. No chance of this idea going to pot.

Enter William Shatner, who plays Mr. Gifford, a high school teacher of some unknown subject. All these kids just happen to be in his class. McCormack raises the subject of sex, probably because she just got a text message from somebody named “Carlos Danger.” Shatner suggests the entire class write down their thoughts on the subject. What he should have done was beam in Dr. McCoy to answer their questions. Before anyone can say “Kinsey,” the Shat hits the fan, and pretty soon there is a meeting with Principal Ed Platt, and assorted parents. Platt offers to burn the papers before they can be read to the class, and everyone is satisfied, but not for long. Shatner returns to his class and says he cannot read their work, but his students start complaining that if they can’t discuss sex, what other subjects will be off limits? The H-bomb? The military? Algebra? Shatner relents, and is about to read the papers, when Platt shows up. Class dismissed. Shatner suspended. Students pi**ed off. Hey kids, let put on a protest!

Spearheaded by McCormack’s boyfriend Lee Kinsolving, all the students congregate outside the school but refuse to enter. They yell “Gifford! Gifford!” Imagine their disgust when Kathie Lee shows up. Platt calls the cops, and also agent Maxwell Smart. So the students decide to enter the school, and give the Principal, teachers, and cafeteria lady the silent treatment. Now let’s see – high school kids keeping their mouths shut all day – and the problem is? This is just an excuse to hear some annoying bongo music on the sound track. Eventually, Platt relents and lets Shatner return, but Shatner tells Platt to stick it because he just signed a big deal with a margarine company.

Maybe this was important stuff in 1961, but today it’s about as “explosive” as a burp. The actors aren’t much help either. Kinsolving and McCormack are blah as a couple. Students Beau Bridges and Billy Gray look old enough to be teachers. The parents are portrayed as puritanical idiots, which is no surprise. It’s a wonder any of these people had sex back then. Shatner does a decent job of emoting, but he breaks most of the rules in the teacher’s handbook. For one thing, he touches too many of his students; that would land him in jail today, or in Congress. Also, he should kill his fashion designer. His sport coats are awful, and he wears a ridiculous hat in one scene which makes him look like a Swiss Yodeler. On the other hand, he does drive a cool car, which he obviously could not afford on a teacher’s salary. Platt frowns a lot, and is his usual cranky self. I suspect he has suffered from constipation since the day he got into acting.


If Shatner wasn’t so busy groping this chick, he might notice the boom mike heading for his noggin.


Any school that sanctions violence against one of our founding fathers should be closed.


“I am Spartacus!”… “I am Spartacus!” … “I am Spartacus!”


This is what happens when the Principal’s office is directly across from the lavatory.


These guys take the phrase “student body” too literally.


“For the last time, I don’t want to talk any more about that thing on the airplane wing.”


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Was it Bo Belinsky that Mamie was married to? He may have dumped her but I'm still watching and enjoying her and TCM showed a heap of her films a couple months ago.


I remember best "Untamed Youth" with Eddie Cochran singing "Cotton Picker" which is never shown on tv much.


The best film with him is probably "The Girl Can't Help It" and even though he was a big rock and roll star at the time, next to Mamie in UY he looked like a twelve-year old boy!

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Sex Kittens Go To College (1960)
Directed by Albert Zugsmith

In the opening credits, somebody sings "Sexpot Goes To College," which is an alternate title for this flick. I can think of a few more titles, but I don?t want to get banned from the TCM boards. Colossal misfire, unfunny, unentertaining, unbelievably bad, and one of the greatest wastes of non-talent ever conceived. Granted, you don't expect much from a Mamie Van Doren flick, but this thing is truly abysmal, and more boring than a John Kerry speech.

A robot/computer named THINKO selects the newest faculty member for Collins College. That would be Mamie, who has 13 degrees, can speak 18 languages, and has a sign over her bed reading "Over One Million Served." The reaction of the welcoming committee consists of astonishment (Louis Nye), disapproval (Pamela Mason), and lust (Martin Milner). Mamie tries to impress them with her knowledge of theoretical mechanics: "When I blast off, I've got an escape velocity which gets me to my aphelion point practically instantaneously." Actually, I understood that. Mamie is introduced to the science class, and gives a psychology demonstration by firing two pistols. Next, she sets her sights on helping the star football player overcome his shyness. The football player is played by Woo Woo Grabowski, whose character's name happens to be Woo Woo Grabowski. Woo Woo is being wooed by Tuesday Weld, who looks cute but does not give her performance the old college try. Elsewhere, we have Minjanou Bardot (Brigitte's sister) as a student who apparently is writing a book about sex, two moronic gangsters (Mickey Shaughnessy and Alan Drake playing characters named "Boomie" and "Legs" who think THINKO is a bookie), John Carradine as a lecherous biology professor, Jackie Coogan as Admiral Wildcat MacPherson, and Jose Gonzales-Gonzales as a Mexican.

The thin plot involves the discovery that Mamie used to be a dancer named "Tassels Monclair." So I'm not sure how she found the time to get so highly educated. Mamie does get to dance in a tight silver dress, and sings "Baby," accompanied by Conway Twitty's band. This is definitely the highlight of the film, but it quickly deteriorates as Coogan, Carradine, Nye, and some other guy prance around with her, and do a weak impersonation of a chorus line. Then everybody scatters when a monkey shoots off a machine gun. Apparently, even Cheetah can pass a background check.

There are a few subplots, but they are hardly worth mentioning. In fact, I can't even describe them. The dialogue is witless, as witnessed by this exchange between Bardot and Drake:

Bardot: "Parlez-vous francais?"
Drake: "Not if I can help it baby, it gives me gas."


This makes at least three films I've seen with the musclebound and mentally challenged Woo Woo Grabowski ... College Confidential, The Beat Generation, and now this. I have no idea what he is doing in any of these films, and apparently neither does he. Coogan is obviously doing a W. C. Fields impersonation, and falls flat. Shaughnessy seems to be channeling Lou Costello; please, switch channels. John Carradine gets to do the Charleston and the tango with Mamie. He makes former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner look like an amateur. Nye spends the entire film looking like he is suffering from hemorrhoids. Vampira has a bit part as Nye's assistant; I didn't even notice it was her until one of the final scenes. Bardot needs to have her libido excised. Pamela Mason is out of her league. It's no wonder a few years later she cleaned out hubby James in the divorce; she couldn't have made any money from this dreck. Milner overacts, does doubletakes, and mugs wildly for the camera. In the finale, he commandeers a fire truck (from Charlie Chaplin, Jr.), and, with Nye hanging on the ladder, sets off after Mamie to propose. The truck is pulled over by Officer Kent McCord, thus starting a long and beautiful friendship with Milner.

Louis Nye is impressed with Mamie's '38s.

A rare shot of producer/director/writer Albert Zugsmith at work.

Louis Nye tries to put his foot in his mouth, but does not succeed.

Personally, I prefer Jackie Coogan when he is wearing a fur coat and holding a lightbulb in his mouth.

Martin Milner explains to Woo Woo Grabowski that uniform numbers are assigned according to IQ.

John Carradine realizes his Viagra has just kicked in.

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