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Bikerpalooza trip down memory lane


Sepiatone
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Every now and then I pull out my old VHS of BILLY JACK and have a giggle at how the times were back then.  Though I still believe in the hippie philosophy of those days, I get a sort of kick out of it's presentation.  Sometimes anachronism can be entertaining.  Which, I also believe, is WHY we like to watch old movies!

 

But aside from that, I was amused at how much the BILLY JACK character had evolved from BORN LOSERS to the newer film in just four short years.  The Billy Jack from the '71 film would have had NO problem kicking the sh!t out of all them bikers!

 

As for the movie that followed sometime later, HELL'S ANGELS ON WHEELS, I remember seeing this at the local movie theater.  A friend I was with commented on JACK NICHOLSON'S appearance as if he knew all about him.  So, my wonky memory was rattled due to my remembering it was a friend I had quit hanging with BEFORE '67, when this film was supposed to have come out.  Getting old sucks!

 

But '67 was when a LOT of those types of films came along.   The aforementioned, ...plus DEVIL'S ANGELS with John Cassavetes....WILD ANGELS with Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra and that "over-fuzzed" guitar theme by Davey Allen and The Arrows(whatever became of them?), and a whole host that had other folks like Christopher Jones and Bruce Dern as bikers.  Me and my buddy DAVE at the time,( a different guy than the earlier mentioned one) went to see all of 'em!  Dave got so wrapped up in them, he actually DID eventually move out to California, AND got into the Hell's Angels club!  Last I saw him, he came back to Lincoln Park to visit his mother and dropped over to my house.  THAT was back in '83.  Haven't seen him since!

 

Whenever any of those flicks come on anywhere, I try to tune in!  DAMN, they were FUN!

 

 

Sepiatone

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I'm pretty old myself but I never watched any of those movies Laughlin made. I have seen him in movies prior to the Billy Jack era. I wonder why he went his own way. It seems like he wasn't in any other movies after he made those films in the 70's but I really don't know much about him either. I guess I need to check that out.

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I've been ridin' them there "donorcycles" since '67 and when I was 15, but for some reason I never got into those "One-Percenter" flicks. Always thought the overall quality of them just wasn't up-to-snuff, and especially what I always felt were some of the worst edited movies I'd ever seen.

 

(for the uninitiated, the term "One-Percenter" was coined by the American Motorcycle Association in the late-1960s to press the idea among the general non-riding public that motorcyclists who are involved in violent gang activity were a very very small percentage of all those who rode motorcycles, and thus to help change the overall image of those who ride to be more positive...back during that period of time, motorcyclists did often suffer from the general perception that they were somehow more prone to "irresponsible behavior" than the rest of the general population)

 

And btw Sepia, in another thread within the last few days the topic in it kind of segued into a discussion about "movies changing peoples lives", and so after reading of that MORONIC friend of yours who you said got SO into these biker flicks that he moved to California and joined the Hells Angels...well, there ya GO! I think we finally found an example of such a thing happening!!!

 

(...note my use of the word "moronic" to describe that old friend of yours...lemme guess here, the poor moron's relationship with his clueless parents wasn't exactly somethin' to write home about, and so seeking "the family he felt he never had" precipitated his moving out there to my old stompin' grounds of California to seek some facsimile of a "family", RIGHT?!...well, that of course is USUALLY the reason why people do stupid things like that, ya know!!!)

 

LOL

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Btw, recognized by many as being two of the best movies ever made about subject of motorcycling are Bruce Brown's documentary ON ANY SUNDAY(1971) featuring Steve McQueen, and Roger Donaldson's very entertaining take on the saga of New Zealander Burt Munro in THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN (2005), and who would travel to Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats and set many speed records on his old Indian motorcycle during the 1950s and '60s, some of which still stand to this day.

 

(...and if anyone here hasn't seen the latter mentioned film especially, I would suggest you do, as one does NOT have to be "into" motorcycles in order to enjoy this wonderfully entertaining little film starring Anthony Hopkins as Burt Munro...the road trip Hopkins makes after porting into Los Angeles Harbor and on his way to Bonneville and during which he meets and befriends some very interesting characters is especially entertaining)

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Sorry to say, I've never even HEARD of the film, let alone seen it!  I'll have to check it out.  Thanks.

 

@Dargo:

 

My "moronic" friend really wasn't that big of a moron, and his relationship with his parents was pretty good.  But, being a high school dropout, and not finding work or other things in life around these parts that interested or satisfied him, he moved west.

 

But, those movies DID have a huge impact on him, and probably WERE the reason he chose California to migrate to.

 

I don't consider him a total "moron" due to the fact that in the summer of '67, he spent the whole summer, through the riot and all( Detroit's riot) doing mechanical and BONDO work on a '55 DeSoto that far exceeded anything I've seen done by even guys who did that for a living for YEARS.  But none of the local body shops would hire him mostly due to his age, and the dropout thing, so he headed out.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Sorry to say, I've never even HEARD of the film, let alone seen it!  I'll have to check it out.  Thanks.

 

@Dargo:

 

My "moronic" friend really wasn't that big of a moron, and his relationship with his parents was pretty good.  But, being a high school dropout, and not finding work or other things in life around these parts that interested or satisfied him, he moved west.

 

But, those movies DID have a huge impact on him, and probably WERE the reason he chose California to migrate to.

 

I don't consider him a total "moron" due to the fact that in the summer of '67, he spent the whole summer, through the riot and all( Detroit's riot) doing mechanical and BONDO work on a '55 DeSoto that far exceeded anything I've seen done by even guys who did that for a living for YEARS.  But none of the local body shops would hire him mostly due to his age, and the dropout thing, so he headed out.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

Wait a sec here, Sepia ol' buddy! Let's recap here the info you gave me earlier, okay?!

 

Now, you said "Dave's" reason for his movie to California was primarily due to his becoming so "enthralled" with those lousy biker flicks mostly filmed there back in the day AND so he could join Sonny Barger's little family of misfits in The Golden State, RIGHT?!

 

AND that it WASN'T 'cause he couldn't take that lousy freakin' weather you Michigander get for 4 freakin' months(at least) out of every year and which makes riding motorcycles during that time around your neck of the woods a real  bitc...errr..rather uncomfortable I would guess, RIGHT?! ;)

 

(...well, sorry dude, but "Dave" is STILL a "moron" in MY book here!!!)

 

LOL

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I wanna see TCM show 'The Wild Angels'...

 

What, dark?! Tired of bein' hassled by The Man or something, dude?! ;)

 

(...btw, every time I see young Fonda deliver that line I think to myself..."man, the poor guy inherited NONE of his Pop's talent, huh!")

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What, dark?! Tired of bein' hassled by The Man or something, dude?! ;)

 

I wanna here Bruce Dern say in baby talk to Dianne Ladd, "We're gonna get my chopper back".

 

And Michael J Pollard (as Pygmy) talk about the "extra hard mex" who pleads "oh please, senor - don't hit me in the face - I only use the very best beans to make the very best coffee".

 

Must've seen that movie a dozen times back in the day.

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I wanna see TCM show 'The Wild Angels' and 'The Savage Seven' and 'Angel Unchained' and 'Run ,Angel, Run'.

 

Just to name a few. I'll have to think about some other titles.

Not really a biker film as I recall, but something of a lost curio is Wild Seed (1965) with Michael Parks.  Of course Parks went on to do the 'soft' tv version of a biker in Then Came Bronson.  At the time I thought the pilot for that was pretty cool.  I was just a tad too young to go to those real wild biker films at the cinema.  Easy Rider was my first which I saw on re-release in 1970.

I'd love to see TCM pick up Wild Seed.

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Not really a biker film as I recall, but something of a lost curio is Wild Seed (1965) with Michael Parks.  Of course Parks went on to do the 'soft' tv version of a biker in Then Came Bronson.  At the time I thought the pilot for that was pretty cool.  I was just a tad too young to go to those real wild biker films at the cinema.  Easy Rider was my first which I saw on re-release in 1970.

I'd love to see TCM pick up Wild Seed.

 

When Michael Parks made 'Bus Riley's Back in Town' with Ann-Margret, he was hailed by some critics as "the new Brando".

 

He WAS pretty good in that movie. But the critics may have been subliminally influenced by Marlon's sister (Jocelyn) being in the film with Parks. Still, he was Brando-ish in his performance. Be nice to see this one on TCM some time.

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Here's a few more biker or bike-themed flicks; hopefully I've not doubled up on any that've already been mentioned.

 

     HEX (1973) (aka:  "The Shrieking", "Charms").  A weird movie about an early motorcycle gang in post-WWI Nebraska.  The bikers invade a town then invade a farm looking to make trouble, but the two sisters who live on the farm aren't just ordinary folk.   

 

     FAST CHARLIE, THE MOONBEAM RIDER (1979)  About an early motorcycle race; takes place after WWI.  Maybe TCM could find a way to air this; I've seen 'HEX', but as of yet I've only read about this movie.  Where'd it go? 

-------------------------------------------

     The Girls from Thunder Strip (1966) directed by David L. Hewitt.  Filmed in Techniscope, too.  The write-up on the back of the Something Weird Video insert is hilarious. 

     Hell's Chosen Few / also directed by David L. Hewitt

     Rebel Rousers (1967)    

     Angels from Hell (1968)

     Cycle Savages, The (1969)

     Hell's Angels 69 (1969)

     Angels Die Hard (1970)

     Angels Hard As They Come (1971)

     Hard Ride, The (1971)

     Jesus Trip, The (1971)

     Pink Angels, The (1972) 

     Road of Death (1973)  Filmed in Florida.  Of the biker movies I've seen, this one looks like the lowest-budgeted.  This is an amazingly cheap movie.  wOw!  SWV made this available several years ago and I bought a copy.    

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And, lest we forget, there's

 

J.C. (1972)

 

Christ returns to earth and joins a biker gang!

 

My mother-in-law told me about seeing it on the late show back in the late 70's. Said that the Christ character kept reminding her of ME.

 

I've never been able to catch this movie. Hope I do before I die.

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When Michael Parks made 'Bus Riley's Back in Town' with Ann-Margret, he was hailed by some critics as "the new Brando".

 

He WAS pretty good in that movie. But the critics may have been subliminally influenced by Marlon's sister (Jocelyn) being in the film with Parks. Still, he was Brando-ish in his performance. Be nice to see this one on TCM some time.

 

Interesting, dark. However, I had always heard that Parks back then was considered another of the "Next James Dean" types, and especially because he resembled Dean quite a bit.

 

(...and word is the reason he pretty much disappeared after his "Then Came Bronson" series, was that reportedly he was extremely hard to work with)

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Interesting, dark. However, I had always heard that Parks back then was considered another of the "Next James Dean" types, and especially because he resembled Dean quite a bit.

 

(...and word is the reason he pretty much disappeared after his "Then Came Bronson" series, was that reportedly he was extremely hard to work with)

I wouldn't doubt that for a minute.  I happened to work on a piece of, well you know what, that he was in later in his career and found him to be quite an intimidating presence.

He has Quentin Tarantino to thank for a bit of a resurrection I think.

Wild Seed man.  It's the new Hot Spell I tell ya.

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Interesting, dark. However, I had always heard that Parks back then was considered another of the "Next James Dean" types, and especially because he resembled Dean quite a bit.

 

(...and word is the reason he pretty much disappeared after his "Then Came Bronson" series, was that reportedly he was extremely hard to work with)

 

Well, maybe he believed all that Brando and Dean stuff.

 

Big mistake. I liked him, but the 50's were over, man.

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Regarding my comment about Michael Parks being an "intimidating presence" I should add in his benefit-of-the doubt defence that you never really know why some of the actors show up in a grouchy state.  The baggage could be that they hate the director, hate the project, hate their agent and you're catching them in a bad moment.  

Some, I suppose are better at being professional and courteous all of the time.

Christian Bale is obviously not one of those.

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They could get Quentin on to introduce it.  WILD SEED, man.

 

YEAH, that might work.

 

But ONLY if before he shows it he would sing...

 

"Wild Seed

You make my heart bleed

You make everything...groovy

Wild Seed"

 

(...hmmmm...but then again...maybe not, huh)

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