Saturday, June 25, 2011

Things That Need To Come Back Soon:

Tail O' The Pup

Tail o' the Pup was a hot dog stand. That is of course like writing that Greta Garbo was pretty, Genghis Kahn was easily annoyed or Albert Einstein was mildly clever. Tail o' might have been slightly less well known that Pink's in Hollywood, but Pink's wasn't shaped like a hot dog on a mustard-smeared bun.

Tail o' started life in 1946 at the corner of La Cienega and Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. It stood there for nearly 40 years before being threatened with demolition to make way for the wholly unnecessary Hotel Sofitel. Luckily, a space was found a block West, just south of Beverly on San Vicente. Another 20 years of happy customers ensued until a developer bought the land and evicted Tail o' to make way for a development that at the time was written of as a retirement home for elderly GLBT. Tail o's hot dog front was dismantled and stored. It was rumored that it would surface in Westwood and there was talk in Beverly Hills of trying to fit it in, but as of this date not only is there no Tail o', the original location is just a weed-choked chained-off parking lot.

Tail o' was the source of the single-best star sighting I've had in LA. I was hoping my BFF would arrive in time to see her, alas she missed seeing Ella Fitzgerald delicately munching away on an Extreme, her Mercedes Landaulette at the curb, complete with uniformed Chauffeur.

Dennis and Eddie Blake. who have owned the Pup since buying it from the original owners in the 70's are written of as looking for a location to re-open. Guys, look harder. I need an Olé with onions and a side of rings. It's been too darned long..

Photo: Wikipedia

Friday, June 17, 2011

"The Night Walker" is, well, nowhere.

It's not on DVD and it's not on YouTube.

Which is sad, since it's a fun William Castle shocker made in the years when he was transitioning from Schlockmeister to the producer of class fare like "Rosemary's Baby".

The redoubtable Barbara Stanwyck stars as a lady unhappily married to a blind scientist who dreams of a perfect, handsome lover, audibly. Husband, who is blind but not deaf, records his wife's dream affairs and sets his lawyer (Stanwyck's real-life ex-husband Robert Taylor) to find the cad before being blown to bits in his home lab. Craziness ensues.

Miss Stanwyck is great in this. Yes, her screams sound like an asthmatic Puma whorfing up a hairball. But she's required to emote against mannequins, an ex-husband and Lloyd Bochner (who are lit to look like mannequins), spinning chandeliers and at one point a flaming shishkebob the size of a Tiki Torch and she pulls it off.

Why is this not on DVD?

Trailer via YouTube

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Desperately Seeking Susan" is on Netflix Streaming..

It's hard for me to believe that this movie, which launched Madonna's short-lived career as an actress is now over 25 years old. Madonna plays the title character, a free spirit who becomes a fixation for New Jersey housewife Roberta (Roseanna Arquette). Roberta is bored with her life in Fort Lee: she walks out of her party in the middle of her husband Gary (Mark Blum) debuting his latest hot-tub commercial so stare longingly across the Hudson at the spires of New York City.

Having noted a personal ad in a local tabloid that Susan's boyfriend has arranged a meeting with her (we're told this is how they communicate in the days before e-mail) at Battery Park, Susan shows up to do a little stalking. What neither Susan nor Roberta know is that the earrings Susan pinched from the random guy she bedded at a New Jersey hotel are stolen, priceless, and wanted very badly by a very bad man (Will Patton) who is willing to kill to get them. A blow to Roberta's head ensures that Susan and Roberta's lives intertwine as both the killer and a handsome movie projectionist (Aidan Quinn) mistake amnesiac Roberta for Susan while Roberta's husband and sister (Laurie Metcalf) enlist Susan to help find the missing woman, who the police suspect of being an on-the-run hooker.

It's a fun movie that glosses over some of the gamier aspects of the story. Susan is a charming amoral thief who uses and discards men. Gary is having an affair behind Roberta's back and seems more concerned at how Roberta's disappearance will affect his status than for her welfare. But it's fun to see a flashback to the NYC of the 80's of my yoof. St. Marks Place, the East Village, Danceteria, even the scaffolding around the Statue of Liberty during it's renovation are showcased. The fashions were believe it or not fresh at the time; this is the Madonna that launched the craze for cropped tops and gloves and wearing tons of rubber bracelets.

I didn't even know this, but there was a short-lived musical version that played London's West End that closed in record time and lost £3.5 million. A YouTube news clip about the fiasco is below,