Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Skidoo (1968)

Otto Preminger allegedly was motivated to film this celluloid jaw dropper after speaking with his son about the 60s counter culture then subsequently reading a writing sample from Doran William Cannon, which highlighted lsd consumption and the gregarious hippie lifestyle. Mr. Preminger involved an array of additional writers, and a cast bulging with notable folk, with many from the "square" side of Hollywood checking out the Age of Aquarius.

Jackie Gleason stars as Tony Banks, an ex-gangster who gets an "offer he can't refuse" to return to family business as a hit man, but his misgivings further the wackiness that keeps this whole cinematic psychedelic roller coaster moving along.

the trailer

Aside from the free form and very 60s weirdness on display in every scene, the supporting cast is loaded with familiar faces from the movie world. Along with Jackie Gleason, others include: Carol Channing, John Phillip Law, Frankie Avalon, Frank Gorshin, Michael Constantine, Richard Kiel, Austin Pendleton, Mickey Rooney, Cesar Romero, Peter Lawford, Burgess Meredith and in his final film appearance, Groucho Marx. Harry Nilsson had a small role and also provided his talents to the soundtrack contributing several songs, with "Living in a Garbage Can" serving exceptionally well in one of the more outlandishly acid-tinged scenes.

The story goes that in preparation for his role, Groucho Marx even tried lsd. Paul Krassner, editor/publisher of the legendary satirical zine The Realist, has documented the event for posterity is his article "My Acid Trip with Groucho". Both that specific article, as well as most all of Krassner's writing comes highly recommended from myself.

The quality of the movie below is not the best, but it's been out of print for ages and it is the entire film. Dig big studio Hollywood trying to get their head around acid and hippies. In fact this movie would make a great double feature with The Monkees lysergic masterpiece Head or the film adaptation of Terry Southern's Candy.

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