THE YIN AND YANG OF MR GO – Discovering The Third Eye in Burgess Meredith’s 1969 Suck-a-Delic Ski-Doo-Doo
The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go has been one of THOSE films – starring name actors, re-released on PD VHS and DVD so many times through the years, and from The Late 60’s that will not please those wanting to see a film featuring a Hollywood star of their choice and winding up with a Tragical Mystery Tour of wacked out loose ends trying to sell itself as a film. Sometimes when you’re a fan of looking for the most interesting stories surround these flicks, you come across one of those stories that has so many holes in it that you’re determined to fill them up. With this film, the plot is all over the place that they’re not holes, but seriously non-replaceable defects and edits, but going through the making of it is more easy to unravel if you happen to stumble upon the right places.
The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go has a special place in my heart – The Penguin co-starred and Directed this mess, James Mason (who was in a much better 60’s flick in Age of Consent) starred as Y.Y.Go, his soon-to-be-wife Clarissa Kaye was his lesbian assistant (Thankfully, her future in Film was far better than this thanks to James), Irene Tzu is the love interest of an Ex-Pat named Nero Finnegan, played by Jeff Bridges in his first film which thankfully never killed is career as this was hardly ever played. A lot of great talent was in this, and the results seriously slammed the viewer with every cliche in the Late 60’s Swinging Hollywood book but with a low budget, clumsy camera work, and loud music by Robert O. Ragland of The Babysitter infamy. With all of this going on, you would have expected a cult classic that should have been re-mastered and glorified with a lot of extras but instead wound up as yet another misfire that wound up on PD discs that has only been seen by the most obsessive Bad Film fan in a Top Ten of this league of films that also includes The Fat Spy.
Made during a Late 60’s when Producers and Directors were taking a lot of chances and risking a lot of careers in films which were buried under bad Distribution, clumsy film making, and loopy examples of “unleashing creativity”, YY GO at least took the Comedic route, making this exercise not at all pretentious, but instead all too ridiculous making Otto Preminger’s Skidoo (the father of a lot of these films…) a masterpiece (well, at least Skidoo had Harry Nilsson’s music). What’s more interesting is that it was actually unleashed after some clumsy planning and brought through a number of Distributors, one lesser than the other, before winding up in Florida with possibly every hand that touched it’s production washed and sanitized of the whole ordeal ending with a WTF name change to The Third Eye, which is usually on video copies that presents a print bearing the YY GO title, and a whole lot of messed-up credits that make no sense until someone stumbles upon a partial reason why this happened…
Here’s the story – YY Go, a “very evil” man wants to get his hands on the plans for a Laser “Sidewinder” Anti-Missile device to sell to whoever buys it at the highest price, and enlists Ex-Pat wanna-be Writer Nero Finnegan to work as someone to out a Professor for the Army (Peter Lind Hayes) who has the plans that can be used for good or evil in a blackmail plot via a roll of film used to get them featuring Nero being the abuser to the masochistic Professor (although the genius claims that he’s not gay…I call the character Bi-Curious before the term was made). Go kidnaps Nero’s woman (Tzu), Zelda (Kaye) takes some interest in her, and everything seems to go as planned, including offing our James Joyce-worshiping Ex-Pat Writer, but then Buddha’s eye strikes the soul of our wanna-be Fu Manchu and we see him change his attitudes – Nero lives, Tah-Ling actually stays with Mr. Go, and the plans for the Anti-Weapon Device goes for a peaceful reason that actually go public through Nero and his new girlfriend.
Still, as this is one of those crazy anything-goes comedies of the Late 60’s, there has to more. Throw in a CIA agent who also appears to also be a James Joyce fan looking for the Ex-Pat, Zelda, Burgess Meredith as “The Dolphin” who is possibly more evil than Mr. Go by being the one who deals with any side willing to give him the best offer while offering all kinds of cures and sexual medicines and even a “Death” of Mr. Go that surrounds the Laser Device plans after being sold with an elaborate funeral. Throw in some footage featuring Broderick Crawford and a bunch of guys in what seems to be a low rent Hotel conference room playing Government officials who are also on the lookout for Finnegan (yes, as in “Finnegan’s Wake”) who appeared to be also AWOL – last minute script changes usually throw in the WTF wrench. Of course, the change in events rule that The Dolphin will turn into a failure and the CIA agent will also fail under over-work and over-drink (The Alcoholic Generation as Wild in the Streets lost in many of these films), but still nobody will know if Crawford and his men even took any steps after discussing things
A lot of the acting has that “What the hell am I doing here?!!!” look, the fact that the dalies had to be sent over from Hong Kong to the US without Meredith looking at them meant chaos, and the music certainly has that “Love American Style” TV show flavor to it. Just take a look at what I consider one of the more cohesive scenes in the film!
So what did happen? A Canadian by the name of Thomas I Ross had a little success with a film called Mission Bantagas, Produced through D.I,B.A. and decided to move into that Swinging 60’s Comedy trend to produce this mess-terpiece. Meeting up with Meredith, the production was made in Hong Kong in Late 1969, and while the Director had some experience with The Man in the Eiffel Tower, this was The 60’s and you know what usually went on behind the scenes during that time…and it seriously reflects in the film. The Production possibly threw in the Crawford footage, threw it all together in a blender, and spewed it out.
Then, this turned into the films nobody wanted to touch, unless if it was a third-level company that needed something with a name to release and had at least some exploitation angles to sell. After this failed to find to find any major promotion, this wound up in a list of films to be released by Scotia International in 1973, but then it wound up in the hands of Mike Rips and his United Films Organisation (UFO for short!) by 1974 with it’s most remembered campaign featuring a drawing of Bridges in gunplay (which NEVER happened) and great ad lines like “I was made in Hong Kong” (besides Tzu’s breasts getting some seconds of airtime, nothing happens!) and “She was an instrument of pleasure – She even took on the CIA” (getting desperate!) while offering “Ying and Yang” buttons. After that flopped out of the starting gate, it went to the Florida-based Libert company, who handled a whole lot of shoved-away flicks ranging in quality including Messiah of Evil before shoving a number of them to Cougar…who possibly wanted nothing to do with this one as it was never mentioned in it;s listings in Boxoffice (and I went through a LOT of theirs, even the days when they were carrying Doty-Dayton Family flicks!).
Yup, that’s the dream machine!
Humm…kind of Wood-en, if I may say so!
So…what happened next?
In September, 1977 (tracking down the date, but it’s there), The Miami News reported this. Here is where you can see that Third Eye “Produced” by Nicholas Spanos of Whiskey Mountain fame. Obviously Ross, who was the Canadian Presenter of Mark Tenzer’s Cine-a-Rock show, had possibly parted with the hard-to-sell and hard-to-play flick. The Beat was never completed, and Robert H. Oliver was never heard from again except for the name being an aka for Dick Randall who reportedly was the Robert Oliver in The Wild Wild World of Jayne Mansfield, but in my opinion more likely not the Robert H Oliver mentioned here – Randall was living in Rome. Robert Easter was behind the programmable Supervan and the cult classic (clas-sick) The Toolbox Murders.
The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go would wind up on cheap videos and the cheap DVDs using a lot of the information that looked like it had it’s start with this final ring of it’s here-and-there theatrical life.
Of course, you know this is…