Hot Spur and Brand of Shame – The Battle of the Nudie Westerns in a Presentation of Classic Ads

LONG-BEACH-7-8-68

7-5-68, Long Beach.

The battle of “Who Was First” between Hot Spur and Brand of Shame has been a classic part of Nudie Movie History. Every time David F. Friedman told about it either in interviews or commentaries, it never gets old.

LUBBOCK-TX-7-27-68

7-27-68, Lubbock. TX

The story goes like this: For a while, David F. Friedman and Bob Cresse had a friends-based agreement that they would never copy what the other Producer was doing at the time as they would always talk about what was going on at their studios. They were competitors, but always respectful of what was going on between their companies…except for this one time with the War of the Western Nudies.

SAN-ANTONIO-11-22-68

San Antonio 11-22-68

I feel that the only ones who know the full story are no longer with us, but also it just may be that as Westerns were a big thing with the Dollars Trilogy turning into a huge Drive In staple and other Westerns doing respectable business, the time was very right for someone to do a Western Nudie and it was obvious that someone told the other side – although Russ Meyer will all together be the first in this game in The 60’s with Wild Gals of the Naked West  The two studios were making something they they knew would sell the tickets which were completed around the same time and presented to the Pussycat on the same day done without one studio telling another – the only difference was that Bob Cresse and Lee Frost’s Hot Spur was very serious going and David F. Friedman’s Brand of Shame Directed by Byron Mabe was a loopy ride with a couple of whipping scenes.

As you will find out, the “reel winner” of this story should come as no surprise. When it came to playing the film, the Mighty Monarch won by a few days in Texas! Lee Frost’s work was certainly the more cinematic, but Brand of Shame was the more SKIN-ematic. You can say that Frost took his time and someone from Friedman’s camp knew about it to make a quickie, or that the Cresse Camp knew what EVI was doing and whipped up something in quick time as Lee Frost was one of the kings of the Roughies of that era. Someone should know, or that I did not hit the right interview that tells the story. then again, as Lee Frost made the just as rough and violent The Scavengers and Byron Mabe whipped up an Action Roughie in the form of The Bushwacker after leaving Friedman’s company in the middle of the making of Space Thing, maybe it was actually the case of something in the Director just having a Western-Style urge in him and the two studios not knowing… in my opinion, NAH! This had to be pure competition from frame one!

SAN-BERNARDINO-11-29-68

11-29-68, San Bernardino

The main place to present an Adult film First Run in California was the then-growing Pussycat chain of theaters ran by Vince Miranda, and both Friedman and Cresse were among the Producers who’s product was mainly guaranteed a instant placement. While presenting their films to the Pussycat, the Producers got into a major argument of “I was first!” – “No, I was!”. – “I was 10 Minutes ahead of you!” – “I have better looking girls in my film!” – You stole my idea!!!”. The Re/Search book Incredibly Strange Movies (p. 107) features an interview with the Mighty Monarch by Jim Morton has a nice telling of the story, but the Commentaries on Something Weird Video discs tell a little more.

LONG-BEACH-7-4-69-CRESSE

7-4-69, Pussycat Chain, California – Born to be together! A great Lee Frost Action Roughie Double Bill!

On the Commentary to The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill, Friedman recalls the events of what happened next. Knowing that Cresse was going to spend a huge amount of monies on the advertising for a film that Friedman would have a limited audience, The Mighty Monarch let the future Commander of Love Camp 7 go first. Cresse later called him that night asking why, but it was Friedman’s just let Hot Spur play first at the Pussycat. Friedman’s Trump Card was that the Trailer to Brand of Shame was to be played after Hot Spur, and the audience knew that FSP/EVI’s romp would win them over enough to have an interest in it when it finally played, especially after the sordid Hot Spur.

Still…somewhere in Texas just before Hot Spur’s opening at the Pussycat, this happened…

LUBBOCK-6-28-68

June 28, 1968. They did not call him the Mighty Monarch for nothing! The Continental was a regular spot for Cresse’s films in the area, too! You should know who’s on the right side of the ad smoking the trademark cigar.

Meanwhile, back in LA in August…

After Hot Spur played two weeks and Don Davis’ For love and Money filled up the next couple of weeks in the Pussycat schedule, Brand of Shame appeared.

LONG-BEACH-8-2-68-2

8-2-68, Long Beach

TOLEDO11-1-68

11-1-68, Toledo – Another Trump Card of Friedman’s was his connections to Toledo thanks to his days working with HG Lewis in his Nudie days. The Gayety played The Adventures of Lucky Pierre in early 1962,

FRESNO-CA-2-21-69

2-21-69 Fresno, CA

CHI8-1-69BrandOfShame

8-1-69, Chicago area, a theater that also played Cresse’s films on a regular basis. This showing quickly followed Space Thing!

BRDGEPORT-CONN-5-1-70

Bridgeport, Conn, 5-1-70

Still, even if Brand of Shame played a lot through a couple of years, EVI’s movies would seriously improve in production values by 1969′ Starlet enough to shove the FPS collection to a lesser concern. Cresse, however, was promoting his Olympic International line of films though The US in a growing Adult Movie scene and Hot Spur was finally finding it’s audience by that time. Still, this did not hurt their friendship – Friedman would appear in a major role in The Pick-Up with Cresse as well as the infamous Love Camp 7, both released in 1969, and Cresse would appear in The Erotic Adventures of Zorro,

It’s up to you to say who was first, but in the end, both were winners!

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~ by screen13 on October 26, 2015.

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