Rocking and Reeling it Rare – Part One: Los Angeles – World’s Greatest Sinner, Head, Lenny Bruce, Jubilee, and Another State of Mind

2-1-63 – LA

Happy Sunday to you! It’s been a long while, but finding great ads and digging up cool Sin-ematic history never ends.

This time, it’s over to Los Angeles and some wonderful and rare finds of Rock Cinema that still hold up today as both cinematic experiences and even films to think about.

Thankfully, I have returned with some rare goodies. One of the greatest is the opening night ad for The World’s Greatest Sinner. On top of having Timothy Carey in a classic over the top performance as “God” Hillard, you hear Paul Frees’ voice as the narrator, Frank Zappa’s music, and see the camerawork of Ray Dennis Steckler. Out of the many films that posed itself as Controversial, this is among the few that stand up to the word loud and proud, and the great music is perfect.


9-29-65 – At the (I think) Art Theater Guild Cinema with another controversial film of the day, Lolita!


11-19-68 – Los Angeles – Speaking of Timothy Carey and Frank Zappa, Head’s run in Los Angeles has to be noted. The surreal and stunning movie starring the Monkees actually had some success in a few areas during it’s first run including LA. Starting off with a strong premiere, Head played for 3 weeks in the area, giving confirmation of what some have said about it’s release despite under-performing elsewhere with playdates running up to Mid-1969 at any screen that had space to play it. A showing in Albuquerque showed a drop of Art Cinema interest before Robert Rafelson’s success with Easy Rider made some notice that Head was clearly “head” and shoulders above many Rock films of the day.


8-8-69, Albuquerque – Playing at an Art Theater Guild screen in a time when The Monkees were down to three and with one more great small hit in their history with Michael Nesmiths’ “Listen to the Band” (originally the B to “Someday Man”). Triva: The Monkees Present where “Listen…” wound up on, and The Turtles’ Ray Davies’-produced Turtle Soup both debuted on Billboard’s Top 200 on the same week, as if it were an end of a magical Pop era!

In Detroit, it seems that the first showing was through CBS’ Late Night Movie, but I might find more information. It also played the Eastown theater in it’s days running cult movie around the time of the 1986 reunion.  By the way, Good Times is a mighty fine album!


10-5-73 – With Targets at the Beverly Canon!


4-6-73 –  A great pairing of Lenny Bruce and Reefer Madness. This was a show that would also be perfect for the Cabaret in the Detroit area after it changed it’s name from the Southfield Playhouse (one of two theaters in that small chain). By this time, the Anti-Pot classic Reefer Madness was possibly picked up by New Line, a company that started it’s life by showing their films at Colleges and Universities!


5-11-79 – While the opinions of Jubilee are divided, I’m seriously on the pro side of the argument. Featuring Adam Ant in a great performance, this was film that had a very limited run through The US. Thankfully, more fans of the Punk era can see the film today through a classic DVD release, but back then you really had to be into the Art Movie scene to find a showing anywhere. It was very thought-provoking and those who caught the film before the world of MTV caved into the Pop Culture in The 80’s were thinking it was prophetic.


4-24-84 – I know that I posted this before, but it fits. Although this classic Punk movie is best known through it’s showing on the USA Network (where I fist saw it over at a friend’s house), it actually had a few screenings through the Mid 80’s! In Ann Arbor, I think it had an art gallery showing, although it would have been better off playing at the Royal Oak Music Theater – sadly the Punch and Judy was possibly closed up by the time they had a chance to play it, but that was just a guess. Faults and all, no matter how you view the music in the film (Social Distortion’s easily holds up the best of a great set), this remains essential viewing for anyone interested in the years between the 70’s Punk movement and the 90’s.


~ by screen13 on October 9, 2016.

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