Riot on Sunset Strip – Garage Punk Rebellion Torn from the Headlines!
Riot on Sunset Strip was one of the perfect examples of the Youth Exploitation scene of The 60’s which made a movie hot off the headlines, but with the lack of serious success which showed that the times sometimes changed quicker than the editing process. The formula was easy: Throw a bunch of bratty kids together, play up the latest controversy (in this case the Riots on Sunset Strip of November, 1966), throw in the drugs (you have to have a plot in there somewhere!), get the hot young starlet to freak out (Hello, Mimsy!), try to get someone who’s known with the parent set (Aldo Ray), bring in a relative of a marquee value star (Tim “Son of Mickey” Rooney), and throw in a couple of bands from Tower Records (The label that hosted many an AIP soundtrack including two volumes music from The Wild Angels). With The Standells appearing with a killer theme song and an appearance of The Chocolate Watchband making you wish there was more of them to see along with colorful scenery, and you have an instant classic time waster which turned into a must-see Exploitation of it’s time. Sadly, the soundtrack quickly went into the bargain bins after missing the charts altogether and “Riot on Sunset Strip” bubbled under for a couple of weeks by the time the film was first playing in the theaters while the music scene was changing fast away from the Garage Punk Greatness of 1966 from which The Standells made their mark in.
The making of the film was fast and ready, but sadly the here-and-there Distribution scene of the time made it look like “Yesterday’s Papers” after it’s first showings when it arrived in the secondary markets. Not a classic, but something to enjoy for it’s time capsule value alone. It’s another “Youth is Bad” film, and that’s the way I love it.
LA, 4-7-67 – MST-ies take note of what played as the B!!!
San Antonio, 5-5-67