Mondo Mansfield – The Life of The Wild Wild World of Jayne Mansfield 1968-71

FT-MEYERS-FLA-6-12-68-JAYNE

6-12-68 – Ft. Meyers, Florida – Almost two months after the legendary Mondo The Wild Wild World of Jayne Mansfield opened in New Orleans in April and almost a year after her untimely passing, it’s regular run starts up in Florida. Produced by Southwest Pictures, more of whom this article will get to later (Clue: Bob Clark), it was picked up by a number of distributors including Blue Ribbon, a go-to Sub-Distributor for many Exploitation movies of the day that went to the then-large Drive In market in the South including some of those by HG Lewis. Planned for a couple of years possibly with Mansfield’s still strong European audience in mind and played to some success in the American Drive In and Adults Only markets, it was infamous for using voice-over artist Carolyn De Fonesca to “narrate” (she dubbed in her voice in Dog Eat Dog and Primitive Love) and various footage of the star’s Nudie breakthrough in Promises Promises as well as photos of the ill-fated car crash which killed her and her attorney Sam Brody on June 29, 1967 in New Orleans.

Produced by Dick Randall, a serious Exploitation legend who was already connected to some of the notable B movies of the day, not least Shangri-La and Go! Go! Go! World (Mondo Inferno), as well as Jayne’s Primitive Love, the tribute was Adults Only from the get go and following on her appearance in Spree, the Mondo on Las Vegas. This was not aimed for those who like to remember her only from the Girl Can’t Help It heyday and more as a souvenir of her image as a star in Europe complete with visits to clubs in Paris (including one focusing on gender-crossing), “learning” to strip tease, a cute scene on a boat with Rocky Roberts and the Airdales (who’s “The Bird is the Word” was already familiar to those who saw the twisted Watch the Birdie – Dick Randall possibly set it up), and scenes with Mickey Hargitay from the Loves of Hercules and Primitive Love. To me, the scenes of the Topless scene in The States including a clip of The Ladybirds (reportedly they seriously rocked on stage) and sexy comedy that did not feature Mansfield were all last-second additions to get the film completed as well as Hargitay’s visit to the Pink Palace mansion (no longer in existence, just in case), but they work in their own way for a perfect package for the Drive In and Sexploitation market.

Joel Holt, known for narrating the Olga series, The Soul Snatcher, and Chained Girls, as well as announcing on the trailers of many American Film Distribution films could also have been a part of the connection for this classic scene…

Those who are more used to Mansfield’s Hollywood legend might get a kick out of watching this one has not seen it already, but should not expect anything too serious and plenty of tasteful sexploitation. Those who already know what happened in the 60’s, including various B-films like The Fat Spy (soooooo bad, but perfect for movie masochists) and Las Vegas Hillbillies would have possibly already seen it. Sadly, her final film Single Room Furnished which was released later in 1968 would be overshadowed by this, but would be loved by serious fans as a film that contained some of her best acting and be thought of as a real tribute in the long run.

She was seriously more than this despite her focus on  any publicity that was to be used, but there were those who already knew – the rest of the world would catch up later as usual.

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7-26-68, Amarillo – An interesting night with Jayne, Hollywood Drugsploitation, and a hip Blake Edwards film at the Trail Drive In.

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9-11-68, Anniston – Naturally at the Skyway, screen to many a Sexploitation film.

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9-27-68, Lubbock – Focusing on the tragedy to sell the film alone was not a great idea no matter how much it figures into it.

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8-9-68, New Haven, Conn. – the Lawrence would turn into an Adults Only cinema by the decades’ end. Interesting to note that a film showing a star’s breakdown “in the near future” called Privilege starring Paul Jones was showing on a competitor’s screen. No matter what the setting is or how serious it can get (Privilege was one for the hipper Art Houses), the story of a quick rise and fall makes for a good story.

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9-11-68, San Bernardino – By this time, the “Mondo Mansfield” line was used.

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10-18-68, Carbondale, Illinois – An interesting pairing with Albert Zugsmith’s On Her Bed of Roses highlights this Illinois showing. The notable Director worked on a few scenes for Mansfield’s Dog Eat Dog (When Strangers Meet) in 1964 and was headed to his own Sexploitation-focused career after working in Hollywood through The 50’s.

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10-22-68, Kittanning, PA – Another almost tasteless pairing highlights this showing – a film called The Frozen Dead was the B…we roll eyes and move along (after seeing the films).

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10-25-68 and 10-27-68, Louisville – Showing with the Sexy Action flick The Girl Can’t Stop was proof of this film’s standing with the Drive In scene. In a possibly jaw-dropping tasteless decision, a film called Once Before I Die was programmed, but Ursula Andress was a marquee value name at the time.

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12-11-68, Detroit – The Fox was Detroit’s Exploitation canter back in the day, so The Wild, Wild World was a perfect fit. This time, the B was the much loved Witchfinder General, better known at the time in The US as The Conqueror Worm.

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12-27-68, Wilmington – Celebrity reality at the Price’s Corner DI is focused with a second feature in Larry Buchanan’s cool The Other Side of Bonnie and Clyde.

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2-28-69, Cincinnati  – Here is where we meet up with Bob Clark as The Wild, Wild World is paired up with She Man, the future star Director’s second film which many Exploitation film fans respect and love. The Mondo’s interview with a female impersonator dressed as Jayne (again, I think filler footage) was kind of a perfect fit as there was a underground cult for the starlet. The sexy Import Drama The Wicked Go to Hell served as feature #3…humm, programmer comment?

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3-14-69, Des Moines

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8-15-69, Kansas City – A surprising showing at an Adult house hits the Kansas City area.

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12-18-70, Indianapolis – Connecting with Ron Ormond’s Please, Don’t Touch Me and Untamed Mistress was the end of the theatrical history of the Wild Wild World. While it was third after a classic Frigid Wife flick (aka Teenage Bride) and an Ape Suit movie, this still played somewhere.

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8-1-71, Anniston – One more time at the Skyway before heading into cultville, “bad movie” shows (one in LA in 1982 played this), and the VHS culture that turned it into a must-see flick for all cult movie fanatics before Something Weird Video’s DVD gave it the ultimate treatment…although in this Blu Age, anything further is possible.

~ by screen13 on January 11, 2018.

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