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‘duBEAT-e-o’: The Runaways movie that became The Mentors movie, 1984
08:11 pm



Twelve years ago, when I was working in a video store that was selling off its VHS inventory, a coworker put a used copy of this terrible movie in my hands. It’s hard to convey how seedy the tape looked and felt—unevenly shrinkwrapped with the aid of a hair dryer, blazoned with a yellow paper sticker advertising a sale price of $3.99. Of course, I loved punk and metal ephemera, the more degraded and disgusting the better; but something about this particular tape just seemed gross. However, I reasoned that it couldn’t be all bad, since they’d stolen The Screamers’ logo for the box. Boy, was I wrong.

Five years before duBEAT-e-o, there was a movie in the works called We’re All Crazy Now that was to have starred The Runaways. Although the Runaways broke up in the spring of 1979, filming went ahead that summer with Joan Jett and three actresses playing the band. In September, Billboard reported:

Set Runaways Film

LOS ANGELES—Production has started on the feature motion picture “We’re All Crazy Now,” loosely based on the career of the all-girl rock act the Runaways. The Zane-Helpern independent production stars Arte Johnson, Runaways’ member Joan Jett and former Herman’s Hermits leader Peter Noone. Cheryl Smith, Karen and Kathy Fallentine round out the cast as the remainder of the original Runaways.

(Yes, that is Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith of Caged Heat fame. And who could forget those great “original Runaways,” Karen and Kathy Fallentine?)

The production fell apart and the movie was abandoned. Somehow, by 1984, the footage wound up in the hands of producer Alan Sacks, the creative genius behind Welcome Back, Kotter, Chico and the Man, and, more recently, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience. Sacks cast Ray Sharkey as an editor who—get this—is assigned to make a movie out of some old footage of Joan Jett! (I think this is what the credits are referring to when they say the movie is “Based on an idea by Alan Sacks.” Wherever does he get his ideas?) Rounding out the cast this time were El Duce of The Mentors, Derf Scratch of FEAR, and performance artist Johanna Went.

I would recommend heroin addiction before I would recommend watching the whole movie, but I would also guess that Mentors fans (people of discriminating taste) are slightly less likely to hate it than Joan Jett fans. Aside from the We’re All Crazy Now footage and a handful of original scenes, the movie is a desultory montage of Ed Colver punk photos, smut Polaroids, religious kitsch, comic book covers and stills of El Duce cavorting with unlucky women. While these images roll by, members of the cast and crew gab in voiceover, sounding wasted and bored. Sure, it sounds like fun now, but give it three minutes.

The most enthusiastic review of duBEAT-e-o came from The Psychotronic Video Guide:

“This thing is nuts! It played in theaters!”

Three minutes of duBEAT-e-o:

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Wally George, insane, screaming Reagan-era TV demagogue interviews GWAR and The Mentors
06:51 am


Wally George
Hot Seat

Every weekday after school, I used to tune into KDOC to watch Wally George spit right-wing hate from a dingy studio in Anaheim. I must have found it comforting in the same way procedural dramas or reality shows can be comforting. The simplicity of the dramatic formula, the banishment of thoughts and thinking from the action, and the very narrow range of rhetorical and emotional possibilities are all balm for the soul.

Wally’s set was austere and his talismans were few: a gavel, an American flag, a photo of a space shuttle launch with the caption “USA IS #1,” and an outrageous combover. Somehow, I had learned that he was estranged from his daughter, the actress Rebecca De Mornay. He seemed like he was maybe not the most sympathetic resident of Orange County.

George was all assertion, no argument, and he didn’t actually say very much—it was all about how he said it. With his voice always rising in pitch and volume, George punctuated his screams by slapping his desk or banging his gavel. His laconic cries left no doubt about his political views. He was for Reagan, Bush, televised executions, Star Wars, the war on drugs, the war in Iraq; against abortion, health care, gay people, evolutionists, devil worshipers, obscenity, metal, punk, and women. He did think racism was a bad thing, or said so.

Gauging the sincerity of these opinions was never easy because the show was so theatrical. To give you a taste of the level of discourse, here’s a brief exchange about the death penalty with regular Hot Seat guest Rick Scouler:

“First of all, what we have to admit is that the death penalty does not cause a downward trend in murder. Okay? That’s proven. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a jerk.”

“No, Rick—the first thing we have to admit is that you are an idiotic nerd!

(George also liked the insults “stupid moron,” “freako” and, for women, “bimbo.”)

As with George himself, it’s often hard to tell how committed the audience was to any position. On every show, spectators would chant “SICK! SICK! SICK!” and heckle the guests, but the crowd looks and sounds more like it belongs at a pro wrestling event than a hate rally.

Whatever the level of cynicism in the room, the beliefs were bad enough. As one-time Hot Seat guest Timothy Leary told People in 1984, “George is part of the 1984 George Orwell nightmare.” Here’s Wally advocating the quarantine of people with AIDS and explaining how you can catch AIDS from a sneeze:

There are now hours and hours of Hot Seat episodes and clips on YouTube, but you, citizen, will most likely want to skip right to the GWAR and Mentors episodes. The GWAR interview on Hot Seat remains, for me, their definitive TV appearance. Presidential candidate Sleazy P. Martini earnestly defends a key plank in his platform, a modest proposal to legalize crime.

More Wally George madness with GWAR and The Mentors, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment