TNB Night Owl–SKIDOO (1968)

Jackie Gleason publicity photo, 1968

AlienMotives and I were discussing ideas for tonight’s Night Owl column. He mentioned wanting to do a Saturday night movie, something fun, somewhat goofy, and maybe people hadn’t heard of. My first thought was ALL THIS AND WORLD WAR 2 (1976), a retelling of the Second World War using bad Beatles cover songs. He said nothing but gave me “that look” which (with time and experience) I’ve come to learn means “I like these people and don’t want to subject them to that movie.”

“SKIDOO, then?” He agreed that it was at least a little better than ALL THIS…

On paper, SKIDOO (1968) should be a great movie. It was directed by Otto Preminger, the man who brought us LAURA (1944) and THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955). In the late 60s, Preminger realized he wasn’t as relevant among young people as he once was. His answer was to make an “acid film”.

Who better to star in a celebration of LSD and psychedelica than Jackie Gleason? Yep. Ralph Kramden having major trips while in prison. Think this can’t get more youth-relavent? Carol Channing gets cast as his wife and is given a rather memorable strip-tease scene with Frankie Avalon. Mickey Rooney plays a mob boss. Burgess Meredith, Slim Pickens, Frank Gorshin, and Cesar Romero make appearances as well. The most brilliant piece of casting came when they decided who absolutely needed to play the main drug dealer, “God”…Groucho Marx.

At least they got Harry Nilsson to do the music.

With all this talent, you think this would be a great movie. And it is…in it’s own “What were they thinking?” sort of way. The trailer is as trippy as the movie:

If you want to see the whole thing, it can be found at this link: Be forewarned–you will never get the theme song out of your brain. Ever.

Question of the night: What’s your favorite movie from the 1960s?

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