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It all comes back to skidoo…
What is skidoo you say?
Well… in actuality, Skidoo is a 1968 Otto Preminger flick about a mob-boss. That’s pretty much where any consideration to plot or story ends. Therefore, what is left are a series of disjointed existential and sometimes cheap vignettes… mostly involving sex and drugs and musical theater drop-outs. Let’s just say, Carol Channing was born for her role in this movie. (okay, I can acquiesce that maybe it was Thoroughly Modern Millie which was her born-for part…!)
Yet the movie has persisted… Maybe it is because at midnite on cable, one could be watching anything. And I mean any thing at all. There’s porn, sports, documentaries, and onceinalifetimepurchaseopportunities… So the cable channel managers are getting desperate. They’ll throw just about any slice of film onto the videopile. And what is remarkable about this little bit o plastic on a reel is that it is nothing short of disastrous. It is a horrible, HORRIBLE movie. I’ve seen some bad ones in my time, Divine eating dogcrap is forever burned into my memory, Chris Christopher as space age superhero, and let’s not forget ShoNuff…
But there was something close to redeemable about those bits… something yucky and distateful, but nevertheless a value, if you will… toward badness in moviemaking.
However, Skidoo is much like watching a bad burnout vs. a fadeaway… Too many drugs onset, too much ego and experimentation and too many old folks with nothing to do at a bad time in Hollywood/American history… that’s what Skidoo is. The stars: Jackie Gleason, Groucho Marx, Micky Rooney, and Frankie Avalon tried to establish themselves as hip and cool when they were so very not. Remarkably these big-named players got involved in such a project, someone let it go to film and then it was actually released. That it has been retained to this very era is beyond the imagination…. It’s a lesson, if you will, a lesson in when to say when to taking ourselves too damn seriously … as artists, activists, professionals, adults, … really, whatever it is that we do take too seriously in our lives.
40 years later and are we (as in the collective human “we”) any better off?
I’d say no…
but sometimes ya just gotta Skidoo!