Rockabilly Central
The Sixties

Twist Around The Clock (1961)

Features Chubby Checker, Dion, the Marcels, Vicki Spencer, Clay Cole John Cronin and Mary Mitchell.

Agent Cronin tries to book Twist performers; of course, by the finale, the dance is the rage of America. Dion, however, performs "The Wanderer" and "Runaround Sue". This was a remake of Rock Around The Clock.

More info at IMDB

Hey, Let's Twist (1961)

Features: Joey Dee, the Starliters, Peppermint Loungers, Jo Ann Campbell, Zohra Lampert, Teddy Randazzo, Allan Arbus.

Let's not! This minor film about the rise, decline and rise of the Peppermint Lounge nightclub came out at the height of the twist dance rage and wasn't very good then... now it's a bad way to kill 80 minutes. try spotting a young Joe Pesci (then a Starliters guitarist, making his film debut) as an extra.

More info at IMDB

Don't Knock The Twist (1962)

Features: Chubby Checker, Gene Chandler, Vic Dana, Linda Scott, Mari Blanchard, Lang Jeffries, and the Dovells.

Television producer Jeffries, with Chandlers assistance, coordinates a Twist show. Chandler, with cape, monacle and top hat, sings "Duke Of Earl"; otherwise you may want to twist your way to the TV set and twist the dial.

More info at IMDB

The T.A.M.I. Show (1964)

Features: the Rolling Stones, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Marvin gaye, the Supremes, Jan and Dean, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Leslie Gore, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas.

Historic rock and r&b concert at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium was covered by television cameras and kinescoped onto film by whiz-kid director Steve Binder. Invaluable document of music history, with great early Mick Jagger and electrifying footwork by James Brown. (Two of the go-go dancers are Teri Garr and Toni Bazil!) Title stands for "Teenage Awards Music International", followed by the Big T.N.T. Show. The TAMI and TNT shows were later mixed together as "That Was Rock" in 1984.

More info at IMDB

The Big T.N.T. Show (1966)

The follow up to the T.A.M.I. Show casts a wider musical net, with lesser results, but Bo Diddley, Tina Turner and Ronie Spector keep it pumping. Shot on tape and transferred to film, this is the footgage that was used in "That Was Rock".

More info at IMDB

Swingers' Paradise (1965)

Features: Cliff Richard, the Shadows, Susan Hampshire and Walter Slezak. (Also known as "Wonderful Life")

A group of (literally) drifting popsters find themselves involved in a grim sand-and-sandals desert movie. They reckon a few song-and-dance numbers would liven things up.

About half-way to two-thirds through this movie the kids get a crazy idea: "Let's make a movie!" Don't ask me why. Let's just say it's a cue for the only inspired bit in the flick: the kids get into costume and put on a shticky little history of the movies from The Little Tramp to James Bond. And even then the best parts are Susan Hampshire impersonating - in order - Ginger Rogers, Greta Garbo, Shirley Temple, Betty Grable, a Jet (not a Jet Girl - a Jet!) and a Bond Girl.

Someday, when Hampshire's doing a T.V. interview, somebody should throw these bits on screen and get her reaction. It should be priceless.

More info at IMDB

A Hard Day's Night (1964)

A day in the life of the Beatles as they perform on a live television show. Filmed just a month after their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, this film introduces us to the personalities of the Beatles. The film opens with the band boarding a train mobbed with adoring young fans (mostly women) as they attempt to travel to the television studio in London. The antics of the band and Paul's stowaway grandfather (Brambell -"He's very clean") during rehearsals and makeup provide ample comic material in this feature which influenced so many others. The unscripted vignette featuring a real-life hangover suffering Ringo is especially funny, particularly when he is arrested and risks not appearing on the live television broadcast. None of this goes unnoticed by the director of the show, played by Victor Spinetti, a recurring cast member in Beatles movies. As the clock ticks away dramatically, our heroes manage to free Ringo and sneak onto the stage in the nick of time, delighted in the knowledge that they have nearly driven the director mad in the process. Arguably the first music video, this faux documentary and its shooting style have been a tremendous influence on nearly every rock and roll feature since. Laserdisc release features the original trailer and an interview with Lester. The DVD release includes the same as well as newsreel footage and the Richard Lester short film Running, Jumping, and Standing Still starring Peter Sellers, a favorite of the band and likely the reason for their choosing Lester to direct A Hard Day's Night. Miramax Films is set to re-release the film to theaters in early Spring of 1999.

More info at Big Star

Rock & Roll Circus (1968)

Filmed as a British television special in December 1968 (which, incidentally, never aired), this good-natured circus hosted by the Rolling Stones features an all-star line-up of rock and roll greats. Amidst the fire-eaters and acrobats, the show-stopping numbers include "Sympathy for the Devil," "No Expectations," "A Quick One (While He's Away)," and more. Shot in 1968, this concert film (conceived and organized by Mick Jagger) was made in London over a two-day period. The show was literally set in a circus-like atmosphere, with the rock bands dressed in colorful costumes, and acrobats, clowns and other big-top acts performing between sets. The film captures such groups as the Rolling Stones and The Who at the height of their creativity, providing unforgettable entertainment for fans both young and old.

More info at Big Star

Non-musical movies, but still cool....

High School Caesar (1960)

A wealthy teenager is consumed with a burning obsession to be the vicious overlord of an on-campus protection racket. It all comes to a final confrontation between the good guys and the bad. A superior juvenile delinquent tale.

More info at Big Star

Promises, Promises (1963)

One of Jayne Mansfield's last films and certainly the most unrestrained was this outrageous sex romp set on an ocean liner. The plot, involving bed-hopping and mistaken identites, served as an excuse for her patented, infamous nude scenes.

A provocative farce that was quite risque in its time; the original version was banned in many cities and substituted with a much-edited version. When Playboy magazine printed a pictorial of still shots from the movie including one described as Jayne "writhing seductively in bed," that issue of Playboy was also banned in many locations across the country.

More info at Big Star

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