John Waters Introduces ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’

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The Girl Can’t Help It is the gar­ish acme of Cin­e­maS­cope and DeLuxe Color, mon­u­men­tally loud and bla­tantly exploita­tive —a ver­i­ta­ble Parthenon of vul­gar­ity and a supremely unfunny com­edy that is pure eau de Fifty-Six. This satire of Elvis and Mar­i­lyn (or rather, of their clones) shim­mers with radioac­tive pinks and cobalt blues; at once stri­dent and sta­tic, the movie defines the atomic-Wurlitzer chrome– tail­fin Fontainebleau-lobby look. Producer-director-co-writer Frank Tash­lin is one of the very few Hol­ly­wood direc­tors who broke into movies as an ani­ma­tor and, like the Dean Martin–Jerry Lewis come­dies that pre­ceded it, The Girl Can’t Help It is some­thing like a live-action Looney Tune.

Appro­pri­ated by John Waters some 15 years later as the only suit­able way to intro­duce his 300-pound gender-blur Divine in Pink Flamingos.

Grotesque stereo­types col­lide with billboard-sized car­i­ca­tures. This proto Pop Art pathol­ogy might be too painful to con­tem­plate were it not for the exotic life forms flour­ish­ing around its periph­ery. Cli­max­ing with a rock show per­formed for an audi­ence of teenage white zom­bies, The Girl Can’t Help It is pop­u­lated by all man­ner of failed honkers and would-be cool cats—as well as Fats Domino, the Plat­ters, a gospel-shouting Abbey Lin­coln.

The coolest pres­ence ever recorded by a Hol­ly­wood cam­era may be Lit­tle Richard, first seen stand­ing entranced before a piano—as if won­der­ing whether to pul­ver­ize or incin­er­ate it.

In Alba­nia, is any­thing so bad it’s good?” “Lit­tle Richard was “…the King of Rock ‘n Roll, and the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll.“
Here, our beloved Pope of Trash intro­duces Frank Tashlin’s gem­stone for every­one to enjoy.…

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Once Upon a Honeymoon

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When our soci­ety went from “buy­ing to replace” to “buy to be happy”, the effect snow­balled over the decades with the force needed to keep from expe­ri­enc­ing a real exis­ten­tial crisis.

Once Upon a Hon­ey­moon is a 1956 musi­cal spon­sored film about a cou­ple wish­ing for a new home. It starts off with a group of angels who decide to help a cou­ple have a hon­ey­moon. The hus­band (Jeff) tries to write a song, while the wife (Mary) day­dreams about a new home, and imag­ines what it would be like to have the lat­est house­hold prod­ucts with the help of the angel. The angel then helps the man come up with a new song called “A Cas­tle in the Sky”.

The film was directed by Gower Cham­pion, and starred Vir­ginia Gib­son, Ward Ellis, Alan Mow­bray, Chick Chan­dler, Veron­ica Pataky and Rus­sell Hicks. In recent years the film has gained a small fol­low­ing, after it was mocked on the show Mys­tery Sci­ence The­ater 3000. It is in the pub­lic domain.


Design for Dreaming, General Motors’ Futuristic High Camp

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Set at the 1956 Gen­eral Motors Motorama, this is one of the key Pop­u­luxe films of the 1950s, show­ing futur­is­tic dream cars and Frigidaire’s “Kitchen of the Future.”

Design for Dream­ing (1956) is a musi­cal spon­sored film about a woman (played by dancer and chore­o­g­ra­pher Tad Tad­lock; real name “Thelma Tad­lock”) who dreams about a masked man (dancer and chore­o­g­ra­pher Marc Breaux) tak­ing her to the 1956 Gen­eral Motors Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and Frigidaire’s “Kitchen of the Future.” The entirety of the dia­logue is sung, though the actors do not move their lips to their char­ac­ters’ pre­re­corded voices.

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Design for Dream­ing has gained a small cult fol­low­ing, with some enjoy­ing it for its per­ceived camp value, and oth­ers enjoy­ing it for nos­tal­gic rea­sons. One promi­nent show­ing of the film was as a short fea­ture in a fifth-season episode of Mys­tery Sci­ence The­ater 3000 (MST3K).

The BBC doc­u­men­tary series Pandora’s Box by Adam Cur­tis made exten­sive use of clips from Design for Dream­ing, espe­cially in the title sequence. Some footage was also used in the music video for Peter Gabriel’s 1987 sin­gle “In Your Eyes”, Rush’s 1989 music video for “Super­con­duc­tor”, a 1989 com­mer­cial for the Nin­tendo Game Boy game Super Mario Land, a 1994 com­mer­cial for Power Mac­in­tosh, and in brief clips on an episode in the 2nd sea­son of Penn and Teller: Bull­shit. Clips were dis­played dur­ing Nine Inch Nails con­cert per­for­mances. Part of the film, with dia­logue, is played dur­ing the open­ing titles for The Hills Have Eyes. Some snip­pets (with­out dia­logue) are played in the video watched by Michael Dou­glas dur­ing his phys­i­cal in The Game and in the open­ing titles for The Step­ford Wives.


Keep Off the Grass, Anti-Marijuana Propaganda Film

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Mom dis­cov­ers her son’s stash. Instead of smack­ing him sense­less, his chain-smoking, booz­ing dad lec­tures him on the dan­gers of pot smok­ing. Tom decides to dis­cover the Truth for him­self and learns a harsh les­son before decid­ing to “Keep Off The Grass”.

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Keep off the Grass is a edu­ca­tional film writ­ten, pro­duced and directed by Sid Davis. Like all of Sid Davis’s films they were made very heavy hand­edly. Tom gets in trou­ble when his mother finds a joint in his room. Instead of pun­ish­ing Tom, his father chal­lenges him to learn more about mar­i­jua­nas evil effects on soci­ety. Nobody gets killed in this Sid Davis film, yet Tom still learns a harsh les­son after being mugged by drug­gies and learn­ing that his best friend sells pot to school chil­dren. One of the last Sid Davis films to focus on drugs.