19. SKIDOO! (1969) ^ Not unlike “The Big Cube,” “Skidoo!” vainly attempted to meld youth culture and old-time Hollywood. Directed by Otto Preminger, “Skidoo!” finds Jackie Gleason as a mobster who gets himself sent to prison so he can rub out a rival crime boss also behind bars (played by Mickey Rooney). Meanwhile, Gleason’s family has adapted the hippie lifestyle and The Great One borrows some of their LSD to spike the prison’s water supply and run the jail in his manner. An all-star cast including Groucho Marx (in his last film), Carol Channing, Frankie Avalon, Frank Gorshin and Cesar Romero added to the insanity. ^ WHY IS THIS FILM NOT ON VIDEO? Long considered a disaster, “Skidoo!” was quickly yanked after a very brief release and was (for the most part) kept out of sight until earlier this year, when it was the surprise hit of an Otto Preminger retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. As with “The Big Cube,” the film’s erratic attempts at being hip offered unexpected camp entertainment. The film even was said to ridicule the F.B.I.’s J. Edgar Hoover and his fellow G-men. Below is a portion of an F.B.I. memo (the complete document may be read at The Smoking Gun) showing how the bureau tried to protect its good name from the Hollywood types behind “Skidoo!” like Jackie Gleason and Otto Preminger. To date, however, it remains off video.
20. THE PHYNXS (1970) ^ And yet another youth culture-via-old Hollywood offering, this time featuring the unlikely tale of a U.S. rock group touring the Soviet Union with sub-par Leiber/Stoller songs and getting mixed up in espionage capers. Old-timers making cameos here included Joan Blondell, Martha Raye and Johnny Weismuller, with Warhol star Ultra Violet and Col. Sanders (of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame) also wondering in front of the camera. ^ WHY IS THIS FILM NOT ON VIDEO? Long forgotten except by diehard fanatics of zany old films, the film has not been seen in three decades and probably won’t be seen for another three decades.
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