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Manor on Movies: Get down with us and Down On Us

  A charlatan, a fraud, a know-nothing. I am all of these things. As a former future rock star, I used to brashly believe I was something of an authority on the 1965-80 musical period. Now, however, I hang my head in shame.

In my youth, I idolized Jimi Hendrix, learning everything I could about the man and his band. When queried by musicians and journalists, I single out Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell as the stick man who most influenced my own playing style. In fact, he is one of the rare few beings in this universe I readily admit is--dare I say it?--better than me at something I excel at. Yet until I saw an extraordinarily enlightening film, I was unaware Mitch had a Moe Howard haircut and a thick mustache, wore disco suits onstage and looked virtually identical to Janis Joplin's drummer; nor did I know that Experience bassist Noel Redding was so talented, he could lay down the bottom without moving his fretting hand.

Could it be the CIA doctored this photo to present a clean-shaven, frizzy-haired Mitch Mitchell (far left), in an attempt to discredit Down On Us?!?

Here's another startling fact: with the exception of Jim Morrison, the musicians seen on Doors album covers were apparently stand-ins for the real band members! First off, the movie informs us percussionist John Densmore also was a dead ringer for Mitchell (albeit with a glued-on beard). Secondly, contrary to the myth propagated by Elektra Records, Ray Manzarek was not a clean-shaven, bespectacled Farfisa organist, but rather another mustached guy who fingered a Hammond. And although the double appearing on LP sleeves was thin and wiry-haired, the authentic Robby Kreiger resembled Brian Wilson, and occasionally picked an acoustic guitar in concert.

How did I acquire this knowledge? By viewing Beyond The Doors, formerly known as Down On Us until the Doors revival made Morrison a more popular martyr than Joplin. (I guess it'll be retitled I Don't Live Today during the next Hendrix boom.)

Incidentally, the above use of "martyr" was no exaggeration or melodramatic affectation. Did you know the Nixon regime, fearing the profound influence of these rockers on America's youth, had Jimi, Janis and Jimbo bumped off by FBI operatives...and they may have failed to frag the Lizard King?

Credit director-screenwriter Larry Buchanan as the courageous man responsible for going public with these jaw-dropping revelations. One simply can't doubt the auteur who gave us the near-documentary Zontar, Thing From Venus! But, wait, there's more.

Morrison with the stand-ins for the real Doors.

Sorry to break it to you this way, fans, but Jimi was induced to suffocation in the back of a Fed Bureau ambulance (surely an inconspicuous vehicle in England), Janis died from drinking a "screwdriver" made with a spiked orange, and Jim, feeling the bad vibes coming from The Man, actually faked his death in order to move into a Spanish monastery, where he died of lung ailments in 1974. Whoa, like, hev-eeee!

Granted, it's a tad tough to believe Sixties musicians indulged in drug abuse and promiscuity. And as for government agencies acting outside the law...methinks Mr. Buchanan is pulling our inside legs.

Nonetheless, forgive Larry for taking a touch of artistic license. After all, he did hip us to heretofore unknown inarguable facts, such as: Morrison never asked his wife her name; the Plaster Casters were British chicks Hendrix first met after the 1970 Isle Of Wight concert; Joplin, crying how no one loved her just ten weeks earlier, was about to be married the weekend of her assassination; and, Spanish monks speak with New Yawk accents similar in tone to the soothing voice of Handsome Dick Manitoba.

So here I sit, a man who once had the audacity to consider himself "in the know," exposed as a mere neophyte. I hang my head in shame.

Selected Shorts: Let's see, Larry made a movie with a Jim Morrison character and one about the JFK murder, debuting both several years before a certain Mr. O. Stone did the same. Manormaniacs demand an explanation, Ollie.

Mr. Buchanan, hailed in an earlier M-O-M as part of the Holy Trinity of junkfilm directors, has at times been portrayed as a paranoid kook, particularly by those aware of his claim to know the true story behind the Presidential whack, details of which Larry prefers to keep to himself (though I doubt they concur with my personal belief--Elvis shot JFK because he believed Kennedy was Hitler in disguise--otherwise known as The Magic Balladeer Theory.)

Get out the straightjacket and rubberize the walls: Here comes Loony Larry, right? Absolutely wrong. Like most who speak out of their anal rather than oral cavity, those busting on Buchanan know as much about the subject as a tuna does about the care and feeding of the West Himalayan flying gerbil.

It so happens, I've contacted the director in regard to my book project, and found him to be well grounded, intelligent, affable and highly professional. No speaking in tongues. No offers to buy my dirty sweat socks. Nothing at all even remotely "kooky."

Of course, these sophomoric fools are far too arrogant to admit any fallibility and offer Larry a long-overdue apology. How typical of you weak Earth creatures. Brains barely developed beyond that of an insect, yet so delusional and full of themselves, most believe their slovenly race to be the only "intelligent" life in the galaxy. That is why we, the superior, have taken mind control over the masses with such ease. Soon, all on this worthless planet will be kneeling before their new master, begging to do as the Great One orders. Every Earthling enslaved; all those who resist, destroyed! MWEH-HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH.

Oops, sorry about that. Taken over by Zontar for a moment there, you see. Now, where were we? Right, self-appointed experts spreading disinformation.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon occurs with disturbing frequency. For example, numerous sources (including the top-selling Videohound and Leonard Maltin film guides) claim the must-see Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster was originally entitled Mars Invades Puerto Rico. However, when I asked James Karen about the validity of said claim, he immediately pooh-poohed the notion. Why take this fella's word for it while so many others insist it said Mars Invades on the shooting script? Because "all" Jim did was star in the damn thing!

The moral of this column: Considering how much is pure poppycock, every tidbit regarding cult film folks should be taken with a massive grain of salt. Unless, that is, the source is one SWManor. You can completely trust me. MWEH-HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH.

There's a boatload of junkfilm reviews--most illustrated in the crazy new COLOR medium!--at ManorOnMovies.com. You are invited.
Author: Stately Wayne Manor.

 

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Last Updated: 31 March, 2018