Friday, October 22, 2021

freakboy on film: RING-A-DING RHYTHM! (The Third Hammer-Amicus Blogathon Edition)

 

The Third Hammer-Amicus Blogathon, hosted by Gill of Realweegiemidget Reviews and Barry of Cinematic Catharsis!

I offered a taste of horror for the first one and a doctoring of sci-fi for the second.  Now I’m going to get a little jazzy for The Third Hammer-Amicus Blogathon, hosted by Gill of Realweegiemidget Reviews and Barry of Cinematic Catharsis


Ring a ding rhythm
1962, written by Milton Subotsky / directed by Richard Lester 

A small town has been infested with a sudden bombardment of swinging, gyrating, jazz-crazed teenagers!  These sudden pop-up dance parties have become such a nuisance that even the mayor can’t have a nice quiet cup of coffee anymore.  He effectively kills the mood by creating a law where businesses using jukeboxes and television sets must get an entertainment license.  What will the younger generation do now?


Helen Shapiro & Craig Douglas as alleged teenagers
Two plucky…teenagers? 


Will the disgruntled teens go on a Children of the Corn killing spree or, even worse, call Kevin Bacon for Footloose advice on really bad dancing and fighting for the right to party?  Thankfully no, they do what any teen would do in 1962.  Put on a show, of course!  Two particularly plucky teens (going on late 20’s) venture to the big city to find a DJ to host the show and watch a crazy amount of potential musical acts.  This will prove to the mayor and other killjoy grown-ups that jazz isn’t a corrupting influence, but a way of life.  Well, at least until The Beatles turn up in a year or two.


The Brook Brothers surrounded by selfies
The Brook Brothers on an ego trip.


This is one thing that truly boggles my mind about Ring-A-Ding Rhythm!  I don’t know what teens in England were listening to during that weird time between Elvis and The Beatles, but jazz seems an odd choice.  Especially since it’s less beatnik jazz and more big band orchestra.  I mean, is cutting a rug to an uptempo version of When the Saints Go Marching In really considered corruptive or rebellious?  This ridiculousness, along with some almost Airplane! style humor, makes me wonder if this film is a satire of American rock ‘n roll flicks from the 1950’s.  


Chubby Checker trying to look happy.
Does twisting really make Chubby Checker happy?


Similar to Go, Johnny, Go!(1959) and Don’t Knock the Rock (1956), Ring-A-Ding Rhythm! has a threadbare plot that’s just an excuse to showcase musical talent and sell records.  I mostly enjoyed the performances, with a few that really stood out for me.  Gene Vincent is out of this world as he sings about taking a spaceship to Mars.  The Brook Brothers are squeaky clean cute as they sing a song ending in bigamy.  It was also great to see Chubby Checker, even though I could tell he was sick to death of doing “The Twist” yet again. 


The Temperance Seven member eats dinner during a performance.
Dinner in a show.


Then there is The Temperance Seven.  I had never heard of them, but they stole the film by embracing the nonsense.  This sedate group takes a slow ballad and turns it into comedy gold by having members of the band eating a meal or falling asleep while waiting for their turn to play.  Then, in a truly inspired moment of absurdity, the lead vocalist starts singing in French (I think) and subtitles appear.  I took a screenshot, zoomed in and discovered the subtitles were also in French!


The Temperance Seven lead singer lounges on a piano singing into a megaphone .
One way to sing a torch song.


The acting in Ring-A-Ding Rhythm! is incidental.  Helen Shapiro and Craig Douglas are fine as the plucky, sort of teens.  Felix Felton is amusing as the perplexed mayor.  Deryck Guyler is perfect as the narrator who tells the story and helps the plucky teens get to the big city by simply changing the film behind them.  The other teens and grown-ups do a serviceable job at basically being extras. 


A singer makes a weird expression.
This is your brain on jazz!


In conclusion, Ring-A-Ding Rhythm! is generally a fun film with some truly funny moments, but the never-ending performances can grow a little tedious.  However the nonsense of it all held my attention and amused me.  So, get your entertainment license and shake your bum to this oddball little Amicus production!  (I watched it on You Tube)



Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.


Freak Out, 

JLH 


P.S. Click the pic ⤵️ to go, Go, GO…


Go, johnny, go soundtrack

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In case someone wants to get addicted to my current blog serial…


Haunting Sturgeons, by john L. Harmon


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

HAUNTING STURGEONS: Chapter Eleven

Previously in this blog serial...


(Click here to read Chapter Ten


Now the HAUNTING continues...

______________


Haunting Sturgeons, Chapter eleven, by john L. Harmon

    I am taking a seat on an old wooden chair, its complete lack of comfort matching my every sensation.  The promise of a first hand account of ten years ago forces me to tolerate Floridia Minch a little longer.  I know she is a passive aggressive gossipmonger, but she may hold insight into what happened to my brother.


    “I happened to glance out my window that evening, minding my own business, when I heard a violation of the noise ordinance,” Ms. Minch begins, emphasizing her own innocence.  I want to ask what this has to do with anything, but I wait as patiently as possible.  “There sat Bertha Waterbottom on her rusty porch swing, blaring that wicked country-gospel music as if it were three in the afternoon.  I don’t know how many times I told that woman how gospel should always come before country.  Now, where was I?” 


    This does not inspire confidence, not that I should have any in this bitter old woman.  “You were watching your neighbor as she sat on her porch swing.” 


    “That’s right,” she rubs her chin.  “Anyway, her porch light faded out and I assumed she hadn’t paid her electric bill again.  Then the light returned a few minutes later and she was gone.” 


    I sit motionless on the uncomfortable chair, trying to process the simplicity of what she witnessed.  She makes it sound like seeing someone disappear is an everyday occurrence, but maybe it was back then.  Tracy Newcastle allegedly saw what happened to Tommy in Stickler Woods, but my parents said she was in shock.  All they told me was that Tommy was gone.  That he disappeared and was presumed dead.  That the person who destroyed the town was responsible.  Just like when I was a kid, I want to know more.


    “That’s it?  One minute here and then gone?” I ask as my irritation increases.  For someone who prides herself in knowing everything about everyone, Ms. Minch is lacking in important details.  “What actually happened to your neighbor?  Didn’t you hear anything?” 


    “The widow Waterbottom’s blasphemous music was too loud to hear anything else, so all I know is what I saw.”  She shrugs her bony shoulders, “I suggest you go to the library.” 


    “That’s my next stop.”  I keep my response short because I want out of this pointless conversation and away from this frustrating resident of The Golden Dusk.


    “Then ask the librarian for the book.”  She waves a hand, as if dismissing me.


    “What book?” I inquire, ignoring the gesture and doubting a book recommendation will be of any use.


    Ms. Floridia Minch looks at me like I’m the stupidest person in the world, and maybe I am.  I feel like it as she sighs and then casually answers, “Benjamin Straker’s book, of course.”

______________


The HAUNTING continues on October 26, 2021   


Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 


Freak Out, 

JLH 


~~~~~~~~~~~~

I finally finished remodeling my online home


Click the pic ⤵️ to check it out! 


A selfie of multiple faces with Collective eyes


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

HAUNTING STURGEONS: Chapter Ten

Previously in this blog serial...


(Click here to read Chapter Nine


Now the HAUNTING continues…

______________


Haunting Sturgeons, chapter ten, by John L. Harmon

    I am standing at the threshold to an inner sanctum quite unlike the other rooms I passed in The Golden Dusk.  Lush velvet curtains filter the morning sun into a warm blue, giving the impression of being underwater.  Neatly framed photos and inspirational pictures dot the walls, almost as if they are collectively directing attention to the deep purple recliner and its decrepit owner.  Ms. Floridia Minch, somehow still alive and older than the dirt she enjoys spreading, sits staring intently.


    Without taking her eyes off me, she lowers the volume of either religious or country music.  “Just you, James Schroder?  I’m surprised the Newcastle boy isn’t with you.  You and your brother could never resist the basic temptation of that family.” 


    I ignore the insinuation and step into the room, focusing on her burgundy wig more than her watchful eyes.  “I’m here about my brother, Ms. Minch and what you saw.”  


    “I have seen many things over the years.”  Ms. Minch fondles the pair of binoculars hanging around her dainty, wrinkled neck.  She then goes through a list of alleged transgressions.  From witnessing a man named Ned relieving himself in public years ago to Mrs. Decker failing to wear a bra at arts and crafts yesterday, I feel my mind wandering until Tommy comes up in her gossip.  “I was naturally shocked when I saw your brother servicing the widow Waterbottom.” 


    “Wait.  What did you see Tommy do?”  I take a bold step forward. 


    Ms. Floridia Minch, either ignoring or not noticing my eager tone, casually answers, “Your brother was mowing the widow Waterbottom’s weed infested lawn.” 


    I stare directly into her condemning eyes, trying to understand the significance of her words, “I’m confused.” 


    “The widow Waterbottom wasn’t,” Ms. Minch scoffs.  “That woman watched your bare-chested brother like a hawk, inviting him to her rickety porch for store bought lemonade.  He stood there, gulping down a glass as she drank in his young, sweaty torso.  Disgusting.” 


    I imagine Tommy standing behind the ancient woman’s recliner, a sarcastically bemused look  on his face.  This can’t be what my parents whispered about when they thought I wasn’t listening.  Everyone who knew my brother knew he was a show-off.  It wasn’t news then and it’s definitely not now. 


    “Well, thank you for your time, Ms. Minch.  You obviously didn’t see anything strange ten years ago.”  I turn to leave, feeling irritated and stupid for ever believing this gossipy old lady would have anything helpful to say. 


    “Oh…that,” she states slowly, forcing me to face her again.  “You’ve come to hear the story of how my heathen neighbor disappeared right before my eyes.”

______________


The HAUNTING continues in…


Chapter eleven

 

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 


Freak Out, 

JLH 


~~~~~~~~~~~~

Books & blogs from this author/blogger…


Books & blogs
click the pic


Friday, October 8, 2021

a photographic study of a tiny john (or the day I used a literal water closet)

I spent Thursday  the 7th with my friend and part-time muse Jody.  For something different, we traveled to a small town near my small town for a lunch and sight-seeing excursion.  Well, we experienced something very different at an eating establishment. 


A long view of two slender doors in a restaurant

A cow holding a plaque that reads… TURN SIDEWAYS. Suck It up. COME ON IN.

An over head view of a small bathroom.

A cow holding a plaque that reads… IF YOU SPRINKLE WHEN YOU TINKLE, BE A SWEETIE & WIPE THE SEATIE


The bright lighting in the little bathroom minimized the claustrophobic sensation.  It was definitely a unique experience and the Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich was delicious!  (Sorry, I didn’t snap a pic of it)


Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words and experiencing my toilet photography! 🚽 📸 


Freak Out, 

JLH 


P.S.  a different water closet post…

http://freakboyzone.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-water-closet-horror-parts-1-2.html

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

HAUNTING STURGEONS: Chapter Nine

Previously in this blog serial...


(Click here to read Chapter Eight


Now the HAUNTING continues...

______________


Haunting Sturgeons, chapter nine, by John L. Harmon


    I am sitting on a bench outside of The Golden Dusk, a rest home for the elderly.  A few of the residents are enjoying the fresh morning air, with a nurse or two nearby.  I take a sip of coffee and wonder what health reasons brought them here.  Physical deterioration or mental?  Neither sounds ideal, but maybe not knowing where you are would be better.  At least I hope that’s the case.


    My buzzing phone shakes me out of such morbid thoughts and I cautiously glance at the screen.  Relief washes over me as I see it’s a good morning text from Eddie.  I reply with a good morning from The Golden Dusk and then ask how he’s doing.  The three little wavy dots immediately appear on the screen and I find myself eagerly waiting for his response. 


Doing great!  Gotta work soon.  So, who R U visiting


    I look up from my phone at the L-shaped building, it’s burnt orange color nearly glowing in the morning sun.  Somewhere in its hallways resides a woman we both know and avoided as much as possible when we were kids.  This gossipmonger would often aim nasty opinions at Eddie, mainly centering around his single parent home and their financial situation.  He would pretend her words didn’t hurt, but his eyes could never hide the pain.  


I think you know


    The three little wavy dots appear but then disappear just as quickly.  It feels like an eternity before they appear again and I stare expectantly at the screen.  I wouldn’t blame him if he shouts in all caps, calling me a traitor and demanding I lose his number, but that’s not Eddie.  The Eddie I knew when we were young was understanding and I believe I still know him. 


Well, I hope she can help, Jimmy.  Text me later


    I thank him and promise I will.  Eddie has obviously heard how this particular resident witnessed something strange ten years ago.  Even my parents had heard about it, but I was never able to catch exact details.  That’s the price of eavesdropping as a kid, but now I’m grown and ready to face the truth.  A truth surrounded by emotional land mines.


    Approaching footsteps catch my attention, quickly followed by the unmistakable scent of clinical disinfectant.  Holding my breath, I stand up, uncertain if my request has been accepted or denied by the resident.  The nurse stops with a tight smile and gives me a once over before giving me an answer. 


    “Ms. Minch will see you now, Mr. Schroder.”

______________


The HAUNTING continues in…


Chapter ten

   

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 


Freak Out, 

JLH 


~~~~~~~~~~~~

Click the EYE ⤵️ to dive into an interview with author Doug Ward! 


The Collective eye


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

HAUNTING STURGEONS: Chapter Eight

Previously in this blog serial...


(Click here to read Chapter Seven


Now the HAUNTING continues...

______________


Haunting sturgeons, chapter 8, by John L. Harmon

    I am lying alone in the motel bed, a streetlight faintly illuminating the closed curtains.  There is no need to see Stickler Hill waiting for me beyond the window.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Besides, there are more pleasant things to think about.


    My thoughts drift through the rest of my evening with Eddie.  The conversation had become almost overwhelmingly sad, so his suggestion of getting out of Gordon’s sounded good to me.  We vacated the table and Eddie stopped to say a quick goodnight to Val.  She smiled and told us to come again.  Eddie said we would and I just nodded.  A couple of the patrons at the bar gave us a quick wave, which was a stark contrast to when I first entered.


    As we stepped into the warm summer night, I asked Eddie what he had in mind.  He beamed and said we should take a stroll through downtown.  The business district of Sturgeons was our childhood hangout.  A taste of independence from parental supervision because we all assumed that our small town was safe.  Maybe it was, generally speaking.


    Eddie and I walked side by side past the rebuilt versions of our old haunts.  There was the diner where we would grab burgers and sodas.  We always drove the owner crazy when we would spin around on the stools along the counter.  On another block was the candy store, where we would stock up on sweets when candy baked beans weren’t enough. Then there was the theater, our Saturday night escape from small town life.  We couldn’t recall the last movie we saw at The Deco, but it was probably some science fiction-horror nonsense that we laughed at to cover our fear.  


    As we headed back towards Gordon’s, Eddie pondered what we might have missed by not growing up as teenagers together.  He suggested parties and cruising Main Street.  I chuckled at the double meaning and mentioned Saturday night movies would’ve definitely continued.  Eddie agreed, but wondered what else we missed out on.  I hesitated, uncertain how far I wanted to slide down the rabbit hole of what if


    After Eddie prodded me with a gentle nudge as we walked, I started to describe how we might have spent an evening at the age of 16 or 17.   How we would have parked in the middle of a cornfield, both of us stretched out on the hood of a car.  Eddie added that it would’ve been a moonless night so the stars filled the sky.  I suggested the only sound would’ve been the humming of insects and a slight breeze rustling the cornstalks.  We both knew that the night would’ve been filled with laughter, intense conversation and moments of comfortable silence. 


    Before more could be said, we were back at Gordon’s Bar.  We stopped near our respective vehicles and faced one another.  Eddie smiled, maybe a little sadly, and I could see it in his eyes.  He didn’t want the night to end.  Neither did I, but we agreed it was getting late.  We exchanged numbers and he asked about my plans for tomorrow.  I vaguely mentioned visiting a resident at The Golden Dusk and then hitting the library for old newspapers, but I promised we would see each other again.


    Eddie, with his lopsided grin, said he was holding me to that promise.  Then he held me, an embrace for all the years stolen from us.  He expressed how much he missed me and I returned the feeling.  As we slowly let go and said goodnight, I noticed a tear running down Eddie’s cheek.  


    I wipe away a few tears as I turn onto my side in the lonely motel bed.  My phone, in view on the nightstand, lights up and vibrates.  I hold my breath, sensing it will not be Eddie and I’m right.  The brief text feels like a slap in the face. 


Do you know what you’re doing? 


    I reply that I do and then shut off my phone.  Tossing the necessary evil down to the foot of the bed, I curl my legs up to my chest.  The motel room suddenly seems smaller and the bed feels lonelier as I wait for sleep to arrive. 

______________


The HAUNTING continues in…


Chapter nine

   

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 


Freak Out, 

JLH 


~~~~~~~~~~~~

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