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Russ Meyer is dead, Long Live His Films & Memory!

Hey folks, Harry here... I know I didn't write about the loss of Frank Thomas, one of Disney's greatest animators and star of the brilliant documentary FRANK & OLLIE... but frankly, I knew it would be a strongly emotional write up. Frank was one of those artists whose artwork brought to life scenes of exquisite simple beauty. His characters rife with innocence and goodness. Frank was about as wholesome and pure an artist as we're likely to see. Why do I bring this up now? Well...

Russ Meyer has died. I never got to meet Frank, but I have met Russ Meyer... I'll never forget it. It was at the Alamo Drafthouse - it was one of the grander moments in the Alamo's history. Russ was cantankerous, colorful and not one to go with the flow. He made favoring remarks regarding my sister during his introduction for FASTER PUSSYCAT KILL KILL -- It is one of my sister's favorite memories, to be singled out by Russ Meyer, to catch his eye... Well, it made her feel like a super-woman. A Meyer-woman, and that's one thing for a gal to beat her chest about!

At the time, Russ did 3 shows that night, and on the final show... Russ was tired and beings that it was at the Drafthouse, he'd had a few drinks. I had left by this point, but Copernicus was there... and Russ got into Tall Tale mode weaving wild tales of a young Roger Ebert and his wanton lasciviousness... The first time I ever got contacted by Roger Ebert was to correct these wild tales... the most recent was his e-mail stating that Russ Meyer is gone at the age of 82.

I'll never forget that first dinner I had at a Chicago Italian Restaurant with Roger. As we ate fantastic pasta (Hey, it's Chicago) - Roger told fantastic stories about his and Russ' friendship and history together. I was enchanted. In the world of Cult Film, there are few figures that even come close to the legend and reality of Russ Meyer. His films had a pulsing libido that brought one helluva smile. One of my favorite BUTT-NUMB-A-THON moments, was at BNAT 2 when I screened BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRA-VIXENS... A good half of the audience hated it... Several women came up afterwards to tell me they loved it. And apparently, X-MEN producer Tom DeSanto sat quitely watching the film as the guy next to him masturbated through the screening. I may note, the man was a complete stranger and in no way knew Tom DeSanto.

My way too brief a conversation with Russ was for me, unworthy. I have known Russ' films since College. Watching a film like FASTER PUSSYCAT KILL KILL - it's a crazed ride. Powerful Amazonian Super-Women that just take who and what they want. Equals to the most chiseled man. Strippers with hot cars and grudges to grind at a 100 miles per hour and hips that move just as fast! Watching that film at a racetrack outside of Austin as Tura Satana and Haji rode Hot Rods and squealed in delight... well, it was cult heaven.

Tonight, I was going to dig through my new STAR WARS dvds, but now... Now it's time for MOTORPSYCHO, MUDHONEY & LORNA. I think my night got a lot happier and less aggravating. Thanks Russ!

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 21, 2004, 9:28 p.m. CST

    i have to

    by ZO

    rub the next one out to the best director of soft core porn there was.

  • Sept. 21, 2004, 9:47 p.m. CST

    who's next? andy sedaris?

    by Toe Jam

  • Sept. 21, 2004, 9:57 p.m. CST

    Rest In Peace

    by Heckles

  • Sept. 21, 2004, 10:05 p.m. CST

    Damn!

    by Roj Blake

    I was there that night - at the Drafthouse. 'Twas ~tres~ cool. Whether you love his movies or are just bored by them (because seriously - how do you HATE Russ Meyer?), he was a true original, there's just no way around that.

  • Sept. 21, 2004, 10:28 p.m. CST

    Russ was the Man !

    by jon-e-blaze

    His flicks were great who could ever forget his discoveries,Kitten Natividad,Candy Samples,i forget the cute black chics name,he will be missed

  • Sept. 21, 2004, 10:34 p.m. CST

    "a dirty shame" opens sept. 24th

    by JoeStokowski

    i dunno. this kinda reminded me of that.

  • Sept. 21, 2004, 11:10 p.m. CST

    in heaven...

    by Dmann

    God has 39HHH boobs. At least for today.

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Man loved him some titties.

    by Cash Bailey

    A noble pursuit, to be sure. R.I.P

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 12:18 a.m. CST

    the breast intentions

    by Dr Farragammo

    ah Russ Meyer. Like his autobiography's title : "Thanks for The Mammaries." If that doesn't clue you into his sick genius , nothing will. I remember a interview with him in Details, and Ann Magnuson asked about how he got his creative sound effects. He said that for the sound of a girl getting her cherry popped he recorded a nail being pulled out of a tree! he was an original in perv cinema, god bless his soul.

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 1:05 a.m. CST

    Well, Harry....

    by Daryl van Horn

    ...you never said word one about Peter Ustinov's death either and you still don't mention him at all. So don't worry about it, the list is getting to big to worry about.

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 1:08 a.m. CST

    Had a chance to work with him.

    by Uncapie

    Russ was great! I was to edit and clean all his 35mm prints from all his films converting them to DVD. But, I ended up in the hospital due to a burst appendix and the job went to someone else. I would have worked for the guy for free! I did get to go to "The Other Ball" in San Gabriel, California where a lot of his girls performed and they shot some of his films though before they tore it town. A piece of history and a legend are now gone forever.

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 2:50 a.m. CST

    Man cannot live by breast alone...

    by Electric Tsunami

    Russ films were more than mere tit shows. Compare his 4 black and white films against all of the exploitation films that have been dregged up from Dave Friedman's film archives and released by Something Weird Video. They all pale in comparisons to Russ' filmes. He had technical ability and employed many cuts in a scene. He got his training from shooting footage in WWII and educational films. There are plenty of nudie cutie, roughie, and softcore filmmakers that never got the mainstream release that Russ Meyer did. Those shit films you watch today from Hollywood are not the vision or craft of one man.

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 2:55 a.m. CST

    RIP the original Old Dirty Bastard.

    by gigaloff

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 3:13 a.m. CST

    THANKS FOR THE MAMMARIES

    by wash

    R.I.P. big guy.

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 4:45 a.m. CST

    THE GREAT DIRTY OLD MAN MEETS THE CHICKEN (a tale)

    by ChickenGeorgeVII

    It was a cold and clammy night in the city of Phoenix Arizona when my friend and former cellmate Neil The Eel called me up and screamed

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 7:35 a.m. CST

    Honestly I would rather watch the Star Wars DVDs...

    by Jon E Cin

    I think the DVDs are fucking bad ass.

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Bye Russ, you'll be missed

    by BarrelRider

    my first ever memory is of crawiling up to the TV set while "faster" was on, and trying to suck the breast of one of the actresses on the screen, only to get a static electricity shock on my lips.....

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 8:52 a.m. CST

    GOD REST HIS SMUTTY SOUL

    by Goon Bighead

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 10:29 a.m. CST

    FUCK!

    by Hud

    God bless you, Russ! I loved how when you ordered his films, you called and actually spoke to Russ himself. It was worth twice the price just to say "Yeah, I wanna get 'Black Snake,' and have that crotchety mofo growl, 'Did you call here five minutes ago?'" And now he's gone. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 1:25 p.m. CST

    wow, jealous much, shrink?

    by Buio Omega

    Tool.

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

    by Dark Knight Lite

    After hearing about this movie for decades, I caught it on Bravo late one night. About 20 minutes in, My wife came into the den to see what I was laughing at. After telling her about the film and explaining that I didn't think she would find much to like, she sat down and watched until the credits rolled. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is now one of our favorite films, even sparking a quest for the widescreen laserdisc (thatks ebay). I'm still not really into Russ' other films, but this one is a true classic and time capsule of an era long past. Godspeed, Russ Meyer.

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 3:02 p.m. CST

    shrinkydink

    by Super Person

    And MY article is that you're still a tool. (Ah Russ Meyer, he was the man...)

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 4:47 p.m. CST

    Appropriate quote from Faster Pussycat...

    by JimboLo

    "The point is of no return... And you just crossed it!" R.I.P Russ.

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 6:15 p.m. CST

    He sure could cut film

    by SnootBadger

    That was his greatest talent. The man was a world class editor. Nobody's films moved like his.

  • Sept. 22, 2004, 8:18 p.m. CST

    Change of plans...

    by THEWANKER

    "So instead of jerking it to Carrie Fisher in her S&M outfit, I'll be walloping my willy to Russ Meyer filmes."

  • Sept. 23, 2004, 7:03 a.m. CST

    And apparently, X-MEN producer Tom DeSanto sat quitely watching

    by Spacesheik

    wtf?

  • Sept. 23, 2004, 8:33 a.m. CST

    Jerky boy

    by DH

    I went to see beneath the valley of the ultravixens at a cinema in London. The bloke in the seat behind me must have been wanking. As the last scene played, (I think it was the blonde bouncing around in a football stadium), anyway mr Wanker realised that the film was up & went into frantic mode. The seats were shaking like a train went by! I hastily moved seat before it got messy.

  • Sept. 23, 2004, 12:17 p.m. CST

    The world of Russ Meyer

    by Super Person

    As long as I wasn't one of the chumps who gets shot or castrated or beaten to a pulp or cuckolded nine ways from Sunday, it sure would be sweet to live in Russ Meyer's cinematic world... oh, the sex, oh the violence, oh the BOOBS...

  • Sept. 23, 2004, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Russ Meyer-- the only true "auteur"

    by Drunken Rage

    or so wrote William Goldman. Meyer wrote, produced, shot, edited, etc., his movies-- and "Vixen" and "Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens" are pure brilliance. He will be missed. Did he ever finish his pirate movie?

  • Sept. 24, 2004, 7:14 a.m. CST

    The Immoral Mr.Teas chokes the chicken for the last time!

    by Redbeard_NV

    My fondest memory of Russ was actually where Russ wasn't there, but in working with a local theater in LA to promote a Russ Meyer festival, blowing up balloons to stuff into classic Supervixen T-shirts when I crossed paths with Alan Napier, survivor of a couple of Meyers' classic (and who I would meet again while working on the set of the old TV series "Outlaws"). He told me of a story when during a dinner on location for Supervixens, they were discussing ways to kill off a character in the most violent way. A diner at another table overheard Russ, Alan and a couple of others talk about "beating the crap out of her", "stomping her into a bloody pulp in a bathtub, then electrocuting her by tossing a plug in radio into the bath with her", etc. After returning to their rooms in the adjoining motel, it wasn't long before a knock was heard at their doors. Opening them, they discovered that the guy who overheard them had called cops and the local P.D. was interested in their rather vicious plans! Needless to say, tghe rest of the night was interesting. It was the funniest story I had ever heard during my time working in Hollywood.

  • Sept. 24, 2004, 4:21 p.m. CST

    RIP Russ

    by Brundlefly

    goodnight sweet prince - may big titted angels carry thee to thy rest