Monday, November 14, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Technical Difficulties, Please Stand By...

"GODDAMMIT," says Otto as he tries to adjust the picture.

"I can't believe this is REALITY."

"SHIT, i thought technology was supposed to be convenient!"

"Lemme just give this baby a reach-around."

"It's no use," says Otto in final frustration.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Blues

DRAT! Poor Mr. Mannix was forced to join you commoners in this morning's rush hour rat race!

The Jesus nut was being replaced today on the OMR personal helicopter.

But he managed to arrive safely at his ninth-floor office of the Los Angeles Headquarters Building...

...returning to the comfort of his bottle of OLD GRAND-DAD, second drawer on right--->

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Iowa On The Silver Screen Pt. I

This is the first entry in an ongoing series regarding the great state of Iowa as setting and/or location for motion pictures. The examples are few, and yet more than we'd figured. In 1971, when Norman Lear's COLD TURKEY was released, the very idea of a movie being shot in Iowa was unheard of to a young Otto. Movies were windows into other worlds, never reflections of my own.

The story takes place in the fictional town of Eagle Rock, and was shot mostly in the real town of Greenfield, as well as Winterset and others. When the film premiered in Des Moines, the line at the old movie palace The Galaxy Theater wrapped around the block. One would have thought all those eager consumers were waiting to see THE FRENCH CONNECTION or DIRTY HARRY, released the same year. But to the largely ignored fly-over citizenry of Iowa, such was the novelty of a movie based in their state. Young Otto stood in that line, and was neither bored nor enthused about the results; it had been entertaining enough. In a recent viewing of the second half of the movie, Otto has determined that the movie ultimately degenerates into a sixties-style farcical romp, complete with an incessant marching brass band, and everyone screaming and hollering over each other at top volume. Could the movie's title be its own two-word review?

Not the right stuff for these old nerves, but OM owes it a full screening. For a good synopsis and review of COLD TURKEY, click here.


Perhaps the most noteworthy Iowa film is David Lynch's THE STRAIGHT STORY, based on the true story of Alvin Straight's trek across Iowa and Wisconsin on a lawnmower; significant because the shooting of the film took place along the actual route taken by Mr. Straight, as he tenaciously ventured to pay a last visit to his estranged and ailing brother. A touching tale made believable by numerous authentic details, unique to those vast swaths of midwest country.

The pacing of the story corresponds appropriately to the speed of life out in those endless rolling fields of corn, cut through by unbending asphalt arteries, upon which parades of tractor-trailers seem to come from nowhere, and go to nowhere. At one point, Straight is passed by a large group of bicyclists, participants in an actual annual cross-Iowa bike ride known as RAGBRAI.

But the real authenticity, for this viewer, is the bulls-eye performance by Richard Farnsworth, himself ailing during production. Stoic and understated, Farnsworth perfectly captures the spirit of that generation of Iowans, who would reap no more than they would sow, and would prefer self-reliance over charity.

And for a native of Los Angeles, Farnsworth affects an impressive Iowa accent, sounding remarkably like Otto's old man, Ulmer (below right). Whether or not the movie holds up for Otto after a decade will soon be seen, but as a unique entry into the Lynch portfolio, it is worth a look. (Farnsworth was nominated for Best Actor Oscar; his second nomination.)


And finally, we feature Julie Adams, best known for her vocal chords, among other assets, in CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. Born in Iowa, and raised in Arkansas, she found her way to Hollywood and a string of fifties B-movies-- --until she got her groove with consistent television work; all the way from PERRY MASON to LOST, with some Mannix, Night Gallery and Beverly Hills, 90210 thrown in! Among her later box-office roles was a part in the almost-great "McQ", with fellow Iowan John Wayne.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Edgar Allan Poem

Otto, with unbridled hubris, has reworked one of the most beautiful poems in the American canon. If you please:

by Edgar Otto Mannix

He badly stunk,
Our stumbling drunk,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Lumbering long,
Puking a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old--
This bum so bold--
And o'er his heart a shadow
Crashed as he found,
No sidewalk ground,
That smelled like Eldorado.

And, as his rags
Failed him and sagged,
He met his drunken shadow--
"Shadow," slurred he,
"Where can it be--
This joint called Eldorado?"

"Down the Bowery
Follow the moon,"
Replied the drunken shadow,
"Crawl, boldly crawl
To the saloon
They call The Eldorado."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ye Olde Tymes

The Des Moines Register has a feature of interest: "Old Time Photo". We at OMR are keen on anything interesting out of the Dead Moines, and these are the Mannix picks from their nice collection.

I tried to manufacture a memory of this joint, but I must have confused it with FRANKEL's, where Otto and Otto's brother purchased Levi's jeans.

Sometimes ya gotta suit up and rob a fuckin' bank!

University Avenue and some other dumbass street.

The Ingersoll Theater. Damn, what movies did i see there? The Poseidon Connection, Jawsquake, or Invasion of the Close Encounters? Aw, it's all a blur... However, i see the marquee, and recollect brother Mannix reveling in the comedy of that tragedy (but i always thought it was a lot of caterwauling).

On a cold, grey, depressing day,
To spend the day, what better way,
Than to get yer ass up off the floor,
And dittybop o'er to the PETER PAN STORE?????

That mean old Ayatollah thought his little revolution would set us all to gnashing our teeth and driving around like maniacs, using up a lot of gas and killing ourselves in twelve-car pile-ups. But dammit, this'll show him!

Otto's lips are sealed on this one.

This house was razed to make way for the Veteran's Memorial Auditorium. On this spot, Ringling Bros. and every hard seventies rock band blew us all away. Otto personally witnessed Thin Lizzy, BTO, Slade, BÖC, Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick, Black Sabbath, etc, perform valiantly and rock our worlds on that sacred acre!

Killer storefront, but uncomfortable name. And Leopold Desks "Built on Honor" is a bit forced. And to the right, "ART METAL", that's the subgenre of rock music that never really caught on.

"Let the chips fall where they may!" This tireless worker is keeping the quality under control at the HILAND POTATO CHIP company. How that solid bastion of midwest wholesomeness went belly up is a mystery to scratch heads over for the rest of time!!!© Rick Rodine, 1989, Super-8 Kodachrome

This looks like a very boring experience. Plastering their name around FIVE times didn't help, but perhaps if they had included an apostrophe things could have gone differently!

You just might walk out a WINNER, then again...

The external stairway is so wacky that it demands your business. Why wasn't this a more common feature of retail stores? Well, i guess it's fairly obvious. But if you look closely, there is a Sherwin-Williams sign just beyond/below. "COVER THE EARTH", one of the great slogans of American enterprise. And what about their strange totalitarian image of the earth with a big paint spill running down? Almost kinky when you stop and thinky!