THRILLVILLE: Will "the Thrill" Viharo's weird, wild world of Pulp Fiction, B Movies, & the Lounge Lizard Lifestyle.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Forbidden Tiki Drive-In: "The Odds Against" starring Robert Viharo

Welcome to Forbidden Island's Tiki Drive-In!
Precious gem unearthed: the 16mm reel of "The Odds Against"
Last Monday, June 18, I hosted a special Forbidden Thrills @ Forbidden Island "Tiki Drive-In Show" in the popular tiki lounge's back lot, featuring films from the incredible 16mm collection of my pal Sci-Fi Bob Ekman, who has been putting on his own Psychotronix film festivals for two decades now. We've worked together a lot over the years, but this gig was something special. In addition to a trailer reel, Bambi Meets Godzilla, and the feature film Horror of Party Beach (1963) - which I've shown a few times - this was most significantly the world re-premiere of my father Robert Viharo's very first film, an Oscar-nominated documentary short called THE ODDS AGAINST (1966), basically an indictment of our penal system, in which he is the only actor amongst a cast of real prisoners. It features a smokin' jazz score and is narrated by Herschel Bernardi, whom I know best as Lt. Jacoby on the Peter Gunn TV series. Though basically an early version of Scared Straight, shown primarily in schools, it remains a gritty, thoughtful portrait of prison life - and how this sentence could possibly be prevented, or at least the conditions improved. The film, directed by veteran documentary filmmaker Lee R. Bobker, sports a pretty progressive if pessimistic viewpoint, and Pop is by turns petulant, pensive, and passionate. 

"Hey, that's not Mom!" Pop with Marisa Mell in "Stuntman"
(suffering for his art...;)
According to this exhibit at Francis Coppola's Winery
in Napa, my father was considered for the role
of Sonny Corleone in "The Godfather"!
After this, Pop appeared as "The Director" alongside Patty Duke and Susan Hayward in Valley of the Dolls (1967); next as a Mexican revolutionary gunslinger alongside Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, and Robert Mitchum in Villa Rides! (1968); then as the lead swingin' dick in the Italian action flick Stuntman (1968), co-starring Euro sex sirens Gina Lollobrigida and Marissa Mell. Mixed in during this period were lots of TV guest shots (including Dark Shadows and The Mod Squad), live stage, and much more until he retired in the 2000s to pursue his own artistic agenda. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife Paige. I just sent a copy of The Odds Against to them. Pop's never even seen it, and I never even heard of it until Sci-Fi Bob dug it up, noticing a familiar face in a collector's catalogue, then jumping on the bid. Here's to Bob!

Sci-Bob Ekman sets up his 16mm projectors
My "It Came From Hangar 18" co-conspirator Scott Fulks and Thrill Seeker #1
Larry Kakos showing off their official Thrillville fezes

Anyway, in case you missed it, which odds are you did, here is a virtual replication of 
the Tiki Drive-In Show. Dig. Cheers.

THE ODDS AGAINST (complete film, 22 minutes)


NEXT in Forbidden Thrills at Forbidden Island...

Monday, July 23, 8pm, no cover:
All 12 chapters of the classic serial

featuring my regular movie column, but who cares?

Also available for pre-order:
A one-shot celebratory issue featuring my all new Vic Valentine, Private Eye Story
"Private Dick, Public Enemy," and much more, coming later this summer!