Karl (louderback) wrote,
Karl
louderback

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Don't tug on that. You never know what it may be attached to.

Memoirs of Reddy.data

Buckaroo
Banzai
I guess I'm on a nostalgia kick. I recently watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show bringing back memories from three different decades. Now I've watched The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension and my mind keeps dragging me back to the '80s. In many ways, the '80s were the best and worst times of my life. Jeanneton and I began adopting kids. She passed away and I went on raising the boys. We moved from place to place in Miami, took movies as our primary recreation, and all adopted the Blue Blaze Irregulars (BBI) as our lifestyle. We belonged to the BBI our movie fan club, 100 strong and were pretty happy.
The
Blue
Blaze
Irregulars
I was working as a programmer for the local power company. I was making righteous bucks for the '80s and we were living to the limits of them. Our family was the seed of the Mid-Miami Squad of the Blue Blaze Irregulars. I can't explain that other than to recommend that you watch Buckaroo Banzai, read the book by Earl Mac Rauch, then address the question again. In practice we were a movie-going group with a devotion to the movie. Movies en masse were a once or twice a week event.

Now you have to understand what I mean by en masse.The BBI had a membership of over 100. It was common for 30 people to show up at any movie we decided to go to -- and that included every science fiction, horror, or even remotely quirky movie released. At Robocop, we filled three rows, side to side of an enormous auditorium (there's a story about that) and numbered 97, our best-attended premier ever.

We typically bought a block of tickets in advance (well, I bought 'em and was perpetually getting stiffed) and reserved a restaurant afterward. It is amazing how much respect you get from theatre managers when you buy 100 tickets a week. The same can be said of restaurateurs and meals. We tended to be catered to by both groups.
The
Robocop
Story
Not much to this story except the image it leaves -- Ms Atlas and I (we all had monikers) were late to the premier. Everyone else was seated, occupying three entire rows at Aventura (I think) theatre, an enormous place. We had to sit separately, and were unfortunate enough to sit right in front of two young snots who insisted in speaking (and deriding) in normal tones through the opening of the movie. I am the sort that just sighs and puts up with such behavior, but Ms Atlas turned and chastized them a couple of times. This made them louder.

To get some relief, I went forward a few rows and whispered to Flickers. He passed the word, and Ms Atlas and I watched as the plan circulated. When everything was coordinated, our two talkers cooperated nicely by saying something even louder than usual and three entire rows (97 people counting Ms Atlas and me) shouted "Shut up!" at the top of their lungs.

They (and everyone else in the theatre) sat their quietly for a moment then our talkers (and several other people) quietly shuffled out.

The theatre manager came in and began talking to people, eventually was directed to me and we discussed the matter. I explained what we had done and he (trying to keep a straight face so hard he was blinking back tears) barked a laugh and asked me to simply come and get him in the future and "please" not to do such a thing again.

We never did, but it was quite a moment.
Good
Times
I'm very nostalgic for such days. There was a great deal of tragedy in my life back then. Jeanneton and I lost our son. We adopted Brandon and he died as well. Then I lost Jeanneton to a bad driver. Conversely, I had five boys at home at that time, Don, Jon, Bob, Greg, and Joey. Max was always around in those days and almost counted as living at home. Chapeau (Christina) hung around with another Greg (Punchline) and practically grew up through her teen years in my living room. OK, not quite, but it feels like that. I was very busy, working long hours for the power & light and scrambling to keep a horde of teenagers in check while managing the movie fan club aspect of the BBI. I eventually became Squad Leader for the Mid-Miami Squad, but it didn't amount to much difference for me. Between work, family, and recreation, I didn't have a moment to do anything else. I guess that is what made it a pretty good time. I finished my first novel in those days, an homage to Buckaroo, of course, called Invisible Enemy it has yet to see publication, but I may send it to one of the vanity presses some day just so the few people who remember me from 1986 might have a copy.
The Movie I started this entry to talk about the movie Buckaroo Banzai and side-tracked myself. That's hardly a surprise to anyone, I'm sure.

I'd forgotten how good the movie is. It is certainly dated. It gives me a reference point for the word "quirky". It absolutely is not a movie for the masses. Many people will simply miss many references and inside jokes. In it's way, it is as convoluted as Rocky Horror. Buckaroo Banzai has attained cult status, but it is definitely one of those minor "geeky" cults that the "real" cultists denigrate.

Watching Buckaroo again, I noticed the incredible cast. I suppose everyone knows Peter Weller was Buckaroo, but have a look at the cast credits:
  • Peter Weller .... Buckaroo Banzai
  • John Lithgow .... Lord John Whorfin/Dr. Emilio Lizardo
  • Ellen Barkin .... Penny Priddy
  • Jeff Goldblum .... New Jersey
  • Christopher Lloyd .... John Bigboote
  • Lewis Smith .... Perfect Tommy
  • Rosalind Cash .... John Emdall
  • Robert Ito .... Professor Hikita
  • Pepe Serna .... Reno Nevada
  • Ronald Lacey .... President Widmark
  • Matt Clark .... Secretary of Defense McKinley
  • Clancy Brown .... Rawhide
  • William Traylor .... General Catburd
  • Carl Lumbly .... John Parker
  • Vincent Schiavelli .... John O'Connor
  • Dan Hedaya .... John Gomez
  • Mariclare Costello .... Senator Cunningham
  • Bill Henderson .... Casper Lindley
  • Damon Hines .... Scooter Lindley
  • Billy Vera .... Pinky Carruthers
  • Laura Harrington .... Mrs. Eunice Johnson
  • Michael Santoro .... Billy Travers
  • Jonathan Banks .... Jack the Orderly/Lizardo Hospital Guard
  • Robert Gray .... Radar Blazer
  • Gary Bisig .... Radar Blazer
  • Kent Perkins .... Mission Control
  • John Ashton .... Highway Patrolman (as John David Ashton)
  • Kenneth Magee .... Duck Hunter Burt
  • James Keane .... Duck Hunter Bubba
  • Yakov Smirnoff .... National Security Advisor
  • Leonard Gaines .... Artie Duncan, Owner of Artie's Artery (Bar)
  • Francine Lembi .... TV Anchorwoman
  • John Walter Davis .... Star Surgeon
  • Read Morgan .... Exhibitor
  • James Rosin .... John Ya Ya
  • Raye Birk .... Reporter
  • Jane Marla Robbins .... Reporter
  • Kevin Rodney Sullivan .... John Gant (as Kevin Sullivan)
  • Jessie Lawrence Ferguson .... Black Lectroid Commander
  • Radford Polinsky .... Marine Lt.
  • Sam Minsky .... Kolodny Brother
  • Robert Hummer .... Kolodny Brother
  • Gerald Peterson .... Rug Sucker/Pug Soldier
  • Jamie Lee Curtis .... Sandra Banzai - Buckaroo's Mother (scenes deleted)
  • James Saito .... Masado Banzai, Buckaroo's Father (scenes deleted)
  • Michele Hess .... (uncredited)
  • Greg Mires .... Young Buckaroo (uncredited)
  • Matthew Mires .... Young Buckaroo (uncredited)


I've bolded the names that I recognize as actors familiar to many. There are doubtless others you'll recognize. Think of who these people were in 1984 and think of what they brought to this movie. No wonder it is a cult hit.
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