Name Dropping, by Mike Gold

Mike Gold

ComicMix's award-winning and spectacularly shy editor-in-chief Mike Gold also performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, and on iNetRadio, (search: Hit Oldies) every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check above for times and on-demand streaming information.

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13 Responses

  1. Howard Johnson says:

    Thanks Mike–it was really great to see you as well. I'll keep you informed as the LA Del event(s) unfolds (I can't wait to announce the guest list!). Thanks for plugging the book, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Mr. Ostrander does with Del's notes. Not only is Del still performing by way of his (sort of) skull, nine years after he died, he's still doing comic stories for you!

  2. R. Maheras says:

    It was great meeting you and your lovely wife and daughter as well, Mike!Glad you liked my artwork. That "Steve Canyon" 60th anniversary strip I drew for "Air Force Times" last year is pretty gol-darned huge, isn't it?

  3. Russ Rogers says:

    Max Alan Collins AND Terry Beatty, name-dropped in the same sentence as "exciting new work" and "returning friends"…Oh MY! Could it be? That would be SO cool! Seriously, I'm very excited by the possibilities. Collins and Beatty are a team that is right up there in the pantheon of artistic teams with Englehart and Rogers, Rogers and Hammerstein, Ostrander and Truman, Lennon and McCartney or Baron and the Dude!

  4. bob levis says:

    I'm glad to have the internet so that I can voice forty years of grievances over the neglect here in the good old US of A of the film "GOLD" which stars Del Close as the formidable foil the HAWK. I would argue with anybody that this is Del's signature role on celluloid and yet whenever there's a comedy confab this sixties relic is overlooked, avoided or just plain dissed as is the case with "Howard" Johnson's unfair depiction in his otherwise laudable bio "The Funniest One in the Room". It's one thing not to like the film but "Howard" gets his facts wrong. My name is Levis not Lewis and the film opened and ran in London at the Classic Piccadilly Theatre in London in the early seventies. There wasn't a distributor in America who had the balls to exhibit this madcap anti-establishment message which still today has more to say than most of the trash produced by a crumbling culture. The film, you see, has nude bodies that are caressed rather than mutilated with swords and point blank gun blasts. Nudity still scares but maybe someday will figure out collectively that it's healthier to view a naked body than to watch a clothed body disfigured. And, just for the record, "GOLD" touts quite a pedigree. On the tech side Paul Ryan did much of the camera work. He has since been second unit director of such classics as "A River Runs Through It" and "A Simple Plan". Production Manager, the late Tom Goodwin, won an oscar for "Educating Henry" and Zoran Perisic oversaw the special effects on "GOLD" before going on to such films as "Superman" and "Return of Oz". The legendary MC5 crank out three original tunes and Brooklyn cowboy Rambling Jack Elliott warbles the the theme song. The film has just been restored from Festival earlier this year.

  5. Howard Johnson says:

    Well, Bob, we've discussed this before, and as before, I wish you luck with Gold. And yes, I got your name wrong–it was very difficult to read from the copy I viewed. But as I've told you, my comments reflect the words of both Del and Garry Goodrow, who both starred in the film, as well as Charna Halpern. And I'll stand by my comments based on my own viewings. BTW, I have nothing against nudity–very much the opposite. I don't think it's a very good film (everybody has to learn somewhere, and it sounds like it was a very early film for many of your crew). But I will say that it's a very interesting film, and I wish you the best of luck with it. As I have said–and feel free to quote me–it's the Citizen Kane of pornographic westerns.

  6. bob levis says:

    Howard, I don't feel much like a pissing contest with you but, "what the hey?" It's the journalism gene in me that so wants to set the record straight. When I gave Del his check for services in the paltry amount of $75.00 for services rendered he told me that although he would cash it he had had so much fun making the film that he would have happily worked for nothing. I saw Garry Goodrow a week ago last Friday evening and he's doing well and should be getting called for roles frequently as he is a rare and unique talent. He effectively reneged on the interview he had with you and we have written it off as "comedic self-loathing" because unquestionably Garry turns in a superlative performance as Captain Harold Jinx of the State Police. Just as with Del I fed them both the outlines of character and plot and they built from the foundation. "GOLD" is a grand example of filmed long form improv created by two of the greats of the genre who deserve recognition for their efforts. I don't know what Charna's trip is, I can only speculate. I've never met the woman but am looking forward to the opportunity. "GOLD" was filmed several years before she met Del and she might resent that this was part of Del's druggie period. It was the sixties. In my previous comment I mentioned some of the tech guys who worked on the film because of the egregious slight where you, Howard, state categorically that there were "as many sequences out of focus as not". That is so blatantly wrong that it deserves no less than a retraction. It would be like finding a typo in your book and saying "there are as many misspelled words as not"! Most of the sequences in the movie are incredibly beautifully filmed. That being said, I appreciate the comparison to Citizen Kane!!

    • Howard Johnson says:

      Well, Bob, I don't want to take up more space here, so I think we willl just have to agree to disagree. When I saw it, a large portion of it was out of focus, but it's always possible that I saw a bad print; if so, I would welcome the opportunity to see a restored version, and if I'm wrong, will gladly note it in the next edition of the book. I have no idea why Garry changed his mind as of last week, but I certainly agree that he should be working all the time–he's a good guy. I can only tell you Del's feelings about it; I'm sure that he had a great time filming it, but he did not feel it was a very good film. Sorry. Again, I wish you luck with it, and if the audiences enjoy it, that's what matters. I enjoyed many of the performances, particularly Del's, and I'm glad you made the film and that it still exists. If, as the Psychotronic Film Society used to say, the only bad movie is a boring movie, then this is not a bad movie.

    • Russ Rogers says:

      The observation that GOLD has "as many sequences out of focus as not" may have been a function of the transfer process to video or DVD. Is there a clean transfer of GOLD available on DVD? I haven't seen GOLD and I'm moderately curious.But, I don't think Charna Halpern's not liking the movie would need to have anything to do with it being from "Del's druggie period." She just might not have liked GOLD based on it's own merits. Maybe Charna has seen a lot of great improv and (even though this is Del Close and Gary Goodrow) GOLD just isn't up to that standard. GOLD may be a period piece and doesn't hold up after 40 years. I've never met Charna Halpern. I've never seen GOLD. But could it be that GOLD just isn't that funny?GOLD sounds a bit like a lower budget, more nekkid "Head," "200 Motels" or "The Magic Christian." Frankly there are a many wacky, anti-establishment, psychedelic, low budget, largely improvised romps from this period. And as a general rule, these romps are period pieces that don't translate well over the years. And the MC5 are impressive, but not as well known as the Monkees, Zappa or Badfinger.You can rail against the stodginess of American distributors, but 40 years have passed since then. No American art house was willing to run this during the hey day of Rocky Horror? Could GOLD have been passed up by comedy confabs because … well, it's just not that funny? The reviews I found for GOLD (on an MC5 web site) were not glowing. Here's a line from one review: "No question, it looks like everyone had a blast filming it, and with the proper 'medication,' most viewers will too." The days of my needing 'medication' to enjoy a film have long since passed.But let's get back to Del. Here is somebody who is considered a comedy GURU, one of the great comedy philosophers and teachers of the last 50 years. And what had been preserved of that? Don't you think it's sad that a comedy legend's signature role on celluloid is a $75 weekend romp in the desert?

  7. bob levis says:

    Hi Russ,No question whoever has the "potcorn" concession where "GOLD" plays will make the big bucks but you can still enjoy the experience without falling off the wagon. I'm pulling dvds out of circulation until I make a batch from the recently restored version at which time I'll happily take your order. Your comments raise several issues not all of which I have the time to address right now but I do want you to understand just how hard it is to independently produce a feature film outside of the bailiwick of Hollywood. My advice is: write poetry. Until you try and write scripts to fit either a police procedural or a1/2 hour sitcom with canned laughter it's difficult to understand just how confined the dominant pop culture really is. I've had an agent who straight out of central casting advised me to rewrite a sensitive script with "more sex and violence". "GOLD" breaks out of that mold with an invigorating "elan vital". It still stands tall forty years later as was obvious at an enthusiastically received screening at the New York Film & Video Festival earlier this year. And it's not at all sad that Del is immortalized as the HAWK in this romp(in the woods). Factor in inflation and cost of living and $75 meant more than a couple of tanks of gas! It's important to remember we were making a statement outside of the established propaganda pushers.

  8. Charlie Meyerson says:

    I'm a brilliant conversationalist? Please tell my kids.