Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

TMT: “It’s not about anything.”

This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. I’m plucking and posting this one from the list I’ve built for three reasons:

  1. I have a lasting warm place in my heart for this forgotten crime gem of a movie (one which has a great cast and a splendid story by a screenwriter/director of note).
  2. This film helped to establish my habit of catching great and unappreciated movies when they failed miserably on their initial release — luckily, time granted this a re-appreciation.
  3. Author Duane Swierczynski is coming to town this weekend (hey, could this be the real reason behind Carmageddon?) to promote his great Fun and Games novel. He’s another passionate fan for this neo noir film from the 70s, has championed it, and cited the film in the new novel.

Theatre

The Huntington Park Warner Theatre:


Movie

Time

October 8, 1972: Only my second month into college life — and yes, junior college does count — and this film arrived on scene. I can’t say I was initially drawn to it because it was a crime film. Or, cared that the great Walter Hill penned the script — my admiration for the genre and the writer would arrive a tad later in life. It really came down to the fact that it re-paired Robert Culp and Bill Cosby on-screen.

The TV series I Spy became my life growing up in the previous decade, from 1965 to 1968. Their interaction, differences, and chemistry always fascinated me. It’s why decades later I have the entire breakthrough series on disc and have introduced it to my children. The singular reason the 2002 I Spy Returns TV movie is worth viewing. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be. There, I said it.

The Huntington Park Warner Theatre was a grand movie palace in the Art Deco tradition that was nowhere near Hollywood, Westwood Village, or any of the other movie theater centers in Los Angeles. This movie hall remains a truly forgotten beauty, and luckily for me was close-by movie steady when my home existed in this distinct time and place.

The theatre holds some of my dearest memories, too. Including the fact that I (and my brother) worked as a projectionist in that very place less than four years later — as I’ve documented on this intro post from an old blog series). I came to this very familiar place one Sunday afternoon and sat alone in a mostly vacant theatre. Something that would become a fairly common circumstance from here on out.

What I found in the Robert Culp-directed Hickey & Boggs was something so unexpected and very unlike I Spy, and yet, I loved every minute of it.


The entire TMT series can be found here. If you’re interested how it’s put together, click here.

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11 Responses to “TMT: “It’s not about anything.””

  1. John DuMond

    I’ve been wanting to see this one for a while now. Unfortunately, the local library doesn’t have a copy of the DVD. I guess I’ll have to break down and rent it on Amazon.

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    • le0pard13

      Well, the streaming option may be your best bet, plus it offers an additional benefit. The current DVD of Hickey & Boggs is ultra poor — it looks like someone made a digital recording of a TV screen playing the old VHS tape. It’s that bad. The stream of H&B via Amazon and iTunes is a very good widescreen print. I’ve seen them.

      I’ll be doing another post on this film come Friday, btw. Thanks, John

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  2. Ronan

    Hold the phone! Bill Cosby did movies? Why did I never know this? I thought he was just Bill Cosby from the Cosby show, the guy who doesn’t like to hear swearing. Love the tagline for the film and how they feel the need to emphasize that they are ‘so dangerous…’ regardless of appearances to the contrary 🙂 I like this series, I wish there were old classic theatre-like movie houses in my part of the world. They are mostly just big, modern, plastic over-air conditioned, homogenous monsters. And yet I love ’em still. Must be pretty cool to watch a new release in one of those traditional theatres you always see in the movies, with the red carpet and red curtain lined with gold in front of the screen and the ushers and usherettes running all over the place in their little uniforms, managing not to spill any. Am I imagining this or does that malarky (british word) still go on over in the states?

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    • le0pard13

      Oh, yeah. Bill Cosby did do movies, some were even well worth digging up (like this one). They is also something to be said about watching film at the old movie palaces. I’ll settle for today’s “big, modern, plastic over-air conditioned, homogenous monsters” when I have to, but I have a soft spot for the few classic theaters left standing around here. I haven’t heard the word ‘malarky’ in ages! Cool word! There are probably some places that still go in for the old touches… and I’m still looking for them ;-)! Thanks, Ronan.

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  3. The Sci-Fi Fanatic

    I have to laugh at that PG rating. GOsh everything was PG back in the day.

    I showed my kids Every Which Way But Loose recently – PG. ANyway, great movie for fun.

    But what made me laugh was how the orangutan constantly through up his middle finger at the motorcycle dudes. My kids loved that the orangutan was flipping everyone off in the movie and Clint was beating the tar out of everyone.

    Of course we had those Damn Dirty Apes at Rated G. Really? G. YEs, let’s go take in a little CHarlotte’s Web and some sweet good old Planet Of The Apes. Just funny right L13.

    Nice post and nice memories of classic days.
    best,
    sff

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    • le0pard13

      Yes, were those movie ratings were something! Those are some outstanding examples, SFF. Too funny. Thanks of the comment, my friend.

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  4. Kevin (Col. Mortimer)

    Wow, I never heard of this theatre, thanks for the TMT entry on it. From that link it looks like it’s still in relatively good condition. It’s such a shame that smaller cities like this have embraced larger multiplexes over treasures such as this theatre.

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    Reply
    • le0pard13

      It is still intact, just closed down. Structure-wise it looks in very decent shape. The city of Huntington Park even notes it on its own website as one its important historic buildings. It was twinned in the 80s, I believe (using the old balcony segment). If I could somehow win a lottery, I’d love to restore it to its former glory (much like what was done with San Pedro’s Warner Grand Theatre. Thanks, Kevin.

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