Tonight's Saturday Special is "Vanishing Point," a guilty pleasure of a film that Tabonga and I saw back in the early 70's at the Fox Theatre in a double feature with the equally trippy "Zachariah!"
On the surface, "Vanishing Point" is not much more than an elongated chase scene, but read between the lines and you'll find an intriguing story of innocence, oppression, and the helplessness of individuals in society in general!
You know you're in BIG trouble when a police helicopter is tailing you like this!!
Looks like this might be the end, but "Vanishing Point" is just getting started!!
Barry Newman is ex-cop Kowalski! It's no big deal, he just has this 1970 Dodge Challenger to deliver to San Francisco from Colorado, but he was driving too fast, and now he's got law enforcement officers after him, and it's too late to turn back! Kowalski is a true rebel without a cause!!
No relation to wrasslin' heavyweight champion, Killer Kowalski or this band! Kowalski is the second most common name in Poland!
"Vanishing Point" is a car chase musical that includes performances by Mountain, Jerry Reed, Big Mama Thornton, The Doug Dillard Expedition, Segarini & Bishop, The J.B. Pickers, and more! Yes, I do have the original worn out soundtrack on vinyl!!
Clevon (BLAZING SADDLES) Little is a blind DJ named named Super Soul who gets wind of Kowalski's plight, and cheers him on and communicates with him via the radio in the car as to what's going on with the police! John (GOOD TIMES) Amos is Super's sound engineer!
In an attempt to ditch the cops, Kowalski heads off into the desert, and becomes even more hopelessly befuddled!
Lost out in the desert somewhere, there's bound to be flashbacks of better and worse times, especailly when they're both the same memories!
Then things go from worse to really bad!
Kowalski meets up with this charming old prospector played by Dean Jagger! Dean Jagger's first film was in 1929, and was titled "The Woman From Hell!" He was in films like "X-The Unknown," and also had the role of Ed Lindsay in the Twilight Zone episode titled "Static!"
The old prospector leads Kowalski to this hippie revival scene led by Severn (BONGO WOLF'S REVENGE) Darden as J. Hovah, where the music is being provided by none other than the fantastic Delaney and Bonnie and Friends!
How much talent can you get on one small stage? Starting on the left is Merry Clayton, solo artist and background singer extraordinaire, who contributed to such super classics as The Stone's "Gimme Shelter" and Lynyrd Skynrd's "Sweet Home Alabama!" In the middle is the phenomenal multi Grammy Award winning Rita Coolidge, and on the right is sweet Bonnie Bramlett herself, one of the most soulful singers to ever grace the planet! In the 90's Bonnie turned up on Roseanne's TV show in the reoccurring role of Bonnie Watkins! Bonnie Bramlett also sang some backup vocals on an album by one of my favourite bands, Little Feat's killer LP "Dixie Chicken!" Merry Clayton's brother Sam was also the conga player in Little Feat!
Delaney Bramlett was one of those rare people, a white guy with real deep down soul! Besides Delaney, I've had the pleasure to hear two other guys sing live that are in the same category, Bud Cockrell, and Monty Byrom! Those are the kinds of voices that will send you to Goosebump City and make you believe in The Holy Ghost! Delaney also wrote the song they're singing, "You Got To Believe!" R.I.P. Delaney and Bud, Monty's still kickin' it with the Buckeroos!
This is one of the few times Kowalski smiles in this movie! Barry Newman went on to have a nice career, and even had his own TV show in the mid 70's called "Petrocelli" that ran for 44 episodes!
And don't forget about the gay thugs, Anthony (CHICKENFOOT) James, and Arthur (EASY STREET) Malet on their honeymoon, and the beautiful Gilda Texter as the naked desert rat riding her Honda around in circles! Shows you how twisted this film is, Gilda only acted in four films, most of her long career was spent working in the wardrobe department!
Probably intended as some form of Rapture, the ending is inevitable, and if just in case you've never seen it, "Vanishing Point" is available on Netflix! Keep on believing!