THE WORLD'S GREATEST SINNER - Frank Zappa - "Take My Hand and Follow Me" (1962)
With all due respect, it is our immense pleasure to present you with tonight's Friday Night Fantasy Feature, a film that could easily have been titled "The World's Greatest Movie," and I've also decided to dedicate this particular movie to all of our followers, each and every one!! This one's for you! Just for starters, the theme was composed and played by The King of El Monte, the iconic Frank Zappa, with vocals by future Mothers Of Invention singer Ray Collins in one of their earliest incarnations! I'd love for you to hear it, but believe it or not, this is the movie that pushed the buttons that made us stop including sound clips for a while!
Made over a three year period of time, and never officially released to my knowledge, but it has played on TCM, "The World's Greatest Sinner" was the lovechild of veteran character actor Timothy Carey, who wrote, directed, produced, and starred in it, and you can just tell it's a true labor of love!!
"The World's Greatest Sinner" is a story of a man by the name of Clarence Hilliard who is tired of the same routine day in and day out!
And even though he has a decent life, and a beautiful wife, played by Betty Rowland, he has an inner spirit that is driving him toward some other goal in life, he just doesn't know what it is!
It's a classic tale about a regular guy who's bored with his crappy job, who is just looking for that something special in life, and discovers that music can be a guiding and spiritual force!
He doesn't really know what he wants to do with his life, but he does know what he doesn't want to do anymore, and that's sell insurance!
Timothy Carey is such an interesting guy, from the way he looks to the way he talks, to the way he thinks! He was a hulking figure of a man at 6'4" who possessed an amazing improvisational style of acting. He came up working with names like Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Stanley Kubrick, always remaining the ultimate character until his demise in 1994. No matter what they try, he will never be replaced!
So one evening Clarence ventures out and comes across a rockin' concert, and even though he can't sing, and doesn't know how to play an instrument, he knows one thing, he has found his calling!
Clarence is moved by the music so much, he has to get up and take a closer look!
There is SO much exciting music in this film, there is just no way to give you samples of everything, but just know this scene is as amped up and as spiritual as it looks!!! If you want to hear it, do a search and go buy it from Tim's son!
So now he's got the fever!
It's time to start a band. Now you have to realize when Timothy started making this movie, it was 1958! Do you have any idea who was rockin' in 1958?
Novelty songs were a plenty with "Purple People Eater," "Witchdoctor," and "The Chipmunk Song" all charting in the top 40, Jerry Lee Lewis was still blasting with "Great Balls Of Fire" but the charts were still top heavy with names like Perez Prado, the Four Preps, Perry Como, Pat Boone, and Andy Williams. Elvis and the Everly's were still very popular, but nobody was having any real success with music as raw as what you'll find in this movie!
"Please, Follow Me!!!!!!"
"The World's Greatest Sinner" also has an amazing cast of credits, from Paul Frees doing the narration, who has arguably the most used and recognizable voice in film or TV, to Titus Moede, AKA Rat Pfink, with Ray Dennis Steckler and Edward G. Ulmer rolling camera at various times. There are still more credits for a whole lot of other people, and the other people too, who would never be in another film, ever!
Spiffing up his image, Clarence is now sporting that classic 1960 El Monte look, Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm proud to present... God Hilliard!!!
It's totally insane, I tell ya, Clarence now fronts a 9 piece band with an intensity that is a wild combination of something like Hasil Adkins meets James Brown in a Baptist Church, that is so infectious, I'm surprised that anybody that hears it hasn't died from a rock n roll fever!!
TAKE MY HAND !!!
The human race should be proud!!
Maybe if we get enough calls on the request line, we'll get around to doing Part II!! Timothy Carey was the kind of guy that makes you glad they invented the moving picture, the world could use more genius like that!! Like I said, Tim's son sells it on line, do him a favor and go buy 10 or 13 copies!!