Saturday, February 7, 2015

WHO KILLED TEDDY BEAR - Kasha & Gaudio - "Born To Be Bad" (1965)

If you're not at least 40 or 50, you probably don't even know who these people are, but for anybody over 50, or any of you purists of Pop culture, tonight's Dungeon Saturday Night Special should be a real treat!

Made in 1965, "Who Killed Teddy Bear" is a very interesting movie, sleazy, arty, and packed with talent; the kind of a film that I don't even feel like explaining that much, and I probably won't!

The film opens with some hazy closeups of a guy who appears by all rights to have some real sexual problems!

The real problem is that he's not keeping them to himself! He's found himself a girl he's very fond of where he works, but he's a little shy, so when he calls her, he doesn't identify himself! He's a creep, and these homoerotic opening scenes set the scene quite nicely!

The triangle of talent in this film starts with the beautiful singer, dancer and actress,
 Juliet Prowse!
Here's some trivia from IMDB about Juliet Prowse you just can't ignore: In 1981 she was singing "Fever" at the Las Vegas Hilton when a fire broke out, and 8 people died!  In 1987, she was mauled by the same tiger twice on two separate TV circus shows, that required many stitches etc. She was also the first guest on "The Muppet Show!"

Juliet is Norah Dain! She spins platters in a local disco club, and what a place it is! I didn't hear any of that "Johnny Rivers Live At The Whiskey A Go Go" LP, but there is a whole lot of rockin' music in this movie that was written by two time Oscar winning composer Al Kasha, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, and one of the Four Seasons, the amazing Bob Gaudio!

Here's just a little over a minute of the musical talent I'm talking about!
"Born To Be Bad!"

Whoop, whoop! Let's give a big hand to cinematographer Joseph C. Brun for some excellent dance floor shots!! This whole club scene goes on for quite a while, and is a pretty damn interesting mix of peoples!

Some still unidentified sleazeball is calling Norah, and spying on her from another building not too far away! She has informed the authorities about the predator, and they are doing the best they can with their limited resources!

What a shot! We don't promote smoking! It's a horrible habit, but it was pretty cool back in 1965! It was just natural to have a cough back then!

The second corner of this triangle of talent is venerable game show host Jan Murray! Jan hosted one of THE best TV games shows of all time, "Treasure Hunt" from 1956 to 1959!" Jan was originally a comedian, and performed on the Ed Sullivan Show 10 times! From 1966 to 1980, Jan was a staple on "The Hollywood Squares!" It's all that, that makes it so unsettling to watch him in a seriously dramatic role like this! It's like the perfect amount of salt on your cupcake!

Jan is Lieutenant Dave Madden! He specializes in criminal deviant behaviour! His wife was raped and murdered by an unknown assailant! This is a shot of some of Lt. Madden's research library!

They have tapped her phone, and Lt. Madden has appointed himself as Norah's personal protector! He's not supposed to drink on the job, but he's willing to make an exception in her case!

Lt. Madden is so weird and obsessive , you really start to wonder if he's the one with the dual identity! He accidentally walks in on Norah as she's changing! He's starting to freak her out a little, because she's not sure who she can trust!

The third corner of this triangle of talent is Sal (THE GENE KRUPA STORY, REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, GIANT, ROCK, PRETTY BABY, DINO) Mineo! Sal released a few singles, and a couple made it into the top 40! Sal Mineo was stabbed to death on February 12, 1976 by a punk who robbed him in West Hollywood! The murderer was sentenced to life in prison, but was paroled in 1990! (Great justice system!) Sal is Lawrence Sherman, the creep on the phone, and that is his mentally challenged sister Edie by his side as played by Margot Bennett. Margot might have only three credits to her name, but she has some kind of magnetism that attracted the likes of Malcolm(A CLOCKWORK ORANGE) McDowell and Keir(2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY) Dullea as mates! That was Edies's face and teddy bear peering out of the holes on the title card! She fell down the stairs at a young age and suffered some brain damage, and now it's up to Lawrence to watch after her!

The meeting of these two groups at the zoo made for a supremely awkward moment! 

Edie's at the age where her hormones are raging! She might not be able to think straight, but she knows she wants to dress up nice and wear makeup, and Lawrence doesn't like it one bit!

Throw in an obligatory swimming pool scene and you can really show off your star's attributes!

One night we watch Lawrence as he prowls the streets, dives, adult book stores, and adult theaters of 1965 New York City!

Lawrence commits a horrifying act after he gets all charged up! He mistakes his and Norah's Boss Meriam for Norah, and he strangles her to death!  The magnificent Elaine Stritch has the role of Miriam! Elaine passed away less than a year ago! She was still actively working up to that time!

Norah and Lawrence are starting to get along pretty good as long as he keeps his real personality in check. There's no romance, they're just having fun together and Norah trusts Lawrence more than she trusts Lt. Madden at this point, which turns out to be a very poor choice! It gives the two a chance to show off some of their dancing talents!

Finally, he can't take it any more, and Lawrence gets carried away, and almost rapes Norah!

Lt. Madden finally puts things together and rushes over to Norah's flat in what seems just the nick of time, and bitchslaps Lawrence around like a little girl! When he goes over to comfort Norah, Lawrence darts out the door and out onto the streets!

Run Larry, Run!!

Lucky you, I searched forever before I ever found a copy of this movie in a dark alleyway in Chelsea, but just now, I did a quick search and found a pretty nice copy streaming on Youtube!  Your life is good!!


American Toycoon said...

Insane movie! One of my all time favorite exploitation films. The title song is incredibly haunting.

Eegah!! said...

Nutzoid is correct AT! I was torn whether to use the theme or some of the tons of other music. "Born To Be Bad" won out this time!

TABONGA! said...

For 1965, this flick is really out there! Sal did not deserve what happened to him, jeez!

American Toycoon said...

I get the feeling there's a little incestuous action between Lawrence and his sister, too. This movie is loaded with psycho-sexual tension! Do we ever find out who killed teddy bear anyway? Doesn't anybody care?

Eegah!! said...

Psycho-sexual tension is right! Actually, when we first meet Edie, and she's got that frumpy frock on, I thought she was pregnant from her brother, and for this film, it might not have been that far off! I'm pretty sure Lawrence killed Teddy! They don't leave you with a lot of other options!

TABONGA! said...

Sorry AT - I was responsible for posting the comment by mistake, not Eegah!!

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