Saturday, November 28, 2015

BABY NEEDS A NEW PAIR OF SHOES - Phil Moore - "Jive Turkey" (1974)

The original title was "Baby Needs A New Pair Of Shoes," but for this post Thanksgiving special....

..........The re-release title "Jive Turkey" is a lot more appropriate!

OKAY, let's get this show rolling!

But if the names, places, and events have been changed, that doesn't leave a whole lot left to be true!

1956! What a year!! Elvis hits the charts for the first time with "Heartbreak Hotel," heavyweight boxer Rocky Marciano retires undefeated, John Lydon, Tom Hanks, Joe Montana, Bryan Cranston, and Chris Isaak are born, Bela Lugosi, Clifford Brown, Art Tatum, and Jackson Pollock died! Out with the old, and in with the new, and the numbers game was going strong!
The music in "Jive Turkey" is pure funk, and is sung by a cat named Ernie Banks (Not the all-star Chicago Cubs shortshop who just passed away this year) who played a guy named DuDirty in this movie, and is totally 1974, not 1956, but was written by a fellow who had been around since the 1940's, His name was Phil Moore III, and his song "Shoo-Shoo" Baby" has been used in many movies and TV shows! Here's a version recorded by The Andrews Sisters!
Bye bye baby, don't cry baby!!

 It's called the numbers racket for a reason! It's illegal gambling, the odds are bad, and it's been going on for centuries!
These days it's a legal racket run by the guv'ment in the form of the lottery system!

 You could bet a nickel, a dime or a dollar, and a runner would take your bet, maybe even loan you the money, place your bet with a bookie, take what you owe, and pay you off, if you won!
Easy money for a small investment if you win, and that's the big sales pitch!
The numbers game is very familiar to people on the East coast in big cities, but it was non-existent on the West coast as far as I know! I didn't know about it until I was in the Army, and bunked with guys from New York!

 Paul (Truck Turner, Across 110th Street) Harris is Pasha, the man in charge in Harlem!

 Frank (Teenage Cave Man) DeKova is Big Tony, the head of the Italian mob that wants to completely control the numbers game! Frank DeKova was cast as many an Indian character for much of his career with names like Chief Tawyawp, Mike Gray Eagle, Spotted Bull, and Chief White Tongue, but his most famous characterization was as Chief Wild Eagle on "F Troop!"

 It's amazing to see how things have progressed in 60 years!
Here's how they were crunching the numbers!

 People would come up with all kinds of ways to figure out their lucky numbers!
To keep the game honest, the daily numbers were usually based on the outcome of whatever the daily take at the race track was! 

 This is Reginald (Animal House, Fast Times At Ridgemont High) Farmer as Sweetman, the biggest runner on the street, but he has some honesty issues with his boss, and it's going to cost him, and a whole lot of other folks, a lot!

 This conversation goes something like this, "I want my money!" "You gonna get your money!" "To Hell what you talkin' about, I want my money!" "You got it!" Listen to me, I want my money!" "You got it brother!" etc. etc.

 Introducing Serene, Pasha's right hand girl! She was in one of the opening scenes, and she sliced Tony's bodyguard's jugular vein with a ring razor! Now she's been assigned to eliminate these two dudes! So she gives them some knockout drops, and..........

 ................. proceeds to beat their faces in with her spikey heeled shoe!

 When she needs to exit the building unnoticed, Serene takes off her makeup and wig, and walks on out the door! Serene was played by Don Edmondson as Tawny Tan in his lone outing as an actor!

Lots of cool hot and cold lighting make this movie a lot easier to watch!
This shot is of nothing, but it looks great!

That's it kids, a nowhere street to nothing!
 It's not that gambling is so inherently evil in itself, it's the people involved who cause the problems!
"Jive Turkey" is on a 50 movie pack you can get from Amazon for about eleven bucks titled "Drive-In Movie Classics!" There's some real crap on there, but it's still a Helluva deal for that price!

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