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Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood’

Easy Rider Poster at Sunset Gower Studio

Easy Rider Poster at Sunset Gower Studio

Last spring I happen to be in Hollywood on a work gig and got a Sunset Gower Studio tour.  Sunset Gower has been part of the Hollywood film history since there was a Hollywood.

While wandering through the writers’ suites and the studio lot I walked down this hallway and came across an Easy Rider poster.  The Sunset Gower sound stages were used for the movie.

No one could have predicted that Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda’s small budget film, fueled by motorcycles and amazing music would redefine pop culture.

In fact, it’s impossible to even think about this film without the opening riff of Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” echoing in your head.  In the movie industry, it’s rare that a film and its soundtrack break through to the masses.  Easy Rider was an incredible success commercially and culturally (it inspired an entire genre and a hundred knockoffs), and the impact of the soundtrack was revolutionary.

“The idea was to have the music which accompanies the cross-country cycling scenes reflect current times,” Peter Fonda told Rolling Stone in 1969. By compiling prerecorded tracks and music specifically created for the film to make a “musical commentary” and companion to the movie.

IMG_2785Additionally, the Easy Rider soundtrack laid the groundwork for Michelangelo Antonioni’s Pink Floyd-led Zabriske Point the following year and nearly every classic film soundtrack of the next four decades, from Singles to Forrest Gump to Drive.

The soundtrack paints a picture of the counterculture on the brink of the Seventies.   Steppenwolf’s get-on-your-bike-and-ride anthem along with the bluesy dealer epic “The Pusher,” and the classic cuts from the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Holy Modal Rounders and the Byrds (whose Roger McGuinn also scored the film) makes an epic film.

As the story goes, Bob Dylan was recruited by Peter Fonda to pen the film’s theme “Ballad of Easy Rider,” (soundtrack) and after jotting out a few lines, told the actor to give the lyrics to McGuinn to flesh out.

Photos taken by author and courtesy of Sunset Gower Studio and Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Hollywood (circa:1921)

In Hollywood, morals clauses began cropping up starting in 1921, when silent-film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was accused of raping and accidentally killing a young actress at a wild party in San Francisco.  A series of scandals led to popular outrage and calls for censorship.

A morals clause allows a buyer to bail on a contract if a star’s conduct is detrimental to the buyers interest.

In the late 1940s, morals clauses provided a convenient out for studios looking to get rid of suspected communists in Hollywood.  For example Ring Lardner Jr. was among the “Hollywood 10” who were notified that their studio deals were being dumped under the morals clauses.  These days there are other forces that push on top stars as an actor who has a ‘history’ can be much riskier to employ because bond companies generally don’t want to insure a motion picture or TV show that depends on such a person.

And speaking of morals, communists and conduct being “detrimental to a buyers interests” we have TV personality of defunct West Coast Chopper fame and Austin Speed Shop owner, Jesse James –  a heartwarming story of a man who dresses up in Nazi garb (a joke he states), cheats — repeatedly — on his universally beloved wife with a tattooed stripper, the Amish-raised Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, but turns it all around and gets engaged to yet another tattoo enthusiast, Kat Von D (a.k.a. Miami Ink).

So in a world where words speak volumes, Gallery Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint determined that a Jesse James memoir is what you’ve been waiting for and is going to hit bookshelves later this year.  James who writing experience is limited to, uh, well, nothing I can think of will write the tell-all book for those fans that want to know all the details about re-hab, his infidelities and how he found true love.  The memoir is called “American Outlaw” not to be confused with the movie of a similar title, but it looks like bad is good again!

And speaking of tattoo chronicles… Kat Von D has her own illustrated diary that offers up an intimate look at her life and art.

Photos courtesy of Kat Von D, and Ralph Barton/Vanity Fair (circa 1921).

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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