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Some of us who were there in 1968 DO remember it!
on September 19, 2006
In fact, it was December 1967 when a novella based on the Robert Thom screenplay appeared in "Esquire" magazine. I still remember sitting in the library reading it, trying VERY hard not to laugh out loud.
The premise came from media reports of the day that 51%, or some such number, of the population of the U.S. was under 30, or under 21, or whatever. What would happen if it were true, and if they miraculously united and acted LIKE a majority?
Director Barry Shear's best film by a mile. Fabulous performances from Christopher Jones (who does his own singing), Hal Holbrook, Ed Begley, Shelley Winters, Walter Winchell, Dick Clark and Melvin Belli, among others. The editing was nominated for an Oscar; the film is SO fast that when a mere 1 minute and 50 seconds are devoted to a song, it DRAGS (although Barry Mann & Cynthia Weill's "Shape of Things to Come" did manage to crack the Top 25).
It's a PARODY, people. So much so that the NY Times' Janet Maslin wrote two separate columns trying to explain it to those who didn't understand that something WAS happening in 1968, and in general the movies weren't paying attention. This one is an exception.
Several members of the cast, including Christopher Jones who turned his back on Hollywood for some 30 years, reunited for Larry Bishop's film "Mad Dog Time"; Bishop plays Max Frost's trumpet player here.
Nothing so far gets your interest? Try this - RICHARD PRYOR, on drums, has many of the best lines in the film. Theatres in inner-city Baltimore were damn proud to put his name on their marquees.
No extras, but so what?
And I'm startled to learn that some other reviewers actually managed to watch "Gas-s-s-s"; I stopped trying to get through it. Something about a guy who looks like he stepped out of "Godspell" going on a road trip...