Apr 27, 2020
Skidoo (1968), the lost recap (part 11 of 14): And prison gets a little bit gayer
Previously on Skidoo: Tony and friends devised a plan to drug an entire prison, which started out with three guys drinking aftershave lotion to simulate measles, and only got dumber from there. Meanwhile, God came up with his own plan to sell the “stuff” to the kids, and commanded Angie to kill and/or marry Darlene (whichever fate is worse) if Tony doesn’t go through with his hit on Packard.
God is on an exercise bike. A doorbell rings and he yells, “Password!” And I guess the password is, “It’s me, I forgot it!” He lets Elizabeth in, and she’s now wearing a black shirt and little else. She says “that guy with the hair” (presumably Stash) can “swing his end of the deal”. And I’m guessing that’s because she just swung the other end of his “deal”, if you know what I mean. So apparently that brief shot of her in his cabin actually did have a point, such as it is. However, she says that before Stash can move forward on the plan, he first needs to make a phone call.
And that call goes to… Tony’s house! Where all the hippies are still hanging out. Remember them? Me, neither! But here they are. A little girl again answers the phone with “Worldwide Pop and Cop-Out Festival, make love, not war!” And weirdly, Flo and all the hippies seem to be lying around and staring at a flashing red police light.
It’s hard to tell what’s said after this, because a folksy Harry Nilsson song on the soundtrack is drowning out most of the dialogue. But eventually, the hippie we previously met named “Geronimo” is called to the phone.
Stash tells Geronimo to “Xerox me, man, I don’t want to be misquoted!” Hmm. “Xerox me, man”. Why do I suspect this is not authentic ‘60s slang? In order to “Xerox” him, Geronimo rips down a rug and begins writing on the wall. As he’s writing, Flo enters the room (wearing another ridiculous outfit, of course, and I would swear she’s dressed as a Bee Gee) and doesn’t seem too bothered by someone vandalizing her house.
Stash tells Geronimo to “Dig the Spirit of St. Louis, man,” adding, “Yeah, like Greeley says, what’s seven or eight Dukes of Windsor when it’s Mona Lisa time, huh?” Then he tells him to “Take a bow and arrow, and we’re not getting any younger, right?” Cut to Stash on God’s boat, with God and Elizabeth listening in on the phone call. “So come in X-17,” Stash says. “Over.” Way to go, Stash. They’ll never figure out that you’re speaking in code.
Stash asks if they got him, and Geronimo says he’s reading him “loud and clear, you’re cool as everything!” The call ends and God asks what he said. Stash replies, “He’ll have to get back to me!” This is apparently so outrageous that God does a double take.
Back at the house, the whole Hippie Brain Trust is gathered around Geronimo’s “Xerox” scribbling on the wall, and they start putting the clues together. Oh, good. Considering all the drugs they’re on, this should go exceedingly well.
So, it turns out “Spirit of St. Louis” means there’s been a kidnapping (as in, the Lindbergh baby, get it?). The “Mona Lisa” thing is somehow a clue that it’s Darlene that’s been kidnapped. There’s even a little bell on the soundtrack when Flo realizes they have Darlene.
“Bow and arrow” means the kidnappers are armed. And as far as the “Greeley” thing goes, one hippie points out that Horace Greeley said “Go west, young man.” Geronimo wonders how far west they have to go. He says, “Windsor…” And a woman cries out “Knots!” And then we hear another bell. And an angel gets his wings! And I get a headache.
Geronimo figures out Darlene is being held 7 to 8 knots west of “X-17”, and wonders where that could be. Someone says that “X” could mean “ex”, as in “used to be”. Ding! Flo finally guesses they must be west of the old Pier 17, and the whole group takes off. And there you have it. The one time in recorded history where being stoned came in handy.
Back in the prison dining room, Tony and Leech and the Professor are witnessing everyone experience the effects of the LSD-tainted food. And an echo has been applied to everyone’s voices in this scene, because that’s extra-trippy. Frank Gorshin has an arm outstretched as he cries, “I’m seein’ an angel!” Cut to his POV, and there’s the multicolored wavy image of a blonde woman in a cheap halo and wings hovering in front of him. Hey, maybe that is the reason a bell rang!
Then the image ripples, and the angel changes to Gorshin himself. He jubilantly cries out, “I’m an angel!” But then an instant later, he says, “I’m a goddamn angel!” Oops, you probably just lost your halo there, buddy. Better luck next time.
Suddenly, other prisoners start climbing the prison bars and swinging from the pipes in the ceiling. Two cooks are on a table… arm wrestling, or something. A guard kindly tells a convict swinging on pipes not to hurt himself. And then Richard Kiel comes along, grabs the guard by the shoulders and says, “Loretta?” A moment later, he gets disappointed. “Oh. You ain’t Loretta!”
Meanwhile, as expected, both the senator played by Peter Lawford and the warden played by Burgess Meredith are tripping. The Warden describes his vision of “a perfect penitentiary”: he’ll only have two convicts to a cell, and “use computers to be sure they’re compatible! Murderer with murderer! Sex maniac with sex maniac!” Do you really need computers to do that? The Senator adds, “Democrat with Democrat! Republican with Republican!” You see, the elected official is completely political-minded about everything. Funny, yes? The Senator says, “As soon as I’m president, it’s yours!”
The Warden asks if he’s running for president, and the Senator says not yet, but he’s been “working on my acceptance speech for the last five years!” Oh okay, so just like Hillary Clinton, then. (And I’ll have you know I wrote that gag back in 2003, and somehow it’s still relevant.)
He then proceeds to stand up on his seat and give that speech, with his voice echoing like crazy. He yells that there are “only three great Americans: Washington, Lincoln, and me!” Meanwhile, Burgess Meredith is saying that there will be “finger painting and modern dance” in his new prison, and the prisoners will be able to make “costume jewelry, and they can even design their own uniforms!” I’m sorry, Warden, but prison is not a place that needs to be any gayer.
Anyway, the important part here, if any part of this movie could be called “important”, is that the Professor asks the Warden for his keys, and the Warden happily hands them over.
And then, the movie strictly adheres to the Comedy Rule of Threes when Richard Kiel grabs the Prof and does the “Loretta? You ain’t Loretta” thing, and then grabs Tony and does the same “Loretta? You ain’t Loretta” thing, but when Leech walks past, he grabs him tightly and cries, “Loretta!” Ha ha.
Tony tries to pull Leech away, insisting that he’s not Loretta, but rather “Gertrude”. Kiel refuses to let go, so the Prof climbs up behind him and does James T. Kirk-like karate chops to both shoulders, causing Richard Kiel to collapse to the floor. Frank Gorshin runs to him, caresses his hair, and moans, “Beanie! Aw, Beanie!” Oh, okay, so I guess Richard Kiel’s character really is named “Beanie”. That’s good information to suddenly get in the final 25 minutes.
Coming up next: This movie gives us an honest-to-god musical number (because… well, why not?) and it’s total garbage. And no, that’s not a value judgment; I mean that literally.