Jul 1, 2019
Skidoo (1968): the lost recap (part 6 of 14): Mickey Rooney sticks a fork in it
Previously on Skidoo: Frank Gorshin was the Man, and hooked Tony up with a brown rice-etarian hippie professor to help him carry out the hit on “Blue Chips” Packard. Meanwhile, we paid a visit to Angie’s swinging bachelor pad, where Darlene learned about the “Tree” and Carol Channing almost got naked, because God (and no, I don’t mean the mob boss) has forsaken us.
Cut to the front of Angie’s apartment building, where Stash’s hippie Rolls Royce is being towed away. And in another lame attempt at humor, Stash is still sitting inside the Rolls as it’s being towed. And this leads to a stupid tug of war where the tow truck pulls the Rolls forward, and then Stash floors the thing in reverse, and then the tow truck pulls it forward again, and Stash floors it in reverse again. Meanwhile, a crowd looks on. Good god, people, there’s at least an infinite number of better things you could be doing right now!
Meanwhile, the doorman looks happy when the tow truck moves forward, but very dismayed when the Rolls moves backward. The tow truck moves forward, and he smiles. The Rolls goes backwards, and he looks upset. You see, he doesn’t like Stash and his car being here. Just thought I’d clarify that, in case you didn’t get it by now. And this happens over and over, until—sigh—the footage is sped up to increase the hilarity. There is literally no point to any of this.
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Finally, Angie and the women come out, and Angie gets the tow truck driver to cool it. As Angie and Darlene get in the car, Flo takes off, because apparently Angie can only take one of the women to see God, and boy, did he make the right call there. Stash and Angie are introduced, and the three pull off in the Rolls.
Cut to Tony’s prison cell, where Leech is reading aloud, until Tony yells at him to “shut your yap!” Tony really needs to concentrate, because he’s writing a letter home. We see what he’s written so far, and this is the first sentence of it, verbatim: “Dear Flo Youre not going to believe this but I miss you, even that voice of yours.” Somehow, I don’t think even prison could be bad enough to make anyone miss Carol Channing’s voice.
Then we find out the Professor is working on something special. He pops up from under a bunk (now with a buzz-cut, courtesy of his compulsory trip to the barber), shoves a big heaping spoonful of brown rice in his mouth, then puts a radio on one of the beds.
We’ll have to wait to see what surely fascinating thing he’s up to, because we cut to Stash’s Rolls pulling up at Pier 17, the same place where Angie and Hechy appeared the night they drafted Tony into doing the hit. Angie and Darlene hop out and say goodbye, causing Stash to look very befuddled. He eventually gets out and follows them. They pull off in a boat, so Stash screams, and dives into the water and swims after them. And your guess is as good as mine as to what this bit is about, but I’ll just assume it’s supposed to be, let’s say, funny.
Back at the prison, we finally get to meet George “Blue Chips” Packard, the guy that Tony snuck into prison to take out. And he’s played by… Mickey Rooney, the latest legendary movie star unfortunate enough to end up in this thing.
Packard has quite the cushy setup here in jail, because he’s got his feet propped up on a desk, and (in keeping with his “Blue Chips” nickname) he’s reading a stock ticker tape while he talks on the phone to his broker. A guard even brings him a glass of lemonade, and Packard complains, “More sugar next time!” It would appear the joke is that now that he’s turned state’s evidence, he’s got himself a pretty sweet setup here in the pen.
He hangs up with his broker, and suddenly hears a voice calling his name. He lifts up the phone, but it’s not coming from the phone. He hears Tony’s voice, and it’s echoing, and the Professor’s voice is heard too. Packard starts to panic, thinking he’s losing his mind, then goes to his TV.
Cut to Tony, talking into the Professor’s radio. And it would seem this is the elaborate system that the Professor wired up to allow Tony to talk to Packard. Tony says to Packard that if he can hear him, “Touch the thing with the… thing!” Thanks for the offer, but I’m not really in the mood right now.
The Professor clarifies that he should take “any piece of metal and touch it to the speaker connection in the back of your TV!” In their cell, Leech comments that they look “ridiculous talking into a radio”. Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. Serial Rapist, are they committing a faux pas? Tony turns and says, “Why don’t you shut up?” One of these days, Leech. One of these days…
Back in Packard’s cell, he gets behind his TV and sticks a fork in it. It’s done!
Packard and Tony can finally hear each other, and Packard is surprised to hear Tony’s in prison, because he thought he “gave up the business”. Tony ignores the question, saying he set up this radio-TV line of communication thanks to a “technical genius” who “can’t play blackjack, but he can sure play the radio!” Was that a joke? I can’t even tell anymore.
Tony says he wants to see Packard, and Packard says he can arrange for Tony to come to his cell. Abruptly, Packard leans back in a love seat and says, “Tony, why you wanna kiss me?” Because you’re cute. Even Ava Gardner thought so! And 70 years later, the world is still trying to figure that one out.
Tony nervously says, “Why would I wanna kiss you for? You’re my friend!” Hey, who better to kiss? But Packard knows that God has Tony “doing his dirty work”, and for some reason, Mickey Rooney stares right into the camera the entire time he’s talking to Tony.
Tony insists he hasn’t seen God in years, adding, “Who do you think you’re talking to, for crying out loud? This is Tony!” Packard replies with the hopelessly awful line, “I know this is Tony, and I feel sorry for This Is Tony, because when God finds out This Is Tony couldn’t kiss This Is Packard, he’s gonna have a lead suit for This Is Tony!” And he says all this while still staring directly at us.
Packard makes him swear on his daughter’s life that he’s not here to kiss him. Tony complies, though never fear, he keeps his fingers crossed when he says it. Packard obliquely finishes the conversation by saying “I feel sorry for you”. Don’t feel sorry for him, you’re stuck in this movie, too! Packard says to give his best to Flo and Darlene as he yanks out the fork. “Over and out.”
A defeated Tony goes back to writing his letter, slowly reading out loud at the same time. And the letter concludes with: “P.S. I might be here… longer than I thought.”
Tony puts the letter in an envelope and licks it, and immediately sitars and tabla drums return to the soundtrack. The Professor screams, “What are you doing? No, no, no!” He tells Tony to sit down, but Tony’s already sitting, so Prof tells him to “stay sitted”.
The Prof asks if he’s ever heard of acid, explaining that it’s “Odorless, tasteless, and colorless, and it makes you hallucinate!” He informs Tony that “Acid is soaked into my stationary!” Yes, the Professor brought along LSD-flavored envelopes to prison. Well, it makes about as much sense as anything else in this movie. Tony says, “This is LSD? I read about dat in duh noospapahs, for cryin’ out loud!”
As more subtle sitar and tablas are heard, the Prof makes him lie down. He says, “You are going on a trip!” He warns Tony that if he fights it, it will be a “bad trip”, but if “you ride with the waves, it will be a good trip!”
Coming up next time: It will not be a good trip, for Tony, or anyone, least of all us in the audience. And if the notion of Jackie Gleason performing a lengthy acid trip sequence doesn’t sound embarrassing enough, comedy great Groucho Marx is about to get roped into this nonsense, as we finally meet God.