Rock ‘n’ Rock Forever Will Stand

Can a penniless teenager, raised in an orphanage and self-trained as a musician, overcome the odds and win the star search radio contest hosted by superstar disc jockey Alan Freed? It’s a cinch because Go, Johnny, Go! (1959), directed by Paul Landres, is a clich├ęd Hollywood fantasy of pop stardom modeled on previous box office hits like Rock Around the Clock (1956) and Jailhouse Rock (1957). Yes, the story is trite, the acting is wooden and its low-budget, set-bound look is uninteresting, but none of that is important when you consider the musical talent on display in the film. With such early rock ‘n roll pioneers as Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran and Ritchie Valens blazing across the screen, Go, Johnny, Go! is not only an invaluable pop culture document but an immensely entertaining and occasionally cynical look at the burgeoning music industry of the late fifties.

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Degenerates at Large

Long before it ever became available for the home video market, The Girl in Black Stockings would occasionally pop up on late night television screenings in unexpected places like Turner Classic Movies. Such a lurid, sensationalistic crime drama was a natural fit for the drive-ins of its era but it actually makes sense that TCM would air this rarely seen obscurity because The Girl in Black Stockings is a classic sleazefest and definitely several notches above the standard exploitation drive-in fare that tantalized audiences in the late fifties before the advent of more explicit films like Blood Feast (1963). Continue reading