Friday, August 31, 2007

The Curious, Compelling Cult of Vikki Carr

Maybe it's the approaching change of seasons. Perhaps its another sign of global climate change. Could it be a warning of the impending apocalypse? Whatever it is, I wish someone would explain to me why Vikki Carr's name has managed to weave itself into communications with at least five to six people completely unconnected to each other this week.

Vikki Carr? I have probably thought about her or heard her name mentioned two to three times over the course of the past quarter of a century. I mainly remember her as what always felt like a last minute replacement guest on talk and variety shows back when I watched them as a kid in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I could just hear Merv or Joey saying, "What? Merman cancelled. Get Vikki Carr. I'm sure she's available."

Like many people, I grew up thinking she was some gringa from Jersey, and was surprised to discover her El Paso, Texas, roots and huge Spanish language output since disappearing from the English speaking mainstream decades ago.

What I didn't know was that she made surreal music videos four decades ago. Okay, Vikki comes off pretty normal and cool in this little clip, but what the hell is up with that lone male dancer. He's actually not half bad looking and pretty obviously has been to brunch a few times if you gather my drift. But what's up with him and the girls towards the end where it looks like he's planning to knife them or something. His fence climbing stunt is pretty weird too. It's guys like this that fueled the fire for Anita Bryant and her ilk. I'd lock up my kids too if he came down my cul de sac.

UPDATE: I was checking email while shopping for Shelley Winters DVDs when I realized what was hovering below my Treo. Eeekkkkk! Yes, I resisted purchasing any of Ms. Carr's discs. But you just know some pathetic queen is gonna grab some of these.

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At 9:46 PM, Blogger Joy said...

All I can say about Vicki Carr is summed up in Moonstruck:
Now he's gonna play that damn Vicki Carr record. And then when he comes to bed, he won't touch me.

Hmmm. Maybe he was climbing a fence?

At 11:10 PM, Blogger Gavin Elster said...

Scopitones were odd things. They never had any budget to speak of and they always had those freaky dancers. This one is truly odd. It looks like they are prancing around skid row. In fact I'm pretty sure they are at the old train depot that is just a few miles away from where I currently live. Scopitone productions were notorious for stealing locations.
Herb Alpert = Those same Freaky dancers jumping around Olvera Street to Tiajuana Taxi.
Joi Lansing= Showing the world her potentials at the apartments above Yamashiro.
Its as if they drove around in a van full of "singers" and pulled over at anyplace that may have a public bathroom to shoot these damn things.

This scopitone seems to be the worst of that era. There was a time when scopitones seemed to be all about the singer but more about the almost naked dancers. This honestly has neither.

Since this song and the location have nothing to do with each other I have to say it makes for a very confusing performance. Does she work at a soup kitchen? Is she singing for the hobos and tramps in the train yard? Is Mr Tightpantsdancebelt her boyfriend? Who are those other chicks, dames, skirts, and/or broads? I can just imagine that they thought they were making Umbellas of Cherbourg on a negative budget.
Bottom line:
If you want "plenty of nothin' " Vicki is your gal.

At 11:15 PM, Blogger Gavin Elster said...

Oh and unlike you I'd gladly let this dime store George Chakiris come down my cul de sac.

Ba dum cha!

At 11:47 PM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Gavin - First, I agree that Mr. Tightpants is actually pretty darn hot. I'd invite him over, but those dance moves are so weird. Not his fault, perhaps.

I almost picked up a volume of Scopitones at Streetlight tonight since it had Bridget Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg. They were always mighty odd, cheaply done.

The location shoot is a mystery. It looks so gray and mucky, I kept thinking Newark but not with those hills. I guess it was in the days when smog was even worse in L.A.

It's one of those videos that is so bad like a horrible thrift store painting that you can't look away and keep analyzing what the hell they were thinking at the time.

One eternal question: Is it Vikki, Vickie, Vicky, Vicki? I think it is actually Vikki, and her birth name is Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona.

Okay, no more discussion or mention of her for another 25 years.

At 6:31 AM, Blogger marxsny said...

Well, she's no Ann-Margret that's for sure. Please accept my apology for the part I played in bringing you to this. I hope we can still be friends.

At 8:16 AM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Mark - All is forgiven. You're still my bud. I blame it all on Vikki herself. And I have done more than my share of spreading icky pop culture.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

Vicki Carr is part of the collective unconcious, much like Mothra, Zasu Pitts, and the Collyer Brothers.

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Gary said...

I cannot think of Vikki Carr without thinking of Moonstruck. She looks like Kathie Lee in this video.

You have a point here. It seems that Vikki even worked her way into my dreams last night. She was a casino owner who sang all of the commericials for her casino. And she would 'work' the floor to get the customers in and spending money. She had fantastic long hair but an OLD, OLD face which kinda threw me off. Reading your post made me remember this dream. Is this a sign of the end of times?

At 4:30 PM, Blogger WAT said...

Everyone's heard of Vicki Carr! Somehow, sometime, somewhere...

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Jill - Thanks for reminding me. I ws just getting close to forgetting her.

Gary - I think that may not have been a dream. Vikki's not 25 (or 55) anymore.

WAT - You're right. I just wish she'd leave my life for a while. Who's that at the door now? Helen Reddy? Ah, no!!! "Angie, baby..."

At 10:15 PM, Blogger Gavin Elster said...

"livin' in a world of makebelieve? Well Maybe."

At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could be:

Before there was Los Lobos, before there was Gloria Estefan, there was Vikki Carr - the first true Latin/Pop crossover singer. Carr has recorded 59 best-selling records over the past 30 years, including 17 Gold albums. Now, the three-time Grammy award-winner returns to the Cerritos Center... which was a SOLD OUT concert this May. or...........

Vikki Carr is a three-time Grammy Award winner, whose international success spans four decades. She has performed for the Queen, five United States Presidents, wartime soldiers in Vietnam and sold-out audiences around the world. She has worked in radio, television, film and theatre. The diversity of her rich voice is impressive. She can belt out the blues or touch the heart with a soft romantic ballad. Frank Sinatra said, "She possesses my kind of voice," Dean Martin called her "the best girl singer in the business," and Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald both named her among their three favourite female singers of all time.

Vikki earned the respect of millions worldwide great to read about her once more.

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Anon - I'd take her over Gloria Estefan any day. I'd take just about anybody over Gloria Estefan. I've never met anyone from Latin America that could stand her.

At 1:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I met Vikki Carr and besides her God Given talent, she's also charming and caring gal. I am buying her recent import box set Ultimate Collection EMI UK and many re-issues of Vikki Carr finally hit the market...thats why you are hearing about her so much whether in English or Spanish yes... she's back. It Must be Her!

Cool blog Junk Thief

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Fanovicar1 said...

I've seen Vikki Carr several times over the last couple of years. I believe she's singing better than ever. She's more beautiful now than when she was younger. If you ever see Ms Carr in person, you'll be a fan for life! You don't have to take my work for it, show up! If you have the nerve!!


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