Saturday, September 22, 2007

Floored Once More

Great art is not created, I've heard it said, but revived, rediscovered and repurposed.

That may be something that will soon be happening with a long forgotten chapter from Junk Thief's artistic output back in the 1970s. I am often asked if I was part of the Studio 54 scene. And while I was certainly around back then, this marked my continental period when I was helping to establish the Eurotrash scene that we all now love and adore. Though much of it is now a blur, one particular ambitious but forgotten project was a 16-episode series for Tele Turino presented by executive producer Dino De Laurentiis and creative consultant Lina Wertmuller.

Originally titled Floored, it was a night time soap that chronicled the battles, loves and business of two rival linoleum industry families in the two Dakotas. Coming just after Dallas and just before Dynasty in the fall of 1979, it was accused of ripping off those two shows but gave a very different twist on the petroleum industry, which, of course, plays a significant part in the synthetic flooring industry.

Though geared for the U..S. market it had an international cast that included Cantinflas as inlaid floor covering tycoon Big Buck Reilly of Fargo and Ann Margret as his daughter Shondra who was the main love interest of my character Tex Texture who was part of the much poorer but highly scrupled boutique tile making family who lived near Mount Rushmore. Other cast members included Julie Newmar, Franco Nero, Hildegard Knef and John Phillip Law.

As was customary on such productions in Italy at the time, it was shot with the actors speaking in their multiple mother tongues and then dubbed for international broadcast. Ann claimed she was speaking in her native Swedish, but I think it was just plain babbling which was not uncommon for her at the time. The show was famous for its cameos and guest stars such as our gala holiday two-hour special that included Pink Lady and Jeff, Charo, Linda Blair, Ruth Buzzi and Monti Rock III

Sadly, the dubbing proved to be very problematic when Dino came to the States to peddle it to the majors. In a desperate move to sex it up, he heightened some of the romantic tension and ambiguity. There was one scene between John Phillip Law and me involving pistols and banana peels that would have trouble making it past the censors even today. Recognizing Ann's amazing vocal and dancing skills, Dino gave her a song at the beginning and closing credits of each episode, including the dynamic theme song for its new, sexed up title Love Rush, (Sbalzi de Amore as it was called in Italy) where she was lowered in a sling in front of Lincoln's nose on that famed, iconic mountainside. (Get it? Love Rush, as in Rush-more.) Considering this came so shortly after her famed fall from the stage in Vegas, Ann was a real trouper to do those shots without a stunt double.

Few people recall the series today, and it only appeared stateside on public access cable in Tupelo and Kern County where it ran for six years. It didn't do much better in Europe, though ironically it was bought by East German Educational Television to teach civic classes about the evils of capitalism.

Perhaps it will finally find its audience, and I was pleased to discover that Ann's dynamic rendition of the theme song, is making a comeback. I also have a few clips from the original episodes on ancient BETA tapes. Beg me, and I just might post a short collage of them sometime soon. But only if you beg.

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At 7:25 PM, Blogger mrpeenee said...

pleaseoplease. At least the banana peels part.

At 8:54 PM, Blogger jason said...

Oh my goodness!
you know I still I still have my "Floored" (tm) official fan club lunch box!

It features Cantinflas and Ann M. against a background of pebbly harvest gold linoleum. Very nice.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger rich bachelor said...

Monti Rock trois! I was amazed to note that he's still alive: showed up on some stupid VH1 thing the other day.

Author of what I consider to be the very first disco record:
"Nobody cares how you wear your hair darling, just keep doing it!"

Well, and Pink Lady. She/Jeff revolutionized, uh...Tore down the walls of...Burned indelible images unto the minds of...Nope, sorry.

At 11:28 PM, Blogger Bryce Digdug said...

My chiffon is wet!

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Mr. Peenee - Oh, the banana peel stuff was the best.

Jason - hold on to that lunch box. It will only gain value with the passing years.

Rich - If you go to Vegas, Monti could officially marry you and Auntie Christ. I don't think you take the art of Pink Lady seriously!

Bryce - "Floored"/"Love Rush" was known for leaving them wet.

At 5:20 PM, Blogger m00nchild said...

Looks like Tex Texture knew how to handle a gun. But, um, where the token people of color present in little display boxes on most of the shows belonging to that era?

Charo doesn't count.


We're talking about serious underrepresentation here -- even if the damn show was set in the Dakotas.


At 6:17 PM, Blogger The Angry Young Man said...


At 7:13 PM, Blogger Gary said...

I listened to the whole Ann Margret 'Love Rush' ditty and can't understand why it didn't make a killing the first time around. She is such a sex kitten with a whip!

At 7:34 PM, Blogger T$ said...

I beg.
I beg.
I beg.
I beg.
I beg.
I beg for a montage.

Tell me what it takes.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

m00nchild - The diversity issue was always a huge source of tension on the set. Vanessa was always pushing Franco to insist that we have only a Palesintian crew. I had no problem with that, but it's not that easy to find that many of them versed in costume design and make up. However, I drew the line when Lina (who of course worked with Fellini for years) wanted to case only midgets (her word not mine) for the extras. Diverse but a little freaky.

Angry - Gesundheit!

Gary - Baby, you ain't heard it until you've heard it during the opening credits.

t$ - Aw, darn, I read this too late. But, go ahead, lick my boot and beg if you still want to.


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