Monday, October 01, 2007

More Jewels from 1979 - The Lost Paragon Cable Series

My dear pal Molene called last night as I was sitting down to read a little Wittgenstein over a glass of port. She got to recalling our glory days, and our conversation wove back to the year 1979. For some reason. 1979 was a seminal year for Junk Thief. First there was my great success with Ann-Margret in Italy on Sbalzi de Amore, but then Molene reminded me that she recently came across a rare BETA tape of the show New York by Night that aired after midnight in the fall of 1979 on Paragon Cable.

Though it really wasn’t all that racy, it did co-star Robin Byrd who’d recently come to grips with the fact that she really wasn’t hard wired to perform Ibsen and was, shall we say, starting to spread her wings or some other appendage. Our co-star was the late, now mostly forgotten (though not by those of us who were there) Dennis Parker. Like Robin, Dennis was a multi-dimensional talent, and he sang the glorious theme song that had one of my favorite lyrics:

“Women over 40/
Decadent and gaudy/
Still they love/

For them it’s not enough!’

How fitting that I have come to embody those very words.

Well, 1979 in Manhattan was a heady time. Granted, the place was falling apart, but that was what we loved about it. And it was a virtual movie set at the time, and we took advantage of having guest spots by Al Pacino, who dropped by in full Cruising drag, and Angie Dickinson recreated her famed cab scene from Dressed to Kill with Dennis and me. And that tiny titan Nancy Walker, making her directorial debut with You Can’t Stop the Music (truly, that woman was an auteur of the cinema) came by to explain how she was heavily influenced by Buñel and that many people simply didn’t grasp her surreal, absurdist approach.

It really was a great show, and I could never get enough of Dennis singing the theme song. He also had a modest hit with Fly Like an Eagle (not to be confused with Steve Miller's vastly inferior rip off of that classic tune) evidenced in the clip below. I never quite understood what Dennis was talking about in the lyric. What do you think? He liked birds, right? (Gonna getcha, gonna getcha, gonna getcha...)

Anyway, Mo's mailing me the tape. I'll see if I can get around to posting it. Though, of course you'll have to beg.


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At 12:14 PM, Blogger m00nchild said...

I just bought Cruising on DVD. I'll look for you in the film in case you were involved.

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura said...

m00nchild - I'm pretty hard to miss, albeit MUCH younger. Look for Bootboy #34 about 20 minutes in after the cop in the jockstrap slaps Pacino around.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger jason said...

Thank(?) you for this!

I'm spellbound, or maybe just dizzy from the aerial shots...and the aluminum foil.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger mrpeenee said...

I don't think I have forgotten Dennis Parker so much as simply never knew who he was/is. Surely I would not have mislaid the memory of such a pretty man, especially one wrapped in silver lame. Time for a little wikipedia run.

At 7:44 PM, Blogger mrpeenee said...

From wikipedia:

"Nichols also appeared in the 1975 adult gay film Boynapped!."

sounds like something I need.

At 11:48 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura said...

Jason - I think he embodies what can make pop culture bad and great at the same time. The silver jump suit and videography are pretty laughable, but the lyrics -- coming from a gay man circa 1979 -- are spot on, almost bordering on profound. Knowing that he would take his life with a gun instead of face AIDS in 1984 is all the more fitting.

Mr. Peenee - I actually heard him perform live at a bar in Kansas City called Pegasus around 1981 or 1982. I'm surprised his story is not better known by more gay men, especially who live through that time period. A guy that was in gay porn, then straight porn, then on "The Edge of Night" playing a police chief, then a disco singer, and appeared on Merv Griffin is a pretty fascinating career track. Who from American Idol can claim that path?

At 5:06 AM, Blogger Dave said...

"Always searching, never perching."

Well, at least it rhymes.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Ladron de Basura said...

Dave - You can't fool me. I know you've already run down to your local tailor to have your custom-made silver jump suit with an eagle embroidered in the back. Please post photos once it's ready.


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