O the Hell of It, The Dall of It
Although in general I would say that I have lived my life with no regrets, I do have to admit that I have great sadness and regret around a film I almost starred in but never allowed to share with the public. In the summer of 1968, Grace Slick and I had the lead roles in O-Hell Dall-E. Filmed primarily on location on San Francisco's Embarcadero which was transformed to resemble a late 19th Century boardwalk. Sadly, a variety of forces never let this great work, directed by Luis Buñuel, to see the light of day.
Now, before you say "Oh, I bet it was because Grace was always high on drugs," let me vouch that I never saw the girl have anything stronger that Oolong tea. Things went south when Carol Channing, in town to shoot Skidoo, got wind of it and tried to shut the production down when she said, "They stole my Dolly!" Well, this was not an adaptation of Hello, Dolly! but of its 19th century source material Einen Jux will er sich machen by Johann Nestroy.
There was nothing but the highest level of talent involved. Script by Harold Pinter, lyrics by William S. Burroughs, music by John Cage. Set designs by Louis Sullivan and costumes by Cecil Beaton. Other cast members included Shashi Kapoor and Michael J. Pollard Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker. Jean Seberg and Jean Simmons as Irene and Minnie. Kate Smith was great as "The Ballad Singer", and Miles Davis was superb as the band leader at Delmonico's.
We first knew things were getting sticky when Seberg had to bail due to earlier contract obligations to appear in Paint Your Wagon (one of our favorite musicals). Then Channing brought legal action because we were filming her musical (and she got even angrier with Streisand starred in the actual adaptation). Then there was the night Doris Day -- in town to shoot the opening sequence for her TV show -- took Grace up to her room and was responsible for her first introduction to heavy narcotics.
Sadly, we were shut down five weeks into shooting. Who knows what happened to that footage? Buñuel claimed that he burned all the stock, but we've heard of it showing up in Bosnia. Alas, all I have to remember are a few stills and journal entries. Distraught, Grace went down to see her mom Virginia Wing with her daughter China.
The closest thing you'll ever see that came close to this masterpiece, is this clip of Lee Marvin who should have sung the entire American Songbook. Clearly he is referencing our film when he sings "Hell is in Hello.'