Meet The Legendary Producer Allan Carr!
I just read a great book about one of Hollywood’s most flamboyant and entertaining Producers, the legendary Allan Carr!
This “Wednesday Bookmobile” has the story of the flamboyant Producer, his wildest films and his biggest disaster!
Here he is with Bob Hope, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell – in the 70’s, he was one of Hollywood’s biggest Producers, and was behind some incredible hits – as well as the worst debacle in Oscar history!
“Party Animals: A Hollywood Tale of Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Starring the Fabulous Allan Carr” – by Robert Hofler.
I read this book awhile ago, and I recommend it for anyone who loves entertainment and the wild and crazy times of the hedonistic 70’s.
This book looks at Carr’s years in Hollywood, both good and bad!
Here is how the book is described:
“Allan Carr was Hollywood’s premier party-thrower during the town’s most hedonistic era—the cocaine-addled, sexually indulgent 1970s. Hosting outrageous soirees with names like the Mick Jagger/Cycle Sluts Party and masterminding such lavishly themed opening nights as the Tommy/New York City subway premiere, it was Carr, an obese, caftan-wearing producer — the ultimate outsider — who first brought movie stars and rock stars, gays and straights, Old and New Hollywood together.”
As a Producer, Carr had the massive hit “Grease” and the Broadway smash “La Cage aux Folles”, but he made the decision to do a sequel to “Grease” without John Travolta or Olivia Newton-John, the stars of the first film…
A very young Michelle Pfeiffer starred in the sequel, which bombed badly…then, Carr decided to make another lavish musical – this one with a confounding cast and Director!
“Can’t Stop The Music!”
As the poster says “The Musical Event Of The 80’s”!
Producer Carr decided to capture the “disco craze” of the late 70’s by doing a big budget musical extravaganza starring Steve Guttenberg, the Village People and Bruce Jenner!
First, check out the trailer!
Go Go Nancy!
Oh, and since it was a lavish musical, they decided to get aging “character actress/never-directed-before so let’s have her do it” Nancy Walker behind the camera to direct it!
Walker was best known for her role as Rhoda’s mother on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Yes, the movie stars The Village People, who sang one of disco’s catchiest songs of all time. But it doesn’t end there!
Bruce Jenner runs around New York City in Daisy Dukes and a bare midriff, with a shrunken tee shirt!
Because it’s a musical – and because it stars the imcomparable Village People, there are a variety of wildly over the top musical sequences!
Run out in a buying frenzy to get your hands on this masterpiece…and if you need more of the worst films ever committed to celluloid, check out my list here:
But Carr’s worst debacle was still to come…
“Snow White” Bombs At The Oscars!
At the end of the 80’s, the pinnacle of Carr’s fall from grace took place when he produced the 1989 Academy Awards show – and started the show with a tone-deaf musical number that had Rob Lowe serenading Snow White, a fiasco that made Carr an outcast, and is still widely considered to be the worst Oscar show ever.
“What A Bunch Of Coconuts!”
Yes, Carr was skewered by Hollywood for the infamous opening production number in which Merv Griffin sang “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts!” amid an onstage re-creation of the Cocoanut Grove nightclub before turning the stage over to a high-pitched Snow White, who boogalooed with Rob Lowe to the tune of “Proud Mary.”
The Academy Strikes Back!
The fallout from this show was immediate.
As author Robert Hofler wrote in the book:
“Allan tried to reinvent the Oscars through camp comedy.”
It was a disaster.
In an open letter, 17 prominent Hollywood figures, including past Academy president Gregory Peck, proclaimed the ceremony:
“an embarrassment to both the Academy and the entire motion picture industry. It is neither fitting nor acceptable that the best work in motion pictures be acknowledged in such a demeaning fashion.”
Carr died in 1999, but one thing about that Oscar debacle? He came up with the idea of changing “and the winner is…” to “and the Oscar goes to…”, something that has been used ever since.
The book is fast-paced and full of great insight about a wild era in Hollywood – a great read!
Here is another great memoir of that era in entertainment:
This is a great story, as we follow 70’s Actress Fiona Lewis through her wildly entertaining film career, working with people like The Who’s Roger Daltry in “Litzomania” – and Fiona tells her story candidly, while also taking us to the south of France, where she bought a house and renovated it – her version of “A Year In Provence!”
Lewis wrote a compelling, fascinating memoir about her life – and her misadventures in France called “Mistakes Were Made (Some In French)”!
Click here to see more about his great book!
The terrific Writer Susanna Moore wrote the provocative thriller “In The Cut”, but she also was part of the Hollywood scene of the 70’s!
Here new memoir tells the story of that time, and it’s a fascinating inside look at Hollywood in the 70’s – click here to se more:
Finally, another Iconic Writer of 70’s Hollywood, Eve Babitz, is having an incredible career resurgence – one of the earliest writers of “life in the fast lane” in Hollywood!
Eve was legendary in Hollywood circles: close to Harrison Ford, Jim Morrison, Jack Nicholson and many others of that era, but she was also a great Artist and Writer as well – and is now having a literary renaissance!
A new biography about her life was just released, all of her her books are being reissued, and a TV series adaptation is in development at Hulu.
Click here to see all of her terrific books:
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Thanks so much for reading!
A big recommendation on this “Wednesday Bookmobile” for books about Hollywood!