Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins

Some of you may remember a movie from 1975 starring Alan Arkin and Sally Kellerman and MacKenzie Phillips entitled Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins.  It's page on IMDB can be found here.
And here it is again on wikipedia.  And finally, here is the trailer on youtube.

If you do remember it, too bad.  It's really terrible and I don't recommend that anyone ever give up 91 minutes of their lives in order to watch it.  But I did, and here is why:

John Kaye is the author of the novels Stars Screaming and The Dead Circus, which I enjoyed immensely and heartily do recommend to all, as I often have in the past.  The latter book is supposed to be made into a film, entitled I Fought the Law, which I have posted about before here, I haven't heard anything about this of late, and even the teaser trailer on vimeo no longer works.

Mr. Kaye is also a screenwriter and one time film director. He wrote and directed Forever Lulu with Patrick Swayze and Melanie Griffith and also wrote Where the Buffalo Roam, which is, of course, a classic.

Mr. Kaye is also a contributor to the LA Review of Books and it is this contribution entitled 1972:  Five Days in September which inspires this post.  That article is really long, and so without any permission at all from anyone (that's how I roll) I shall copy and paste the relevant paragraphs:

"Driving home from the Goldenberg School, where once again Jesse rushed inside late, I pulled up to a red light on the corner of the Sunset and Crescent Heights. Distracted by the radio and my inner musings, I didn't notice the hippie girl with the expressionless eyes and unbrushed hair who had stepped off the curb and was now knocking on my passenger side window. She was wearing a white peasant dress and wire-rimmed glasses, and when she finally got my attention (by leaning over a little, so I could examine her cleavage) I asked her where she was going.

"Downtown."

"I'm not going that far." I replied

"Then take us as far as you're going," she said.

Us? That's when the light turned green and I saw her motion to another, older girl with a sunburned face who was sitting on the bus bench, cradling an infant. Hearing her name called, she stubbed out the cigarette she was smoking, and, before I could decide what to do — by now the cars behind me were honking loudly — my door swung open and they both hopped into the front seat. Pulling away, I felt angry and impinged upon, my day thrown into uncertainty. Breakfast, preschool, home to write, or at least try to write: That was a schedule I adhered to as a debt of honor, one I would never allow to be compromised, especially by a couple of casually selfish teenyboppers.

Without asking my permission, the girl sitting beside me in the peasant dress reached for the radio, changed the dial from AM to FM, and fumbled around until she found a rock station in the high numbers at the end of the dial. The girl next to her — the mother holding the baby — giggled, and for some reason that mindless giggle, more than having my car invaded and my radio hijacked, detonated my indignation and anger.

I said, "What's so fucking funny?"

The girl with the baby muttered something I didn't understand, and when I said "What?" the girl next to me, the more aggressive of the pair, said, "She doesn't want you to swear around her baby." That's when I turned my head and saw what I had earlier overlooked: Each of them had the letter X carved into the center of their foreheads.

Although the Manson trial had ended and Charlie was now safely incarcerated in Folsom prison, one of the earliest and most loyal members of his family, Bruce Davis, had been recently convicted of two additional murders — musician Gary Hinman and Spahn Ranch caretaker Donald "Shorty" Shea — that Charlie had ordered. Davis had been housed in the Los Angeles County Jail waiting to be sentenced, which, serendipitously, came on the day I picked up these two unsavory and unpredictable hitchhikers.

"We're going down to the courthouse to say goodbye," said the girl next to me, while her girlfriend added, beaming brightly, "I want Bruce to see my baby. Her name's Rainbow."

"Isn't that a pretty name?" the girl next to me said, shifting her leg so her knee was touching mine. "Charlie gave it to her."

"Is it Charlie's baby?"

"It's everyone's baby," Rainbow's mother said. "Charlie said we're all Goddesses of Childbirth, and our babies are made to be shared."

The Charles Manson guide to childrearing: What utter bullshit! Naturally, I wanted to dump this loathsome duo as soon as I could, but, looking back, I realize what bothered me most was not their gullibility or stupidity. In 1972, the streets of Los Angeles were overflowing with grinning, clueless hippies spouting all sorts of ludicrous nonsense. No, it was the diabolical joy these two creatures seemed to derive from knowing that, just by showing the X on their faces, they could instill the cold finger of fear into anyone they encountered, including me.

A few moments later, when I reached the intersection of La Brea and Sunset, I told them the ride was over. "You have to get out. I need to run an errand."

They were quiet for a moment, mulling their options, but they didn't argue or seem at all surprised. They knew I was lying, of course, and in both their outwardly serene faces I detected a kind of concealed rage, a sleeping malice that made me flinch. Back on the sidewalk they flashed me the peace sign, told me to "have a nice day," and I drove off feeling as though I had avoided something dangerous."

Interesting for sure, at least for me, but Mr. Kaye's screenplay for the movie left out the Manson connection with the girls.  I wonder who the two girls may have been?  Also, the infant?  In September of 1972, which of Charlie's girls would have had an infant?  While this encounter is certainly much less than earth-shattering, it makes me wonder if meetings with various X engraved Family members was just part of the daily routine back in LA during that time?

47 comments:

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Thanks Starship.

CarolMR said...

Interesting. Thanks, Starship.

Panamint Patty said...

Patty's best guess for a member with a female child circa 1972 is Crystal Alonzo.

katie8753 said...

Thanks Starship! That's sounds extremely creepy! Maybe it was Sandy & Squeaky with somebody else's baby.

Rainbow??

Panamint Patty said...

Maybe Rainbow was some sort of Rainbow Jr., Daughter of Bo and TJ? TJ had an assload of kids.

leary7 said...

Most folk who read this very well-written piece will fixate on the identity of the two girls and the baby. But the real crux of the story is singular power of fear and the palpable danger of mindlessness. That is Manson's legacy.
Great post, Starship, in reminding us of that.

katie8753 said...

LEARY!!! Good to see you.

Yes that's right. It's totally creepazoid that these girls were still acting like bizarro Stepford Wives by then.

Doc Sierra said...

My money would be on Nancy Pitman.....

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Hi Doc,

I sent you a couple emails.
Please check your inbox.

Thanks,
Lynyrd

MrPoirot said...

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mackenzie-Phillips/296797666085

Here is McKenzie Phillips FB page.

For forty years I have forgotten that I saw " Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins" at the theater back when it came out. Frankly I'm surprised Mckenzie Phillips wasn't a Family member. She'd fit right in at Spahn Ranch with an X on her forehead

starship said...

Thanks, Leary.

Hercule, OMG I hope admission wasn't too expensive. I would regret that seriously.

It's funny, because this movie is so awful, but I have always liked Alan Arkin, Sally Kellerman and feel MacKenzie Phillips has overcome quite a bit too and my kids say she is pretty good on whatever that show is she is on now, so I respect her...and I really freaking love John Kaye and wish he would write more. But despite all of that, I haven't seriously thought about killing myself as often or as hard as I did during the 91 minutes I spent watching this thing.

MrPoirot said...

Serpantine Shell, serpantine!

louis365 said...

LOL Starship

Mr. P, aren't you being a little harsh on Mackenzie? She would have fit in with The Manson Family??!!
Thats a hell'o'va claim.

MrPoirot said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX7Quq9D1ZI

In this video Louis she looks like Squeaky.
I think Mckenzie may have met some of the Manson Family since she would have been at John Phillip's home. Mckenzie was a real druggie kid that had no childhood.
In her autobio she says she had a ten year sexual relationship with her dad John Phillips. Maybe she would have been better off with Manson?

Doc Sierra said...

MrPoirot said...
I think Mckenzie may have met some of the Manson Family since she would have been at John Phillip's home. Mckenzie was a real druggie kid that had no childhood.
-------------------------------------
I can't remember if I saw it in an interview or read it somewhere but she claimed that when she was 13 Mick Jagger boinked her while her dad was at the store for a beer run......

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

Starship:
Not sure about the LABR, but I have no problem with you excerpting my work, as long as you add a link, which you have.

RE: Rafferty
Naturally I disagree with your assessment, but thanks for your positive comments about the rest of my oeuvre.

In all fairness, several well-known critics, including James Wolcott (Vanity Fair) and Pauline Kael (New Yorker) had a much more positive experience with Raffferty. http://www.vanityfair.com/online/wolcott/index176
But, hey, writing's a tough racket. Cant have thin skin and survive.

BTW: cool site.

JK

katie8753 said...

John you had 2 comments waiting to be published. I published both. They're similar but not the same. If you want to delete one, just hit the trash can by the one you don't want.

And welcome to the blog!! :)

MrPoirot said...

You must be John Kaye. We have a visit from a famous celebrity!
Don't worry about Starship's opinion John, he thinks Gone With The Wind was about the dust bowl.
BTW did you ever find out who the girls with the X's were?

John said...

MrPoirot:

No, I never did find out. Just wanted them out of my car. After reading the latest Manson biography, I thought maybe I would figure it out, but, after 40 years, it was pretty hard to know for sure. Four seconds into this clip shows the corner where I picked them up. It was a few years later, but the vibe was the same. Interesting times.

http://youtu.be/FocRKg-ZxVg

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

John,

Welcome to the blog!

beauders said...

Mick Jagger waited until Mackenzie Phillips was 18 because he didn't want any trouble. It was in "Papa John" by John Phillips.

MrPoirot said...

John did either girl have red hair? If so then it could have been either Squeaky Fromme, Sandra Good or Kitty Lutesinger. The younger girl you described would have been the age of these three I named.

John said...

MrPoirot:

I know they were all vigiling at the time, but I can''t say with 100% certainty that they were the hitchhikers. But the younger one was definitly themore sinister.

MrPoirot said...

John you mention the word "sinister" which makes me think of Nancy Pitman who was close to Bruce Davis. Pitman is all over Youtube vigiling outside the courthouse. She was a petite fox that always had nice hair but was one of the more "sinister" Manson girls. She was already sinister when she met Manson despite being very young from a well to do family background.

John said...

MrPoirot:

Re: Nancy Pitman
After checking out her photo, I would say she is a strong possibility.

MrPoirot said...

http://www.lifeaftermanson.com/

Has anybody heard about this movie? I got this link off Star City Radio

katie8753 said...

Yeah, Mr. P. I've heard of it. I've got the trailer on the latest thread on my blog.

sunset77 said...

I've never seen "Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins", in fact I've never even heard of it. I can't find an online stream of the entire film, I can't even find a complete torrent.

I'm currently watching a film I've never seen before called "Easy Rider". It has several things that appeal to me in a movie, motorcycles, music, and I think it was filmed in Technicolor. It was released in 1969 and Technicolor was noticeably the best color process in that period in my opinion. It stars Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda smoking joints and traveling on cycles from LA to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. They meet up with a young Jack Nicholson in jail, Toni Basil (that sang "Mickey") is supposedly in the film.

If any one is interested, it can be streamed online (depending on your browser settings)--->Easy Rider.

Apparently, "Life After Manson" is a 25 minute short documentary that hasn't been released yet. IMDB page is HERE. That film is probably already "in the can" (reference to a finished film with the 35mm reels of film in the cans back in the old days). If I see it online I'll post a comment.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Great post Leary!

"The real crux of the story is singular power of fear and the palpable danger of mindlessness. That is Manson's legacy."

As always, your point is well-stated... and as usual, I agree.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Happy Easter to everyone!

leary7 said...

hey L/S, gracias, good to read everyone.
there is a new show, I think starting tonight, about Salem and the witch trials. Everytime I see the trailer I start daydreaming about a trial for the Witches of Endicino. I swear if I had one wish from the genie it would be to get Brenda, Mary, Ella Jo etc in the docket one last time.

Also, speaking of TV shows, I am greatly embarrassed to admit watching The Following primarily because I am a Kevin Bacon fan. The show is plain vile and the plot lines so insipid it's mind-boggling. That said, the show obviously draws such inspiration for the Manson story I am surprised I have never seen one comment on it on the blogs.

And a Happy Empty Tomb Day to all as well.

MrPoirot said...

Empty Tomb Day?
Last week my aunt turned 100 and I attended her B Day party at a retirement home in the country. I asked her a question on Jesus. Some writing suggests that Jesus was on Earth for a full month or so after he arose. My Aunt said that Jesus may have lived into his 70s after coming back to life. The reason she said this is because Jesus said some things after being arisen that would have required him to have been at an advanced age in order for him to have known about what he spoke. Of what he said my Aunt never told me. "It was a long time ago and nobody really knows how long he stayed on Earth after coming back from death" she said.

BTW it is also Hitler's B Day today. It is also the anniversary of the legalizing of pot in Colorado today. So whatever you are into, today is your day.

leary7 said...

Christianity rises and falls on the empty tomb, Mr P. Christ's resurrection is all that distinguishes the Jesus Movement from hundreds of other religious movements and prophets of the time.
Interesting that the empty tomb story hinges completely on the testimony of women when the testimony of women was not allowed in courts at that time. It boggles the mind how the original movement, which was indeed heavily fueled by women, became such a patriarchal church and remains so today.
We may indeed get President Hillary but I'm holdin out for Pope Alice.

MrPoirot said...



leary7 said...
Christianity rises and falls on the empty tomb, Mr P. Christ's resurrection is all that distinguishes the Jesus Movement from hundreds of other religious movements and prophets of the time
.................................

What about the Easter Bunny?

Doc Sierra said...

MrPoirot said....

What about the Easter Bunny?
-----------------------------
Anybody who's lived on a farm will tell you that those aren't miniature chocolate eggs.....

katie8753 said...

Sunset, thanks for the info. You RULE dude! LOL

Mr. P, does your Aunt call you Mr.Poirot? Did Jesus say "now where did I put those dentures?" LOL.

Okay, I'm just kidding! :)

katie8753 said...

Leary I haven't seen The Following. What channel is that on?

Doc, the Easter Bunny specially wraps those delicious chocolates in special foil. LOL.

Happy Easter everyone!!! :)

leary7 said...

I don't recall seeing the Easter Bunny sitting at the table in The Last Supper. Since he isn't pork the guys probably would have skewered him.

leary7 said...

which makes me wonder...did Jesus Christ, the Son of God, ever taste chocolate? Was it around back then?

leary7 said...

dammit. I gotta finish my thoughts before I post...
The Following is on Fox on Monday nights Katie.

katie8753 said...

Thanks Leary! I'll look for it!

MrPoirot said...

Happy Lenin's birthday!

starship said...

Well, hello, Mr. Kaye. GULP!

I am sorry I didn't like RAFFERTY, but I do believe it is a travesty that STARS SCREAMING and THE DEAD CIRCUS aren't in every school library. AND, I truly hope you are writing more novels, or at least plan too. SMOTHERED was fabulous too.

Any news on the movie version, I FOUGHT THE LAW?

Thanks for coming around.

John said...

Hey Starship,

I'm finishing a new novel, many years in the making, and should have a decent 1st draft by the end of summer. Then: who knows?

RE: I Fought the Law. It's a complicated situation, like everything in Hollywood, but I'm cautiously optimistic that it will get done and not embarrass me. I co-wrote a draft of the script and then decided to step away. Because of a confindentiality agrement I signed, I can't say more.

Thanks for the positive vibes.

JK

MrPoirot said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLUizc-cklg

At the 2:35 point is an interesting description of a trait we all know about from hearing Manson say he "reflects yourself back at you". It has a name:this trait: Cooleys Looking Glass Self.

MrPoirot said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Looking_glass_self

Here is a understandable description of Cooleys Looking Glass Self. The little graphic helps explain what Manson was doing as he delt with different people. Apparently he learned this ability to reflect yourself back at you. It is a con technique apparently.