Fifty years ago—in the perfect pop culture year of 1966—Woody Allen did his first film project for American International Pictures, home to Roger Corman, monsters, bikers, acid heads and futuristic Death Races looking way forward to the year 2000. I say film project as he didn’t make his first film, he sort of stole it! Legally.
Basically Allen took the Japanese action film International Secret Police: Key of Keys and re-dubbed the dialogue, changing the plot to make it revolve around a secret egg salad recipe being fought over by rival James Bond-type spy characters. The film became What’s Up Tiger Lily? and was quite well received. The idea had been done before of course, on a smaller scale by Rocky and Bullwinkle creator Jay Ward for his Fractured Flickers TV series in 1963, and surely others had toyed with the concept, but not in a feature length film. The opportunities for juvenile, MAD Magazine humor were endless and very funny.
What’s Up Tiger Lily? created a model that has been followed by some of the funniest people in history. Here is the trailer in which Allen explains to an unsuspecting public what it is that he has done. (The entire film can also be found on YouTube.)
The next one of these dubbed comedies that comes to mind was in fact done by two of the funniest people to ever grace this planet, Phillip Proctor and the late Peter Bergman of Firesign Theatre fame. In 1979 Proctor and Bergman took clips from 1940s Republic Serials and overdubbed and rewrote an extremely stoned cliffhanger entitled J-Men Forever, starring themselves in newly filmed black and white bits that were inserted into the insane mess of rearranged reality. To top this off they used modern loud rock n roll music for the soundtrack.
To quote the blurb under the YouTube clip:
J-Men Forever became the signature for Night Flight’s stoned comedy audience in the 1980’s. This ultimate late night chronic high comedy was the most demanded rerun for the entire 8 years Night Flight was on the USA Network.
After the jump, experience the inspired insanity of ‘The Rusty James Show’...