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Bob Hope and Raquel Welch’s unfortunate cover of ‘Rocky Raccoon,’ 1970
12:46 pm


Raquel Welch
Bob Hope
the Beatles

Rocky Raccoon sheet music; pictured here are its two very famous composers

There have been countless covers of Beatles songs over the decades, but surely one of the most regrettable has to be the version Raquel Welch and Bob Hope essayed of “Rocky Raccoon,” an original and enjoyable song off of side 2 of The White Album. The cover version Welch and Hope executed wasn’t a record, it was part of Raquel!, a Raquel Welch TV special that aired on CBS in 1970—DM’s Richard Metzger once described it as “a camp time capsule full of Bob Mackie dresses, Paco Rabanne spacesuits and Bob Hope singing “Rocky Raccoon” wearing a Davey Crockett hat.” Welch and Hope had a close relationship, she was a staple of his USO tours, one (perhaps two?) that the troops were always overjoyed to see.

The western motifs McCartney employed in his ditty provided the producers with an irresistible opportunity to put together a slapstick pastiche sketch à la The Monkees or Laugh-In or Benny Hill. Not that there’s anything wrong with that per se, but the gags are pretty lazy. Welch can’t pass up the chance to do Mae West, and I’m not sure if whatever Hope is doing qualifies as Sprechgesang or Sprechstimme, but it ain’t singing (he sounded better doing “Thanks for the Memory”). Welch’s voice, however, is very nice but she makes no effort to capture the spirit of the original.

John Lennon got the last word on this subject. As Geoffrey Giuliano reported in Blackbird: The Life and Times of Paul McCartney, Lennon’s quote on the subject ran, “I saw Bob Hope doing it once on the telly years ago, I just thanked God it wasn’t one of mine.”


Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Raquel Welch in campy 70’s TV variety show (with space dancers)

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Mae West proving she was still ‘Hard to Handle’ at the age of 77

The incomparable Mae West proving she was still “Hard to Handle” at the age of 77. Here Ms West sings the Otis Redding classic from the 1970 movie Myra Breckinridge. The film, based on the novel by Gore Vidal, and starred Raquel Welch, Farrah-Fawcett and Mae West, but was sadly a flop. Watching this fab little clip, who couldn’t be won over by the incorrigible Statue of Libido?

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Mae West Room in the Dali Theater-Museum

With thanks to Tommy Udo!

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Hard-boiled Frank Sinatra: Tony Rome will get ‘em if they don’t watch out

“Tony Rome” was Frank Sinatra’s hard-boiled detective alter-ego in two films, 1967’s Tony Rome and its 1968 sequel, The Lady in Cement. Bucking the trend of Bond and the sub-Bonds like Our Man Flint (with James Coburn) and the “Matt Helm” series starring his Rat Pack buddy, Dean Martin, the “Tony Rome” movies were much more noirish in their approach, although, natch, this being Ol’ Blue Eyes, there were silly, sexist and “in joke” elements aplenty in the films.

Sinatra was directed in both films by Gordon Douglas (who directed him in Robin and the 7 Hoods) and surrounded by A-list cast members Raquel Welch, Bonanza’s Dan Blocker, Jill St. John, Gena Rowlands and sexy Sue Lyon (who played the title role in Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita).

I have always particularly liked the jaunty theme song to Tony Rome, written and produced by Lee Hazelwood and sung by Nancy Sinatra, you can hear it here.

Hugo Montenegro provided the groovy soundtrack to Lady in Cement, here’s the trailer:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The most desired woman: Sarah Palin as Raquel Welch
02:45 pm


Sarah Palin
Raquel Welch

The original Raquel Welch photo can be found here.

Get off the cross, we could use the wood

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Raquel Welch in campy 70’s TV variety show (with space dancers)

Raquel Welch photographed by Terry O’Neill. Available at the SF Art Exchange.
Raquel! was a multimillion dollar 1970 TV variety special starring Raquel Welch, Tom Jones, John Wayne and Bob Hope. It’s a camp time capsule full of Bob Mackie dresses, Paco Rabanne spacesuits and Bob Hope singing Rocky Raccoon wearing a Davey Crockett hat. It was shot all over the world, in Paris, London, Mexico City, Los Angeles, the Big Sur coast and elsewhere. 

A treat for the eyes (in every way) it was. For the ears, not so much. Welch sings a number of pop standards of the day, often with dancers in fully choreographed production numbers. There’s often a thematic disconnect of the material to the visuals, such as when Welch croons California Dreamin’ with the Eiffel Tower behind her. This contributes greatly to the “offness” of the proceedings. One reviewer compared Raquel! to “a community college production of Barbarella.” A highlight is Tom Jones lip-syncing I Who Have Nothing as he gazes longingly at the jaw-dropping sex bomb in front of him.

This first came out on VHS in the early 90s and I used to give it frequently as a gift. I gave one copy to Pizzicato Five’s Maki Nomiya and she later told me that she had a dinner party in Tokyo when she screened it for a group of friends and it went down a treat. That’s how this it should be viewed, in a group, with at least 2 or 3 drag queens in the mix, and a lil’ herbal “entertainment insurance.” It’s a guaranteed recipe for party success! It’s out on DVD now.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment