Saturday, November 27, 2010

Comics in Electra Glide in Blue

Electra Glide in Blue, 1973's vehicle for future Baretta star and future murder suspect Robert Blake, is an occasionally brilliant but often hamhanded look at some of the social ills of the early seventies through the eyes of a diminutive Arizona motorcycle policeman who longs to be a detective. Comics seem to pop up with quite a bit of frequency and unfortunately, as is often the case in older movies and some newer ones, are used to characterize the mentally ill and the stupid.

In this scene, a crazy elderly man portrayed by Elisha Cook, the wonderful veteran actor of Maltese Falcon and Shane, among many others, is involved with a scuffle with orderlies at what seems to be a combination nursing home and mental health facilty. Someone is passing out comics and saying something like "Who wanted Batman?", and all these disturbed elderly men are reading comics. In the foreground, Cook and the orderly are literally fighting at each other with rolled up comics.


It's difficult to see any of the comics clearly, but the one being read in the middle ground, as this detail shows...


Is almost certainly this issue:


A nursing home where they casually pass out Kirby FF issues? I can't wait for retirement!

Throughout the movie, we are also subjected to Blake's partner Zipper, a cretinous cop who lives for three things: his motorbike, cracking hippie skulls, and the comics he reads in the shade while pulled over from the highway.


Whatever comic he's reading here as Blake pontificates, we don't get to see the cover, and it looks slightly outsized to me. According to Zipper, it's a Wonder Woman, as he keeps referring to Wondie's "meat and potatoes". And to think the Lynda Carter show was still in the future.

This film's worth a look as it does capture the era of hippies gradually going from a peace and love thing to more of a drug subculture, as portrayed in Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comics. In the late sixties, they were dropping out, which meant in the seventies they were just dropped out with nowhere to go, only they knew they hated the fuzz and the pigs hated them. Members of the band Chicago play several of the hippies.

5 comments:

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Dan said...

Nice - I wonder if they do Kirby's New Gods too? Maybe that's the reward promised by retirements 'golden handshake'?

rob! said...

Oh wow, nice catch!

chromium said...

Enjoyed this and reminded me I have to see that movie again, been at least 20 years since I saw it last.

karl said...

Loved this movie...