An introduction to the films of Andy Sidaris

“We prefer the lighter approach to our brand of entertainment. We like people feeling good at the end of the film.”

Andy Sidaris was born in Chicago but grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana. This city would become the home for many of his later films.

Before he’d go into film, however, Sidaris was an Emmy award-winning sports television pioneer, directed hundreds of hours worth of football and basketball games, Olympic events, and special programs. He was the first director for ABC’s Wide World of Sports, a position that he held for a quarter of a decade. In his Los Angeles Times obituary, he was credited with “techniques that are standard today, including instant replay, slow-motion replay and split-screen views.”

But what Andy was really known for was the honey shot.

That’s the shot that suddenly finds a gorgeous cheerleader or fan before zooming in on them. The kind of shot that took Pamela Anderson from a model at a BC Lions Canadian Football League game to being seen on the Jumbotron as her first step toward stardom.

In an interview with Los Angeles Magazine, Andy said, “Once you’ve seen one huddle you’ve seen them all. So you either look at the popcorn, the guys, or the ladies. The choice is clear to me.”

Sidaris directed The Racing Scene, a documentary about actor James Garner’s racing team and choreographed the football scene in Robert Altman’s MASH. In addition to sports — he was the directorial force behind ABC’s Monday Night Football, he also directed several TV shows like Gemini Man (1976), Kojak and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.

Soon, Andy would discover why he was really put on this Earth: directing b-movies filled with what he called “Bullets, Bombs and Babes (or Boobs).”

1973’s Stacey and 1979’s Seven were the openings salvos in what would soon become an interconnected universe of films — long before Marvel and other movies would form connected films — featuring a rotating cast of the sons of Hollywood royalty like R.J. Moore and Tony Peck alongside a multitude of Playboy Playmates and Penthouse Pets, like Dona Speir, Roberta Vasquez and Julie Strain.

Sidaris’ films were family affairs, with his wife producing and his son directing several of the later films. Many of these films were shot mostly in Shreveport using local actors or those with local ties.

Andy once said, “On the rare occasion that we get criticized, I shrug it off thinking that they simply didn’t get the joke.” I hope that you get that spirit as we cover these movies this week and get that any jokes I make at their expense come from a place of pure love.

I first encountered Malibu Express in the middle of the night as a hormonal teenager and my life was forever changed by Sybil Danning. Just the two words together — or knowing the names of some of the characters — is enough for me to instantly forge a friendship with people.

This week, we’ll be covering every single one of Andy’s films — other than The Racing Scene and MASH — and I hope you’ll join us! You can find plenty of his films on sites like Tubi and Amazon Prime. Or you can grab the Guns, Girls and G-Strings collection from Mill Creek or their two new blu ray releases of Malibu Express and Hard Ticket to Hawaii (Picasso Trigger and Savage Beach are also on the way!).

Plus, we’ll have an interview with Arlene Sidaris on Wednesday and a feature about the ten things I learned from Andy Sidaris films on Friday.

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