“Across the country, every Friday and Saturday night, they gather in the temples to perform ceremonial dances to a rhythm that seems to reach back in time. It’s called the beat.”
That’s how Mondo Teeno, also known as Teenage Rebellion, begins. Paired with Mondo Mod on drive-in screens across the country in 1967, it gave the non-big city kids the low down on what was going on on the Sunset Strip, in Paris and on Carnaby Street with the real British mods. Go-go dancing? Yep. Bikers? You bet. Surfing? Totally.
Burt Topper — yes, the director of The Strangler — has the voiceover here, reminding us just how strange it all is with these young folks protesting, selling their bodies, doing LSD and having wild beatnik shindigs. How shocking — gay people in Italy! Prostitutes in England! Yet today, this all seems positively quaint.
The music, however, is amazing. The soundtrack was produced by Mike Curb, who had a band called The Mike Curb Congregation, which had a song called “Burning Bridges” that was in the Clint Eastwood film Kelly’s Heroes. He also ran MGM Records, where he dropped 18 artists for their drug use, including The Velvet Underground and The Mothers of Invention, which is ironic as Frank Zappa often spoke out against drug use. The whole battle came to a head when his biggest artist, Eric Burdon, asked to be let go of his contract so he could keep doing drugs. He stayed.
Eventually, Ronald Reagan inspired Curb to serve the public. In 1979, he became the lieutenant governor of California for Jerry Brown’s second term before switching from Democrat to Republican, becoming the national co-chairman for Reagan’s 1980 campaign. Unlike many modern right wingers, Curb Curb has been a leading conservative supporter of gay rights and worked with Harvey Milk.
He also wrote an album with Hank Williams Jr., has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is in the Nashville Musicians Hall of Fame and has been added to the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. Check out these wild tunes:
The British scenes were directed by an uncredited Richard Lester (Superman II and III, as well as The Knack… and How to Get It and Help!), but the main film came from Eriprando Visconti and Norman T. Herman, who only would direct one other movie, Tokyo After Dark. That said, he did produce Bloody Mama, Rolling Thunder, Blacula and Frogs.