Record City is no High Fidelity, Empire Records, or even FM. Not even Trax in Pretty In Pink. Nope, Record City is a huge story filled with way too many people that all meander around with no story whatsoever, but if you’re interested in film as time capsule of an era, this is certainly one worth opening and looking inside.
DJ Gordon Kong (Rick Dees, the creator of “Disco Duck,” which along with “Dr. Disco” appear in Saturday Night Fever; Dees also wrote the theme for Meatballs, plus hosted Solid Gold and the late night show Into the Night Starring Rick Dees) has a fake gorilla arm and is hosting a talent show in the parking lot while we watch the records get sold inside.
This is an American-International Picture, believe it or not, but it comes at the end of a great run. Get ready for 1978’s best — or worst depending on your point of view — cast, replete with pop culture bit players, the kind we love most around here. There’s Jeff Altman, two years away from The Pink Lady and Jeff (the kind of culture clash that we really would write about if we covered television series, as an engineer. Altman’s in a ton of stuff that I love, like American Hot Wax and Easy Money, as well as some stuff I downright hate like Wacko and Highlander II: The Quickening. Familiar faces include Ed Begley Jr., Sorrell “Boss Hogg, but he’s also in Devil Times Five” Booke, Ruth Buzzi, Pittsburgh native Frank Gorshin, Ted “Isaac the Bartender” Lange, Gallagher, Harold “Oddjob” Sakata, Larry Storch, Tim Thomerson and Wendy Schall (who is in everything from Innerspace to Creature, Munchies, The ‘Burbs and Small Soldiers; you’ll also recognize her voice as Francine on American Dad).
But the film excels at presenting those on the fringes of relevance, even in 1978. Like Dean Martin’s dancing uncle Leonard Barr. Sylvia Anderson, who was in She Devils In Chains, Angels’ Brigade and Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway. John Halsey, who was Barry Wom in The Ruttles. PSA star Joe Higgins. Russell Howard, a skateboarder who also ends up in two Andy Sidaris movies, Hard Ticket to Hawaii and Seven. Nadejda Dobrev from Ed Wood’s Orgy of the Dead. Alan Oppenheimer, the voice of Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Beastman, Cringer, Inch High Private Eye, Vanity Smurf and more. Alice Ghostley (Bernice from Designing Women and Mrs. Murdock in Grease). Tony Giorgio, Satan in Night Train to Terror! March 1974 Playboy Playmate of the Month Pamela Zinszer. And weirdest of all, one-time leader “The Texas Jewboys,” writer Kinky Friedman.
I can’t stop you from checking this out for yourself. I can only tell that this is a total mess. But sometimes, those are the movies we love best, right?
You can watch Record City on Amazon Prime.