2020 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 25: The Rosebud Beach Hotel (1984)

Day 25: Hey, Baby, Can You Dance to It? This one has to have at least one substantial dancing scene in it. (And this one has a LOT!)

“Where Sex and Laughter Run Riot.”
“Make your reservation for an explosive time at . . . The Rosebud Beach Hotel.”
— From the Harry Tampa-employed copywriter’s department

Remember the crack I made about Concentration, the ’70s NBC-TV game show and its subsequent board game, in the context of our 2020 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 4 review? In that review I remembered little Jennifer Bates from the Georgia-shot Evil in the Woods grew up to work with director Bret Wood of Kino International, who recently returned to the big screen with Those Who Deserve to Die.

Well, this review is another “concentration” moment: for who else would remember the name of actor Daniel Green and go, “Holy Concentration, Batman! That’s Paco Querak!” And seriously: who else do you know that remembers the character names of D-grade Max Rockatansky and Snake Plissken knockoffs?

“I’d like to solve, Bill. ‘Daniel Green as Paco Querak!'”

Answer: me. And I am damn proud of my gifted “superpowers” that can’t save the world for shite . . . but Sam is lucky to have me on the staff at B&S About Movies to remember such things. Even Bill Van Ryn is amazed of the utter celluloid shite I can recall . . . for an VHS-analog-programmed brain is a terrible thing to waste. (Bill? You’re two weeks behind on the Groovy Doom and Drive-In Asylum plug payments. Don’t make me send Mr. Querak to collect and go apoc on your ass.)

So, back to Paco . . . sometime after doing the network TV rounds with episodes of Three’s Company, Matt Houston, and The Scarecrow (!) and Mrs. King, and The A-Team — and before his entry in the annals of Apocdom with Sergio Martino, aka Martin Doleman (2019: After the Fall of New York), in Hands of Steel — Daniel Green made his big screen debut in this Harry “Tampa” Hurwitz production.

“Oh, no, R.D! Not the Nocturna: Granddaughter of Dracula and Safari 3000 guy?”

Yes, the same guy who thought meshing vampires and disco was box office gold and that the road to the Oscars was paved with Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run good intentions. And ‘ol Harry’s never one to pass on a trend: a “trend’ that Robert Freese of Videoscope Magazine expertly pontificated in his “Exploring: ’80s Comedies” featurette for B&S About Movies. (I accept Paypal, Roger. Again, Paco’s only a phone call away.)

Vampires, African Tundras, and South Beach Hotels, oh, my!

As Robert pointed out, after the Snobs vs. Slobs subgenre (Animal House, Meatballs, Stripes, Caddyshack), the next popular and most common comedy subgenre of the ‘80s was the Sex Comedies/Teen Sex Comedies or — what Robert accurately refers to as — the “Everybody gets laid” movies. And while sex comedies were bountiful in the ’70s and continued in the ’80s, with Tom Cruise’s big screen debut in Goin’ All the Way, Private Lessons, and Waitress!, it was Bob Clark’s Porky‘s, released in 1981 amid those films, that set the stage: for Porky’s was the Star Wars of comedy films.

And Harry Tampa jumped on that porcine ripoff train, baby.

Hey, but wait a minute . . . Harry was already in the sex comedy game! In 1970 he brought us The Projectionist starring Chuck McCann and Rodney Dangerfield (aka the requisite slob vs. snob actor with Caddyshack and Easy Money). And how can we forget that 1978 dirty-ditty Fairy Tales, starring Sy Richardson of Charles Band’s softcore version of Cinderella. And how can we forget Harry’s other Charles Band co-production: Auditions, a documentary on the casting call for the never-made sequel to Fairy Tales. (And while I don’t recall it as “sex comedy”: did you know Harry made Richard, a 1972 satirical biopic on President Richard M. Nixon. True story.)

“R.D. Dude? We get it. You’re a fan of Harry Hurwitz films. So, what’s this all have to do with ‘dancing’ and the Scarecrow Challenge?”

Well, in the universe of Harry “Tampa” Hurwitz, not only do you get lots of beach frolicking and dancing . . . and Paco Querak. You also get Colleen Camp (Valley Girl), Bobbi Flekman from the Polymer A&R Department, Eddie Deezen, Chuck McCann, Hamilton Camp, a has-been Bosom Buddy, and an ex-Runaway. And since Harry had Christopher Lee on the hook from last year’s Safari 3000, he’s shows up, too.

Yes, you heard me right: Sir Christopher Lee in a sexploitation movie.

You heard me right: Runaways, Paco, Draculas, and Buck Rogers. Oh, my!

And “Oh, my!” is right, because this thing — as most ripoffs are — is a mess. Like a Golfballs! ripoff mess. Like a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel mess — only with a few just-for-the-hell-of-it shots of topless bellhop women (by adult film stars Monique Gabrielle, Julia Always, Durga McBroom, Tina Merkle, Julia Parton, and Paula Wood), you know, to sell those tickets . . . but this, like Nocturna, didn’t sell any tickets. . . .

So, the ol’ Count owns a dying hotel on Miami Beach that he’s ready to torch for the insurance money. But his daughter Tracy (Colleen Camp) convinces him that her milquetoast-workaholic fiancé (Peter Scolari) can run the hotel. And Papa Drac hates ol’ Pete, so he’s got a plan in place for the hotel to fail so his daughter dumps him. And to make it all work: Tracy hires hookers (led by Madam Fran Drescher) to work as bellhops to “service” the clientele. And Eddie Deezen . . . is Eddie Deezen . . . the same Eddie Deezen we just reviewed in Beverly Hills Vamp. And if you know your Eddie Deezen you know what we Deez, ah, mean.

“Hey, what about the Runaways?”

Well, Cherie Currie, who long quit the Runaways (of duBeate-o fame) at this point, was attempting to forge a solo career with her sister Marie Currie, which put out their only album, 1980’s Messin’ with the Boys (their cover of Russ Ballard’s — by way of Rainbow and St. Louis’ Head East — “Since You’ve Been Gone” hit #95 on the U.S. Top 100). So why they’re here — as dialogless singing maids — four years after the failure of that album, is anyone’s guess. Well, there’s no guessin’ necessary because, hey, it’s a Harry Tampa production and common sense goes out the 10th floor of the Rosebud (well, actually, the hotel is the “Fiesta,” but that’s plot piffle).

“Hey, wait a sec, R.D? So, is Buster Crabbe in here? You mentioned Buck Rogers.”

Nope, he died in 1983.

“Gil Gerard?”

Nope. The red jump suit.

“The . . . what the frack, R.D?”

The Currie sisters rock out wearing the same jumpsuits Markie Post from NBC-TV’s Night Court wore during her season one guest stint as Joella Cameron on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (the 1979 two-parter “The Plot to Kill a City” if you’re interested). As it turns out, the Universal Studios’ wardrobe department made two suits for the episode — and were shocked to re-discover the matching wares, when fitting the Currie sisters for the film.

Oh, and get this: the sci-fi connection continues . . . as Jay Chattaway, who scored the film, went on to compose the music for the Star Trek TV franchise. Oh, and he scored Maniac, Maniac Cop, and Maniac Cop 2.

Sadly, the Rosebud soundtrack — which the Currie sisters co-wrote with producer Dan Ferguson and their bassist, Stephen Crane — intended to be their follow up to Messin’ with the Boys, was never released. The Currie Sisters’ band also featured ex-Boz Scaggs and soon-to-be Cinderella drummer Jody Cortez (he recorded their hit album Night Songs but left the band before its release). Their guitarist, Duane Sciacqua, was a member of Marie’s husband, Steve Lukather’s, (Toto) solo bands and, with Stephen Crane, Sciacqua recorded an album for MCA Records under the KICKS moniker (“All My Love“). Sciacqua’s since toured and recorded with Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, and Paul McCartney, and scored Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra.

While you can enjoy the Currie sisters tearin’ up their beach concert, you can enjoy several songs from the soundtrack, via film clips, on You Tube — and yes, each of the clips features LOTS of dancing, as per the Scarecrow requirement!

  1. Romeo
  2. “Where’s the Music”
  3. Here He Comes
  4. “Come Down to Miami”
  5. “Meltdown”
  6. “Don’t Like No Parties”
  7. “Baby Baby”
  8. “Scratch”
  9. Steel

You can watch — and dance to, and drool to Fran Drescher in a bellhop uniform — The Rosebud Beach Hotel on You Tube. And all kidding aside, Harry. We love you. Thanks for VHS and cable memories.

Hey, be sure to check out our “Drive-In Friday” tribute to five of good ol’ Uncle Harry’s films!

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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