Showing posts with label Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers 1971 film - more on the lost short

Freak brothers
Joel Pollack's original art for the movie poster. Thanks to Joel for letting me use it (and then giving it to me!)

I spoke with one of the men behind the movie The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Acquire a Groupie (USA: Reel Meat, ca 1971) tonight after Joel Pollack passed along his contact information. Joel Jacobson called and we talked about his role in creating the short film. The amateur live action short was originally approved by Shelton, although his permission was later revoked. The filmmakers were Bill Pace and Celia Symborski, aided to a large extent by Joel Jacobson who did much of the actual production work. The actors were Jeff Wolfe as Fat Freddy, Tom Scott as Freewheelin' Frank, and Dave Eisner as Phineas.

Mr. Jacobson told me how he got involved in the project.

“I was producing films, actually freelancing. I ended up making education films, but I was doing freelance editing and camera work. I owned everything, all my lights, and sound gear, and I had an editing room in my house. I had a whole bunch of stuff so I could work with an assistant if I needed to.”

“As a kid, I remember seeing the entire Captain Marvel series in Atlanta, GA around 1942 at the neighborhood theater. That was the serial I saw every single chapter of. The Janus Theater showed the entire Batman serial end to end all the way through around 1965.”

“Prior to 1971, in 1969 I did a thing on the Counter-Inauguration with the Yippies demonstrating against the real inauguration of Nixon. That was shown at the Circle Theater, although I didn’t make any money on it. Sometime in the 1970s I started producing stuff.”

He wanted to help Pace and Symbarski because he thought he’d give them the help that he would have liked to have gotten as a young filmmaker. He essentially shot the film for them, using his equipment including sound equipment, lights and a Steenbeck film editing machine. They shot the film in Takoma Park, MD, “where Bill and Cel worked at Maggie’s Farm, a head shop, as well as being students at the University of Maryland, so a lot of the props probably came from there.” This wasn’t an official school project for them though. Eventually he realized that he was doing a lot of the work for them, which to him meant they wouldn’t mature as filmmakers, so he stopped doing so much (which appears to have led to some tensions).

“The show itself didn’t really follow the comic strip faithfully.” Instead of the Princess and the pea ending of the comic strip, “We ended up with the guys taking a toke on a bong. What I did was, I shot the guy and then I shot the scene without the guy, and then I had vibrating thing like a jew’s-harp make a sound, and then the guy vanishes to the bwoooiiing sound when taking a bong hit… It drew a really big laugh.”

Eventually they had to scratch out “Fabulous Furry Freak Bros.” on the release print after Gilbert Shelton objected. The movie was shown to the public though. It was shown at Biograph Theater by Alan Rubin, one of the theater owners.

“They used to have something called Expose Yourself where people would bring films to show. Bill and Cel showed up on Alan’s night and asked if they could show it, and Al said yes and showed it that night. They thought they’d have to go through a procedure, but Al just set up a 16mm projector and showed it right then.” It was shown several times.

Neither he nor Joel Pollack know what happened to Bill Pace. Mr. Jacobson noted that Bill Pace always “carried a wine skin with him and always had a buzz.” Celia Symbarski died after a motorcycle accident. Neither man knows if any copies of the film survive.

Another entry for the Secret History of Comics. If anyone knows of the whereabouts of the film, please contact us!

[1/27/2020: Symbarski corrected to Symborski, per Joel Pollack].

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers movie? UPDATED

Did you know there was a Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers movie? According to Joel Pollack of Big Planet Comics, Gilbert Shelton's underground comic was adapted into a live action short, The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Acquire a Groupie. This was around 1971 by a DC-area filmmaker whose company was Reel Meat. Joel did the promo art and showed it to me today. The filmmakers were Bill Pace and Celia Symbarski aided by Joel Jacobson. The actors were Jeff Wolfe as Fat Freddy, Tom Scott as Freewheelin' Frank, and Dave Eisner as Phineas. Bill Pace would be the only one likely to own a copy, Joel thinks. The movie disappeared when Shelton pulled his approval of the license.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Weingarten and the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and FBOFW

In his June 17th chat, GW amped his coolness factor considerably when he wrote,

One of my prize possessions is an autographed copy of a Furry Freak Bros. book. Gilbert Shelton signed it to me from where he lives, in self-imposed exile, in France. The French still love him. The book is in French.

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers were a great 1960s era comic for stoners. The brothers were Fat Freddie Freak, Freewheelin' Frank Freak, and Phineas Freak. Probably their best known line was: "Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope." They also had a version of that quote where "sex" was substituted for "money." They both rang true back in 1969 or so.

and later, he wrote, He was a terrific cartoonist.

and a question about For Better or For Worse arose:

Elizabeth and Anthony: Re today's FBOFW: Is Lizzie (dare I suggest) knocked up? Is she fishing for a babysitter for Anthony's daughter, or her own bun in the oven? For Better or For Worse, (June 17)

Gene Weingarten: It's hard to be sure; we'll know tomorrow, won't we? My guess is that this is not a Major Announcement, for three reasons. First, I don't think Johnston would go there. Second,they've been talking a while about moving up the date of the wedding so Gramps can be there before he corks. If there were another pressing reason, I think this would indicate a degree of disingenuity about Elizabeth that Johnston wouldn't do. Elizabeth is perfect; the Madonna.

On the other side, look at how shocked Dee is in that final frame. Also, why would they suddenly be borrowing the babysitter? They've had Anthony's girl all along.

I vote no, tho.

Gene Weingarten: Okay, I meant two reasons, not three.

and a comment about Doonesbury:

Kensington, Md: I am slower than molasses in January. It just hit me that Doonesbury is back. Is there anyone else cartooning right now who could take 12 weeks off and expect to get his/her spot back in seemingly every newspaper in the country?

Gene Weingarten: Unfortunately, yes. Garfield, Beetle Bailey, etc.

Though, hm. Maybe not. Maybe sanity would prevail. Maybe that's why those strips never take a vacation.

but For Better issues are raised again...

FBOFW: Oh, Liz is clearly pregnant. "I already feel like a parent" is clue #1, Dee's face is #2, and the fact that Lynn Johnston ain't subtle is #3. Don't scare me like that.

Gene Weingarten: We'll see tomorrow. It's possible. So we have out of wedlock sex! But we also have that weird thing about advancing the wedding so grandpa can go...

I still think no.

and then again...

Washington, D.C.: I'm with Gene. Elizabeth is not pregnant. She feels like a parent b/c of Anthony's already existing child. They will be stealing the babysitter b/c they have been taking it slow, etc., not dating a lot. The wedding was pushed up in direct response to April's comment to move it up so Gramps could go. If she were going to be pregnant out of wedlock, they'd of kept her with the pilot dude

Gene Weingarten: Well, I just think she was ever going to be preggers out of wedlock.


Arlington, Va.: Despite your cogent, detailed analysis of today's For Bettor or for Worse, you are a moron. The sudden ending makes little or no sense unless there's a pending/immediate NEED for a babysitter.

Lynn Johnston has used setups like this for other developments in the strip. Watch that space. And we'll see you in a few weeks at the baby shower.

Gene Weingarten: This is interesting.

I like that we'll know tomorrow. A real-time debate.

and the debate continues...

FOOB: Isn't it obvious? Dee's just horrified that she won't be able to escape from her twee little brats as often as she'd like.

Gene Weingarten: Yeah, I think you're right.

...this obviously struck a nerve...

Seattle: In Re: FBOFW's Elizabeth The Pure -- Remember, she lived with her boyfriend when she was in college; she dumped him after he cheated on her.

Gene Weingarten: Yes, but getting knocked up is different.

So, tune in tomorrow or later this week to see if Elizabeth is knocked up AS THE WORLD TURNS.