IN which a baby Tuesday Weld (13 years old!) gets into a strange bargaining situation with fifteen dollars and a forty-five dollar dress. The nature of this little convoluted transaction relying on a premise of greed would basically seal her fate as the gold-digging Thalia on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis a few years later. Meanwhile Alan Freed is announcing musical act after musical act, on a dance floor and on the TV and again in a live venue. Most of these acts are forgettable orchestra nonsense, but a couple of the lip-sync’d bits are Chuck Berry and Johnny Burnette (as a trio lacking a drummer, but drums are quite obvious!). Chuck mimes none of his licks (as a guitarist I’m always watching his massive hands for clues).
Few things irritate a rock fan of my era more than a standard war era Jazz orchestra calling their shuffle “rock and roll” just because it’s built on a twelve-bar blues. I may be snobby, but if you’re a forty piece brass and reed high school band, you’re not playing rock and roll, even if you have some goon in a suit singing about teenage love out in front. I will brook no argument about such! The worst of the material by Johnny Burnette is when they take his trio away and stick him in a giant jazz orchestra like he’s Sinatra or something. Rock and roll, despite it’s many incarnations is best stripped down and raw and played by working class people. I realize that ousts a lot of people and granted I make exceptions for certain acts (Bush, Bjork or Bowie), but generally don’t care that much for “vocalist” music. I far prefer instrument wizards and will always gravitate toward those acts.
Back to our film, . . . well, uh, that’s about it. Tuesday’s little girlfriend is boy crazy and it’s always adorbs when such little kids are sure their lives are over and they’ll never get what they want . . . but the true reason for the film is a chance to sell a bunch of acts that span a few record labels. Apparently these Alan Freed music “band stand” type films spanned a few years and numbered about five. They are prefect for your fast forward to just glimpse a few of the era’s forgotten talents, and remind you of how amazingly raw and “savage” (in that kid’s way of using it) bands like the original British Invasion acts were. It’s all too easy for us to not realize it as most of us weren’t there. Once the Beatles came on the scene most of these acts with the exception of Chuck Berry (who soon enough never wrote another tune) and Johnny Burnette (who would tragically die an a boating accident) would be entirely lost to history.
this is a freebie on prime and worth a speed through if you love old music.
2 thoughts on “Rock Rock Rock! (1956)”
Tuesday Weld at 13? What? That’s news to me!
yep! 13 year old little cutie, who doesn’t age for the next fifteen years. She looks pretty much like that through the sixties.