Pot, Parents & Police
Blame this one on Jerry Lewis.
Back in the early Seventies, Lewis lent his name to a proposed chain of mini-theaters to be built in various suburban communities that would show only G or PG-rated pictures. That’s right, parents, Jerry Lewis Cinemas would never show an R-rated film let alone one rated X, just good wholesome family entertainment in an era when there wasn’t much in the way of good wholesome family entertainment. Meaning, the theater chain would need product. Which is why instantly recognizable character actor PHILLIP PINE - who appeared on just about every major TV show in the Fifties and Sixties (Superman, Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, The Fugitive, The Outer Limits, Star Trek, etc., etc.) - decided to get the jump on the competition by writing, directing, starring in (with his wife MADELYN KEEN), and bankrolling the PG-rated exploitation film Pot Parents Police which also marks the screen debut of one Martin Margulies, better known today as Mr. JOHNNY LEGEND.
Seriously bummed over the death of his dog, gawky 13-year-old Johnny Lockwood (ROBERT MANTELL) is unable to communicate with his parents in general, and his easy-to-anger Dad (Phillip Pine) in particular: "The kid’s a creep! "Brooding on his bike in Topanga Canyon, Johnny stumbles upon hippies Eric (Johnny Legend) and Signe (SHEILA BRENNAN) who promptly get him high on weed and wine. After they leave the stoned-out-of-his-gourd Johnny on a bus-stop bench, the kid is found by "juvie fuzz man" Marty (ARTHUR BATANIDES of The Unearthly) who calls his father and tries to track down the hippies.
Things quickly deteriorate between Johnny and his parents, so much so that the kid even dreams that his dad shoves him into a furnace and burns him alive. Finally, Johnny does the only sensible thing under the circumstances: he locks mommy and daddy in the basement. He then tries to warn Eric that the cops are looking for him, but Eric and Signe have Mescaline Man and Mescaline Girl as hippie-pad houseguests, and Eric is in serious freak-out mode: "I’m a bird! I’m flying free ....
Though a handful of Jerry Lewis Cinemas were actually built and in operation, the chain quickly went belly up and, ironically, many of the existing theaters ended up being converted into porno grindhouses. And poor Phillip Pine, who hocked his house to raise the film’s $42,000 budget. ended up losing the movie and his home. Though the film did eventually get a limited theatrical release in 1974 - and a change of title from The Cat Ate the Parakeet to Pot Parents Police - it qukicy fell into obscurity. Fortunately, not only have Phillip Pine, Johnny Legend, and Something Weird joined forces to make the film available once more, but Phil and Johnny sit down for a lengthy post-film interview where they discuss the making of the movie as well as Pine’s career intersections with James Dean and Elvis.
From a 35mm print that ’Widens the Generation Gap’·
- Mr. Daddy-O
|Label||Something Weird Video|
|Region tv||Region 0 / NTSC|