Rock and Roll In Early Bloom
Go, Johnny Go! (1959) Glows On DVD
Now why would I have gone to the
Rock/Roll movies were miser cheap, except where majors took a dip with Elvis or satiric dissect of youth culture like The Girl Can't Help It. Triumvirate of experts Richard M. Roberts, Randy Skretvedt, and Brent Walker tell us that Go, Johnny Go! was shot in five days. Work ethic among low-budget filmmakers must have been immense. We could learn much from them beyond making of fast films. Go, Johnny Go! has oodles of acts on crisp B/W and wide (proper 1.85 for a first time since theatrical). There is Chuck Berry, Jackie Wilson, aforementioned Cadillacs, Eddie Cochran. Ill-fated Richie Valens gets a look-in but months before plane-crashing with Buddy Holly and others, he plus Cochran a remind that R&R often walked tandem with untimely death (yet Berry's still with us --- at 90). Ringmaster of these is Alan Freed, another of short life (d. 1965), but immortal as sandpaper reverse to clean-liver Dick Clark, who'd pick up marbles Freed dropped or threw away during mutual climbs to Big Beat summit.
My favorite R&R is better called RR&R, or fuller put, Raffish Rock and Roll, as in all of rough edges there, these performers sprung from the street w/ precious little of handling to sap out talent that made them distinctive. Remember politeness imposed on pop acts from early 60's on? I'd play my hard-acquired single of Please Mr. Johnson, then ponder my sister's latest Bobby Vee album, where he'd exalt orange as a favorite sweater color (and to think, Vee was promoted to ease loss of Buddy Holly). Go, Johnny Go! seems to me a last call for mastodons of music served raw till corporate sent small labels and their artists to extinct-ville. I'll take this over what came to displace it, Go, Johnny Go! a museum walk through rock and roll before dread harness was slipped round its throat. Trouble, of course, was corrupting smell of dollars this stuff gave off where marketed on big enough scale. A movie like Go, Johnny Go! just couldn't be made once big dogs joined the hunt. A wonder such stomped-out goods, with later-depleted talent (those partings plus