Vintage Cable Box: “Eating Raoul, 1982”

“Personally, I draw the line at golden showers.”

Eating Raoul, 1983 (Paul Bartel), 20th Century Fox

Paul Bartel sets up his anarchic exploration of sociology, Eating Raoul, like a pseudo-documentary commenting (with his narration) on the evils of Hollywood; the debauchery, the desperation, and the unusual marriage of food and sex. Mild-mannered snob Paul Bland (Bartel) runs a cash register at a liquor store and (to his manager’s ire) advises his clientele to stay away from cheap alcohol. His wife, Mary Woronov, works as a nurse fending off the advances of her patients. They dream of opening up their own restaurant one day, but the high cost of living (and an absurd rent increase) keeps them from saving the money they need for such a venture.

An amorous swinger attacks Mary and Paul kills him with a frying pan.  They manage to cover up the crime and take the money out of his wallet.  This is what entrepreneurs call the “genius” idea.  While Mary has to deal with lecherous bank officers, Paul is stiffed by prospective buyers of his vintage wine.  Paul and Mary have a natural aversion to sex, but they contemplate making Mary into the image of a dominatrix, and then murdering her clients.  The city, being full of “rich perverts”, is a smorgasbord for Paul and Mary’s financial woes.  They interview a dominatrix, who coaches them on various techniques.

Hot-blooded locksmith and part-time hustler Raoul (Robert Beltran) gets wise to their scheme and offers to dump the bodies, and for a time, the three have an easy partnership.  The Blands, though initially amoral, find themselves trapped in an ethical dilemma as they observe Raoul’s obvious opportunism when he extorts them and sets up his own outside deals.  When a client (Ed Begley, Jr. decked out as a hippie) attempts to rape Mrs. Bland, Raoul comes to her rescue and then subsequently seduces her.  Mary, though locked in for the long haul with her sexless marriage to Paul (who she loves dearly), enjoys a sexual awakening with Raoul, who schemes to drop Paul from their partnership.

The “genius” idea.

Bartel’s direction is unsettling. The smutty nature and appeal of the story is juxtaposed (uncomfortably) with the “screwball comedy” texture of the performances. Some of Bartel’s shots recall Douglas Sirk coupled with the subversive stylings of John Waters. Strangely, the movie works as a piece of sexual exploitation even as it parodies such movies. There are some serious laugh-out-loud moments in the film. Paul discovers Raoul is scamming them, jacking the cars of their victims and selling their remains to a dog food company called “Doggie King.” Bartel would later make the companion piece, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, which reunited him with Woronov and Beltran. Eating Raoul was adapted as a stage musical in 1992.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird). We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images. We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates. About $25-$30 a month.  Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties.

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“The Properties Of Terror”

Properties-of-Terror

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Bronwyn Knox
Notes Cribbed from Martin Grams
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering
Introduction Music: “Train Kept A-Rollin'” (Tiny Bradshaw, Lois Mann) by Tiny Bradshaw
Audio Clips: The New Show “Twilight Zonettes” (featuring John Candy and Buck Henry)
Medical Center (a 1969-1976 medical drama series on CBS starring James Daly and Chad Everett), Wings (a sitcom which ran on NBC from 1990 to 1997 starring Tim Daly), Cagney & Lacey (a 1982-1988 police procedural which ran on CBS starring Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless), “Poltergeist” Music Composed by Jerry Goldsmith, “Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery” (a 1997 film starring Mike Meyers), “Twilight Zone: The Movie” (a 1983 film starring Kathleen Quinlan), Family Guy “Believe It Or Not, Joe’s Walking On Air”, The Twilight Zone “Radio Dramas” “A Stop At Willoughby” starring Chelcie Ross, “Nightmare As A Child”, “A Stop At Willoughby”.

Terry Burnham Memorial Fund
*For the record: Morgan Brittany appeared in the prime time soap opera, Dallas.
Story about the real Ms. Helen Foley

Recorded February 5, 2016

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2016 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode.  Original Music © Alex Saltz copyright 2015.  This podcast, “That Twilighty Show About That Zone” is not affiliated with CBS Entertainment, the CBS Television Network, or The Rod Serling Estate.  Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners.  This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107.  It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well.  If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember, there is no actual pie.  We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot compensate you.  If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind.  I do this ’cause it’s fun, and nothing else. 

Running Time: 38:26 Direct Download