ROBERT ALTMAN–1960s EDITION

In the mid-sixties a company called Color-Sonics developed a visual jukebox that provided what were, in essence, the first music videos. Mini-films were made to accompany pop songs of the day and people could watch as well as listen to their favorite new tunes. The machine was loaded with 16mm film loops specifically created for the jukebox–often they were lip-synced and more than often they were spiced with plenty of sex.

And so we come to Robert Altman’s life in the 1960s. When not busy getting fired from directing shows like ‘Bonanza’ and ’77 Sunset Strip’, Altman eked out a living doing things like directing Color-Sonics shorts such as the one I’ve posted today. The song is ‘Girl Talk’ by Bobby Troup, who also performs it. The conceit of the little film is a simple one: lots of cute young women in their underwear dash and dart around the suave and tuxeodoed Troup, putting on tight dresses, gossiping with each other and acting very go-go. Finally they’re dressed and they escort Troup to a dressing room in which they all disappear. And then what? That’s left to our imaginations. The movie and the song have come to an end. Your quarter was spent, Jack, and that’s all she wrote. The only possible connection one could see between this film and Altman’s later work is the moment of peeping voyeurism when the whole MASH battalion witnesses Hot-Lips in the shower. Perhaps this little film is the one that got him the job directing MASH?

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