Amazon Women On The Moon
“AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON”
In “Amazon Women on the Moon,” John Landis and Robert K. Weiss, the director and producer of the hit anthology comedy, “Kentucky Fried Movie,” mount another irreverent attack upon the major and minor annoyances of contemporary life together with the lunacy of the mass media, and offer an affectionate tribute to some of the silliest spectacles ever created in the name of entertainment.
“Amazon Women On The Moon” is a-John Landis Production, written by Michael Barrie and Jim Mulholland, directed- by Joe Dante, Carl Gottlieb, Peter Horton, John Landis and Robert K. Weiss, produced by Robert K. Weiss. John Landis and George Folsey, Jr. are executive producers and Robb Idels is associate producer of the Universal Pictures release. The director of photography is Daniel Pearl. The editors are Bert Lovitt, Marshall Harvey and Malcolm Campbell
SYNOPSIS OF SEGMENTS
1. Arsenio Hall plans a quiet afternoon in his apartment, but his apartment has other ideas.
2. The daily life of a centerfold (Monique Gabrielle) unfolds before your eyes.
3. Lou Jacobi is a “couch potato” who gets deeper into TV than he ever expected.
4. In the post-natal wing of the hospital, a “tap-dancing” doctor, (Griffin Dunne) counsels puzzled parents Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter Horton.
5. A local merchant has the solution to balding — hairlooming.
6. The adventurous all-American space voyagers, the love- starved Moon maidens, and a mascot monkey named Looney — all in an affectionate replay of the ultimate tacky sci-fi flick. Starring Steve Forrest as Captain Steven Craig, Sybil Danning as Queen Lara, Robert Colbert as the navigator “Blackie,” Joey Travolta as “Butch,” and Lana Clarkson as the innocent but eager Alpha Beta. With Forrest a Ackerman as the President.
7. B.B. King narrates a public service spot that pleads for the cure of a terrible affliction — “Blacks Without Soul.”
8. It’s fail-safe dating, when Rosanna Arquette checks out Steve Guttenberg, on a not-so blind date.
9. Was Jack the Ripper really the Loch Ness monster? Henry Silva asks the question of our time: “Bullshit or Not?”
10. Those TV movie critics (played by Lohman and Barkley) have picked apart every film in town. Their next target: the real life of Harvey Pitnik (Archie Hahn).
11. It’s an hors d’oeuvre and a novelty item: the newest thing in Baby Boomer party games is “Silly Pate.”
12. With Steve Allen as master of ceremonies, Charlie Callas, Slappy White, Rip Taylor, Jackie Vernon, and Benny Youngman are on the dais for “Roast Your Loved One.”
13. Yo ho ho and all hands on deck! Tape deck, that is. It’s the attack of the Video pirates, led by William Marshall.
14. “Son of the Invisible Man,” played by Ed Begley Jr., has finally perfected the family formula. So he thinks.
15. When a major museum loses its lease, the art world adopts modern marketing methods.
16. Henry Silva returns to ask: Did an iceberg really sink the Titanic or was it a church steeple?
17. A commercial for a new best-seller, “First Lady of the Evening” is the last word in White House scandals. Angel Tompkins is the upwardly mobile wife whose past catches up with her in the Lincoln Room.
18. The friendly neighborhood druggist — Ralph Bellamy in his 100th film role — helps an unsuspecting teenager become “Titan Man.” Hosting the surprise event is Howard Hesseman.
19. No date Saturday night? See the man behind the counter (film director Russ Myer) for the ultimate in personalized home video. The “star” is Marc McClure. His “date” is former Penthouse Pet-Of-The-Year, Corinne Wahl.
20. A Thirties-style message movie, “Reckless Youth,” stars Carrie Fisher in the title role. Film director Paul Bartel is the doctor who dispenses wisdom about “social disease” in the big city.
“Amazon Women On The Moon,” with 162 speaking roles and 100 sets, was filmed in 48 days on 32 locations in the Los Angeles area, ranging from the rocks of_Zuma Beach and a pharmacy in San Pedro to Los Angeles City Hall ( which, on a weekend, doubled as an art museum, draped with a huge banner, “Going out of Business.”) The company was never on location more than two days, always utilizing two, and sometimes four soundstages at all times, in various stages of production.
Most of “Amazon Women’s” interior sets were constructed at the small but historic S&A Studios. According to production designer , Ivo Christante, the crew filmed their “Video Pirates” ship, the “Amazon Women” interiors, all of “Reckless Youth,” the Pitnik home in “Critic’s Corner,” and the apartment in “Two I.D.’s, Please” on the same soundstages where Mary Pickford and Mae West once worked and where Robert Aldrich directed “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”
The set for the “Son of the Invisible Man” was at GMT Studios. Cinematographer Daniel Pearl’s lighting styles employed the bold hues of old Technicolor for the “Amazon Women” space parody, and a gritty black-and-white documentary look for “Reckless Youth,” as well as the subtle, Thirties-style “Son of the Invisible Man” and the foggy streets of Victorian London in the “Loch Ness Monster” expose.
“Amazon Women on the Moon” is directed by five filmmakers: Joe Dante (“Gremlins”), Carl Gottlieb (screenwriter of “Jaws” and “The Jerk”), Peter Horton (“One Too Many”), John Landis (“Animal House,””Kentucky Fried Movie,” “Trading Places”) and Robert K. Weiss (producer of “The Blues Brothers,” “Kentucky Fried Movie” and “Dragnet”) making his feature directorial debut.
Among the many star cameos are appearances by Steve Allen, Rosanna Arquette, Ed Begley, Jr., Ralph Bellamy, Sybil Denning, Griffin Dunne, Carrie Fisher, Steve Forrest, Steve Guttenberg, Michelle Pfeiffer and Henny Youngman.
The idea for “Amazon Women on the Moon” was conceived by Landis and Weiss, who, for years had mulled over the prospect of making a more outrageous comedy after the success of “Kentucky Fried Movie,” which Landis directed and Weiss produced. Once the production was set, it was Weiss who discovered screenwriters Michael Barrie and Jim Mulholland for the project.
The winners of the 1986 Writers Guild Award for scripting “The Ratings Game,” starring Danny DeVito for Showtime, Barrie and Mulholland are making their feature film writing debut with “Amazon Women on the Moon.” Weiss spotted their work on the cable comedy show, “Likely Stories.” “Their writing had the right comedic spirit,” says Weiss. “This kind of comedy isn’t easy to write.
It’s based on bizarre premises. When you parody something, you’ve got to know the originals very well. Their work had the right twists and turns.” Barrie and Mulholland wrote over a period of a year, and turned in about 360 pages of material, enough for three movies. “We tried to make each section a mini-movie in itself,” says Mulholland, “and to cover different areas of life and different age groups, to give the movie its broad appeal.”
As “research,” the writers rented old movies, watched a lot of videos and television, especially The Late Show, screened “Kentucky Fried Movie” (which they hadn’t seen before) and drew on their own experiences.
For the neo-natal segment, “Hospital,” for example, Barrie and Mulholland reflected on the impressions of Barrie and his wife, who had given birth two years earlier. Barrie describes the trendy couple in the segment as “over-prepared. But nothing can prepare people for the way they are sometimes treated in the hospital,” he says. Of “Two I.D.’s,” the segment that matches Rosanna Arquette with Steve Guttenberg on a high-tech blind date, Mulholland says, “In the invasion of privacy, this is the next logical step.” Adds Barrie, “The comedy is based on everyone’s fears of getting matched up with a real jerk and of having your partner see through to the real you.” The writers call the “Amazon Women” segment the “quintessential bad Fifties movie you see at 3 a.m. We used to watch these on the ‘Million Dollar Movie’ in New York. Many people only know these films from TV. It’s our tribute to the genre and to The Late Show, complete with commercial interruptions and scratches on the film.”
Executive producer/director Landis, who was preparing to direct “Three Amigos” was too preoccupied at the time to direct all twenty segments of “Amazon Women on the Moon” and sought out four additional filmmakers. He explains that “a film like this provides the chances to make shorts, to do unorthodox material and to give opportunities to new talent.”
Joe Dante, who began his career in low-budget, offbeat, independent films under the auspices of Roger Conan, co-wrote “Rock “n” Roll High School” and directed “Gremlins,” welcomed the opportunity to direct what he terms, “bizarre, off-the-wall humor,” including satires of message movies, television critics and commercialized funerals.
Veteran comedy writer (“The Jerk,” “Which Way Is Up?”) Carl Gottlieb calls “Amazon Women” “culture shock comedy. To make people laugh, you’ve got to surprise them, but in today’s society, it’s hard to top life for shock value,” he explains. In his segments, a major art museum adopts modern marketing techniques, The Son of the Invisible Man continues experimenting with the family formula and a Playboy centerfold comes to life.
Peter Horton, who makes his entry into feature film directing, follows a career as an actor and is the director of a highly acclaimed television special. When Horton’s wife, actress Michelle Pfeiffer, starred in Universal Picture’s “Into the Night,” Horton met director John Landis and showed him his television movie, “One Too Many.” Landis was impressed with the sensitive drama about teen-age drunk driving, which contained a surprise element that, says Landis, “fooled me completely.” So when it came time to pick a director for “Amazon Women,” Landis remembered Horton. Pfeiffer was later chosen to play a new mother in Landis’ hospital segment, and Horton was “type-cast” as her husband.
Landis, the director of the popular “Kentucky Fried Movie,” as well as the hit comedy features “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” and “Trading Places,” also directed the 14-minute rock video, “Michael Jackson’s Thriller.” His “Amazon Women” segments are “Blacks Without Soul,” a parody of a public service commercial; “Mondo Condo,” in which “slapstick is taken to its logical conclusion;” the hospital sequence, of which Landis says, “doctors are such authority figures that I loved the idea of a loony doctor,” and “Video Date,” an exercise in state-of-the art media involvement which features director Russ Meyer in the small role of a video salesman. This portion, says Landis, is a tribute to Meyer, “a uniquely American director. He’s as American as Grandma Moses.”
For producer/director Robert K. Weiss, one of the pleasures of making “Amazon Women on the Moon” was “the chance to cast actors whom we have grown up loving to watch. Actors like Ralph Bellamy and Steve Forrest.” (Coincidentally, “Amazon Women” is Bellamy’s 100th film.) “I always wondered why Steve Forrest had never been in a sci-fi picture,” says Weiss. “He told us that he turned down the role (later played by Leslie Nielson) in ‘Forbidden Planet’ and had been suspended for it by MGM. In ‘Amazon Women,’ as Captain Steven Craig, he wears the costume worn by Nielsen in ‘Forbidden Planet.”
Weiss’ segments include the misadventure of a lusty teenager who inadvertently becomes the one millionth condom customer in Ralph Bellamy’s drug store; a commercial for a new Yuppie snack food; Lou Jacobi as a nebbish who is zapped into his television set; the visual pun “Video Pirates,” and the multi-part “Amazon Women on the Moon.” The latter is Weiss’ tribute to the space flicks of the fifties, “a genre I love.” The sequence was filmed largely at Vasquez Rocks, which film buff Weiss refers to as “a movie shrine.We’ve all seen it hundreds of times in western interplanetary adventures.”
Weiss, who produced “Kentucky Fried Movie” in 23 days, is an expert at rapidly paced productions like “Amazon Women on the Moon.”
“One day you’re on a pirate ship in the Caribbean,” he says “and the next you’re on the moon. In the morning, you’re in a British pub in the Thirties, in the afternoon, you’re in a hot tub for a Playboy video.”
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
JOHN LANDIS, one of the five directors of “Amazon Women On the Moon” is also the film’s executive producer.
He has directed such motion pictures as “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” and “Trading Places” and the 14-minute video of “Michael Jackson’s Thriller.”
For biographical information and a additional credits, see THE DIRECTORS.
“Amazon Women On The Moon” marks the directorial debut of ROBERT K. WEISS, who previously produced the films, “Kentucky Fried Movie,” “The Blues Brothers” and “Dragnet,” starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks.
For additional biographical information and credits, see THE DIRECTORS.
“Amazon Women On The Moon” continues the association of GEORGE FOLSEY JR. with John Landis, a growing creative partnership that began in 1971.
Folsey was the co-producer with Landis of “Into the Night,” and served as the executive producer of “Trading Places,” , a Landis/Folsey film, which was one of the most popular movies of 1983 and the recipient of the NAACP Image Award for Best Motion Picture of 1983. With Landis and Michael Jackson he co-produced and was film editor on the rock video “Michael Jackson’s Thriller,” on which Landis was also the director and co-writer. This 14-minute short, packaged with the documentary “The Making of ‘Michael Jackson’s Thriller,” was the first videocassette to achieve Platinum cassette status.
Folsey served in key production positions on three more Landis-directed films: as the producer of “An American Werewolf in London”; the associate producer of the first story and introduction to the anthology feature “Twilight Zone — The Movie”; and the associate producer of “The Blues Brothers.”
George Folsey is the son of one of Hollywood’s leading cinematographers, George Folsey Sr. After graduating from Pomona College, he worked as an editor for five years at KABC-TV in Los Angeles, on specials, news and documentaries. He developed much of his editing style under the guidance of Henry Berman, as Berman’s assistant cutter on “Grand Prix.” Among his additional editing work, Folsey was consulting editor on “The Great Santini.” Group One Productions, a company Folsey formed with cameraman Bob Collins,shot and edited all the filmed (vs. taped) material on “Laugh-In,” including comedy sketches and musical numbers.
Folsey’s first film as a producer was “Glass Houses,” starring Jennifer O’Neill, an independently made feature acquired for distribution by Columbia. _On this project, he was also the editor and camera operator.
JOE DANTE is the director of “Gremlins,” the horror-thriller that grossed more than $200 million at the box-office world-wide.
Following Amazon Women On The Moon, he directed the action- adventure-comedy “Innerspace,” starring Dennis Quaid, Martin Short and Meg Ryan.
A graduate of Philadelphia’s prestigious College of Art, Dante started as a trailer editor at Roger Corman’s New World Pictures in 1974. Under the Conan banner, he made his directing debut with the exploitation spoof “Hollywood Boulevard,” co-directed by Allan Arkush; directed the successful “Piranha;” co-wrote the original story for “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” and edited Ron Howard’s “Grand Theft Auto.”
Dante went on to direct the werewolf thriller “The Howling;” the whimsically horrific “It’s a Good Life” segment of “Twilight Zone — The Movie;” and the science-fiction feature “Explorers.”
Prior to working on “Amazon Women,” Dante directed an episode of “Amazing Stories” titled “Boo.”
CARL GOTTLIEB‘s writing credits include “The Jerk,” “Jaws,” “Jaws 2,” and “Jaws 3-D.” His work on “Jaws was nominated for the British Academy Award, The Golden Globe, and the Writers Guild Award. He made his directing debut with the 1978 Academy Award-nominated short “The Absent-Minded Waiter,” starring Steve Martin.
Born in New York City, Gottlieb graduated from Syracuse University in Theatre and Journalism. After U.S. Any service, he became the first stage manager of The Committee, the popular satirical improvisational revue, in San Francisco. When the show went to Broadway, Gottlieb became the director of the San Francisco company and later rejoined the show as an actor. During a Los Angeles run of The Committee, Gottlieb wrote for The Glen Campbell Show and then joined the popular Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour full time, winning an Emmy for Best Written Musical/Variety/Comedy series.
Gottlieb and his then wife produced “Celebration at Big Sur,” a feature-length documentary about the Big Sur Folk Festival, released by 20th Century Fox. During this period he also toured briefly with the radical activist show “F.T.A.” and created a series of 140 comedic television commercials for the Celanese Corporation.
After working as a story editor on “The Odd Couple,” Gottlieb re-wrote “Jaws” the blockbuster on which Gottlieb shares the writing credit with the novelist, Peter Benchley. Gottlieb’s “The Jaws Log,” a chronicle of the creation of the film, is the
largest-selling book about the making of a movie. During the 1974-75 television season, Gottlieb wrote TV specials with Lorne Michaels, Lily Tomlin, Richard Pryor and Flip Wilson and episodes of “The Odd Couple” and “The Bob Newhart Show.”
In 1977, he adapted the Italian comedy “The Seduction of Mimi” into the Richard Pryor feature “Which Way Is Up!”
Gottlieb made his directing debut in 1978 with the Steve Martin theatrical short “The Absent-Minded Waiter,” which was Oscar- nominated. He then collaborated with Martin on the story and screenplay for the hit comedy “The Jerk.”
In 1982 and 1984 Gottlieb produced and directed the stage shows “Night of at Least a Dozen Stars,” as well as the all-star benefits for The National Committee for an Effective Congress. They were videotaped and telecast as specials, on HBO and Showtime.
PETER HORTON makes a unique entry into feature film directing with a segment of the anthology comedy “Amazon Women On The Moon.”
He also acts in another section of the 20-part film opposite his wife, Michelle Pfeiffer.
Horton, born in Bellevue, Washington, has acted in a variety of feature films. He played a doctor in “Children of The Corn,” a Moonie in “Split Image” with Karen Allen, a photographer in “Fade to Black,” and in the recent “Where the River Runs Black,” Horton was a Catholic priest opposite Charles Durning.
Through acting, Horton became interested in directing, and when he wasn’t working on camera he was studying behind it. In 1984, he wrote and directed a video production of the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story “Three Hours Between Planes,” with Michelle Pfeiffer as executive producer. The film landed Horton a television movie writing assignment from Highgate Productions. His script was never produced, but it helped lead to Horton’s debut as a television director with the film “One Too Many,” a drama about teen-age drunk driving. This movie was made as an “Afternoon Special” for ABC-TV, but when programming executives saw the sensitive film they placed it in prime time.
Horton’s other TV movie acting credits include “Miracle On Ice,” “Freedom” and “Choices of the Heart.”
“Amazon Women On The Moon” is the tenth feature film of JOHN LANDIS, who also serves as executive producer. Landis also directed “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” one of the top-grossing comedies in film history, “Trading Places,” which received the NAACP Image Award for Best Motion Picture of 1983, and most recently “Three Amigos,” starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short.
In addition, Landis directed, co-produced (with George Folsey, Jr. and Michael Jackson), and co-wrote (with Michael Jackson), the latter’s rock video “Michael Jackson’s Thriller.” This 14-minute short, coupled with the documentary “The Making of ‘Michael Jackson’s Thriller’,” was the first videocassette to achieve Platinum cassette status. Together with his longtime associate George Folsey Jr., co-producer of “Into The Night,” Landis was one of the executive producers of Orson Welles’ film “The Cradle Will Rock.”
Among his other credits are the writing, direction and co-production (with Steven Spielberg) of the first story in “Twilight Zone–The Movie” and the introductory section of that anthology feature. Further credits include the writing and direction
of “An American Werewolf in London” and the direction and co-writing (with Dan Aykroyd) of “The Blues Brothers.”
Early in his career, Landis directed the low-budget anthology comedy “Kentucky Fried Movie.” His first film was the low-budget monster comedy “Schlock.”
ROBERT K. WEISS produced the large-scale musical comedy hit “The Blues Brothers” and the popular, independently made anthology “Kentucky Fried Movie,” both with John Landis as director.
On “Amazon Women On The Moon” Weiss makes his feature film debut as a director. He has also produced “Dr. Detroit” and television’s “Police Squad,” recipient of two Emmy nominations, and has directed numerous music videos, as well as the Showtime Special “The Complete Al: The Amazing and Almost True Story of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Legend” starring “Weird Al” Yankovic.
“Amazon Women On The Moon” marks the feature film debut of the writing team of Michael Barrie and Jim Mulholland, who won the 1986 Writers Guild Award for “The Rating Game,” a satire on TV ratings, starring and directed by Danny DiVito, for Showtime.
Barrie and Mulholland entered the producing field in 1986 with their script, “Many Happy Returns,” a CBS-TV comedy about the world’s worst tax audit, starring George Segal, Ron Liebman, and Helen Shaver. Among the team’s other credits are a variety of shows, including the Showtime comedy series “Likely Stories,” where their work was first spotted by “Amazon Women” producer Robert K. Weiss.
Mulholland, who was born on Long Island, New York began writing jokes as a teenager, planting them with various columnists, including Earl Wilson, Ed Sullivan and Robert Sylvester. While attending Newark State College to avoid the draft, Mulholland started writing for Joan Rivers between classes.
Michael Barrie was born in the Bronx and raised mostly in Queens. He attended Syracuse University, graduated from NYU with a degree in Journalism, and spent one year in Brooklyn Law School before switching careers.
Mulholland and Barrie met as writers for the Tonight Show, where they worked for twelve years, earning an Emmy nomination in 1980. As a team, they have scripted shows for the television series, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “All in the Family” and a season of “Welcome Back Kotter.” Their play, “Good Evening, Ladies and Gentlemen” was staged at the PAF Playhouse in Long Island, and they walked on the radio show “Ivan the Terrible,” starring Lou Jacobi. Jim Mulholland is also the author of “The Abbott and Costello Book,” a definitive study.
BERT LOVITT’S editing credits includes Martin Scorsese’s “New York, New York” and Elvis Presley’s last feature film, “Elvis on Tour,” as well as “Harry’s War,” “A Force of One,” “On the Edge,” and “The Beast Within.” He produced as well as edited Scorsese’s “American Album.”
Lovitt wrote and directed “Prince Jack,” a drama about Presidents John Kennedy. His television editing includes the specials “Palmerstown USA” for David Wolper and Alex Haley, “E.T. and Friends,” and Jacques Costeau’s “Oasis in Space.”
MARSHALL HARVEY was the editor of “The Sword and the Sorcerer” together with writers Michael Barrie and Jim Mulholland’s cable comedy special “The Ratings Game,” and was the supervising editor on the cable comedy series “Likely Stories,” which featured three of their scripts. Harvey’s other credits include various television specials and the documentary “The Making of ‘The Blues Brothers.’”
MALCOLM CAMPBELL has previously edited film for both John Landis and Robert K. Weiss. His Landis credits are “Three Amigos,” “Trading Places,” “Spies Like Us,” “An American Werewolf in London,” “Into the Night,” Landis’ sections of “Twilight Zone — the Movie,” and the rock video “Michael Jackson’s Thriller.” For Weiss, Campbell worked on the television comedy series “Police Squad.”