Advice to the Hopeless 3/24/14

WRITING - Advice to the Hopeless

Joe Bob,

I'm interested in what you think about the evolution of the drive-in. A couple of months ago, I saw "The Outsiders" up in Silver Spring, at the AFI's theater and there's that great scene set in the drive-in in Tulsa. It made me think about this topic again, how drive-ins
used to be rowdy places, and that kind of went out of style. The ones that have survived are great, but, overall, seem to be a real wholesome, family kind of atmosphere. Seems like the end of an era, or at least a real change. Curious what you think.




Drive-ins have always gone back and forth between seedy teenage hangouts and family attractions. The yin and the yang of them existed in 1954 as surely as it does today, and you will find drive-ins across America that are rife with rowdiness. You can find articles over the
past 50 years that start out, "It used to be a passion pit, but the local drive-in is more and more attracted to family fare these days . . ." and those articles are usually efforts by the owner to get rid of the rowdy teens. It was not uncommon in the fifties for a drive-in to have
drunks passed out in their cars on Saturday night, then a special Easter showing of "The Ten Commandments" on Sunday night. So it kind of goes with the territory.


Joe Bob

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Dearest Joe:

Of the 3 billion websites out there, yours has got to be the coolest. Where might I go to find a watchable copy of the movie The Swinging Barmaids? I can't seem to find it anywhere and have no idea where to look.

Is it even considered a B-movie, or just an older A-movie?



The title "Swinging Barmaids" was used as a re-title on more than one movie released by Motion Picture Marketing, so you need to tell me which one you're talking about. Some identifying feature. Maybe a
poster? And, yes, all of them were definitely B movies.

Preciate the nice words, bud.

Hang in there,

Joe Bob

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My profound statement is, and it might not be "profound" but it is definitely a good one, "A good friend will bail you out of jail but a true friend will be sitting beside you in jail and say DAMN THAT WAS FUN"

Love you!!!!! Miss you reading prison mail!!!



First of all, I didn't do it. Secondly, she's lying. Third, I don't own any weapon of the type in question. Fourth, that's not my DNA.

Thanks for the nice words!

Hang in there,

Joe Bob

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Hey Joe Bob

I been reading your book about going Back to the Drive-in recently because I didn't have it until this past Christmas when my loverly girlfriend gave it to me. I already read your first book about going to the drive-in, and ever since I read your column in one of the finer
local newspapers back in the early 1990s I been telling everyone how much they been missing by not reading your stuff or watching you on the TV, but usually they just tell me to, "get the hell out of the store."

Anyway, I wrote you back in 1998-or-so asking for info on a film about a guy with no legs that fought a guy with no arms, and you said it was Crippled Masters and that you'd play it on MonsterVision, if you did, I missed it... so now I'm just writing to let you know that I did end up buying a DVD of "Crippled Masters" back in 2004, so you don't have to worry about that anymore.



Well, since I've been waiting SIXTEEN YEARS for your review, tell me: how was it?

Hang in there,

Joe Bob

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Hey Joe Bob!

I think you might have known my dad, Frank E. Griffis? He's told me stories about you and, oh what's that guy's name, the one that wrote Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another West Texas guy...anyway. I grew up watching Monstervision and harassing old librarians trying to find whatever grummy, dog-chewed copies of your
books I could.

I don't have any profundities off the top, just wanted to drop a line and say how much I appreciate the stuff you've put out there. Love your humor, and dangit, it was good information too. I hope you know how big of a cult following you have out there! We aren't very vocal, or productive, or sober. But we're there! Watching horrible movies and
wishing they were narrated by a certain good ol' boy armed with vital statistics. Wish you the best, man.


Hey Frank,

Thanks for the nice words. I learned long ago that the movies are better when drunk.

Preciate the support.

Hang in there,

Joe Bob

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Joe Bob,

On MonsterVision, you once showed a film that was based on an epic Greek or Roman story. Seems it was based in the subways or something like that. You illustrated/diagrammed some of the plot on a blackboard or whiteboard or flip chart. What was the film and what epic story was it based on? Do you know the air date?

I thought you were brilliant.



Thanks for remembering one of my favorite episodes. It may be the one time in my life that being a Classical Studies minor came in handy. The movie was "The Warriors," directed by Walter Hill, who would go on to direct much more famous movies like "48 Hrs.," "Streets of Fire" and "Brewster's Millions." Walter Hill may or may not have cared about the story's classical origins, but the screenplay was based on a novel by Sol Yurick, and Yurick had used Xenophon's account of the retreat of the Ten Thousand, as described in "Anabasis," and transposed it onto a fable about New York gang territories. The conceit worked because the Ten Thousand was a band of Greek warriors who marched all the way to the Euphrates in 401 BC, where they were employed by Cyrus to fight against Artaxerxes. Even though they won the battle, Cyrus was killed and they ended up with no food, no supplies, and no leadership after all their generals were lured to a meeting and executed. They then had to fight their way back through every hostile territory between Babylon and the Black Sea before finding ships to take them home--a process that took two years and is considered one of the great "underdog" stories in military history. At any rate, the route of the Warriors in the movie began at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, where their leader was killed, and ended after many fights later at their home turf of Coney Island. I used a 1960s New York subway map to chart their progress.

Much more information than you wanted, I'm sure!

All my best,

Joe Bob