Monday, September 17, 2007

PUSSYCATS OF THE SUNSET STRIP--JOI LANSING PART 1

joilansing

Nobody who has seen Joi Lansing in any of the number of execrable movies she was consigned by fate to have appeared in can quite forget her. The va-voom factor, of course, is inescapable. But there was something a little unearthly--a little "why are they all looking at me like that, I'm just a little girl from Salt Lake City" about her that seeps through even in the most atrocious of settings--"Hillbilly's In A Haunted House" anyone?

Here's more information than you might have ever expected to learn about Joi Lansing.


Joi was a sort of Rat Pack mascot--she supposedly had a long affair with Sinatra (why not?) and turns up "Marriage On the Rocks" (and that's one of her A-list credits!) She was always, for some reason, struggling with second-hand goods, hand-me-down roles in B and C and worse flicks which she dressed up with her mere presence--if you can call anything about her "mere". I have to assume that more than once she asked herself "Why Kim Novak and not me?" Novak, of course, got all the best possible breaks and remains, for my money, unmemorable in the extreme--except perhaps for "Vertigo." (What about Joi Lansing as 'Madeleine/Judy''? And was she, in fact, the ice-cold blonde that Hitch should have bet on, instead of Tippi Hedren?) After years of steadily working but never coming up big-time, Lansing apparently developed a nightclub act that she did quite well with. After a series of confusing marriages and multiple dating escapades (see the above link--Georgie Jessel? For real?) she became friends with a woman named Rachel Hunter. So close were they that they were like "sisters." So why not change Rachel's last name to "Lansing". WHICH SHE DID. From then on, Joi and Rachel Lansing lived together in various homes in California--I'm sorry, but what does this sound like to you? Well, why not? Men probably caused Joi enough grief in her short life. Joi developed breast cancer in her early forties and died in 1972, age 43. Rachel was at her side. They'd been living together in Marina Del Rey, as well as in Palm Springs, in a house owned by Joi's ex-husband.

Below is a Scopitone short of "Trapped In the Web Of Love"--don't blame the poor lipsycing on Joi, these youtube clips tend to slide quite seriously out of sync. Scopitone was another, more successful, jukebox industry pre-MTV attempt to marry hit songs and visuals- just like the ColorSonics Robert Altman short (see previous post). But many more Scopitones were made and they seem to have been preserved on DVD's for ...people who like this stuff? Joi Lansing fanatics? I'm not sure who buys the whole set, but I hereby say thanks for posting them for me to ransack.

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