Friday, May 06, 2011

Movies That Fell Through the Cracks # 68


Over at my other digs, A GEEK'S JOURNAL--1976, we discuss a lot of movies I saw that year. Here's one I wanted to see but missed. GOODBYE, NORMA JEAN, lifting its name from the Elton John song--most likely without permission--was supposedly a biography of Marilyn Monroe. As an impressionable film buff, I had just then discovered the uniqueness of Marilyn. From everything I've ever read since, hat's something the filmmakers who brought you this picture never bothered with. By all accounts, this is a typical "innocent young thing gets used and abused as she tries to make it in Hollywood." Nothing unique about that, sadly. Still happens today.

According to reports, not only does little of what happens in the picture match what happened in real life, all of the names of the characters played by the no-name cast are changed so one can't even figure out who people are supposed to be.

HEE HAW's Misty Rowe, fresh from a TV stint as Maid Marian on Mel Brooks' Robin Hood sitcom of the year before, WHEN THINGS WERE ROTTEN, stars as Norma Jean. On those two shows, she had proven herself reasonably adept at light comedy. Unfortunately, GOODBYE, NORMA JEAN was a drama. According to IMDB, the producer held a national contest to find the right person to play Marilyn and settled on a non-actress who apparently ran screaming as soon as she read the script.

That producer, by the way, was Larry Buchanan, small-time director responsible for everything from ZONTAR, THE THING FROM VENUS to MARS NEEDS WOMEN. Along with former TV character actress Lynn Shubert, Buchanan also scripted. He even returned to the material for a sequel a few years later which is said to have incorporated much of THIS film!

Rather than further Misty Rowe's career, the bubbly blonde soon enough became a trivia question.

Note also that, in the ad above, the one word that seems to have defined the picture--"sex"--is actually blacked out. Don't want to offend anyone.

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