Sunday, November 22, 2015

OPIE'S ROCK 'N' ROLL ATTITUDE

Mr. Wolfe (Terry McGovern), his teenage paramour, Jane (Kay Lenz) and Curt (Richard Dreyfuss).
All American Graffiti fans are familiar with the scene in the nostalgic film where Curt is receiving advice from his former high school teacher when out from the shadows pops a beautiful teenage girl asking, "Phil, I mean Mr. Wolfe, can I speak with you a minute?" Recognizing Curt she says hi to him and he acknowledges her, "Jane." It is an awkward moment for Mr. Wolfe because after he has just been telling Curt to go to college, experience life...have some fun we realize the teacher's idea of experiencing life and having fun appears to be dating his attractive underage student. Although the actress portraying the student can barely be seen in the dark shadows from outside the boys' gym, one thing is for sure: she is very attractive. On one hand, one might think of Mr. Wolfe as a lecherous young teacher taking advantage of his superior position over his young student, (after all, doesn't a wolf prey on it's victims) but on the other hand, it might be extremely hard to resist someone like Jane (Kay Lenz) if she flirtatiously approached you after class asking for extra help on a class assignment. Who knows where that might lead?  Its a scenario that is certainly not new to literature. For example, the idea of a an older man's attraction to a much younger girl is the subject of the 1955 book LOLITA by Vladimir Nabakov. It was later referenced by Sting in the 1980 Police song, DON'T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME. Well, this isn't exactly a post on morals or literature.  What's it all about Alfie?  Keep reading and find out...
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Way back in 1967-68 it was the last season of the Andy Griffith Show. Opie (Ron Howard) who would later play big man on campus, Steve Bollander in American Graffiti and Phoebe (Kay Lenz) who would depict Mr. Wolfe's lust interest, Jane in George Lucas's humorously sentimental film appeared together on The Andy Griffith Show in the episode, OPIE'S BAND, 6 years before Graffiti was released.

Opie gets asked to join a rock and roll band and they begin practicing in the Taylors' garage.    

Soon the band, The Sound Committee gets its first gig playing at a friend's birthday party

Opie, wearing a turtleneck, is now in a rock 'n roll band that's a hit with the local gang. He is told by the band leader, Jim Kidwell, also wearing a turtleneck, to act less like a kid and a little more like a cool musician. Phoebe (Kay Lenz) looks on.

Phoebe (Kay Lenz), a girl who goes to school with Opie winds up infatuated when she realizes he’s part of the rock band, The Sound Committee    

When Phoebe is flirting with Opie, he shines her on using terms like “Cool” and “Groovy,” already acting like a conceited musician on his first gig.    

Hey, Opie, you dope, look at her she's talking to you!
 
Opie's attitude and behavior begins to change. The band becomes all-consuming and he is staying out late in the evenings. He begins to get Fs on his school assignments.  Is heroin addiction the cause? Has Sheriff Taylor's son started banging H like so many rock and roll tragedies? Will Aunt Bee find a syringe hidden under Opie's pillow??? Not likely. But the more important question is, will Opie ever ask Phoebe out on a date or will he just treat her like any other groupie and take her in the back room to receive oral pleasure? 


Aunt Bee and her friend Clara confront Opie about his behavior with results that are surprising. 

This was the final season of the show. Fred Roos was Casting Director for both Graffiti and The Andy Griffith Show.  When it came time to cast Graffiti Roos remembered her and recommended Kay to play the sexy high school student in American Graffiti who was infatuated with… not a musician in Herbie and the Heartbeats at the sock hop but a teacher, Mr. Wolfe talking to Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) while Opie (Ron Howard), was inside dancing as Steve Bollander with Laurie Henderson (Cindy Williams).

There must have been some truth to Lenz' character being infatuated with a musician because eventually she married rock musician David Cassidy who appeared as David Partridge on the weekly TV series, THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY.


Lenz and singer-actor David Cassidy married on April 3, 1977, and divorced on December 28, 1983.
On the Partridge Family Shirley Jones was a widowed mother, and David Cassidy played the oldest of her five children who embark on a music career. It aired from September 25, 1970, until March 23, 1974, on the ABC network as part of a Friday-night lineup.
After Graffiti, Kay had several amazing parts in movies however, Kay's medium of choice has been TV and she has garnered two Emmy awards in the process. She continues to make appearances to this day on TV.  For a small bio please see our post BIT PARTS & PIE PIECES: BEFORE & AFTER: http://kipsamericangraffiti.blogspot.com/2011/12/bit-parts-pie-pieces-before-after.html


  ~  ENDE  ~


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* Footnotes: 

1. In the episode, Opie's Band  Kay played the part of Phoebe, but in the credits the role was listed as "Joy" by mistake.

2. During the early part of her career the actress went by her stage name "Kay Ann Kemper" but after her brief role in American Graffiti she began using, what is presumed her birth name, Kay Lenz.


NOTES / BIBLIOGRAPHY____________________________________________________


Andy Griffith Show (Final Season) Paramount Home Video (2006) (USA) (DVD)

Andy Griffith Show. IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0512534/

Cinema Starlets. “Kay Lenz Grooves Ronny Howard.” http://cinemastarlets.com/2015/01/29/kay-lenz-groupies-opie/

Kay Lenz Biography. IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001464/bio


Robinson, Dale & Fernandes, David. The Definitive Andy Griffith Show Reference: Episode-by-Episode, with Cast ...






7 comments:

  1. Yet another awesome post, thanks Kip buddy.

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  2. American Graffiti is my all time favorite movie. The publicity photo at the top of the page, the Buick has wheels on it that weren't even in production in 1962, although the American Torq- thrust debuted in 1958 the second generation Torq- Thrust as shown on the '57 Buick weren't in production till 1969.

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    1. @ Retrofire. If you read the previous post with an interview with Rick Boom who drove his friend Al Taylor''s Buick you'd know that Lucas didn't include the car in the film. Rick stated, "I always felt the poor guy got screwed because they didn’t use his car in the film. George Lucas thought it was too fancy because they didn’t have paint jobs like that in those days. Maybe the modifications were too modern to fit in with the era that the film took place, I don’t know." I believe the side pipes and the aluminum Torq Thrust II were too modern to fit the timeline in the film.

      LINK:
      http://kipsamericangraffiti.blogspot.com/2015/10/part-2-of-badass-interview-with-2.html

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  3. Very interesting Kip,thanks for sharing Think I'll get me a black 55 Chevy and a white cowboy hat

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  4. this is great. i almost interviewed terry but he didn't call in. had something else to do. i like the way he puts out his match in graffiti. i do have to say, i don't think, the way he looked, that every teen in school would be smitten, sorry. it was like they almost cast paul newman in the part and failed. but on my cinema starlets dot com i have a whole kay lenz piece about the opie episode and that awesome band.

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    1. @James M Tate: I had a similar situation with Terry McGovern. I was supposed to interview him but he was too busy or something when I called. I gave up after that one try. Hey after I started writing this post I came upon your fantastic blog Cinema Starlets.dot com. I obtained some info from your site on Kay so I gave you credit at the bottom of the post under the NOTES/Bibliography section, "just like a young boy should." (Rolling Stones reference) Thanks for reading our blog!

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