Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Reeling In The Memories

Today my brother, his wife and two kids passed by our place for lunch. It’s been months since we last saw them, so our after-meal chat was more animated than usual. Our talked turned to the movies and TV shows we saw when we were growing up.

Back in the 70s my older brother, younger sister and I would spend our summer vacations watching old Filipino black-and-white movies on television. We had no choice; this was way before the Internet, PSPs and other video games, cellphones and even malls; plus we were too young to just go out of the house on our own. But those movies entertained us again and again (they would replay those movies after some time). Recalling them 30 years later had us in stitches. Even my nephew and niece, who are 15 and 12 years old respectively, were laughing out loud as we tried to remember movie details.

So for those who are old enough to remember the following, just give a shout-out:

[1] Dr. Kagaw. We don’t really remember the actual title of this Dolphy-and-Panchito movie (thanks to Randy for pointing out that the title is Kalabog and Bosyo, but I cannot verify that at the moment), but we remember most the character “Dr. Kagaw”. He was a mad scientist who wanted revenge against—uhm, gee I forget. But he created a potion and kept saying, “Revenge! Revenge!” in a mad-scientist kind of delivery. Back then the King of Comedy looked like Epy Quizon. Our most memorable scene there is this extended, dialogue-less slapstick sequence: Dolphy and Panchito attempt to create an antidote to Dr. Kagaw’s potion, but they mistook a cookbook for the instructions and ended up creating a cake batter. While stirring, one of them accidentally splatters the other with some of the batter. The other, thinking it was deliberate, splatters back. This escalates into them deliberately scooping batter and smacking it on the other’s face. Finally, Dolphy grabs the pan and puts it on Panchito’s head, gleefully spinning it around and around. Classic slapstick stuff.

[2] Baboy Kural. I’m not sure if Dolphy’s in this, but I think Chiquito was. Anyway, it’s a Pinoy western complete with cowboys and horses (cowboys in the Philippines?!) but with pigs instead of cattle. There seems to be a battle for the ownership of the pigs, and this particular baboy kural is under siege. I remember the was a theme song that went, “Baboy kural… (baboy kural)…” with matching echo (echo… echo…). And though we’ve seen this movie more than once, every time we got to the scene wehre someone falls facedown into the mud with the pigs (I remember someone being catapulted into the kural), we laughed. Every single time.

[3] Dance-O-Rama. “Marleeeen, my dar-leeeng! You ar da dance-u-ruma queen op mai layp!” Do the Watusi. Do the Baby Elephant Walk. “Keso, tinapay at hamon… hamon…. Hamon? Nasaan na ang hamon?” This was pre-Dance Fever and So You Think You Can Dance? Teenagers (of course played by actors way passed that age) compete in the Dance-O-Rama contest. Rivals are trounced, love blooms and the female bida (Susan Roces) is crowned Dance-O-Rama Queen.

[4] Magic bakya. I don’t know if this starred Nida Blanca. All I remember is this pair of magic footwear that allowed the female bida to walk on water (she was trying to cross a river). It also saved her from an oncoming car by magically lifting her several feet off the ground to avoid the vehicle. And in the face of enemies, these wooden clogs would fly by themselves and hit the bad guys on their heads.

[5] All these countless war movies where the villains are the Japanese. Noticed how one explosion of a grenade thrown by the bida can instantly kill a horde of Japanese soldiers, even those who are 10-plus feet away or behind a wall? Or that one short sweeping burst of machine gun fire from the bida can mow down a battalion of Japs? And yet it’ll take a gazillion bullets to finally kill the bida (and even then, he’ll be able to take out a hundred or so enemies while in the process of dying ever so slowly). Those were the physics of battle in Pinoy war movies.

[6] Fight, Batman, Fight. Yes, our very own Victor Wood starred as the Pinoy Bruce Wayne—singing sensation by day, caped crusader by night. A very young, very precocious (and very un-effeminate) Roderick Paulate co-starred as his sidekick Robin (why a crime fighter would bring a kid along when battling criminals is beyond me, though at that time it never occurred for me to question it). Whenever the police commissioner needed Batman’s help, a small red button on Victor Wood’s guitar would flash and beep—I guess a Bat-signal wouldn’t work in a tropic country where mist, fog and low-lying clouds rarely occur. Besides, Batman was needed during the day—and in the middle of a gig! So Victor Wood hastily left the stage, leaving a comedian co-star (German Moreno, I think, in his pre-That’s Entertainment days) to entertain the crowd by engaging them in a sing-along of “May pulis sa ilalim ng tulay”. The Batmobile was a top-down convertible and Robin would ride beside Batman seated on top of the backrest of the front seat! I guess when you’re a superhero child safety and seat belts are irrelevant.

[7] Dama De Noche. A very young Vilma Santos plays twins—a goody-two shoes and a manic meanie. They fall for the same guy—if I’m not mistaken, a slim Edgar Mortiz. The good twin sings pretty songs, looks morose most of the time, and is often helpless; the bad twin is active, take-charge, and flashes her eyes at the camera a lot. In the end she burns the house down; unfortunately she traps herself in it. Good Vi and Bot escape, and watch the house go down in flames while holding on to each other beside a dama de noche shrub (or at least I assume it’s one). And yes, there is a theme song that goes, “Daaaama de noche… daaaaaaaaamaaaaa de nocheeeeee….” (P.S. Vilma Santos won best Actress in the 1972 Famas Awards for her role/s in the movie.)

That’s it for now. There are more movies, but I’m afraid my mental film vault has decided to shut down for now. How about you? What are your own “movies I grew up with” memories?


John Halcyon von Rothschild said...

Dr. Kagaw?!?! Dance-O-Rama?!?! ...just how OLD are you McVie??? j/k luv ya! :P

Anonymous said...

Hi McVie,

I believe the title is not "Dr. Kagaw" but Kalabog and Bosyo. Dr. Kagaw was a minor character in that movie. With the leading actress, Barbara Perez, under the spell of Dr. Kagaw, sung..."I Don't Know Why I Love You Like I Do...Believe me Kagaw".


closet case said...

eh paano naman si Mrs Payme, ang may-ari ng dormitory nila Adoracion Luna, ang tinanghalang Dance-O-Rama queen?

there's a comedy-horror movie, too. can't remember the title. i remember rosemarie sonora's pigtails rising due to fear. and german moreno & boy alano putting on oil on their bodies, turning them into bading na aswang!!!

thanks for this post!

i tagged you, mcvie..

joelmcvie said...

@RANDY: The headings are not necessarily the titles. There's no movie entitled "All these countless war movies where the villains are the Japanese".

joelmcvie said...

@CC: Yes, we remembered the rising pig-tails! But there were so many Pinoy horror movies (and horror movie cliches) that they deserve a separate episode.

joelmcvie said...

@JOHN: 42 years old. Thus naka-relate si CC sa post na ito.

marcial said...

I remember the original "Bonjing", "Tres Ojos" and, of course, the "Darna" movies with Ate Vi.

R-yo said...

Buti pa kayo. I never had movies during my elementary years. Radio served as the sole medium of entertainment reaching our island. So my first movies were primarily FPJ starrers when I reached HS. Then came the betamax. But I must have been seen Kalabog en Bosyo during its TV reruns when I was in college.