Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hey Kids, Boobs! - 1981/1996

sg Rob Kelly I haven't written a piece for Hey Kids! in a while, and since I've always had this story in the back of my head, I figured it was time I jotted it down.

It doesn't involve comics, per se, other than the fact that it concerns the Swamp Thing movie, based of course on the classic Wein/Wrightson comics of the 1970s.

Anyway, back when I was a wee lad, my Dad took my sister and I to see a movie about every other week, and it was during this time around--around 1980 til about 1984 or so--we saw every cool movie out there. You name it--the Star Wars movies, the Star Treks, Raiders, Flash Gordon, even Conan the Barbarian and Swamp Thing.

Its these last two that I'm concerned with today, since this was the time before the PG-13 rating, so an astonishing amount of adult material got slapped with a PG rating. Since they were based on comics, that was all I needed to know to want to see them, and probably the main consideration as to why my Dad took us to them. Family entertainment!

Cut to: 1996. I'm working full-time at Movies Unlimited, a video store in Cherry Hill, NJ. Aside from wondering how three years of art school led to this, I at times liked the job. I had been made Assistant Manager (not Assistant to the Manager, thank you very much), and since the store was more Obsessive Movie Fan-friendly than the Blockbuster across the street (filled with its dead-eyed customers and employees, to whom Star Wars was an old movie), the staff was a fun bunch and the nights I was in charge I liked to make sure we had as much fun as possible.

To that end, we would have theme nights--or even weeks--over the store's video monitors. We tried to come up with bizarre--yet appropriate for public consumption--choices, since we thought it was beneath our extensive movie expertise to show the latest "feel good hit of the summer." One week it was Planet of the Apes week, where we showed the Apes films in order. We did Snake Week, outer space week, Dukes of Hazzard Thursdays, etc.

So one night in the middle of our Comic Book Week, I was rummaging through the shelves trying to find something to put on. Then I came across--Swamp Thing! Wow, I hadn't seen that in years! Rated PG? Perfect!

I put the tape in, and went back to work, probably putting little red stickers over all the naughty parts on the porn boxes, only occasionally looking up at the monitor. Wow, that Swamp Thing suit is pretty that a zipper I see on the back?

Anyway, as I'm putting boxes back on the shelves, I hear a few gasps, and one of the other employees calls my name. I turn to see what they want, and catch this on the monitors:
What the hell?!? What's a nude scene doing in a movie my Dad took me to?!?

I dropped the boxes, ran over, and popped the tape out. I couldn't believe it--I had completely forgotten that there's an actual nude scene in Swamp Thing. I mean, I guess that's a lot of the reason the pneumatic Adrienne Barbeau got hired in movies like this, but it still seems amazing to me there was a time when a movie adapted from a (quasi-)superhero comic book could have a nude scene in it.

I had so retrofitted my memory, that I simply assumed any movie my Dad purposely took me to must be ok for public viewing. But I had forgotten how different movies were, not all that long ago.

Luckily, no customer saw it--at least the ones who did didn't complain--so we moved right on to Doc Savage or something, and no one was the wiser.

Except me. In that moment, and ever since, my Dad has seemed just that much cooler to me.


Earth 2 Chris said...

I remember "sneaking" to see this movie on HBO at my grandparent's house. I would go there on days I was sick while my parents were at work. I was too much of a weiner to see a "monster movie" at the theater, but I could take it in the comfort of Mamaw and Papaw's house. I got quite an eyeful from that movie at the tender age of 8 or so!!!

Cool story Rob, and cool dad!


Plaidstallions said...

I totally forgot that scene as well, which is shocking considering I saw it at 13 years of age!

Vincent Paul Bartilucci said...

It's possible you didn't see it at all, plaidstalliobs!

If I remember the details correctly, there's actually two cuts of this movie. I think the topless scene was removed from the US version of the movie (to get it a PG rating) but left in for the European version. When the movie was released on video, the European cut was used.

A few years ago, the movie was released on DVD. Although listed as PG, the European cut was used once again. Someone's mommy somewhere complained and the DVD was promptly recalled and released with the altered US version.

If you're looking for the DVD with the ... ahem ... goodies - and who isn't, really? Even a fine upstanding boy such as myself is not immune to Ms. Barbeau's charms - you want the version with the green-colored logo up at the top of the front cover of the DVD case. The cut version is the one with the red logo splayed across the middle of the front cover.

But you might pay a pretty penny now.

This has been your "topless celebbrity" info-minute. Good day!

Swinebread said...

I thought my dad was pretty cool for taking me to see airplane, and never forgot the scene with the... well you know.

Shamus said...

It was the 1970's tits and nipples were considered a normal part of a movie then. That's when people generally didn't freak out over such things the way they do now.

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