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Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Evolution of an American Youth Culture


Douglas Brode

Sex, Drugs, & Rock ‘n’ Roll analyzes the cultural, political, and social revolution that took place in the U.S. (and in time the world) after World War II, crystalizing between 1955 and 1970. During this era, the concept of the American teenager first came into being, significantly altering the relationship between young people and adults.
As the entertainment industries came to realize that a youth market existed, providers of music and movies began to create products specifically for them. While Big Beat music and exploitation films may have initially been targeted for a marginalized audience, during the following decade and a half, such offerings gradually become mainstream, even as the first generation of American teenagers came of age. As a result the so-called youth culture overtook and consumed the primary American culture, as records and films once considered revolutionary transformed into a nostalgia movement, and much of what had been thought of as radical came to be perceived as conservative in a drastically altered social context.
In this book Douglas Brode offers the first full analysis of how an American youth culture evolved.
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Chapter 4. I Lost It at the Drive In Movie: An All-American Outdoor Grindhouse


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An All-American Outdoor Grindhouse

“I’m all aloneAt the drive in movie.It’s a feelin’ that ain’t too groovyWatchin’ werewolves without you.”

—Danny, after being dumped by Sandy, in Grease, the original stage play (Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey)

Late in 1968, Targets premiered on the Drive In circuit. In due time, Targets would, pan-cinema style, be screened in the nation’s art houses. One of many young hopeful future filmmakers then performing various chores for A.I.P, co-writer/director Peter Bogdanovich (1939–) had been given the go-ahead to make any film he wanted. The only requirements: The budget could not exceed a tight $125,000, while the script must include a role for the horror star Boris Karloff, who owed producer Roger Corman two days’ work. Bogdanovich was also required to include a 15-minute segment from a previous Karloff thriller, The Terror (Corman, 1963), to round out the upcoming film’s running time (financing allowed for a mere 75 minutes of new footage) to ninety minutes. A devotee of Universal monster movies from ← 61 | 62 → the 1930s, Bogdanovich was inspired to mount a mini-tribute to the gifted actor so essential to their appeal. In keeping with the Corman/AIP aesthetic, the first-time auteur also hoped to address a highly contemporary issue: The increasing amount of violence in society, which apparently began with the JFK assassination. Bogdanovich drew on two seemingly unrelated incidents. On April 25,...

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