Friday, November 28, 2008

Star Wars, The Turkish Sequel

A long time ago (1979) in a galaxy far, far away (in central Turkey), Murat and Ali crash land on a desert planet.

Murat: Begin to your famous whistle which no women can resist.
Ali: [Whistles]
Murat: You whistle it wrong
Ali: Why?
Murat: Skeletons came instead of woman

So goes "Dünyayý Kurtaran Adam," "The Man Who Saves the World," considered the "Turkish Star Wars" (because of the bootlegged "Star Wars" clips edited into the film) and possibly one of the worst movies ever made.

Just the kind of thing you'll find in the Lost Media Archive (featured on a
Fresh Look on Life
).

Blair Sterrett, an aspiring comic book artist from Ogden who's attending the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont, says he was always interested in unusual music and sounds and started collecting them to bewilder friends and someday, he hoped, play them on the radio.

His radio dreams came true, but he says his play list was so odd, he was kicked off the air.

Tyrone Davies of Salt Lake City started collecting unusual movies for his found-footage filmmaking.

Together they have filled a storage unit and their homes with Super 8 movies, high school filmstrips, LPs, 8 track tapes, homemade records, telephone answering machine tapes, and all the obsolete technology to play that obsolete media. The kind of stuff that ends up at Deseret Industries, the Salvation Army and the dump.

"These are little niches of our history and our culture that just get thrown out," Sterrett says, and he and Davies are trying to save from extinction.

∙ "Kure Kure Takora," "Gimme Gimme Octopus," stars a man-sized candy red octopus and his friend, a somersaulting squash with the ability to cough up coins for vending machines.

Kids love surreal Japanese children's programming featuring violence and antisocial behavior.


∙ There's "Captain Hook and his Christian Pirate Crew," a biker who lost an arm and a leg in an accident and began a TV ministry.

The Captain used metal appendage to hook converts.

"I'm interested in things that cause question marks in my head," Sterrett says.

"I like things that confuse me."


∙ Sterrett leafs through piles of dusty LP's. "Music to Make Housework Easier," "Chant for Your Plants," "Songs for Safe Driving" (Is it safe to operate a record player while you're driving?), "Music to Knit By," and a recording of Jayne Mansfield (that great classical actress) reading Shakespeare.

"We're big fans of the 'so bad it's good," Davies says.

My favorites have been some of their corporate musicals, recordings of industrial shows produced to boost worker moral and business.

Like GE's "Got to Investigate Silicones."

You feel your product's not enough
You feel it isn't up to snuff,
Silicones! Silicones!
What it may need may not be much,
What it may need may just be a touch,
Silicones! Silicones!
They can wash you products’ problems away.
They're very good at saving the day.

And who doesn't love dry cleaning songs?

Turkey, in the midst of political upheaval, couldn't easily import American films, so Turkish filmmakers remade them. "The Wizard of Oz" and "E.T." both have their own Turkish remakes.

But, no doubt, none is better (or worse), than their version of "Star Wars."

A soundtrack stolen from "Moonraker," "Planet of the Apes" and "Silent Running" and dialogue worthy of a Jayne Mansfield dramatic reading.

Ali: What's on the menu?
Little Boy: Fried insects, and boiled snake.
Ali: Yuck! I won't eat that!
Murat: Come on man! If you don't eat, your handsome looks will deteriorate.


And now there is a trailer for a sequel, "Dunyayi Kurtaran Adamin Oglu" (The Son of the Man Who Saves The World).

You know that if it's good enough (or bad enough), it'll probably end up in the hands of Blair Sterrett and Tyrone Davies.

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