Roadie USA Press Kit 1980
A Transamerica Company
United Artists Corporation
729 Seventh Avenue
New York, New York 10019
A roadie, as not everyone knows, is a jack-of-all-trades who accompanies musical groups and singers on their road tours setting up the equipment, repairing and driving the vehicles, making coffee, fetching, carrying and serving as a general handy-person-cum-do-it-all. As Lola, the female lead in "Roadie," the new United Artists comedy, puts it, "The band makes it rock, but the roadies make it roll."
A roadie is not to be confused with a groupie, who as more people know, accompanies musical groups and singers on their road tours, and vicariously gets his/her kicks by being able to talk, eat and/or sleep with an idol (or two). They could be described as contemporary camp-followers.
"Roadie," directed by Alan Rudolph as an Alive Enterprises Production for United Artists release, relates the bizarre experiences of a roadie and a groupie, from their first moments together under a Winnebago until the screen says 'The End' as they are about to embark on an adventure with an object from outer space -- a modern love story if ever there was one. Music superstar Meat Loaf, in his first leading part as film actor, plays our hero, Travis W. Redfish, a vigorous, hell-raising, beer truck-driving Texan, whose musical knowledge (at least at the outset) is very limited -- for example, he thinks Alice Cooper is one of "Charlie's Angels." But it's his main skill -- mechanical wizardry -- which catapults him into those other worlds of music.
He accidentally comes upon an extraordinary young lady, proudly boasting the self-imposed title of groupie (she never actually does what groupies are allegedly famous for) and he's hooked quicker than you can say amplification. Through a series of events (he proves to have all the qualifications of a much-needed roadie), she is forced to lure him into joining the Rock'n'Roll Circus (for whom she groupies) and he thus leaves his eccentric family and their equally mind-boggling home to find himself ensconced in an even more outlandish society. Travis, whose entire universe has been confined to central Texas, suddenly finds himself a fellow traveler -- winging and riding from Los Angeles to New York with stopovers in between.
Meat Loaf's screen personality, Travis W. Redfish, was originally created for a newspaper column written by Big Boy Medlin (a native of Texas). The character was overwhelming enough to spread itself right into a screenplay on which Big Boy collaborated with fellow journalist Michael Ventura.
The Redfish clan is headed by Corpus C., Travis' father, played by the irresistible Art Carney, and sister Alice Poo, played by Rhonda Bates, whose Oklahoma origin provides a natural twang and whose natural gift for comedy provides a perfect foil for the others in her screen family.
The groupie who infatuates Travis, and whose actual groupie deeds prove to be far less spectacular than her boastful words, is Lola Bouilliabase, played by Kaki Hunter. A comparative newcomer, the young actress is both spacey and touching, an odd but enchanting combination of qualities. She appears in Paul Mazursky's "Willie and Phil" and seems certain to emerge a star from her current venture.
Among the other performers featured are Gailard Sartain as Alice Poo's beau (he's been a regular on TV's "Hee Haw"), Joe Spano, Richard Marion and Sonny Davis as various co-workers of Travis', and Don Cornelius (host of "Soul Train") as Mohammed Johnson, the super-cool, polysyllabic enterpreneur of the Rock'n'Roll Circus.
"Roadie" boasts a batch of top music stars which takes in the whole spectrum of contemporary music. These include Blondie, Alice Cooper, Roy Orbison, Hank Williams, Jr., Asleep At The Wheel, Alvin Crow and the Pleasant Valley Boys in addition to many talents who will be heard on the soundtrack.
The film's locations were divided among Austin, Texas, where the major portion of the action was shot (the Redfish family are natives), New York and Los Angeles. Inasmuch as a good deal of the fanciful tale takes place in and around Austin and, as the city has become a center for much of the popular music today (in addition to the traditional Country & Western), it was only natural to bring cast and crew to the Lone Star State.
Besides the streets, highways and byways leading to and from Austin, some of that city's landmarks also were utilized, such as the Soap Creek Saloon, a home for the top music talent when they come to town; Crazy Bob's Saloon; Manor Downs, which served as the open air concert stadium ostensibly located in Boise, Idaho; the awesome Mansfield Dam; the local Ramada Inn which also doubled as the residence for the company during its stay in Austin, and the entire center of town which closed down for several nights for the filming of the car chase.
The weekend location stay in New York encompassed a number of street sites and thus taxed the ingenuity of the camera crew and the film's director, Alan Rudolph. The gathering of crowds was to be avoided at all costs because of the limited time allotted and because of the number of locations to be utilized in that brief period. So, hidden cameras were the order of the day as were nonchalant actors and invisible (to the public) crews. The "secret" sessions were held in front of Madison Square Garden, on the infamous 42nd Street and Times Square, on 34th Street, on 8th Avenue and environs.
In Los Angeles, such diverse spots were employed as The Sports Arena, Marina del Rey, Venice, the Whiskey A-Go-Go on Sunset Boulevard, Bruno's Italian Ristorante and a laundromat where, of all places, innocence triumphs over sin, drugs and the cops.
Meshing all these elements was director Rudolph, whose first directorial features, "Welcome to L.A." and "Remember My Name," were made for Robert Altman's company.
"Roadie" also marks Carolyn Pfeiffer's debut as a full-fledged line producer, although she has produced for television and the theatre and was a production associate on "The Duellists." Pfeiffer is the head of Alive Enterprises' motion picture division. Serving as executive producer of the project was writer/actor Zalman King.
"Roadie," an Alive Enterprises production of an Alan Rudolph Movie, stars Meat Loaf, Kaki Hunter and Art Carney with Alice Cooper, Blondie, Roy Orbison and Hank Williams, Jr. Rudolph directed from a screenplay by Big Boy Medlin & Michael Ventura. The story is by Big Boy Medlin & Michael Ventura and Zalman King & Alan Rudolph. The film was produced by Carolyn Pfeiffer, with Zalman King as executive producer. "Roadie," in Technicolor and Panavision, is released by United Artists, a Transamerica Company. The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Album is available on Warner Bros. Records & Tapes.
MEAT LOAF (Travis W. Redfish) -- most people think of him as a singer, but he has, indeed, been at least as active professionally as an actor -- and Shakespeare, at that. There is no Shakespeare in "Roadie" but he does have the starring role of Travis W. Redfish, whose mechanical genius inadvertently entangles him with rock musicians, a pretended groupie and a series of glorious adventures along the way.
Born in Dallas, Texas, on September 27, Meat attended North Texas State, Texas Tech and Lubbock Christian College, studying at various times history, speech and, what else, football! He wanted to be a gridiron star, but an injury cancelled out such a career so he packed up and moved to California.
His rock and roll career started shortly after that in his first band called Popcorn Blizzard which played in California and Detroit for almost three years.
Returning to California, Meat was immediately (six months later) cast in a role in "Hair" and shipped DIRECTLY to Detroit. While in Detroit, Meat and a young lady named Stoney signed with Motown and formed an act called Stoney and Meat Loaf and he had his first hit single, "What You See Is What You Get."
Then in 1970 he made his Broadway debut in "Hair" and later that year Meat joined Joseph Papp's N.Y. Shakespeare Festival to do a play called "More Than You Deserve," where he met his partnet, writer Jim Steinman. He also appeared in "As You Like It" and "Othello" for Joseph Papp. His other stage productions include "Rainbow," "Silver Queen," "National Lampoon Show," "Rockabye Hamlet" and "The Rocky Horror Show."
After Steinman and Meat did "The National Lampoon Show" they decided to concentrate on their musical enterprises. Four years later the album "Bat Out Of Hell" was released by Steve Popovich of Epic/Cleveland International/CBS Records. The album sold more than 9,000,000 copies and is still one of the top selling albums in the world -- the biggest seller ever in Iceland, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Australia and Holland.
Prior to "Roadie," he appeared in the films "Rocky Horror Picture Show," "Americathon" and "Scavenger Hunt." He has a new album, scheduled for this summer (1980).
ART CARNEY (C. C. Redfish) -- To re-coin an old phrase, Art Carney is an actor's actor. He possesses the gifts of mimicry, pantomime and flawless timing and he's equally adept at comedy, drama and tragedy either on stage, in films or on TV. He's never had an acting lesson in his life and, although a native of Mt. Vernon, N.Y., where he was raised and educated, he is able to convincingly portray one of the most outrageous Texans (Corpus C. Redfish) ever devised.
The youngest of six sons, he is from a partially show business-oriented family -- his father was a newspaperman and publicist, his late brother John was a CBS producer and his brother Frederick was a TV director.
Art graduated from high school in 1936 and, because of his gift for mimicry, he was signed for Horace Heidt's band as a mimic and singer of novelty songs. In fact, his film debut was in 1941 in the film "Pot O'Gold," in which Heidt's group was featured (based on the popular radio show of that time).
That year he left Heidt and unwillingly concentrated on night clubs and vaudeville; his luck turned in 1942 and he started a long and illustrious radio career including "Report to the Nation" on which he portrayed such epic figures as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Wendell Wilkie, Gen. George Marshall and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
During World War II he served in the U.S. Infantry, then returned to CBS Radio for such shows as "Danger" and "Suspense." As part of Morey Amsterdam's radio show, he entered TV when that show evolved into the then new medium. His famous association with Jackie Gleason began in 1951 on "Cavalcade of Stars" when the character of Ed Norton was created and which eventually became part of "The Honeymooners" series still syndicated around the country.
Among his dramatic TV shows were "Playhouse 90," "Studio One," "Omnibus" and "Kraft Theatre." The late, legendary stage star, Alfred Lunt, said of Carney, "There's practically nothing he couldn't do on stage." One of his most famous roles was that of an alcoholic on the TV drama, "Call Me Back," which was a one-hour, one-character show. He starred recently in "You Can't Take It With You."
He made his Broadway debut in "The Rope Dancers" and subsequently appeared in "Take Her, She's Mine," "Lovers," "The Odd Couple" and "The Prisoner of Second Avenue."
Carney won the coveted Academy Award as Best Actor in 1974 for "Harry and Tonto" and has appeared in a number of other features, including "W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings," "Won Ton Ton, The Dog That Saved Hollywood," "The Late Show," "House Calls," "Sunburn," "Going In Style" and now, of course, "Roadie."
KAKI HUNTER (Lola) -- The young lady never took acting lessons and she dropped out of formal schooling at an early age. Although acting is not really her whole life, she's begun a career with comparatively little difficulty, thanks to a little bit of luck and a lot of talent.
Kaki Hunter co-stars with Meat Loaf in "Roadie" as the pretended groupie, Lola
Bouilliabase, who is a lovely if off-the-wall screwball, an updated version of the legendary '30's movie heroines.
Born in Silver Springs, Md., in 1955, Kaki moved very early to New York, as her father was as aspiring actor. The family crossed the Atlantic when he received a contract with Dino De Laurentiis to make those famous spaghetti westerns (and other). Her dad made a number of Italian-German co-productions while she went to an American school in Rome. Her mother finally agreed she should go to the Somerhill School in England which was a revolutionary kind of school where you didn't have to go to classes if you didn't want to; she did mostly woodwork and pottery.
Her father then started a theatre group in a basement of an American church in Rome (he writes screenplays now) and when she returned she participated in the workshops; it was where she learned about acting and improvisation and everybody's method. "The one method I acquired was that anything goes -- if it works, use it."
She returned to California with her mother when they started a communal-type restaurant with friends. After two years, she went on her own and eventually got a call from her father's agent in Rome to make a German movie. Called "The Girl's War," it led to her being named best young actress at both the Berlin and San Sebastian Festivals.
Kaki became a mother two years ago, took a year off and gave herself another year to make it as an actress. Her agent found her American TV jobs in the "Hawaii Five-O" series, as well as several small-screen movies such as "Mary White" and "Haywire," but it was the
comparatively small role in Paul Mazursky's new film, "Willie and Phil," which helped to seal her fate. She opted to stress feature films and not TV, and was subsequently recommended for "Roadie." She was one of more than 100 young actresses tested for the female lead and won out over some formidable competition. And thus, hopefully, a star might be born.
GAILARD SARTAIN (B.B. Muldoon) -- The business partner of Travis W. Redfish in "Roadie" and his future brother-in-law, Gailard Sartain marks his fourth movie within a year. Born in Tulsa, Okla., he studied painting at the University of Tulsa but finances forced him out of school and on to a local TV show which became his entrance into show business. Eventually he became a regular on
"Hee Haw" and was seen in the feature, "Nashville." The trio of recent films consists of
"Carny" (Lorimar/UA), "The Jerk" and "Hollywood Knights." He is also an illustrator of note and is responsible for album covers for such artists as Leon Russell, Roy Clark and Hank Thompson.
RHONDA BATES (Alice Poo) -- The third member of the Redfish family is Alive
Poo, played by the talented Rhonda Bates, who is a native of Fayetteville, Ark., and grew up in Evansville, Ind. She received her Masters degree in drama from the University of Arkansas, then taught health and physical education in her home state before heading for California in 1975. She first received attention doing a standup comedy act at The Comedy Store, a "testing" club in Los Angeles. She was noticed by the producer of a Don Rickles TV special who hired her for same; she appeared in another show, "Keep On
Truckin'" and then became a semi-regular on
Rickles' "CPO Sharkey." Rhonda has been seen on a number of weekly series shows and
telemovies, and has been featured in the films "The One and Only" and "Fast Break."
JOE SPANO (Ace) -- The character could be called a nervous middleman. Among Spano's theatrical features are "American Graffiti," "The Enforcer" and the upcoming "The Incredible Shrinking Woman." He has appeared on numerous TV episodes and starred on stage in "Dracula: a Musical Nightmare," directed by another "Roadie" player, Richard Marion, and co-starred with the latter in the hit comedy,
RICHARD MARION (George) -- An actor/director, his other films include "3 Women" and the upcoming "K-GOD." In addition to various TV movies and episodic shows, he was a regular on "Operation Petticoat" and has a leading role in "Marriage is Alive and Well in the USA." His regional theatre experience at the Long Wharf, San Diego Shakespeare Festival and Mark Taper Forum lab includes such shows as
"Charley's Aunt," "Of Mice and Men" and "Arms and the Man." He recently directed the award-winning Los Angeles premiere of "Dracula: a Musical Nightmare" which starred fellow "Roadie" player Joe
Spano, and also appeared with him in "Bullshot
SONNY DAVID (Bird) -- The other roadie in "Roadie." Among his recent films are "Why Would I Lie?," "Where The Buffalo Roam," "Melvin and Howard" and "The Whole Shooting Match."
DON CORNELIUS (Mohammed Johnson) -- The "engineer" of TV's popular "Soul Train," Don Cornelius plays the entrepreneur of the Rock'n'Roll Circus. Born in Chicago on September 27, 1936, he was graduated from high school in 1954 and joined the Marine Corps, spending 18 months in Korea. After his discharge, he married his childhood sweetheart, taking odd jobs to earn a living, but also investing $400 in a broadcasting course. In 1967 he got his start as a part-time news announcer. Three years later, he parlayed the school gamble and announcing job to develop a format for a black-oriented dance show. Sears & Roebuck was the first sponsor to come on board the "Soul Train." The program opened in August, 1970, locally in Chicago, with the syndicated version beginning in October, 1971. It is now seen in dozens of markets.