Last week ‘the father of surf films,’ Bud "Barracuda" Browne, the onetime lifeguard who began showing his 16-millimeter movies commercially in the early 1950’s, died in his sleep at his home in San Luis Obispo. He was 96.
Born July 12th, 1912, in Newtonville, Massachusetts, Browne began swimming competitively at age seven. He attended USC, was captain of the swim team and in 1933 ranked second in the nation as a collegiate swimmer. While working as a lifeguard at Venice Beach in late thirties, Browne was introduced to surfing. In 1938 he went to Hawaii to ride the big waves in Waikiki, taking along an 8-millimeter movie camera to film the local surfers. One his first and most prized reels of film recorded the legendary king of the surfers Duke Kahanamoku.
During World War II, Browne served as a navy chief specialist in athletics (earning the nickname "Barracuda" for his long lean look). Following the war he became a teacher in Los Angeles, working as a middle-school physical education instructor and also attended USC Film School. He upgraded his camera to a 16-millimeter Bell & Howell. In 1953, after spending several years filming surfers in Hawaii, Browne pieced together enough footage to compile a 45-minute film. Hawaiian Surfing Movie debuted at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica.
Browne eventually gave up his teaching gig and took to chronicling the 1950’s surf scene full time, releasing at least one movie a year between 1953 and 1964. With films such as Trek to Makaha, The Big Surf, Surf Down Under, Cavalcade of Surf, Locked In and Gun Ho!, Browne documented all the surfing greats of the longboard era, like Phil Edwards, Buzzy Trent, Greg Noll, Miki Dora, Linda Benson and Dewey Weber, plus the first-generation of shortboard riders, like David Nuuhiwa, Nat Young and Gerry Lopez. In addition to completing nearly 20 of his own films, he also contributed footage to other projects such as Big Wednesday, directed by John Milius, Greg McGillivray/Jim Freeman’s Waves of Change (also known as The Sunshine Sea) and their 1972 classic Five Summer Stories. In the early 1990’s Browne began re-editing some of his earlier efforts. The first project, Surfing the 50's, honed his best color footage from the eight films he produced during the fifties. That success led to re-releasing some of his other movies such as the 1963 classic, Gun Ho!.
Tonight only, director Enzo G. Castellari will be appearing at the New Beverly Cinema to introduce his films THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS and BATTLE SQUADRON and do a Q&A during the intermission. As an incredible added bonus, THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS stars Fred Williamson and Bo Svenson will be joining Castellari for the introduction and Q&A!
Castellari is one of our favorite directors, having created westerns like KEOMA and KILL THEM ALL AND COME BACK ALONE, crime films like STREET LAW and THE BIG RACKET, giallos like COLD EYES OF FEAR, post-apocalypse hits like 1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS, and the hard-to-see killer shark film GREAT WHITE. He's flown in from Italy to join the New Beverly crowd for an amazing night, and it's also his 70th birthday so be sure to wish him well when you see him.
DO NOT MISS THIS EVENT!
The event starts at 7:30pm, and admission for the two features plus a reel of rare Castellari trailers is only $7.00. This is a regular New Beverly Cinema event that we're just helping with, so theater discount cards and student/senior discounts also apply!
As an added bonus, there will be some amazing prizes and freebies courtesy of Severin Films, who have just released a beautiful 3-disc DVD special edition of THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS. Check them out on our top friends on MySpace, and also at www.severin-films.com.
Wednesday • July 30th, 2008
Tribute to Enzo G. Castellari
New Beverly Cinema
7165 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Special Guests: Enzo G. Castellari, Fred Williamson and Bo Svenson
(other special guests also expected to be in attendance)
7:30pm THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS (1978)
Directed by Enzo G. Castellari
Starring Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, Peter Hooten, Michael Pergolani, Jackie Basehart, Michel Constantin and Ian Bannen.
10:00pm BATTLE SQUADRON (1969)
Directed by Enzo G. Castellari
Starring Frederick Stafford, Van Johnson, Francisco Rabal, Ida Galli and Luigi Pistilli
The one clear message from the always fun annual Bay Area Maker Faire a couple of months back was that we, a society weaned on consumerism, need to shake the shackles of dependency on corporations who sell us products shrewdly manufactured with a built-in obsolescence -- products whose mechanisms are deliberately made difficult to figure out.
To hell with that! We should not have to always hire others to fix our cars, fridges, vacuum cleaners, lawn-mowers, bikes, computers, etc., etc. when they (inevitably) break down.
Instead, we should learn all we can about the products we own and use daily. Furthermore, we should not only know how to fix these things when they break down but we should also know how to build our own things from scratch. DIY baby!
Of all the homemade items that people create, the most inspiring to me are homemade musical instruments created out of found parts. These can range from the most simple (an empty pork rinds bottle with a rubber band & piece of cloth tied on top as a drum) to the most intricate (an electronic keyboard built from found odds and ends).
Over the years I have seen/heard many great variations on all types of instruments, from string to wind to electric and I thought it was time to do an Amoeblog about them, drawing from videos I found on YouTube, where I even discovered an interactive thread on making your own instruments, which includes perhaps one of the most popular one among music instrument makers-- the cigar box guitar.
One is from the recent Memorial Day observed Morningside Build Your Own Instrument Day in Pittsburg, PA, featuring Jim Lingo's creative string instrument, which drew equal parts awe and amusement from those at the outdoor event. Then there is the homemade electric bass by KgldMond who built his instrument from a piece of wood, an old turntable, and a string. Finally, there is CrazyEzra's nice noise maker constructed out of a saw, a pick up and a big purple synth modulator.