Wednesday, January 10, 2018

When ‘Eraserhead’ spanked Jerry Van Dyke’s daughter

In researching a piece of footage that relates to recent Deceased Artiste Jerry Van Dyke, I found the mind-boggling piece of video found below. Why and how this has been up online since the end of 2016 with very little being made of it (esp. in David Lynch fan circles) is a major surprise, but it definitely serves as a wonderful substitute for the footage I *was* looking for and couldn’t find.

That footage would be a segment from a nighttime syndicated tabloid show — I think it was A Current Affair — reporting on the very tragic death of Kelly Van Dyke, the daughter of Jerry Van Dyke and the niece of Dick. The segment included interviews with Nance, who openly cried while talking about Kelly, his wife (there was an age difference of 15 years between them but, due to Jack’s prematurely old looks and cranky manner, it looked as if he was a few decades older than her).
 
The two had met while in rehab — Kelly was addicted to both drugs and alcohol at different times in her life, while Nance was an alcoholic. In the heartbreaking interview on the tabloid show, he discussed how he had loved her and how she had tormented him, calling him when she was sleeping with another man.

There were also interviews with Lisa Loring from The Addams Family, who claimed to have found Kelly’s body after she hanged herself (this has been disputed by Nance’s brother), and a Native American gent who had protected Kelly by getting her out of a bachelor party that was getting out of hand.

Kelly’s work as a porn star had slid down to the level of appearing as a stripper at bachelor parties, and at this particular one the men were responding so positively to her teasing behavior that this gent felt he had to get her out of the party. He drove her home and she demanded he come into her house with her (the presumption being that she would sleep with him) or she’d kill herself. That, sadly, was the night she hanged herself.

The most eye-opening piece of footage in the segment was not any of the interviews, as harrowing and sad as they were. It was an outtake from one of Kelly’s porn films (made under the name “Nancee Kellee”) in which she and another woman were about to do a lesbian scene but were sitting on a bed in lingerie between takes. I’m recalling this from memory, but their conversation centered around the fact that Kelly said she had had a bad dream the night before, one with her father in it. Her actress friend then asks something to the effect of “…again?”

Now, this could mean a number of things. The mind immediately jumps to the most damning reasons for such a nightmare: that she was recalling being abused or beaten by her father. It’s entirely possible that she was just having sad dreams about him because the two had had a bad rift and hadn’t seen each other in a long time (the accounts of her funeral mention how shattered Jerry was by her death). It’s not my place to try to analyze what she said in this outtake – I was just rather stunned that the tabloid show had gotten this piece of footage (you don’t often see porn outtakes on mainstream commercial television) and that it related to something that was bothering her, which involved her celebrity father.


So the lives of both Kelly Van Dyke and Jack Nance were both sadly strewn with tragedy — Nance, of course, died in 1996 after he was severely injured in some kind of fight that occurred at a donut shop near his house. Thus, I shouldn’t be surprised that anything odd occurred in their relationship and yet I was taken aback seeing Jack acting in one of Kelly’s fetish-video appearances.

The title of the tape was “Old Fashioned Spankings,” and it was shot in 1991, presumably during the few months that Jack and Kelly were a married couple (as is recounted in the documentary You Don’t Know Jack, Nance was on the set of Meatballs 4 when he received the final phone calls from Kelly, threatening suicide).

The eight-minute spanking segment that Jack appeared in with Kelly is par for the course in terms of pre-Internet fetish videos (ruled by rules created with the Postmaster General in mind --   no mixing of actual sex and fetish activity!). It’s actually quite innocent, except for the very NSFW images of Kelly’s vag when Jack is tenderly touching her behind before he spanks it.

The scenario, such as it is, involves Jack as an angry “old” husband who finds that his “child bride” (again, he’s 48, she’s 33) has been going out and drinking when she’s supposed to be doing her homework. 

These kinds of vignettes don’t have scripts, so Jack has to outline the premise in his dialogue, which clearly seems improvised. At one point, he notes while spanking her that he didn’t get the veal cordon bleu he was expecting for dinner and had to have cornbread instead. At another point he decries the “heavy metal hippies” she’s hanging around with in the evenings. 

Jack is well-remembered by Lynch cultists for his delivery of peculiar lines (so many of them in Eraserhead, including one personal fave, “Why are you asking me this question?”; in Twin Peaks both the much-beloved “She’s dead… wrapped in plastic!” as well as the surreal, “There’s a fish… in the perc-ulator!”). Here he just has to sketch out that he’s mad at Kelly and she has to deny what he’s saying.

By the end she’s confessing that she really enjoyed the spanking and he’s telling her “Give me a kiss and let me tell you that I love you… I couldn’t live without you,” which is a pretty sweet endearment for a spanking video. (Kelly responds, "I couldn’t live without you either.”). In the documentary You Don’t Know Jack, it is noted that Jack really did love her, but her addictions and depression got the better of her in the end (as he get the better of her end here).

Their real lives were irredeemably sad in their last few years: Nance kept trying to beat his drinking habit, but seemed unable to, and Kelly’s drug habit was causing her to slide down the porn ladder to the point where, again, she was dancing at local bachelor parties. One of her few porn features was titled The Coach’s Daughter, to capitalize on her dad’s role on the sitcom Coach.

This odd little video puts Nance in an obscure category – he is hailed as “the only mainstream actor to appear in a fetish video.” It also offers a weird little window into a relationship that was doomed and the lives of two people who died well before their time. Not a good recommendation to watch something “erotic,” but this fairly tame (except, again, for the full view of Kelly) video is not exactly an erotic masterwork in the first place. I’m going to take an educated guess, though, and say that sitting through this eight minutes of no-budget, almost-wholesome sleaze is more fascinating than watching all of Meatballs 4….

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