Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yes, Teenage Boys, There is a Santa Claus -or- Where is Robin Askwith When You Really Need Him?

Male adolescents of all ages were certainly happy to hear about the scandal at James Madison High School in Brooklyn earlier this week. It seems that two good-looking young “Romance language” teachers were having a nude get-together in an empty classroom while a student talent show was going on. Having been taught by some women that I had fantasies about (and some old horrifying nuns I would love to erase the memory of — for visuals, just take a look at some of the pics in my “Ghastly" Graham Ingels post), I have to say that I count among the millions of attentive straight males who read this story and immediately thought, “now why didn’t I go to THIS high school?” The news story, for those who missed it, is here.

The news outlets covering the story were so caught up in the nude lesbian sex aspect of the tale that they didn’t focus on the clear villain of the piece: the janitor who turned both teachers in and got them suspended (the condition they’re in now is prosaically known as “being in the rubber room” –- hmmm...). I’ve been listening of late to Bill Hicks bootlegs, so I need not voice my opinion on the allure of lesbianism (we’re going for intelligent humor on the matter, not tee-hee Howard Stern b.s. here).

But what exactly was this janitor, one Robert Colantuoni, thinking when he decided to bust the teachers? Had this noble citizen, who obviously took exception to something that most men would give their eyeteeth to walk in on, not SEEN any softcore pornography in his life? (My bet is that he was not protecting his job — I’m betting he was *religious*, because only a stooge for religion would drop a dime in that situation.) He was living out a scenario that has filled literally hours and hours of cinema — and pounds of bad Penthouse Forum letters — but he was morally above it, and finked on the ladies.

Now, Mr. C, there is this film Keyholes are for Peeping, made by a very incompetent but nonetheless compelling filmmaker named Doris Wishman. It’s all about a janitor who views numerous sexual encounters through keyholes. He in fact *likes* seeing sex through keyholes (no clips are online, but the film is easily available on DVD). In fact, the dominant male fantasy is to either join the ladies in an escapade, or to simpy watch what unfolds. Not to bust them, dude. But in case you need further instruction as to what one does when one walks in on attractive teachers having a “nude romp,” let me refer you to the British softcore cinema of the Seventies, when there was an ENTIRE SUB-GENRE of movies made about the situation you encountered and decided to complain about to the authorities.

The sub-genre is made up of two series of films, the Confessions of a… series starring Robin Askwith and the later Adventures of a... series. I credit film scripter/producer/critic David McGillivray for whatever knowledge I have about these films: David was the first celeb guest on the Funhouse way back in 1994 or so; he presented a discussion about British censorship and softcore, and eventually let the Funhouse have the U.S. premiere of the BBC docu based on his book about the history of British sex films, Doing Rude Things.

The Confessions series is remembered quite fondly by British gents of a certain age. In Confessions of a Window Cleaner (1974), Askwith created the character of Timmy Lea, an affable bumbler who continually chances into situations where he can either watch sexy women or have sex with them. Here are the sadly sexless opening credits for the first film, but I should note that Mr. Askwith reprised the Timmy Lea characer in three more films, Confessions of a Pop Performer (1975) [you have to love the clunkiness of that title], Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976), and Confessions from a Holiday Camp (1977).

The frivolity continued in the next series of films — a few more that the moral Brooklyn janitor should be forced to watch, in a manner akin to Malcolm McDowell's indoctrination in A Clockwork Orange. The entries in that series were Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1976), Adventures of a Private Eye (1977), Adventures of a Plumber's Mate (1978).

And since I can’t drive home enough that what Mr. Colantuoni did was a BAD thing, I herewith offer three samples that offer a good glimmer of what the “stumbling into sex” sub-genre was all about. The first is a scene from Confessions from a Holiday Camp:

The next is a recreation of the genre for a music video by those Scottish purveyors of pure pop for now people, Belle and Sebastian. The tune is “Step Into My Office, Baby”:

And since, as I noted last week, the skittish but devoutly corporate YouTube will only put up nudity when it is commercially sponsored, the best clip I could find to illustrate this phenomenon without toplessness is the trailer for Confessions of a Window Cleaner series:

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