An individual exhibiting such uniqueness or individuality that he or she will cause a roomful of bar cronies to exclaim, "That's one interesting motherfucker!" Actual sexual relations with one's mother are not required.
Pam Grier was white America's first opportunity to get an eyeful of a really fine black woman without having to listen to her sing, thus empowering millions of us to ignore Destiny's Child. If you don't appreciate the importance of that I guess you weren't around back in the Lena Horne Era. You never heard Pam Grier wail about no "Stormy Weather". If it was raining outside that meant it was time for Pam to put on her baddest pair of rainboots and go out there and kick that weatherman's white ass. "I know why there ain't no sun up in the sky, that damn fool on Live At Five is messin' with OUR part of town again! Bet you the sun is shinin' like a motherfucker over in Beverly Hills!" If only I'd seen "Black Mama, White Mama" before I got my racist prison tattoos.
I never got to see any of the legendary Blaxploitation movies of the seventies when I was a kid. It wasn't like the late eighties when white people were expected to go to all the Spike Lee movies and pretend to enjoy the damn things just to look cool. The Blaxploitation movies Pam Grier starred in like "Coffy" and "Foxy Brown" were all about black people having a good time while white people who wanted to be cool were pretending to like Andy Warhol movies. Did any black people go to see Andy Warhol movies? None who were ever seen alive again, buddy!! NONE WHO WERE EVER SEEN ALIVE AGAIN!!!! BWA HA HA HA HA HA!!!
Ghetto Super Star, that is what Pam Grier are, but she couldn't have grown up further from that place if she had been Princess Di. Years after she had become Queen Of The Blaxploitation Screen, Grier still had to spend days walking around the projects to prepare for her role as a drugged out hooker in "Fort Apache The Bronx". Maybe that "Fort Apache" bit had her thinking they were out there doing rain dances and wearing chickens for hats. Pam was an Air Force Brat who grew up in a series of military bases around Europe. Her father retired from the service and moved the family to Denver, Colorado just in time for Pam's high school years where her British accent, afternoon Tea Time habit, and wooden shoes had her coming off like Carrie Meets Milli Vanilli. (Okay, I made up the part about the wooden shoes. They're a metaphor for the pain of adolescent social rejection. Actually, I was the one with the wooden shoes, they matched my wooden belt - It was a ruler!) Pam learned the truth at seventeen, that love was meant for beauty queens, and so she entered the Miss Colorado Universe pageant which is more than that zitty hag, Janis Ian, could have done. Pam was one of those girls who have no idea how good looking they are. She later joked that in her family you were beautiful if you still had all your limbs. Hey, Pam, even if you were missing a limb you'd still have a shot with Paul McCartney! If you didn't have a face you coulda married John Lennon! (Beatles Jokes! Beatles Jokes! It's 2003 and we're still making Beatles Jokes!) Pam was the most beautiful and intelligent girl in the pageant (I think she beat the crap out of a pimp for the Talent Portion of the competition) but she didn't have any old black and white dirty pictures in her past so she only came in second. Hey, at least Vanessa Williams Jokes are more current than Beatles Jokes!
Backstage at the pageant Pam met a Hollywood Big Shot who represented the comedy team of Rowan And Martin. Rowan And Martin were really funny guys but they are as forgotten today as Bob And Ray. Now that I think of it, weren't their full names Bob Rowan and Ray Martin? I dunno . . . Following her Mother's advice, Pam signed up with this guy and left for LA. Why couldn't she stay in Denver, you ask? Guess you've never been to Denver. Lemmee tell ya, if you ain't got enough money to go to Aspen, don't go to Colorado.
Once in LA, Mister Hollywood wasted no time putting all of his connections to use and before she knew it Pam was operating the switchboard at American International Pictures. Imagine the excitement of calling AIP to pitch your "I Was A Teenage Go Go Girl From Shreveport" script and hearing the smooth, sultry voice of Pam Grier answering the call!
"American International Pictures! How can I help you?"
That may not seem like much when you read it off of your computer screen, but when you heard Pam Grier murmuring it into your ear through your telephone receiver - 1-800-AIP-FOXY!!!
"American International Pictures! How can I help you?"
"Uhhh . . . uhhh . . . uhhh . . . "
AIP finally cast Pam in a few Women In Prison films like "The Big Bird Cage" and "Black Mama, White Mama". Boy, you couldn't come up with a weirder genre than the Women In Prison film of you were the genius who came up with the premise behind "The Dee Dee Ramone Show". A hot, sexy, but innocent chick (Wish I could find out where all these hot, sexy, but innocent chicks hang out) is wrongfully convicted of a crime and locked up in a prison full of hot, sexy, guilty chicks. Watching these movies is like seeing the girl I've been looking for all my life fall into the clutches of all the women I have ever gone out with. Too bad the Women In Prison film never found the creative genius to elevate it to the level of art like John Ford did for the western and Bob Crane did for the blow job video.
Everybody says Roger Corman discovered Pam Grier but that's only because it's hip to say Roger Corman discovered everybody. Christopher Columbus discovered America but it was Ponce De Leon who discovered the Fountain Of Youth, right? What? There's no such thing as the Fountain Of Youth? How come Pam Grier is as good looking now as she was thirty years ago? In fact, it was Jack Hill who discovered Pam Grier (Isn't that just like a white guy, giving another white guy credit for Pam Grier's success? White Devils!). Jack Hill was a jazz musician hipster type who got into filmmaking through composing film scores. Hey, that's a new one! Can you imagine the kinda tumult we'da been in for if the same dementia Bernard Herrmann expressed with the theme from "Psycho" had been channeled into writing and directing movies about beautiful black women wacking the crap out of everybody? Why, the planet we live on today would have been reduced to a flaming cinder!
The Pam Grier Film as we know it today finally happened when the producers of "Cleopatra Jones" (You think a black person came up with that cockamamie title? I guess if they were gonna make a movie about a black guy they would have called it "Chitlin' Johnson". "Cleopatra Jones" - Sheesh!) backed out of an agreement with AIP and went to Warner Brothers instead where it eventually spawned a million sit-coms for the WB Network. Enraged, AIP executives turned to Jack Hill to make a black female action movie that would have those no good son of bitch bastards at Warners begging for mercy like the sniveling white villains at the end of every self respecting Blaxploitation movie. The very first thing Hill thought when he heard AIP's suggestion was "PAM GRIER!". And that's great, although to this day Hill is still kicking himself for not thinking "FINAL CUT!" (A little gag for all you feature film directors out there). "Coffy", the film Hill and Grier made together, turned Grier into an international star. Their next collaboration, "Foxy Brown", made her one of the Top 3 Female stars in Hollywood (Which might have been a little more exciting if the other two had been anyone but Barbra Striesand and Liza Minelli. Jesus, no wonder Margot Kidder went nuts.)
People always remember "Foxy Brown" because of the ending where Foxy cuts off the bad guy's dick and gives it to his girlfriend in a pickle jar. My goodness, with something like that at the end you could have a tap dancing poodle with a meat cleaver stuck in his head perform an appendectomy on the reanimated corpse of Marilyn Monroe in the opening scene and it would still be "the movie where she cuts off the bad guy's dick and gives it to his girlfriend in a pickle jar". The girl at the video store told me three or four times a week somebody comes in looking for "the movie where she cuts off the bad guy's dick and gives it to his girlfriend in a pickle jar". That was how the original script of "Citizen Kane" ended, you know. But then Herman Mankeweicz told Orson Welles "But if we do that nobody will remember Rosebud!" and confusion was their steadfast mistress. Eh, I'm just bummed out because somebody cut my dick off a little while ago and sent it to my girlfriend in an olive jar.
Wow! This is more fun than eating a hundred dead rats and taking a great big dead rat dump on Janeane Garofalo's face! Steamin'!
Pam Grier isn't as big a star today as she was in the seventies but you think everybody is as desperate for attention as Aerosmith? She's too cool to care about being a big celebrity and is happy to continue working. Hard Core Pam Grier Fans who have ever wondered what her head would look like in the end of a stick should check out John Carpenter's "Ghosts Of Mars" which is also handy for all us Hard Core Clea Duvall Fans who have ever wondered what it would look like if her head was ever sliced off by a Razor Sharp Metal Frisbee Kinda Thing. Now if only Carpenter would make a movie where Jennifer Love Hewitt was tarred and feathered, run over by a Greyhound Bus, deep fried, and fed to Al Sharpton I could finally get a little rest. Quentin Tarentino cast Pam in "Jackie Brown", his tribute to her Jack Hill movies (The title combines "Foxy Brown" with Hill's first name and I think I am going to be sick). I have to admit that I didn't see "Jackie Brown" because I was so tired of Tarentino I wouldn't see another one of his movies if it had a scene where the Spider Monkeys find out exactly what a "spider" is and demand to be called "Elvis Monkeys". Pam also appeared in "Jawbreaker" starring Rose McGowan. WHAT!?! Pam Grier and Rose McGowan in the SAME MOVIE!?! That movie should have been called "Black Mama, White Mama Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa Oh Baby Baby Ha Cha Cha -" (This joke goes on for more than eleven pages, so I'll cut it off right here before it gets to the part about the 3D Cinemascope Colonoscopies - Wil Forbis, Acid Logic Editor)
Why has there never been a white female action star quite like Pam Grier? Jack Hill says the main pleasure in the movies he made with Pam Grier was in watching a white man get humiliated by a black woman. After living with my Mom and Dad all those years a movie about a white man getting humiliated with a white woman is just redundant. A white female action star as great as Pam Grier? You might as well ask for a white female country singer who shouldn't be cleaning Willie Nelson's house for a living. Forget about it.
Guess I probably shouldn't have mentioned the tattoos, huh?
John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines Schmuck.com, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email - email@example.com
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