Leticia Van Allen

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From the movie Myra Breckinridge (1970). Van Allen, Leticia and the Van Allen Dancers

Seventy-seven-year-old former sexpot Mae West plays this "world-famous recording star" in the stunningly--STUNNINGLY--incoherent "Myra Breckinridge" (1970). She puts on a show that culminates in what has to be the world's worst and/or greatest version of an Otis Redding song. Van Allen's rendition of "Hard to Handle" (you know, "Hey little thing, let me light your candle/Cause mama I'm sure hard to handle, now, gets around") perfectly captures all the best elements of good R&B: the Shatner-esque spoken-word delivery, the early disco-y horns, the aged voice creaking its way up the register, the shrill off-tune climax. Meanwhile, Mary Ann Pringle (Farrah Fawcett), Rusty Godowski (Roger Herren), and the titular (hee hee) Myra (Raquel Welch) discuss...oh, I dunno. Homosexuality and prison. (This is one of those movies that are so bad they suppress the brain's ability to concentrate.) Oh, and before Van Allen gets poor Otis spinning in his grave, a guy in a monkey suit swings in front of the stage and there are several shots of a cigarette girl offering bananas to audience members. Really the only way to top it was to do just what director Michael Sarne did: have Rusty yell "I still think a guy should ball chicks!" and then cut away. It's worth pointing out at this point that, as incoherent as this entry is, it's still more coherent than the movie. Odd trivia note: Vidal spells this character's name "Letitia" in the book. Can't imagine why the moviemakers decided this particular joke was too corny to keep. I mean, you have Mae West (albeit an elderly Mae West) talking about sex and an anal rape scene; you might as well keep the vague boob joke.