By Manifesto Joe
I don't know how many people got their money taken from them during the winter of 1976-77, by paying to sit through the movie called The Way He Was, an attempt at a parody of Dick Nixon and his assorted Watergate buffoons.
I thought of this movie recently, as one of very few in which I've seriously considered going to the box office and demanding my money back.
Their headliner for this incredible schlock was Al Lewis, better-known as Grandpa in The Munsters. I won't go so far as to speculate that he had gambling debts, but his retirement couldn't have been too cushy if he was willing to take a paycheck for this excrement. And, to be honest, I don't even remember which role he played. I was pretty disgusted halfway through the flick.
They actually had a dude in a Nixon mask playing the lead role. And, Mitchell, Haldeman and Ehrlichman were depicted as The Three Stooges. It had lots of "funny" lines, like when somebody has an appointment with the president, and under the mask, a Nixon impersonator who's no better at it than I am responds in Nixonesque accent, "Well, tell 'em to fuck off!"
The thing is, I tried to find some kind of reference to it online. Internet Movie Database, which prides itself on having something about damn near everything, had nada, nothing, on this one. Rotten Tomatoes had an entry, but no reviewers would touch it.
I remembered this as being one of the most truly, incredibly BAD movies I've ever seen, including things like Wrestling Women Vs. the Aztec Mummy. Of course, at this particular time, everybody left and right was kicking the shit out of Nixon, who's now remembered as one of America's most intelligent -- and craziest -- presidents. The paranoia factor there just was too much for the rest of the package to justify.
His interviews with David Frost came soon after that. Nixon kicked Frost's inexperienced candy ass in their first encounter, but didn't fare well after that. He'd done too many bad things, and Frost got better in the succeeding faceoffs.
Anyway, we've come such a long, long way since those primitive 1970s. Nixon would be regarded as a liberal now. And movies are better than ever!
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.