Smells Like Teenager Spirit

  • videoarchives
  • August 23, 2022

Are you ready for a newsletter about a podcast about a low budget film about the making of a low budget film?

Then you’re ready to learn about Gerry Sindell’s misleadingly titled story of a film shoot gone catastrophically wrong, 1974’s Teenager! This week on the After Show, Quentin, Roger and Gala get into the compelling virtues of Teenager and Sindell’s career – here at Counter Talk, I’ve got Teenager trivia and another glimpse inside the Archives…

Yes, as hinted last week, this is the final film discussion originally recorded for the Video Archives pilot episode.  We trimmed it from that episode for length, but this was a wonderful conversation about a movie that’s a miracle of efficiency, as Sindell stretched a minuscule $7,000 budget as far as it could go. It’s also an excellent entry in the “movies about movie-making” subgenre, with a cutting perspective on how capturing real life can cross the line into exploitation.

One sidebar the episode doesn’t get into is Andrea Cagan’s post-acting career. The titular Teenager of the film (who also starred in New World’s The Hot Box and hippie curio Captain Milkshake) later went on to be a bestselling author! She specializes in biography, and has co-authored books with Grace Slick, Diana Ross, and Video Archives favorite Pam Grier. If you loved Teenager, pick up her memoir and read more about her multifaceted life.

Unfortunately, everything about the presentation and marketing of Teenager seems designed to obscure the smart, thoughtful film within. What’s up with this cover of the Video Archives copy of Teenager, with that salacious tagline, and a cheesecake shot of an anonymous girl standing on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame for some reason?

However, I do love the lurid copy and well-placed ellipses on the back cover:

This film was originally called “The Real Thing,” a far more appropriate title. This poster from Quentin’s collection (and a vintage drive-in ad using the poster) clears the low bar of the VHS cover by featuring actual cast members.

As referenced in the episode, here’s Gala’s copy of “Sixteen,” the film Teenager was so often paired with on these drive-in bills. New World even used the exact same title treatment!

Before I wrap up this week’s Counter Talk – let’s show off another piece of memorabilia from the Archives! Last time we did this feature, I posted a dinosaur toy I didn’t recognize – but I sure recognize this guy, standing fiercely atop one of the shelves next to King Ghidorah, a regular bloke wielding a cricket bat who’s ready to head to the Winchester for a cold pint and wait for all of this to blow over:

Finally, one more regular feature we’re going to start including in the newsletter - Video Archives fan photos! This Video Archives T-shirt made it all the way out to Majorca - thank you @JohnConnell5 on Twitter for showing us some Balearic love.

And that does it for Counter Talk! Listen closely to Gala’s clues and see if you can figure out which three films we’re talking about next week – without spoiling, next episode has what might be my favorite Quentin & Roger riff to date. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (and I see there is a Reddit now too, if you want to chat about the show with other Video Archives listeners). And remember to get your Video Archives merch at See you next week!