Sunday, February 9, 2014


The great Ruth Gordon standing beside the great Hal Ashby
director on the set of the film Harold and Maude

Ashby passed away at age 59 after a tumultuous career in Hollywood
releasing at least six classic films beginning with his first film The Landlord (1970),
followed by Harold and Maude (1971), The Last Detail (1973), Shampoo (1975),
Bound For Glory (1976), Coming Home (1978), Being There (1979) and his documentary of the Stones tour Let's Spend the Night Together (1983).

Every single independent film director today owes a debt to this ground breaker.
 Some have, thankfully, said so.
I'm sure the late Philip Seymour Hoffman would have been one of them. 

Go read more about Hal Ashby in Al Kooper's marauding music memoir Backstage Passes & Backstabbing Bastards (the updated version from Backbeat Books, 2008).  Kooper made his musical score debut with Ashby's cinematic debut The Landlord (shown, in full, below). 


Luster said...


Saw many of these films as they arrived and of course Harold and Maude is always at hand here in Luster Land. It was a great day when I got to show it to my young bride for the first time.

stay close,

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Hi Mike,

Let me try to guess — young bride, you — which was Harold and which was Maude?!

Each Hal Ashby film (and there were more than in my list) went from leaps to bounds.

Too bad he didn't get to make a Beatles film
all's well, Bob

Luster said...


Some days I'm Harold, on the good days I'm Maude.

A Beatle film indeed. I saw that second Sullivan broadcast and it was right on time for me. I'd lost my father the previous February, and of course Kennedy died a few miles from my house in the months in-between. In an odd coincidence I've learned that the lads had one day off from the first American tour and spent it on the river a few miles from where I live now. And of course they went their separate ways once they saw to it that cats like you and me would make it through school and headed out on our own as well.

stay fab,

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...


Always love the background to your memory cycle taking us Texas to Arkansas and Missouri, some of the old Lonesome Dove trail. It never gets tiring.

The Beatles tribute last night was of course a disaster except when it was in the hands of the old timers Ringo and Paul. They showed television and the producers how to put on a show. The producers could, if they had the brains, hire acts to do The Beatles songs justice, since isn't that the point? There are groups all across the country who could entertain us to the nines, and then again none of them are tied up with the Industry and corporate schmucks, so tv and middle America never gets to see the good stuff. Just the hackneyed and ridiculous, like 4-piece strummers trying to show us how they can't possibly make any sense out of John Lennon's "Revolution." It hurt to watch.

Back to Hal Ashby for a moment — come to think of it Richard Lester was a pretty darn close kissin-cousin to Ashby, British variety, and I don't think Ashby would have improved on the film "A Hard Day's Night." I saw it with my older sister and her boyfriend in a drive-in. That's a good older sister
all's well, Bob