Quentin Tarantino Interview: Part 2
YL: I know there's another show that you liked very much…
QT: Yeah, I really, really liked the show, Julia. At the end the of the day, I think the reason that I liked Julia is I think that was the first time that I ever 100% identified with the two little kids in the show. Julia had a son and then her next-door neighbor had a son. Julia was black and her son was black. The next door was a white woman and they were both, if I'm not mistaken, single. I think it was the first time I was, like, seeing the adventures of me more or less.
YL: Your favorite crush? Talk about some of your kid crushes.
QT: My first big crush, crush, crush when my parents took me to see Cactus Flower. I just went 'wow' over Goldie Hawn. Now I knew Goldie Hawn anyway, cause I watched Laugh In, I watched Laugh In early on. I loved Laugh In, that was the greatest thing on earth. Goldie Hawn was really cool. It's funny, I actually didn't have a crush on her from Laugh In, but I think that my parents thought I did. I remember when they took me to see Cactus Flower and Goldie Hawn comes walking out in the opening scene. My mom's like 'oh, there's Goldie Hawn', like I have a crush on her. Well, it worked. The power of suggestion worked. I had a crush on her by the end of the movie. So, I had a big crush on Goldie Hawn when I was four. I had a crush on Shirley Jones. Now I didn't really know that Shirley Jones was as old as she was. Oddly enough, I got the crush, not from watching the show, but when the show was going to premiere, opening up the TV Guide and seeing a picture of her in her velvet outfit. Just a close-up of her smiling. She had a really pretty smile- close ups of her were pretty. 'Wow, she's really cute', not knowing she was the mother or knowing anything about that. You know? You see a picture of a girl you go, 'Wow!' And that's it, and no one can talk to you. That's it. I really had that crush, only to find out that Shirley Partridge was Marion the librarian from The Music Man. Now, I tended to get obsessive when I was a little kid, when I would get a crush and I would get hit by forlorn melancholy because it wasn't working out, I wasn't with them. I would really get hit with first stages of heartbreak or something and get melancholy about it. I remember one Thanksgiving, I was in the pit of my crush for Shirley Jones and I decided to kinda cry about it for a while cause I didn't know her. I was at my grandmother's house and I'm just moping around and moody and teary in her guest bedroom. Meanwhile, my grandfather is watching Oklahoma. Little did I know, Shirley Jones is the star of Oklahoma. I could've gone in there and watched it with him and it wouldn't have been such a moody thing. To this day, I was like 'I am sitting here crying about Shirley Jones and I'm like six years old and they're watching Oklahoma and I don't know it'. It was pretty wild. She's Marion the librarian and the girl from Oklahoma, she's a renaissance woman. The Partridge Family TV movie they did on VH-1 was awful, so cheap, so bad except for Shirley Jones. The woman who was cast as Shirley Jones was great. I would forget that I wasn't watching Shirley Jones for a second. She had her down, she was great. Bravo, you are the woman.
YL: I know you liked playing with G.I. Joe's, what do you remember about playing with them or other toys?
QT: When it comes to G.I. Joes, if you were ever unlucky enough to be assigned to my battalion, it was pretty much a suicide mission. I was quite the bastard because if you lost a leg, that didn't mean s*** to me, alright, you gotta keep on fighting. You lost your head? I didn't give a f***. You lost an arm? Amputees? I don't give a f***. Cripples fight just like everybody else. That was just the way. Now if that rope in the middle broke, okay, then you're retired. I didn't have enough imagination to make a hip bone the entire G.I. Joe, but you know, his arm his leg or whatever- it didn't matter, he still fought, he still played. Actually, the truth, though, is that I never really played war with them. I did what I do. I'm a director, alright? So, they were my actors. Mostly, it wasn't so much that I saw a movie and then went out and acted it out at home with the G. I. Joes. It was more like I saw the commercial for a movie I wanted to see then I took my G.I. Joes and made the movie. My version of what I thought I would see. The exception is when my dad took me to see Diamonds are Forever. I saw it at the Grauman's Chinese Theater back when it was still Grauman's. It was great. So then I was, like, playing G.I. Joe and James Bond and Blofeld and all of those characters. The thing is, I would play them and I would give them (see, I grew up in the 70's, and my parents would take me to see R-rated movies) so I had the dialog, they would be saying, you know 'Okay, you son-of-a-bitch, kiss your ass good-bye'. My uncle, who was taking care of me, would say 'Quentin, what is all of that going on?' And I was like, 'No, it's not me! It's the characters.' It's them. They're saying their dialog. It's the characters. Oddly enough, my mom kind of understood. He'd complain to my mom and she'd say 'Leave him alone. What do you care? He's in his room. He's playing with his dolls. What do you care what he says? Shut your ears, it's his room. There is not another human being in the room; he can say what he wants'.
YL: What about Evel Knievel?
QT: The first incarnation of him, alright, not the van, not the this or the that, or the special do da da, but the very first one that came in the oblong box-that you just go vroom and then let it go and then he takes off, you know, and jumps a roll of pennies hit big the Christmas it came out. It was like every other commercial on TV was for [Evel]. There was only one toy I ever wanted as much as I wanted the Evel Knievel and that was the Talking View Master. I got my Talking View Master. I was big into View Masters as a kid. That's like having a screening room in your house as far as I was concerned. 'Land of the Giants any time I want them? Oh my god!' And the Talking View Master? That's a theater! Oh my goodness! I would have dreams. Until I got it, I had dreams that I had the Talking View Master. I would dream about it. But, the Evel Knievel was when I was living in Tennessee with my Grandmother. And I wanted the Evel Knievel. And my mom [would say] 'What do you want?' 'Evel Knievel! Evel Knievel! Evel Knievel!' My aunt [would say] 'What do you want?' 'Evel Knievel! Evel Knievel!' My Grandmother [would say] 'What do you want?' 'Evel Knievel! Evel Knievel!' My Grandmother, who I am staying with, tells my mom, 'Well I know that Quentin wants this Evel Knievel thing, so I'll give him that and you give him everything else.' So my Mom becomes Diamond Jim Brady. Gets me all this stuff. Ton of stuff, sends it over, like the guilty mother she is.
She gives me the Elvis Presley Christmas. Alright? But my Grandmother, her job was to get the Evel Knievel. This is no joke. It wasn't like this was a surprise and I opened it up and it's not there. She said 'I'm getting you the Evil Knievel. Shut up about the Evel Knievel. Your mom is getting you everything else and that will be the surprise, but I'm getting you the Evel Knievel.' This was said before Christmas. It was so obvious that that is what I wanted that it wasn't even a surprise anymore. What happens Christmas morning? My Mom sends her guilt-ridden, expensive booty to me, alright? I open everything under the sun and it's great, but there is no Evel Knievel. And after literally opening up an Elvis Presley Christmas—I'm like 'Okay, where is Evel Knievel? How much clearer do I have to say to you—you ask me what do I want and I just repeat one thing over and over again like Franny and Zooey.' And my Grammy [says] 'I didn't get you the Evel Knievel because I went to K-Mart and they didn't have it.'
And even then- even then I fried an egg on my head! K-Mart is your universe?! I know this is Tennessee, but still. God forbid you actually get in an automobile and drive somewhere. The Rolling Store didn't have the Evel Knievel, I understand that. (It's the store they take to the hills and people buy crap with food stamps) Oh, you couldn't get the Evel Knievel with food stamps? That was the rub. Get me a pot roast next time! That bothered me. That really bothered me. You could have given me a million dollars, I didn't want it, I wanted the Evel Knievel. It was all for naught. I get mad at how oblivious adults are when it is so obvious what's important to children. How dumb do you have to be? I just get annoyed at adults' obliviousness to what's important to children. That if you opened your eyes for two seconds you would go, 'Naturally!' I think that is a thing that our generation has. We know! We didn't have to live with a lump of coal. We didn't cry because we ate grounds everyday. We cried because we didn't get an Evel Knievel. Well, now we know that that is important to us. Now we know it is going to be more important to our kids. So, as much as you hate Pokemon, buck up and deal with it cuz your kid likes it!
YL: You've talked before about public service announcements from the 1970s. Do you have any favorites?
QT: Hands down, to this day, my favorite public service announcement—I would have been proud to have directed or starred in this public service announcement— was one on drugs. It starts off with a bunch of kids. I'm talking about elementary school kids. Third grade and fourth grade. And a black guy. You never see his face, and if I am not mistaken, you may never even see his hands. But it's definitely a black guy—voice. Hands down. And it's kind of crude the way they shoot it—never showing his face. Third graders and fourth graders get out on the playground and there's a black guy (in a black suit, no less.) Like a Reservoir Dogs black suit. And he has got a table laid out in front of the school yard as the kids all come running like he's the ice cream man at the table. And he's like 'Hello little kiddies, gather around, the man with the goodies is here' And he picks up a thing of airplane glue. 'Here is a newie from me to youie—just inhale and sniff, it is airplane glue.' One little kid is basically cock-blocking his little speech, and he's like 'airplane glue causes convulsions.' 'Convulse yourself outta here, kid.' He goes, 'Here's a little thing for a little trip, it's LSD.' He throws out three pills and the same kid goes 'LSD causes hallucination.' 'Hallucinate yourself outta here, kid.' And then he whips out a joint, 'How about grass, is there anything wrong with pot?' 'They're not sure. There are not enough studies done on that yet.' Finally, the kid goes, 'Everything that you have here is bad for you.' 'Hey kid, why do you think they call it dope?' And the kids walk away. But the part that I can still remember 'Hey little kiddies, gather around, the man with the goodies is here. Here is a newie from me to youie—just inhale and sniff, it is airplane glue.'
Source: Yesterdayland (Now defunct)