Black Mama, White Mama & Motorcycles

My parents kept a copy of the edition of the Appleton Post-Crescent from the day I was born – May 3rd, 1973. Recently, this paper came into my possession (along with all the other flotsam and jetsam from my childhood when my parents cleaned out their storage shed).

Keith took this photo of some of the movies section of the paper on that day:

I think this says a lot about the time I was born into. The 41 Outdoor was playing two X-rated films – Love Under 17 and Sensuous Teen. Not only can I not imagine these films ever playing at a theater now, I really can’t imagine them playing at an outdoor theater on a 50-foot screen. There would be an uproar.

The other big thing seems to have been movies about motorcycling – The Wild Angels, Hell’s Angels ’69, Hells Angels on Wheels and Angels From Hell. Is it just me or does this seem like many variations on one theme?

But the most interesting films are definitely Black Mama, White Mama and Night of the Cobra Women at the Tower Outdoor. How cool is that double bill?

I did some investigation into these two masterworks. Here is a summary I found online for Black Mama, White Mama:

Two women on an island prison, revolutionary Karen Brent (Margaret Markov) and prostitute Lee Daniels (Pam Grier) are chained together and are being sent to another facility. Karen’s revolutionary friends try to rescue her but are stopped by the cops. Karen and Lee manage to escape into the woods though and then become the targets of a manhunt. Despite their dislike for each other, they have to work together to either find Karen’s friends or Lee’s Pimp’s headquarters.

So the movie is a combo of Blaxploitation and Women In Prison movies. says the two women “cat-fight” their way across the wilderness. I think it’s interesting that any prison would transport a prisoner to another facility while she’s wearing this:

I wouldn’t be surprised if that was indeed a jumpsuit but it’s certainly not the kind of jumpsuit one would expect to see on a woman in chains.

I’m thinking  this movie is a must-see for me.

Night of the Cobra Women is, well, the story of a beautiful woman who turns into a man-eating cobra. There are levels upon levels here, people. The tagline for the film is, “Only the cobra could satisfy her unearthly desires.” I kind of read that as, “This girl is so freaky that only turning into  giant phallic-shaped animal that eats men could satisfy her sexual needs.” But then I saw this trailer and was utterly confused… how could such a straight-forward premise get twisted into something so convoluted and… dull? The announcer sounds as if he’s about to fall asleep reading off some very boring statistics.

But then, you know, I don’t think many people went to the Tower to watch the movies. There were doobies to be smoked and Miller High Life to be consumed.

Both drive-ins are now closed. The best I could do was find links to them on a website called Movies By Starlight that chronicles lost drive-ins. No good photos, which is a shame.

41 Outdoor

Tower Drive-In