films come and go. The charm of some fades within a few years
of their rediscovery. Others continue to flicker in memory
for a lifetime. Good, bad, what difference does it make? Films
possessed of a certain vitality never die. Any flick combining
hot rods, gangsters, shapely chicks and rollicking rockabilly
is bound to boast staying power, and Daddy-O's got
staying power. It certainly isn't a great film. But it oozes
the ambience of a late-50s counter culture, encapsulating
all that we choose to remember as cool from that era. At its
center stands Dick Contino, his chiseled chin, stony biceps
and smoldering demeanor lending credence to a muddled plot
about a taciturn rocker involved with drug running. "That
thing was like a class Z picture," recalls Contino. But
Daddy-O is beloved less for its execution than for
what it represents: jumpin' rock tunes, swinging beer joints
and late night drag races through Griffith Park.
"That was something else, wasn't
it? Daddy-O, man," Dick Contino muses through
the same blinding smile he wore as Phil "Daddy-O"
Sandifer nearly 40 years ago. "The songs. I love the
songs," he grins. "Isn't that funny? The guy that
wrote the music is -- y'know -- what's his name? John Williams.
'Candy Baby.' 'Angel Act.' And what was the other one. God,
a couple of nice ones in there. 'Wait'll I Get You Home!'
Lou Place, man, was the director. In the studio, this was
like my first movie, y'know? I hadn't done anything. I'm
doing the thing -- pre-recording -- singing the song. And
I get to the end of 'Wait'll I Get You Home,' and I finish
it ... and I go, 'Hah!'