Just Paying the Bills

May 21, 2017

After serving as music director for UPA (United Productions of America), producers of the Mr. Magoo cartoons, Jaime opened his own post production company. It was common to walk into his studio and find two or three projects in progress. Jaime never advertised, and despite being a great musical talent, was not a sales person nor good at self-promotion. Most of his film projects were secured by word-of-mouth, referral or by a producer  simply walking in the door.  Jaime - together with a small cast of musicians, film and sound effects editors - worked on many small, low budget independent films, most of which would never make it onto any best picture, or even cult film list. Perhaps what drove Jaime was his interest in a challenge, maybe his anti-establishment bent, or a desire to find a means of keeping music a part of his work. It was probably best explained as a confluence of both personal and practical needs to be somehow involved in a creative process while just trying to pay the bills.

 

 

One of the more notorious producers who walked in the door was Ed Wood.

“In the 1950s, Wood made a number of low-budget films in the science fiction, comedy, and horror genres... In the 1960s and 1970s, he made sexploitation movies and wrote over 80 pulp crime, horror and sex novels. In 1980, he was posthumously awarded a Golden Turkey Award as Worst Director of All Time, renewing public interest in his work. Wood's career and camp approach has earned him and his films a cult following.

 

…Wood's transitional film, once again combining two genres, horror and grindhouse skin-flick, was 1965's "Orgy of the Dead", originally titled "Nudie Ghoulies". Wood handled various production details while Stephen C. Apostolof directed under the pseudonym A. C. Stephen. The film begins with a re-creation of the opening scene from the then-unreleased "Night of the Ghouls". Criswell, wearing one of (Bela) Lugosi's old capes, rises from his coffin to deliver an introduction taken almost word-for-word from the previous film. Set in a misty graveyard, the Lord of the Dead (Criswell) and his sexy consort, the Black Ghoul (a Vampira look-alike), preside over a series of macabre performances by topless dancers from beyond the grave (recruited by Wood from local strip clubs). The film also features a Wolf Man and a Mummy.”  (source: Wikipedia)


Jaime recorded a few campy numbers for “Orgy of the Dead,” while also editing and including previously recorded tracks from his library, like the excerpt of one entitled, “Our Fitting Climax.”  Jaime would find himself again teamed on another film with Wood’s collaborator, Stephen C. Apostolof.

 

 

 

I recall during a family dinner in 1994, the conversation moved to a discussion about Johnny Depp’s film, "Ed Wood".  I turned to Jaime and asked, “Didn’t you do some work for Ed?”  The table became silent, and Jaime responded, “Um-hum… it didn’t pay well…”  He didn’t seem to want to elaborate more.  While the film isn’t a particularly noteworthy example of Jaime’s work, it certainly has found a cult audience. Moreover, it stands as an example of some of the eccentric characters that crossed paths with the Bolivian immigrant.

 

 



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