All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

I'm on a wavelength far from home

Palm Pictures
Buddy bests the Soviet Red Army on the road to "Lost Vegas."
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

“A buddy picture”

OKLAHOMA CITY – In the 1983 film WarGames, starring Matthew Broderick as a computer hacker who breaks into a secret-government computer, the teen’s character thinks a “game” called “Global Thermonuclear War” is, well, only a game.

While “playing” the game, with his girlfriend Jennifer (Ally Sheedy), they take on the side of the Soviet Union and choose American cities as targets. The two they choose are Las Vegas, Nevada and Seattle, Washington. Seattle is where they lived.

For those who have seen the movie, they quickly realize things are out of hand and they have to scramble and find the reclusive Prof. Falken, the man who designed the artificially-intelligent computer who also thinks the nuclear war is “just a game.”

When they finally find Falken, and he learns what cities are targeted, Falken makes the following statement: “I loved it when you nuked Las Vegas. Suitably biblical ending to the place, don't you think?

Sin City. Land of debauchery and greed. Fear and loathing … the underbelly of the American dream. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. It is so much a part of rock n’ roll history. And that is truly American. Perhaps that’s why it makes such a juicy target?

It was interesting that they chose Las Vegas, yet oddly appropriate, in light of the city’s proximity to Nellis Air Force Base, “Area 51” and, where above-ground atomic-bomb tests took place. During the 1950’s, the atomic-bomb tests at the Nevada Test Site, could be seen and heard by tourists in Vegas, the mushroom clouds visible in the distance.

In the low-budget but highly entertaining film Six-String Samurai, guitar-slingin’, samurai-sword-wielding Buddy (Holly?), a rock n’ roll survivor of a nuclear holocaust in 1957, is making his way across the desert wastelands of what was the American Southwest, forty years later, in an alternate 1997. It’s a sort of hipster, anti-Red Dawn, sans the Bircher hysteria.

The film opens up with scenes of nuclear explosions and mushroom clouds ("a false sun"). Much of America is destroyed, and what is left is controlled by the “Reds.”

Meanwhile, a Wolfman Jack-soundalike – “The Werewolf” – gives folks hope on the crackly AM radio dial with his call for a new rock n’ roll king of “Lost Vegas,” now that “The King” is dead. Elvis, that is. Lost Vegas is now the “last bastion of freedom.”

Says The Werewolf: “The call-in question of the day is ‘Who will be the new king?’ I’m sending out an ICBM across the wastelands for all of you on the yellow brick road headin’ to Vegas looking for a hero. If you find one, send him my way, baby.”

Our hero … err … anti-hero, Buddy (Jeffrey Falcon), has his six-string, hollow-body guitar and a samurai sword and a tag-along kid (Justin McGuire). And Buddy is already hellbound and determined to be the new rock n’ roll king of Vegas, as long as he can get past The Pin Pals bowling-league thugs (between the pillars), the cannibalistic “nuclear family,” “The Windmill People,” a Slash-look-alike called “Death,” and even the remnants of the hapless Soviet Red Army.

When Buddy and The Kid run across the Red Army, the Stalinesque Soviet Red Army commander winces when Buddy says he is the “new rock n’ roll king of Vegas. So, all you commies, step aside.”

I do not like rock n’ roll music. It is too loud,” the Rooskie tells him. “I like folk music. Soft, nice music. Eh? Polka, waltz, anything. “

Replies Buddy: “I don’t do polka, baby.”

In 2014, I featured several Buddy Holly sync posts on Dust Devil Dreams. The “Hanged Man” Buddy from an episode of The Young Ones. And my sync with the Mason City, Iowa airport where Buddy, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper took off in a February snowstorm, 56-years ago this Tuesday. I had a case of Buddy fever that never quite went away.

But back to Six-String Samurai … peopled with Mad Max-like survivors and mutants, along with Big Lebowski pop-culture weirdness, Siberian surf rock from the Red Elvises (read our review), and classic 50’s cars, like something you’d see on any street in Havana, Six-String Samurai is about keeping the spirit of rock n’ roll alive, even when the chips are down and Vegas looks like a Space Age Moon city. - awaiting its new king.

Death’s bowmen try to kill Buddy there in the post-apocalyptic wastelands, as the Werewolf rock n’ roll DJ does his best to keep the rock n’ roll playing for the masses and the new king makes his way to the promised land.

Perhaps Buddy, and those who come after him, will keep hope alive in Vegas and beyond?

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd
Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK