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DVD Stalk Blog - Stalking You Daily!

The Birth of Troma

Greetings from Tromaville!

Well the time has finally come. Today's entry is the final entry of Troma's takeover of DVD Talk's horror column. Every weekday for over a month, I've shared with you stories about Troma's films and the company's history, and what a month it has been! Before I hand this column back to the writers of DVD Talk, I'd like to share with you a story that few people know but may be the most important story in Troma's history: the story of how I paired up with Troma co-founder Michael Herz. I go into detail about this in the documentary Supersonic Guided Missile: The Origins of Troma, which is included in our new Sexy Box and features a rare on-camera appearance from the reclusive Michael Herz.

SOME CALL HIM...HERZ!

First meeting? I can't quite remember. We shook hands in my doorway at Yale, or something, and that was that. Michael and my younger brother Charles (director of the Troma classic Mother's Day) were both counselors at a summer cap a few months before and now he had stopped by to introduce himself.

At Yale, we were both basically loners. We weren't friends with each other, and neither of us had many friends of his own. Michael claims that the only reason he ever talked to me at all was because I was the only one in the dormitory who had a TV--a small black-and-white that went blank every time someone walked past it. He would come over occasionally to watch it.


Also, Michael owned a pinball machine. He put it in the Yale commons area and charged 10 cents a game--an entrepreneur from the very beginning.

Besides that, the only concrete memory I have of him at Yale was humiliating him, er, uh...filming him in The Girl Who Returned (included as an Easter egg in The Sexy Box). I didn't see him again until after we had graduated.

CUT TO: 1972--A young, attractive woman, Maris, is going for a night out on the town with her mother. They decide to see a movie. After they flip through the New York Times they agree upon a film called Cry Uncle because it has gotten pretty good reviews, and maybe also because it is rated X (though Maris holds her thumb over this part of the advertisement).

I had an embarrassing role in Cry Uncle as a burnt-out hippie. Here are some my lines:

"You're hallucinating, Herbie. This is really strong acid."

"Stay in the room, Herbie. Please."

"It's the fourth, hour, Herbie, the fourth hour. Dig it?"

In fact, those are all of my lines. Maris recognized me on-screen, and confirmed this by reading the end credits.


During this period, Maris' boyfriend, Michael Herz, was a law student at NYU. Although Michael loved the law, he was coming to dread the prospect of practicing it. It didn't seem like a fulfilling way to spend his life. Instead, he harbored a secret desire that he shared with only Maris: he wanted to be a screenwriter.[1] She took him to see Cry Uncle (which means Maris actually had to sit through the damn thing twice). Shortly thereafter I received a call from a young and eager Mr. Herz, and I brought him onto the production of Sugar Cookies. It was at this point that I began ruin Michael's life as well as my own.

--

Thank you, dear readers, for reading our column, but like the herpes of cyberspace, you can never get rid of me for good. Check into www.troma.com and www.lloydkaufman.com for more of my writings in the future and to see what Troma is up to. And stay tuned for The Toxic Avenger 5: The Toxic Twins. Here's an exclusive sneak peak at the poster!

XOXO

Lloyd Kaufman









[1] All of this information, incidentally, comes from Maris. Michael won't talk about any of it to me and I have a memory of a... what was I saying again? Anyway, I was surprised when Maris reminded me of Michael's screenwriting aspirations, because, outside of those first couple of months, I don't remember him having ever brought it up again.



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