Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Meet the Stars, Part 1

Today we're beginning a new series of articles devoted to covering each Dog Food Productions star. You've seen their biographies, but here we'll take a look at how each player carves their own unique niche, or not, in the ever-growing Dog Food filmography. Check back infrequently, as there will be more updates guaranteed later this century.

First up is Richard Lane. Richard came to Dog Food studios professing a desire to act in the tradition of John Garfield in "Body and Soul" and Marlon Brando in "On the Waterfront" and "One-Eyed Jacks". What attracted him to these classic performances? Perhaps the fact that in each film, the protagonist has the crap beat out of him. Yes, it's Richard's little quirk that he enjoys being abused on film, and we've certainly been happy to oblige. No mere whipping boy he, Richard painstakingly goes over his manner of degradation with the director before each production begins, even offering suggestions for new methods of how he might be slapped around, or in some cases, killed.

(Warning: SPOILERS below for some Dog Food films... now you don't have to watch them. You're welcome.)

Richard's legendary inability to hold down even a shotglass of weak liquor was highlighted in his first Dog Food film, "Mondo Ghio". Rich insisted on taking pure shots of Everclear for each take to make his reactions genuine. (A second bottle was needed to finish the shoot when it was discovered director R. Strother had drained the first one during the lunch break.) Richard supposedly suffered from nausea for days, but more importantly, a lasting sight gag was born.

After escaping relatively unscathed in "Cool Yule", Richard returned to play one of the many murder victims in "Citizen Pate". To double his humiliation, he was killed on the toilet. If this evokes either Janet Leigh or Elvis in your mind, your imagination is much better than mine.

In the amazingly long-titled "The Amazing Spectacles of Mr. Ghio", Richard faces yet another ignominious demise... he is killed when his bike wipes out after running over some phony dog crap placed in his path by the crafty Mr. Ghio. (That's right. Go back and reread that sentence if you need to. That's the level of inventiveness you're dealing with here.) How did Ghio know exactly where to place the object? How did this make Richard crash? And why did he die? No matter; it's yet another shameful end for Mr. Lane.

Bored after playing one of the "heroes" in "La Grande Saliccia", Richard joined Cal Slayton for the first ever use of the famous (now retired) Dog Food "mayo gag". And gag he did, as jar after jar of mayo was consumed through the three-day shoot. He's a real trouper, folks, to say the least.

Adding a holiday twist to his now standard spit-take, Richard upped the ante by vomiting poisoned egg nog before dying in "Cool Yule Part II".

Yearning for a greater challenge after the mild abuse of the last three films, Richard went all-out in "Rules of the Game", where, during a simple child's game of rock-paper-scissors, he is slapped, beaten and finally killed by Cal Slayton in a period of less than five minutes. Another stellar physical performance by Lane; Slayton has referred to this as his favorite shoot.

After suffering mere mental abuse by Slayton in "The Alibi", it can now be told that Richard actually made an uncredited appearance as "Pate", one of the ill-fated rodents in "Squirrels on a Hot Air Balloon". Richard was crammed into a tiny, hot, itchy costume, dropped from the roof of Strother's house, and made to crawl across the lawn only to have blood vomited in his face. If they gave "Best Actor" awards to cheap, Internet-only videos that nobody watches, Richard would have been assured one here.

In "The Infraction", sad-sack Rich is unfortunate enough to belong to a club whose members are rule-obsessed harmonica-playing nerds who also harbor dangerous psychotic tendencies. His fate, as you see below, was painful to film, though director Strother did give Richard a five-minute break every hour before stringing him back up again.

"Community Service" stars Richard as a guy with a speeding ticket who mistakenly winds up on a dangerous chain gang. A chain gang that is forced to... um... clean up a soccer field. Doesn't sound dangerous, huh? Well, Richard still manages to wind up flat on his back being dragged across the grass by an ankle chain! Way to go, Rich!

And there we have the contributions of Richard to date, knowing that many more are to come. Of course, this meek, put-upon personality is all an actor's trick. In real life, Richard would just as soon open your jugular with a straight razor as look at you. But on screen, he's as gentle as a lamb. Dog Food star Richard Lane, we salute you! And punch you... and kick you... and...