Wednesday, December 2, 2009

AFOS: "Zero Churn" playlist

An ancient Z Channel graphic

Airing next Wednesday at 10am and 3pm on A Fistful of Soundtracks is the Fistful of Soundtracks: The Series episode "Zero Churn" (WEB69) from November 28-December 4, 2005.

All the tracks during "Zero Churn" come from soundtracks to movies that aired on L.A.'s beloved Z Channel in the '70s and '80s (examples include Nashville, The Harder They Come and the much-maligned Heaven's Gate). The ep's title refers to the Z Channel's "zero churn rate," a fancy business term that means subscribers never cancelled the service.

I never heard of the Z Channel--which was a really interesting and ahead-of-its-time cable channel--until I Netflixed the critically acclaimed Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession documentary by both IFC and director Xan Cassavetes, the daughter of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands. My favorite parts of A Magnificent Obsession are the segments about Z Channel fare like Le Magnifique, Laura Antonelli's Mogliamante and Something of Value (interviewee F.X. Feeney, who wrote movie reviews for the listings guide that the channel mailed to its subscribers, does a funny impression of Winston Churchill's appearance in the prologue for Something of Value). And though Quentin Tarantino should really consider switching to decaf, he tells an amusing story in the middle of the doc about watching a tape of a Z Channel presentation of Mogliamante.

In 2005, I thought an AFOS: The Series ep based on A Magnificent Obsession would be a cool idea because the playlist would be eclectic, just like the channel itself was back in the day.

'A poem, by Henry Gibson.'
"200 Years"

1. Nino Rota, "La Strada," Fellini & Rota: I Film, Le Musiche--Movies & Music, CAM
2. Jean Constantin, "Générique et Car de Police" (from The 400 Blows), Cannes Film Festival: 50th Anniversary Album, Milan
3. Giovanni Fusco, "Titoli" (from L'Avventura), I Film di Antonioni, Le Musiche di Fusco, CAM
4. The City of Prague Philharmonic, "The Bomb Run" (from Dr. Strangelove), Dr. Strangelove... Music from the Films of Stanley Kubrick, Silva Screen
5. The City of Prague Philharmonic, "Train Montage" (from The Wild Bunch), Cinema Century: A Musical Celebration of 100 Years of Cinema, Silva Screen
6. Bob Dylan, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (from Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid), Movie Music: The Definitive Performances, Columbia/Epic/Legacy
7. Jerry Fielding, "On the Road" (from Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia/The Killer Elite, Intrada
8. Pino Donaggio, "Tema di Clayton" (from Amore piombo e furore, a.k.a. China 9, Liberty 37), Spaghetti Westerns, Volume One, DRG
9. Jimmy Cliff, "The Harder They Come," The Harder They Come, Island
10. Henry Gibson, "200 Years," Nashville, MCA Nashville
11. David Mansfield, "Overture," Heaven's Gate, Rykodisc
12. Ennio Morricone with Gheorghe Zamfir & Edda Dell'Orso, "Cockeye's Song" (from Once Upon a Time in America), The Ennio Morricone Anthology: A Fistful of Film Music, Rhino
13. Piero Piccioni, "La Bella Signora" (from Tutto a posto e niente in ordine, a.k.a. All Screwed Up), (Italian Girls Like) Ear-Catching Melodies, Dagored
14. Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle, "Introduction/Puttin' on the Ritz," Young Frankenstein, One Way
15. Jerry Goldsmith, "Love Theme from Chinatown (End Title)," Chinatown, Varèse Sarabande

Count me as a Heaven's Gate hater, but God, the overture by Mansfield is such a beautiful piece of music.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, wow. I remember the Z Channel very well. We had it for several years before my dad broke down and subscribed to HBO and Cinemax. Seemed like they played "Oh Lucky Man!" three times a day.

    It really was a groundbreaking cable channel. The first music video I ever saw was the Pretenders' "Brass in Pocket," and it wasn't on MTV -- it aired in between movies on the Z Channel. My memory is hazy now, but I'm pretty sure that was 1980 or '81. Those were heady times.