The following interview was
done late 1993 and appeared in SHOCKING IMAGES #3 and #4.
RUDY RAY MOORE: Yes. He died in 1984. He had a heart attack.SI: Did he do any other films?
RRM: Yes. You mean direct?SI: Yes.
RRM: Disco 9000.SI: Did he act in any others?
RRM: Oh yes! Friday Foster with Pam Grier, Black Caesar, THE LEGEND OF NIGGER CHARLIE, BOSS NIGGER all with Fred Williamson. In other words, he did about 10 pictures with Fred. And he did THE BOOK OF NUMBERS with Raymond St. Joques.SI: Some people consider DOLEMITE to be the ultimate black action film. How do you feel about that?
RRM: Yes. Well, I'll tell you how DOLEMITE got to be. What it was. I had created a character in my party records. He was so bad on the records. After creating the character on the records people said "I wonder if he's as bad in the movies as he is on the records?" I had some daring things that I had done in it, like pulling out guts and all that. People just really went for it in that period.SI: Wasn't the black action phenomena started by Melvin Van Peeble's Sweet Sweetback's Badaaasss Song?
RRM: No. That came out in '71 and there was Superfly and Shaft in these early years. But Melvin Van Peeble's film could have been one of the pioneers of what is the so-called "blaxploitation".SI: What do you think of Shaft and the Fred Williamson type films?
RRM: Well, those films were nice for that period.SI: When and where was DOLEMITE filmed?
RRM: DOLEMITE was filmed in 1974 on location in my house in Los Angeles. We had very little to do it with, so I had to set up stuff in my house and around the place that I lived, in the alleys and things for the chase scenes. Whatever I could do to get it done at a very phenomenal cheap price.SI: Did you finance it yourself?
RRM: Yes.SI: Did you finance your other films as well?
RRM: THE HUMAN TORNADO and partially PETEY WHEATSTRAW and all of RUDE I done.SI: What is your connection with people like Lady Reed, Jerry Jones, and Jimmy Lynch? They were involved with a lot of your projects.
RRM: Lady Reed is an old friend of mine through the years and when I started doing movies I was out to give her a break. Jerry Jones came to me as a writer to write the script DOLEMITE. So that's how we've become connected and since then we've done several projects together. Jimmy Lynch is one of the early comedians to do "four letter comedy". We met after he had his first album out. He came to town and I met him and introduced him at the old California Club.SI: Were you into a lot of karate?
RRM: No. My karate scenes were staged by martial arts champion Howard Jackson. I had to go to his school. I guess I went for about a month to get the coordination ideas to do martial arts on film, which is not difficult to do. All you have to do is know the movement and they stage it. So I was able to learn that in his school.SI: What made you decide to incorporate karate in your films?
RRM: Well, it had became popular from the Bruce Lee era. Black people were going to see that a lot too on the screen. So I decided to incorporate that into my story line.SI: DOLEMITE was always good in a bad sort of way.
RRM: He was good and upstanding but didn't take no shit. He was just as self-contained to defend by whatever means necessary.SI: Clips from DOLEMITE have been shown on the ARSENIO HALL SHOW as well as a lot of references to the character on numerous rap albums. He seems to be popping up all over place. Do you feel that you've created a legend with the character?
RRM: Yes. Dolemite and some of the other characters that I do. I have been sampled 21 times by Luther Campbell on his rap records. I've been sampled by NWA over half a dozen times. I'm sampled by Dr. Dre on the "Chronic" album, which is doing big. It's gonna do 4,000,000 records. I had a sample from one of my movies in Lavert's video and I've also worked live with Eazy-E with a hot single out now. I am also on the album with Big Daddy Kane, "Taste of Chocolate." I did a video with Eric B. and Rakim. So now I am tagged as the 'Godfather of the rappers", also known as "Rappin' Rudy-The king of the Party Records".SI: Why have you been tagged "The Godfather of Rap"?
RRM: It's because I am the influence to the rappers of today with the rap that I done years ago. Rappin' and rhymin'. I am the first commercial artist to come out with that on record with explicit language. All my stuff rhymes. (Goes into a monologue) "Way down in the jungle deep. The lion stepped on the monkey's feet..." I was doing that rap style years ago so naturally they looked to my records to see what they can find because I was the first. So naturally being the first, I am the Godfather.SI: Everybody was always "rat soup eatin'.."
RRM: I am very creative and use creative material. I wanted daring things to say to make people jump up in the seats in the theaters. So "rat soup satin,. no business barn, low life, decrepit, insecure, junkyard.." none of those words are bad. They are not four letter words. So when we gave the movie to the MPAA to judge it for language, they didn't know what it meant. They come back to Dimension Pictures and said "We don't know what Mr. Moore is talking about. We know what "motherfucker" means but we don't know what "rat soup eatin,. insecure, peppergut, junkyard.."means. So what we're gonna do, we gonna rate this picture "R" for language." We had to cut the scene when the girl is lying on the bed from the beaver being further back off the camera. The gut scene where I pulled D'urville Martin's guts out had to be cut down some. It was too graphic for an "R" rated picture. So they said "Make those couple of cuts and we'll give it an "R" for language." That included the "rat soup eatin'."SI: You then did the follow up to DOLEMITE, THE HUMAN TORNADO.
RRM: That was the second DOLEMITE picture.SI: Was that shot around your home as well?
RRM: It was shot right around location in Los Angeles and in the Dunbar Hotel. The place where I had this huge apartment with about nine rooms. I decorated every room in it to shoot a scene in. Even the hospital scene, the jail-house scene, everything was done in my house by set decoration.SI: Was there a really small budget on this too?
RRM: Yes. I wasn't able to afford locations. The special effects, we did most of them ourselves. We just did not have the money. If I would've had money to do films then, I would have been a giant. I done all I'd done on nothin'. On a shoe string.SI: At the beginning of THE HUMAN TORNADO there is a scene where one of the characters walks in on a lady in the bathroom and she is shouting "This is for ladies!" That's your voice isn't it?
RRM: That's me. How did you know?SI: It just sounded like a voice you've used before on your party records.
RRM: That was an overdub we did in the studio. When we got in the studio, there was nobody to do it so I done it. I've done many, many things myself, from set decoration, to cooking, to production manager, to acting, everything. There was nothing too small for me to take hold of; run errands, everything.SI: You sang a few songs that were included in your movies. Were those ever released?
RRM: Yes. I sang "The Human Tornado". I sang the song "Miss Wonderful" too, and they were released as a single.SI: Who's Cliff Roquemore?
RRM: He was the preparer for PETEY WHEATSTRAW and the director of THE HUMAN TORNADO. He wanted a shot at writing and directing. He was talented and didn't cost me the money probably most directors would've cost. So I went along with him.SI: There is a part in THE HUMAN TORNADO where you are having sex and scenes of you eating food are edited in during that sequence. That is one hell of a hilarious metaphor!
RRM: Roquemore came up with that and I came up with the scene where the fellows are sliding down the slide into the woman. The writer just wrote the script. I put the dialog in it of the explicit language.SI: The fight scenes in that were sped up. Was that for a comedic effect?
RRM: Yes. We sped the fight scenes up. The trailer is not, though. I was looking at it the other day, and they were not sped up. That was Dimension Pictures' idea.SI: In the beginning of THE HUMAN TORNADO, you are doing some of your comedy. At the end of that scene there are shots of a red rose edited in.
RRM: That was the trademark of Dolemite. He wore the red rose on everything. If you look in the picture, you'll see that the red rose is on all the wardrobe.SI: Tell me about PETEY WHEATSTRAW.
RRM: PETEY WHEATSTRAW is an old folklore character from 1941. People used to talk about Petey Wheatstraw, the devil's son-in-law, the high sheriff of hell. So I took Petey Wheatstraw and made the character out of him. I wrote this monologue, in other words he was the son of the devil. So in writing the screenplay, we had to prepare how Petey Wheatstraw becomes the son-in-law of the devil. He has to marry the devil's daughter. Cliff Roquemore put this plot together to make it come out like that. But that's where Petey Wheatstraw comes from, one of my album characters.SI: When was that made?
RRM: It was made in 1977.SI: Then you did DISCO GODFATHER.
RRM: DISCO GODFATHER was the destruction of my film career. I had picked up backers to back me and DISCO GODFATHER was a little too mild of me. That was prepared by someone else. I should not have let him go in that direction. I should've went the same direction I was going with DOLEMITE and PETEY WHEATSTRAW and THE HUMAN TORNADO. But they were trying to clean me up with a better image and it didn't work. So I lost my investment. And that closed my film career out. I haven't done a film since, other than my concert which was just a stand up comedy concert.SI: Do you have any plans for doing more films?
RRM: Yes. I have had plans for years to try and get back into it, but I could never get help. Never could get any kind of assistance.SI: What made you decide to have a disco oriented film with DISCO GODFATHER?
RRM: The DISCO GODFATHER was supposed to be a take off from a black point of view of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, but the writers went in the wrong direction with it. Should we have had a cop out to SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER with a lot of sex and a lot of great dancing, the things that the young people were doing at that period, it would've worked. But they were trying to clean me up to become more of a humanitarian by talking against drugs. Which that's what DISCO GODFATHER was about. So he put the disco theme to it in order to give it the music from the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER idea.SI: At the end where you've sniffed the angel dust and began freaking out, what was the idea that you were trying to imply with that?
RRM: I was only following the script lines and the idea of that was that the angel dust was so terrible until they caught me and put me in the room and got me loaded on it. It showed the effect that it had on me. That's how that came about. The gang that he was trying to knock out of the angel dust laboratory. When I got into the house, one of their assistants got me and drug me into that room and gassed me in there. So when they did find me, that was the condition I was in. Although those were not my ideas, these are just the script ideas that I was performing.SI: When was RUDE released?
RRM: RUDE was released in 1982. I did it in 1980 and come back again in 1982 and did some more.SI: Are all these available on video still?
RRM: Everything is available on video, even MONKEY HUSTLE. That's the one I did for American International Pictures. It's available. It was done in 1976 also.SI: Tell me about MONKEY HUSTLE.
RRM: MONKEY HUSTLE was done with Yaphet Kotto and a great lady named Rosalind Cash. I had become strong in the market. I was lining up people with pictures that cost a few pennies to do. I was doing these pictures at this price and the president of AIP asked me to come up and then he asked me to do a picture for him, which was MONKEY HUSTLE. And lo and behold, I took it and coulda did THE HERETIC with Richard Burton, but I was advised by my assistants not to do it because of the money they offered me. But I wish I would've so I could put that on my resume.SI: Was there any other films you worked on?
RRM: I worked on Penitentiary 2. Those are all the films that I have worked on that I've been seen in, other than many years ago when we were going out to Hollywood and doing those group set shots and stuff. But those are my starring roles.SI: What are some other black action films that you think are influential to that era?
RRM: I did like Pryor in Which Way Is Up? and Max Julian in The Mack. I thought those were fantastic films. And Pam Grier. She had a couple of earlier pictures that were fabulous during that period.SI: Why do you think that the craze for the black action films died out?
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