Cisco Pike

Cisco Pike on TCM. The last time I saw this I was in a crowd full of hippies at the Wilshire Theatre in Fullerton, California. Weed smoke was in the air and Jerry Ford was in the White House. Kris Kristofferson is Cisco Pike. I believe Doug Sahm comes up somewhere, high as a kite. But then who wasn’t? He’s a poet, he’s a picker, Kris sings about Cisco, he’s a prophet and he’s a something, though what I can’t remember. That refrain has been going though my head since 1975, though that last something disappeared somewhere in the punk rock eighties. Three quarters of two couplets, hanging unresolved. Odd that it never bothered me enough to seek out that last he’s a. But it didn’t. As Kris sang it again on Turner Classic Movies I heard that final he’s a and thought a ha! Now I got it. But I didn’t. Within days it was he’s a something again. The three fourths quatrain has etched itself into my brain permanently. Let’s leave it. Kris has stopped singing now, instead is trying to sell a whole mess of marijuana. He’s not doing so well. He’s doing better that Harry Dean Stanton in the bath tub, though, who’s not looking so hot. And there’s Karen Black, Cisco’s old lady, who was in everything back then. Gene Hackman–it’s Gene Hackman Day on TCM, with this stuck between The Conversation and French Connection–is a cop gone bad, and he’s creepy and inexplicable and irritating all movie long.  Gene probably doesn’t watch this one a lot. There is a plot, one of those early seventies sort of plots full of hippies and rock’n’roll and jaded stoner wisdom, but far be it from me to give away the twists and turns. A cult picture, they call this. The hippies in the Wilshire Theatre snickered even then. I remember being thoroughly confused by the story. Let’s see if I still am.

Yup, I was.

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