March 17, 2014
My wife and a close friend of mine, who tragically passed away a couple of years ago, Nick Faigin went to a motel very close to the Los Angeles Airport (LAX) to interview Rudy Ray Moore. It wasn’t clear at the time if he lived at the motel, or was just staying there. Most of his work as a stand-up comedian was in Las Vegas, but it seemed he was trying to raise funds to make another “Dolemite” film. At the time, there were at least three Dolemite films. The original, then came “The Human Tornado, ” and the last was “The Return of Dolemite.” The premise of the films was that Dolemite was framed with stolen goods and had to serve a prison sentence. Once out, a pair of detectives, who framed him originally, are making an effort to send him back to prison. Lucklly Rudy Ray is surrounded by an army of attractive women who are also karate experts.
Rudy Ray was a stand-up comedian, and is seen to be the grandpa of rap, and also very much the king of exploration films. His classic album “The Beatnik Scene” is very much of a collector’s item, and I actually saw a copy of the original vinyl here in Tokyo, but way too expensive for me to purchase. The interview took place and my wife and Nick got along quite well with Ruby Ray. Nick was important part of the interview, because he had encyclopedic knowledge of Rudy Ray’s work and life. I’m grateful for Nick for introducing me to the works of Iceberg Slim as well. At the time, he was working for a porn magazine, and for some odd reason they needed a writer to write about literature. Why Literature and porn together? That was never answered, and may be the reason I worked on this magazine for only one issue. Nevertheless, I wrote the ultimate essay on Iceberg’s work. I reviewed all his book from Holloway House, which at the time can only be purchased from the newsstand on Cahuenga and Hollywood Boulevard.
In my mind, Iceberg and Rudy Ray are part of the same world. The tradition of life during the post war years for Black Americans I think was a very rich culture. Not only the music, but the humor of Red Foxx, Moms Mabley, and of course Rudy Ray Moore added to the soup that made their experience so appealing for those who were not part of that world. Being exactly who I am, and only knowing the surface of the black experience, and mostly only through music and films, I have difficulty understanding Rudy Ray’s accent or language. I get the ‘drift’ but not the whole story. But what I gather I am missing is something truly excellent. At home I have all of his DVD’s. A friend of mine told me that the great Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, also was a huge Rudy Ray Moore fan. When he first came to the states, he studied American culture through Ruby Ray’s albums. One wonder if that influence has somehow made it up on the ballet stage, but alas, culture is sometimes seeped into one’s DNA, and therefore we will never know for sure.