“The Phantom of the Paradise” was a hit in two cities in the world, and it flopped everywhere else. Those two cities were Paris, France…and my hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Mom and I attended the first Phantompalooza, the 30th anniversary celebration of the film in 2005, but couldn’t attend the second and final one the year after that because I was in the ER with a kidney stone.
Both of them were held at the Garrick Movie Theatre. In attendance were:
The Phantom/Winslow Leach
and Gerritt Graham (Beef).
Jessica Harper/Phoenix wanted to attend, but due to other engagements, was only able to send a recorded video message, during which she pretended that she took live questions from the audience.
So, there I was, over the moon with a newly-acquired Death Records t-shirt (tried to find a pic of me wearing it, but no luck yet; I’ll keep looking).
The next year, (Phantompalooza II), because the first one had been so successful, the organizers were able to persuade to attend:
Paul Williams (Swan)
Jessica Harper (Phoenix) – who is now a successful children’s author, composer and cook.
William Finley (Winslow Leach/The Phantom)
and Harold Oblong (one of the singers from the Juicy Fruits/Beach Bums/Undead groups in the film).
A friend of mine designed the mock-up of the Phantom’s helmet that was put on a life-size mannequin in the entrance (holding a toilet plunger). It was a great experience. Those who do not like the film, as my mom said to the news cameras, “have no taste!”
claps three times…
The movie ran for 52 weeks straight when it came out, at the Garrick Theatre. If my dad was alive, he’d have attended both Phantompaloozas too, because he loved the movie as well. (“Don’t try to tell me you didn’t hear that shriek! That was something trying to get out of its premature grave, and I don’t wanna be here when it does!”)
”Didn’t you read your contract closely??? Can you READ what it says?”
Was I the only 8-year old girl/boy/it doesn’t really matter because that scene is hot…. who got aroused when Phoenix makes love to Swan? I doubt it, because I’m not the first person to have asked this question.
Stay tuned to this website for all things related to the phenomenon of Phantom of the Paradise in Winnipeg.
A Sad Postscript:
William Finley, who played the Phantom/Winslow Leach, died on April 14, 2012. Here’s a moving obituary from a fan who emailed Mr Finley only hours before he died.
And here is a super-neat video of the man himself promoting the Phantom action figure – it speaks, and comes with a toilet plunger!