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The movie is based on the career of artists manager Robert P. Marcucci who discovered and managed rock idols Frankie Avalon and Fabian during the 1950s and 1960s. Vincent 'Vinnie' Vacarri (Ray Sharkey) is based on Marcucci; Tommy Del Russo aka Tommy Dee (Paul Land) is based on Avalon; Guido Bevaloqua aka Caesare (Peter Gallagher) is based on Fabian and Vacarri's assistant, Brenda Roberts (Tovah Feldshuh), is based on Marcucci's real-life assistant at the time, Rona Barrett. Marcucci contributed his reminisces of the 50s & 60s music business to the film's script, did a cameo, and acted as a technical consultant to the production. See more »
In the opening sequence taking place in 1959, a one dollar "Green Seal" Federal Reserve bill is shown. The treasury dept introduced them starting in 1963. "Blue Seal" Silver Certificates were in use in 1959. See more »
Hey, I'm not dumb! You don't even know me and you call me dumb. Wanna know what's dumb? The last eight covers in a row you did on Elvis in the army, with the badges? That's dumb. And that's boring.
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Tragically, released at a time when United Artists was busy going bankrupt making "Heaven's Gate" (see book FINAL CUT), this film was lost among a number of gems (Rich Kids; Pope of Greenwich Village; TrueRomance), "Idolmaker" is truly in a class by itself. Its acting is uniformly impeccable, direction, cinematography and both writing and song score--by the legendary Jeff Barry--of Barry and Cynthia Weil fame, the film is refreshingly bereft of dead spots,contrived moments and false notes (and I'm not just talking about the music).Ray Sharkey is at his volcanic best. JOE PANTOLIANO is cast against character as (no kidding) Sharkey's milquetoast songwriting partner--and acquits himself magnificently. Olympia Dukakis gives a FINE performance as Sharkey's mother--and Peter Gallagher does his own singing--while delivering the performance of a lifetime as the naive-turned-meglomaniacal Avalon character.Due to his heroin addiction, Sharkey's career floundered in years following this star-making role... lowering him to parts in the likes of "Hellhole" with Marjoe Gortner. He ended up flat broke, living with his mother in NYC.What followed was bittersweet and merits extra attention to a wonderful First Act scene: While watching the movie on TV, he was struck by scene where his mother urges him to swallow his pride and ask his estranged father to finance his start in show business.Seeing That one scene years later restored his self-esteem and inspired him to get clean and sober and get back into the game. He was barely out of rehab when he landed the role of Atlantic City mobster Sonny Steelgrave in TV's"Wiseguy"'s very first story arc. Those episodes remain cult classics,and are available on DVD. Loosely based on the career of Bob Marcucci, and his protégés Fabianand Frankie Avalon, this movie truly has it all: pathos, humor, an unflinching look at the free-for-all pre-Beatles Teen Idol gap that resulted from Elvis' stint in the Army.
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