Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Sunday afternoon Your Humble Narrator & The Kid betook ourselves to The Royale, the Midnite Movie Mamacita’s nouveau-grindhouse in downtown Mesa, for a screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory benefitting Kids Need to Read. Not for the first time, I was struck by how really messed-up, on many different levels, that movie is, in spite (& at times because of) Gene Wilder’s classic turn as Wonka.

But it was a lot of fun anyway, & I swelled with pride to see my two contributions to The Royale’s décor. First, this poster for the 1955 Republic serial Panther Girl of the Kongo, starring sexy Phyllis Coates:

Seeing this so prominently displayed in the lobby delighted me, because it was a legacy from my dear late pal & mentor Bill Rocz, who passed on in 1996. Valley folk will remember Bill as the movie critic at Channel 5 & host of that station’s Family Classics & Hollywood Greats. I had enjoyed the Panther Girl in my home office for years, but there was no place she fit in our current house, & she had been in storage for more than five years. I can think of few places that Bill would more wish to see her than her new home.

The Royale has also offered shelter to The Great Shuggahoo, a big wooden Tiki that hung over my desk for years, but who was also out of place—according to The Wife—in the current Moorhead Hacienda. Shuggahoo (named after an alien ruler in some head comic I read decades ago) has an important gig at The Royale—guarding the commode:

He looks pretty sullen about the detail, wouldn’t you say?


  1. Do you have to tip Shuggahoo? jw

  2. I loved Bill Rocz. He was very influencial in my very early moving going days. I loved his rose rating system. I always smile when he shows up in RAISING ARIZONA. I'm pretty sure I went to high school with his step daughter. She didn't run my circle and I didn't really know her but everyone said her step Dad was Bill Rocz.

    Cool poster, too. They don't design them anywhere near that cool anymore.

  3. Yes, I think Shuggahoo--& perhaps the Royale's management--would appreciate a small gratuity, slipped into any of his various apetures...
    Phil, I'm very glad to know that people still remember Bill around here. I too always grin at his "Raising AZ" moment (he told me that after he finished his take, before he second he asked the Coens "What's my motivition?" & one of them replied "F**k your motivation"). I only recently learned that Kimber Lanning named Stinkweeds Records after Bill's "stinkweeds" for movies he didn't like.