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The Year of the Yahoo! (1971)

A country-western singer is recruited to run for the U.S. Senate, and soon clashes with his unscrupulous campaign manager on the tactics to run his political campaign.


(original screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Claude King ...
Hank Jackson
Sid Angelo
Ronna Riddle ...
Tammy Parker
Governor Baxter
Robert Jolly ...
Chet Stoner
Terrell Cass ...
Ed Varnett
Tom Lytel ...
Art Farnsworth
Robert Swain ...
Senator Fred Burwell
Robert Pearson ...
Leslie Slater ...
Barbara Hamilton ...
Daniel Krogh ...
Tim (as Dan Krogh)
Marguerite Sibiski ...
Toni Telo ...
Roberto Rivas ...
Mr. Vereraz


Hank Jackson is a clean-cut Country & Western singer whom is recruited to run for the post of Republican senator of Texas with the assistance of three Washington D.C. 'technical advisers'; cynical movie producer Sid Angelo, image consultant Chet Stoner, and political advisor Ed Varnett whom are under the employment of the shady Governor Baxter whom wants his latest political rival, Senator Birdwell, out of the way. During the cleverly scripted campaign of TV commercials and political speeches, Hank lets the thoughts of fame and popularity go to his head. But it puts a strain on his relationship with his liberal girlfriend Tammy Parker whom is currently leading a strike that Hank opposes. Seeing Tammy as a threat to Hank's campaign, the ruthless Sid Angelo plots to shut her up by unethical and illegal means. Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama






Release Date:

27 August 1971 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to co-star/assistant director/location manager Ray Sager, most of the film was shot at a small radio station in San Antonio, Texas which was titled K-BOX, which played only country-western music. Needing a location for a TV studio with offices, Sager phoned the manager of the radio station during pre-production while scouting potential filming locations, and since the manager was a huge fan of the star-singer Claude King, the K-BOX manger allowed Herschell Gordon Lewis and the film crew full access to film in and around the radio station. See more »


Hank Jackson: When I get back, I don't ever want to see you or any of your friends ever again!
Sid Angelo: But the campaign...
Hank Jackson: From now on, I'm gonna finish the campaign the way we should have started it: my way!
Sid Angelo: You're crazy! Without us, you'll lose.
Hank Jackson: [smug tone] We'll see.
See more »


Referenced in Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010) See more »


Words and Music by Herschell Gordon Lewis (as Sheldon Seymour)
Performed by Claude King (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Rare, "straight" movie from the Wizard of Gore
15 March 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was Herschell Gordon Lewis' penultimate effort before getting out of the film-making racket and getting into mail order, and it was made either right before or possibly even during THE GORE GORE GIRLS. Allen Kahn's script is a serious political satire about a country and western singer, played by Claude King (he of "Wolverton Mountain") who runs for State Senator. King also runs into conflict with his political handlers, who are headed by an exceptionally slimy Roger Ailes-like character played by Ray Sager. Although it still looks like it was shot in two or three days, Lewis puts more into this film in terms of shots and cuts than in any other work I've seen from him. There is some padding, but at least most of it relates to the plot - there are no long tracking shots following the guy getting out of the car and up the walk to the front door. There is one softcore sex scene, and it's positively revolting. If you like seeing simulated sex between two actors who obviously don't give a damn about one another, this is for you; I took advantage of it to answer the call of nature.

The acting is above average for a Herschell Gordon Lewis film, and overall I felt YEAR OF THE YAHOO! was very well done. Back in 1972 the public was barely aware that politicians used handlers to help shape their public image, and that's essentially what the film is about. Of course, today those same handlers are not only "out of the closet", but successful ones enjoy a celebrity status that is nearly equal to the candidates they handle. In 1972 the political handler was a relatively new phenomenon, at least one that worked like a hired hand who was likewise uninterested in the ideology of the candidate or campaign. Lewis' film is a valuable political document of that trend in a much more innocent time than ours.

That's not to say that YEAR OF THE YAHOO! is perfect. Kahn's script is kind of flat at times and is also so vaguely stated here and there that it is incomprehensible. It is like Kahn didn't know the political lingo that he needed, so he made up his own, which only he could truly make sense out of. It made me long for the crackling wit of the writing of Lewis' usual screenwriter Alison Louise Downe, whose work contributes so much to making GRUESOME TWOSOME such a "pointed" (sorry, I couldn't resist) satire. The situation isn't helped by the fact that in the one surviving print of the YEAR OF THE YAHOO! that the soundtrack is badly damaged during the first reel, making a dialogue scene that was hard to follow in the first place doubly tough to comprehend. Claude King's vocals when he is singing are miked poorly, so at times I can't follow him either, even though the setting is in a television studio where the sound should be spot on perfect.

These aren't minor quibbles, and this is not Lewis' best film. But it is about as close as he came to making a "straight" film, and I think he did his best by the project on his limited means. This is a movie that if you took the totally unnecessary sex scene out you could show it to a film class or use it in the context of formal festival type screening. That is certainly not something that I can say about most other Herschell Gordon Lewis films!

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