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Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security

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High School Drag: Phillipa Fallon [1958]

Approximately mid-way through the Albert Zugsmith exploitation film masterpiece HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL (1958), an attractive, quasi-bohemian woman strides on stage at a coffee house and belts out a beat poem that provides a delightfully nihilistic snapshot of the Cold War—including references to the space race and atomic evacuation. The fact that she happens to be accompanied by Jackie Coogan (who plays a heroin kingpin in the film) on piano is, like, pure existential gravy. Predictably, the teens in the audience appear to be digging Coogan’s incongruous ragtime key work and disregarding the depressing content of the lyrics.

B-movie actor and writer Mel Welles (1924-2005) was the person most responsible for the hep jargon—including High School Drag—in CONFIDENTIAL. He was recruited by producer Zugsmith for help in this regard because, as Welles recalled for interviewer Tom Weaver in 1988, “I was an expert on grass in my day…” In addition to Welles’ reeferesque bona fides, he also wrote for the legendary “hip” comic Lord Buckley.

Unfortunately, very little is known about Phillipa Fallon, the woman who so memorably portrays the finger-snapping hipsteress delivering Welles’ boptastic words. CONELRAD’s attempts to locate Ms. Fallon have proven unsuccessful.

As a movie actress Fallon had minor roles in just two other films besides CONFIDENTIAL: THE GIRL IN THE KREMLIN (1957) and THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ADAM AND EVE (1960)—both Zugsmith productions. She also worked as a singer for the NBC television network in 1956. During her show business career she was represented by Paul Small Artists, Ltd., Inc. and the William Schuller Agency (by agents Len Kaplan and Mark Harris).

LYRICS/TRANSCRIPTION:
High School Drag: Phillipa Fallon [1958]

My old man was a bread stasher all his life.
He never got fat. He wound up with a used car,
a 17 inch screen and arthritis.

Tomorrow is a drag, man.
Tomorrow is a king sized bust.

They cried ‘put down pot,’ ‘don’t think a lot,’ for what?
Time, how much? And what to do with it.

Sleep, man, and you might wake up digging the whole
human race giving itself three days to get out.

Tomorrow is a drag, pops, the future is a flake.

I had a canary who couldn’t sing.
I had a cat who let me share my pad with her.
I bought a dog that killed the cat who ate the canary.
What is truth?

I had an uncle with an ivy league card.
He had a life with a belt in the back.
He had a button-down brain.
Wind up a belt in the mouth with a button-down lip.

We cough blood on this earth.
Now there’s a race for space.
We can cough blood on the moon soon.

Tomorrow’s dragsville, cats.
Tomorrow is a king size drag.

Tool a fast shore, swing with a gassy chick.
Turn on to a thousand joys.
Smile on what happened, or check what’s going to happen,
You’ll miss what’s happening.
Turn your eyes inside and dig the vacuum.

Tomorrow, DRAG.

Phillipa Fallon [1958]
High School Drag
(Welles / Glasser)
MGM 12661

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