Come Back to the Fort, Ruta Lee, Ruta Lee
Longtime fans of Fort Worth theater will of course recognize the name Ruta Lee. The saucy, platinum-haired grande dame has graced the Casa Manana stage off and on for five decades. She’ll be returning in October to star in their revival of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
Rutamaniacs should set their TiVos for this Saturday May 22 at 3am on basic cable’s Turner Classic Movies channel: Lee’s 1963 cult musical Hootenanny Hoot! will be screened. I’ve never seen it, but various internet sources describe it as “the worst movie ever made” and “the funniest movie I’ve ever seen.” It’s an MGM cheapie shot in a couple of days to capitalize on the early ’60s folk revival. Johnny Cash performs a song, and George Hamilton IV trots out “Abilene.” But the movie’s overall aesthetic seems to be an attempt at finding a hip teen angle on those earnest, suit-and-tie folk storytellers, hence the presence of go-go dancers and The Gateway Trio performing their number on a trampoline. To which I reply: Why not?