Wilma made a memorable cameo in my short film APE which screened at the Baltimore Museum of Art on December 4th and 11th. It was a loose interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue.
Now that I’ve turned on the cameras again after over 15 years, I’m excited to start making more movies with Wilma!
APE film still
APE film still
APE film still
A couple of weeks ago I was asked if I was interested in making a short film for the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Edgar Allan Poe Centennial Exhibit that is scheduled for this fall in Baltimore. And what perfect timing because I was already thinking about making a film and now I have a venue all set to show it…a museum!
I haven’t made a film in YEARS…I made a bunch of short Super 8 “psychodramas” in the late 80s and I think the last thing I did was a video for Ginger Coyote and her band The White Trash Debutantes in 1993! But I’m ready and it should be fun. The film has to have a Poe theme and I am pretty sure of my main idea and hope to cast Wilma in there somewhere so stay tuned for more info on that.
In 1980 Wilma’s film Vice Queen was released and marketed as a dark, racketeering type of film, but it was also released under the title Private Party and has more of a free-wheeling, cut-loose kind of movie that may have been aimed more towards an audience influenced by drugs, though extreme fashion and glamour are the mention on this publicity still.
Private Party, 1980. Aka Vice Queen
In 1977 Wilma Martinez teamed up with Chi Chi Jones in Wet Dust, which was part of the popular backroads, redneck genre which included films like Smokey and the Bandit, Moonshine County Express and the Ron Howard vehicle Eat My Dust, a far inferior film to Wilma’s “dust film”.
Wet Dust Movie Still, 1977
What a find. It does look as if Wilma did get Wilma & Friends shown in at least one part of the country. This issue of TV Guide serviced the Mobile, Alabama area and got an early 7am time slot on Saturday morning, running against The Brady Kids, Star Trek and Jerry Falwell. But despite this half-page ad and an exciting sounding program which featured Betty White and Grant Goodeve, the following week found the 7am time slot was filled by a show called Rev Up With Evie.
TV Guide clipping
“They thrived on the smell…and engaged in shocking horrors!” is the line used to promote Wilma’s 1977 film Sick Ward which co-starred Horchata Kennedy and Beaver Atwood. The film had a medical horror theme which may have been inspired by the 1973 British horror/comedy Horror Hospital.
Below are two examples of original lobby cards from the film. A total of four original cards will be on display at the Wilma Martinez Artscape exhibit this summer!
Lobby Card for the 1977 film Sick Ward starring Wilma Martinez.
Sid & Marty Krofft really should have cast Wilma Martinez in one of their shows. If they did, maybe her talents would have caught on with the kiddie set…which I know she would have loved because she tried!
In 1981 she starred in a show called Wilma & Friends which was a live action, puppet and variety show which did not get much exposure. Based of the few publicity stills I found for the show, it looks like a cross between H.R. Pufnstuf and Kookla, Fran and Ollie.
The show is marketed through “WGO Syndication Sales” which represents the World Glamour Organization who Wilma worked with for many years. Until I found these publicity photos, I did not know the WGO had ever branched out into television…I thought they were only a fashion and cosmetics agency.
I have been scouring old television listing from the early 80s to see if Wilma & Friends was ever picked up in any markets, but have yet to find anything. I will certainly post something here if I find anything.
Marketing still for Wilma's kids show, "Wilma & Friends".
Publicity still for "Wilma & Friends"