“Tura Thursday” is a regular series celebrating the legacy of the late, great Tura Satana, best known as Varla in the 1965 Russ Meyer cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. This series is curated by Tura’s longtime manager, friend, confidant and CEO of Tura Satana Productions, Siouxzan Perry.
A little about Ted V Mikels:
Born to Croatian immigrants just six months before the start of The Great Depression, Ted V. Mikels (real name Theodore Mikasevich) accustomed himself at an early age to making his own dreams come true. A budding illusionist who learned his craft at the elbow of Italian-American magician Leon Mandrake (real name Leon Giglio), Mikels developed an interest in photography and moving pictures as a way of preserving his magic act. Drawn to a theatrical commune in Oregon in the 1950s, Mikels founded a film production company specializing in newsreels, commercials, and industrial films, while hiring himself out as a stuntman and technical advisor to Hollywood features (among them, André de Toth’s The Indian Fighter ) filming on location near his home in Bend, Oregon. He made his directorial debut with the forest-set suspense film Strike Me Deadly(1963), written by and starring Czech immigrant Steve Ihnat (later a reliable Hollywood character and writer-director in his own right) before relocating to Hollywood to secure distribution for his film.
They’re smart. They’re tough. They’re built. They are the Doll Squad, a crack team of specially trained CIA women out to save the world from evil. Filmmaker Ted Mikels claims that the creators of the popular television series Charlie’s Angels stole the idea from this film, but that is debatable. The film is alternately titled Hustler Squad.
Watch the trailer:
Tura Satana as Lavelle Sumara
Taken from an article written for TCM by By Richard Harland Smith:
For The Doll Squad (1973), in which a team of female secret agents takes down a master criminal, Mikels secured a larger than average budget: $100,000 in cash and $250,000 on credit. The higher overhead allowed him to attract something like name talent in Michael Ansara (a Syria-born specialist in American Indian roles), former Hawaiian Eye star Anthony Eisley, and Francine York, a bit player in Jerry Lewis comedies who was upgraded to star status in such Grade-Z programmers as Space Probe Taurus(1965) and Curse of the Swamp Creature (1966). Testing out for the film but turned down for a role as one of the Dolls was budding actress Sissy Spacek.
Based out of a mansion castello in the Verdugo Mountains above Glendale, California, Mikels went the grand extra mile of chartering a yacht to ferry to The Doll Squad’s Catalina location his crew and cast, whose number also included former Las Vegas show girl Tura Satana, athletic leading lady of Russ Meyer’s cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!(1965) and Mikels’ own The Astro-Zombies. During shooting Mikels was approached by executives at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, who expressed interest in distributing the finished film- until Mikels revealed that he had presold the foreign distribution rights to a third party, at which point Metro backed out of the deal. Though The Doll Squad under-performed for Mikels (the film was re-released three years later as Seduce and Destroy), it retains pop culture relevance for being the (arguable) inspiration for the long-running TV series Charlie’s Angels (whose creator, Aaron Spelling, was on the guest list for The Doll Squad’s gala premiere at Hollywood’s 20th Century Fox Theater) and the credited model for the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill (2003).
Tura Satana on the Doll Squad: Interview : Ted V. Mikels
Hear Turas talk about The Doll Squad first hand. Great stuff!
Congratulations to Sharla Rae Satana, Granddaughter of Tura Satana, for landing a role in Ten Violent Women: Part Two!
Yes you read right Tura’s granddaughter Sharla got a part in Ted’s new flick!
Watch for the film release soon!
You can grab your very own copy “autographed..on Planet Tura!
And as always while you’re there please sign our guestbook!