“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.
We kicked things off last week with part 1 of an exclusive, never before published excerpt from Tura’s memoirs about the off-set shenanigans during the shooting of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! This week in part 2, Tura deals with a male heckler at the first screening of the film as only she can and travels to Europe with FPKK director Russ Meyer.
“Tura Thursday for a kick-ass weekend” kicks off now:
After we finished shooting Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Russ went immediately to work editing the footage into the kind of film that people do not forget once they have seen it. I remember after he finished editing, he called and asked if I would show up for the initial screening of the film in San Francisco. I told him I would be happy to come, since I was working in SF at the time–dancing at the Condor Club.
I can’t remember the name of the theater, but I took the night off from work to make sure that I would be able to be there. (FPKK co-star) Haji was there as well. We came in shortly after the house lights went down and the film was getting ready to start. The theater manager sat us down around the fifth row and to the left. Russ sat on the end and Haji and I were next to each other.
Initially, there was no one behind us, but just before the film started a couple of guys came and sat behind us. All during the film, one of those guy is constantly telling his buddy just how phony all of the throws and fights scenes were. He kept saying he could whip me and there was no way in the world that a girl could do those things to a guy who was bigger than her.
Haji was so funny. She kept poking me and moving her head towards this guy. She even whispered to me, that I should kick his ass. I told her to just wait until the film was over. She sat back and had this “cat looking at the mouse” smile on her face.
Meanwhile, Russ is reaching over Haji and trying to hold my hands down. I guess he was afraid that I was going to take that guy’s head off, but I wasn’t that upset. I knew what he was seeing was real and that if need be, I could kick his ass.
So I was really very calm. I know that guy must have liked the love scene, because he was very quiet during it. Now there is where I should have gotten an Academy Award. I even told Russ that I deserved a medal for that love scene.
Anyway, to get back to these guys, the one who was doing all the bragging was behind me while the one behind Haji wasn’t saying a word. Once the film was over, the theater manager got up on the stage and told the audience that they had a special treat for the audience because the Producer/Director of the film was in the audience. He called up Russ Meyer.
Once Russ got up on stage, he said that he had another treat for the audience because the star, Tura Satana, and her co-star, Haji, were also in the audience. When we stood up, I turned around and looked this guy right in the eye and said, “Well, honey, if you think you can whip my ass, I would love to see you try it. I do my job and none of what you saw in that film was fake, so if you want a taste of it, just wait for me outside.”
That guy literally crawled out of the theater. Russ was laughing so hard he had trouble calling us up to the stage. After we got on stage, the audience just loved what happened and they were applauding for awhile. When things settled down, we did a question and answer session with the audience and then I went to back to work at the Condor Club.
Russ used to love to tell that story whenever we got together for our little cast parties over the years. Whenever I came back into L.A., Russ would always want to get together and have dinner, which we did for over 35 years. Russ and I stayed friends for all that time. He always kept telling me he wanted to do a sequel to FPKK or that he wished he hadn’t killed me off in the picture so that we could do more.
Russ always said that he had never paid me enough for that film and that it is the one that gets mentioned the most. He told me that people all over the world really love this film. I never realized the Europeans loved it even more than the Americans did. Russ gave me 10% of all the sales of FPKK in the European market. Unfortunately, the people there did not do right by me or by Russ. They bootlegged copies of the video and put them on DVDs and never paid us a penny for any of the sales. But we met so many wonderful people in Europe and I took some great photos of Russ while we were there.
While in Paris, we stayed at the Paris Hilton and right outside my window was the Eiffel Tower. I loved the atmosphere of Paris and the people there were lovely. I met some wonderful people and some very good looking guys. Russ was so funny. He asked me if I was still like I was in the desert. I told him, yes, that I was still the same.
So he moved to another floor of the hotel and said if I wanted to, I would be able to find an obliging Frenchman or two. But I was married at the time and I knew my husband wouldn’t appreciate my cheating on him. Russ would just look at me and shake his head. We could talk for hours about various subjects and never get tired of it, but sexually, Russ and I were not compatible. I wanted to keep his friendship always. Which is just what we did. We remained friends until he died.
I really miss him a lot. I will always treasure our time together and the wonderful friendship that we shared over the years. I miss his phone calls and his cards. He always had a way of making me feel very special and I will always cherish that as well.
GOOD-BYE RUSS, SAY HELLO TO ALL YOUR BUDDIES FOR ME AND MAY GOD KEEP YOU ALWAYS.