Let’s Not Forget Casey Kasem’s ‘Porn’ Past

Casey Kasem in Glory Stompers.

Casey Kasem in Glory Stompers.

We lost Casey Kasem about a week ago, and his passing was immediately followed by countless odes to the radio legend for his Top 40 radio show and his voice-over work in the animation world. What we haven’t seen a lot of is praise for Kasem’s appearances in several biker movies in the late 1960s, and his role in the classic film, The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant. As far as the mainstream is concerned, these might as well have been porn movies, given their omission from they typical Kasem tribute.

In the 1960s while he was still becoming “Casey Kasem,” he sought out parts in low-budget movies, most of which were biker flicks. If you’ve ever seen a biker flick from this era, it’s easy to tell why these films don’t get a lot of play in his bio after he became a household name. Most biker movies were about drugs, sex, and violence, and that’s about it.

The Glory Stompers (1967)

Kasem is Mouth, a biker caught up in a rivalry with another biker gang. Dennis Hopper is the star of this one, which came out two years before he shook the foundations of Hollywood with Easy Rider. Mouth is a member of the Black Souls, the bad guys in the film. Kasem also picked up an Associate Producer credit for The Glory Stompers.

Synopsis via TCM.com

In an isolated wood, Chino and his rebel motorcycle gang, The Black Souls, capture Darryl, leader of a rival gang called The Glory Stompers, and Darryl’s girl friend, Chris. One of the Black Souls, Magoo, attempts to rape Chris, and Chino beats up Darryl. Subsequently, the whole gang jumps Darryl, leaves him for dead, and heads for a border town to sell Chris to Mexican white slavers. In the meantime, Chino’s advances toward Chris infuriate Jo Ann, his “momma.” A disillusioned former Glory Stomper named Smiley, now traveling alone, happens upon the merely wounded Darryl, and together they set out to rescue Chris. En route they hear about a scheduled love-in, but upon arriving at the scene they learn that Chino and his gang have already left for the border. And so Darryl and Smiley head for the Black Souls hideout, where Chris is being guarded by Chino’s admiring younger brother, Paul. Magoo, returning from the love-in alone, again tries to rape Chris. But soon Darryl, Smiley, and Chino also arrive, and a furious battle ensues. Paul is motorcycled to death by Magoo, who in turn is shot down, and Jo Ann accidentally kills Chino with a knife intended for Darryl. The bloody conflict over, Chris and Darryl are now free to go on to a better life.

You can watch the entire film on YouTube if you’re into that kind of thing.

Wild Wheels (1969)

Kasem is again a badass biker guy in this one. This time he goes by the name “Knife.” Yeah, Knife. This one isn’t among the cream of the crop of biker pictures.

Synopsis via TCM.com

The “Roadrunners,” an outlaw motorcycle gang, invade Pismo Beach and clash with a local group of peace-loving dune buggy enthusiasts led by Reb Smith. King, the gang leader, makes an unsuccessful pass at Ann, Reb’s girl friend, then returns to camp, joining the other bikers in a marijuana party. Boomer and Gunner, two cyclists, steal liquor from a local store, and the party becomes an orgy. Local youths Sissy and Huey, watching nearby, become separated in the dark dunes, and violence erupts when the buggy club learns that Sissy has been raped by Boomer. Taking the offensive, the buggy club attacks and overcomes the cyclists, who are later apprehended by the police. King and fellow biker Cotton decide to join the buggy club.

The Cycle Savages (1969)

Kasem has a small role in this one, as he did with most of his film appearances, as the brother of Keeg, the psychotic leader of a motorcycle gang. Keeg was played by Bruce Dern. This wouldn’t be the last time Casem appears in a Bruce Dern movie. Kasem picks up an Executive Producer credit for this orgy, rape, and violence drug-fest. Also, the fact Keeg’s big beef is with an artist who makes a habit of drawing members of the gang, elevate this one to a must-watch level of stupid, but it’s fun nonetheless.

Synopsis via TCM.com

Keeg, the leader of a Los Angeles motorcycle gang, attacks Romko, an artist who is sketching the gang, and takes away his drawings. When Romko again attempts to sketch the gang, he is beaten up and his hands are slashed. Keeg warns the members of the gang that the sketches can be incriminating because of the gang’s white slavery operations in Las Vegas. Lea, a follower of the gang, invites Romko into her apartment and summons Docky to attend to Romko’s injured hands. Working with the gang to detain Romko long enough for Keeg to ransack his apartment of all the remaining sketches, Lea offers to pose in the nude for Romko. He visits her the next day, and they make love. Meanwhile, the motorcycle gang has kidnaped Janie from the local high school with the intention of making her a prostitute. The entire gang rapes her, and Keeg gives her a large dose of LSD. Keeg then forces another girl, Sandy, to have sex with one of the members of the gang. The police arrive at Lea’s apartment to investigate the attack that had been made on Romko. Romko refuses to cooperate with the police, and he and Lea are arrested but are released from jail the next day. Members of the gang capture Romko, take him to a cellar, and torture him by squeezing his hands in a vise. Lea arrives with a gun, but she lacks the courage to shoot, and Sandy grabs the gun from her hand and shoots Keeg. The police then arrive and arrest the members of the gang for raping Janie.

You can watch the entire movie on YouTube if you’re into that kind of thing.

Scream Free! aka Free Grass (1969)

Again Casey Kasem shows up in a gang-themed movie, only this one doesn’t focus so heavily on rape as the previous ones, but the plot does revolve almost entirely around a marijuana smuggling operation where weed is brought up from Mexico. Some things never change, I guess. Ultimately, this one is a psychedelic classic.

Synopsis via TCM.com

Hippies Dean and Karen fall in love; and Dean, needing money to take Karen away, agrees to help Link and his hoods smuggle marijuana across the Mexican border. Dean abandons them when they kill two narcotics agents, and he returns to Link’s place to pick up Karen. There Link puts LSD in Dean’s drink to make him hallucinate. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang abduct Karen in hopes of trapping Dean so that they can kill him. Dean is lured to the beach to be set afire; instead, he causes Link to go up in flames. The hoods, surrounded by police at Link’s place, are killed in an exchange of gunfire. Dean rescues Karen and departs with her on his motorcycle after alerting the hippie community of the “free grass” in the hoods’ car.

You can watch the entire movie on YouTube if you’re into that kind of thing.

The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971)

Okay, so this one isn’t a biker movie where Kasem tries to be public enemy number one, but it is another movie featuring Bruce Dern alongside the radio legend. Bruce Dern is a mad scientist who successfully discovers how to transplant a head from one body to another. He transplants the head of a murderer onto the body of a dumb-but-strong guy, and together the two-headed creature is darn-near unstoppable. Kasem doesn’t appear a lot in this film. He’s just a friend of Dern’s who drops in from time to time.

Synopsis via TCM.com

A scientist has been experimenting with head transplantation. So when a psycho-killer invades his home and is shot, he grafts his head onto the body of his caretaker’s son, a man with a child’s mentality. Then the two-headed creation escapes.

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