Ford Fairlane

Created by Rex Weiner

"So many assholes, so few bullets!"

-- Ford waxes philosphical

Intended as a star vehicle for obnoxious, foul-mouthed comic Andrew Dice Clay, the 1990 flick The Adventures of Ford Fairlane with Clay in the role of FORD FAIRLANE, turned out to be an even bigger flop than Clay himself. Heavily hyped and promoted, with soundtrack and comic book tie-ins, the flick sank with barely a trace, leaving just a small, oily stain. Undaunted, Clay keeps threatening to make a comeback.

I know, I know. The film was stupid. And crude. And so transparently, deliberately offensive and tasteless and vulgar and so intent on pandering to the lowest common denominator that, so help me, I thought it was kinda funny, in a trainwreck sorta way.

The lathered-on obnoxiousness of Clay's stage persona is a plus to his screen role. Sure, Ford Fairlane's a jerk, but at the time, he seemed like a breath of fresh if misguided air, so ridiculously over-the-top, so obviously a cartoon, that it's hard to believe anyone could take his clunky, transparent button-pushing seriously. Sorta like an amped-up cross between Archie Bunker and the Fonz, Clay played a self-styled private eye specializing in cases involving the music industry. A failed musician himself, he had a love/hate affair with his reputation as "the rock 'n' roll detective." As Ford put it, "Fucking rock stars! I mean, how am I going to pay my taxes with bathtub compact disc players and autographed drumsticks?"

He dressed like a fifties throwback and tooled around in a classic -- what else? -- Ford Fairlane. He was arrogant as hell, but the chicks -- Whoa! -- just couldn't get enough of him. Whoa!

His prize possession was a Fender Stratocaster once used by Jimi Hendrix, which he seemed to care about more than he did for most people. His long-suffering gal Friday was called Jazz. Of course, she's secretly in love with the boss. Natch. Whoa!

And Ford even got to strut his rock'n'roll chops, performing a semi-credible version of Clarence Carter's "I Aint Got You." A host of cameos by various slumming artists added to the fun. But of course it's definitely not for everyone.

Like a character says, "You know, Fairlane, sometimes you can be a real dick!"

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

* * * * *

The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, New Wave Private Eye was created as a monthly, six part serial by NYC journalist Rex Weiner in 1980. The first arc appeared in the weekly alternative, The New York Rocker, and wrapped up just as the second arc began appearing in September of that year in the LA Weekly, parallelling Weiner move west.

SHORT STORIES

  • THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE, NEW WAVE PRIVATE EYE
  • "Where It All Began" (April 1980, The New York Rocker)

  • "Laffs and Stilettos on the Lower East Side" (The New York Rocker)

  • "Fifty-Two Pick-up or Die" (The New York Rocker)

  • "Night Train to Nowhere" (The New York Rocker)

  • "Manic Panic" (The New York Rocker)

  • "A Sunnyview of Life" (The New York Rocker)

  • THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE, NEW WAVE PRIVATE EYE
  • "The Snatch" (September 12, 1980, LA Weekly)

  • "The Funny Joke" (LA Weekly)

  • "The Connection" (LA Weekly)

  • Like Falling Off a Cliff" (LA Weekly)

  • "Mysteries of the Cuckoo's Nest" (LA Weekly)

  • "The Permanent Chill" (LA Weekly)

COLLECTIONS

  • The "Original" Adventures of Ford Fairlane (2018)...Buy this book

Featuring the long lost original short stories from The New York Rocker and LA Weekly.

FILMS

  • THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE. ..Buy this DVD
    (1990, 20th Century Fox)
    Based on characters created by Rex Weiner
    Written by Daniel Waters
    Story by James E. Cappe and David Arnott
    Directed by Renny Harlin
    Produced by Joel Silver and Steve Perry
    A Silver Pictures Production
    Starring Andrew Dice Clay as FORD FAIRLANE
    Also starring Wayne Newton, Priscilla Presley, Morris Day, Robert Englund and Ed O'Neill

COMICS

  • THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE. ..Buy this book
    (1990, DC Comics)
    Based on characters created by Rex Weiner
    Written by Gerard Jones
    Art by Russell Braun, Jose Delbo and Carmine Infantino

  • "Stayin' Alive" (No. 1, May 1990)
  • "I Write the Songs" (No. 2, June 1990)
  • "Got a Right to Sing the Blues" (No. 3, July 1990)
  • "While My Guitar Gently Warps" (No. 4, August 1990)

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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