Happy Birthday to Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’ Dolly Read & Cynthia Myers!
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was the story of All-American girl rock trio who travel across country to Hollywood where they are re-named the Carrie Nations by music industry impresario Ronnie ‘Z-Man’ Barzell (John Lazar) and experience fame, fortune, and heartache. Keeping with his casting of big bosomed actresses in lead roles such as Lorna Maitland in Mudhoney, Tura Satana in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, and Erica Gavin in Vixen, it is not surprising that Meyer cast these two former Playboy Playmates as the girl rockers. British Dolly Read, Miss May 1966, played Kelly MacNamara the lead singer and long-lost niece of her dead mother’s sister Susan Lake (Phyllis Davis). Success goes straight to Kelly’s pretty head as she dumps naive Harris Alsworth (David Gurian) her loyal high school sweetheart and the band’s unofficial manager, falls in with the pot-smoking Hollywood in-crowd, and begins a romance with actor/gigolo Lance Rocke (Michael Blodgett) who cajoles her to go after a bigger share of her grandfather’s inheritance held by rich Aunt Susan. Kewpie-face Read projected a sincere naivety with her performance as she spirals down into the valley of the dolls but comes to her senses, ditches the drugs, drops the suit, and reunites with a now paralyzed Harris who accidentally fell from a catwalk during one of her concerts. Read also convincingly lip-synched all her songs including “Come with the Gentle People,” which were actually sung by Lynn Carey and bared her breasts a number of times.
Cynthia Myers, Playboy’s Miss December 1968, clinched the role of Casey the guitar-playing lost soul of the group due to her 39DD cup, which bosom master Russ Meyer flipped over. A powerful senator’s daughter who has been used and abused by men, Casey falls in love with Lesbian clothes designer Roxanne (Erica Gavin). However, when her jealous lover learns that she is pregnant by Harris after a drunken one night stand, she demands that Casey have an abortion. She goes through with it, but pays for her wanton ways when at the film’s climax she and Roxanne have their pretty little heads blown off by the crazed Z-Man who reveals a set of knockers to rival any Playboy Playmate. He goes off the deep end as Super Woman also beheading a bound Lance clad only in leopard bikini briefs.
Russ Meyer aimed Beyond the Valley of the Dolls to be “the first rock, horror, exploitation film musical.” And he succeeded spectacularly!
Read more about Dolly Read and Cynthia Myers in mu bool Glamour Girls of Sixtues Hollywood.