Imagine you’re in the mid-1930’s. You want to make a movie. There are oodles of untapped talents and potentials just waiting to rise — much in the same way bile does — within you. Through a source that shall remain undisclosed, you happen to know a guy that knows a guy that is acquainted with somebody in the motion picture business. Not a big A-list Hollywood producer variety, mind you — but someone more along the “wholesaler” type: a fellow that can rent you some moviemaking equipment and sell you a couple cans of 35mm color filmstock dirt cheap.
You’re working completely on the fly. How do you make your movie stand out from the Poverty Row pictures, let alone all of that hyped-up A-list Hollywood jazz? The answer: skin. You must show some skin. But the Hayes Code has effectively put an end to that genre — you daren’t end up in the Supreme Court, arguing that your film was meant to be perceived as “art,” especially when you know damn well that it wasn’t.
And then, it hits you: native skin. Sure, you can get away with showing a topless native woman. It’s worked for those “roadshow features,” didn’t it? Why, sure it‘ll work — it’s a cinch! So, you set about making a movie. A modern-day adventure film set on the seas. You even con some poor sod into letting you use his yacht, and pay him off with the cheapest bottle of whiskey you could lay your mitts on which you in-turn traded for from the local pub owner in exchange for a bit part in the film. Neither the ship owner or the barkeep will be anything to worry about: they’re both passed out at a booth in the bar.
You’ve got a yacht. Now you need a cast. Well, the world is full of lousy community theater actors and actresses. No problems there. Now you need a crew. A walk down the alley introduces you to a very shaky and unkempt man named Lionel, who becomes your cameraman. As it turns out, filming in natural light proves to be difficult: the sun just doesn’t seem to want to shine on your actors. Fortunately, Lionel happens to own an epileptic spider monkey, whom he trains to hold a reflector you constructed by wrapping aluminum foil around a cutting board.