Carl Franzoni Davis: An oral history of the 1960's and the city of Cotati to be aired on Channel 30, public TV, and Channel 26 in Santa Rosa, California

 

The picture is of Vito, Leslie and Carl

The musical ‘album’ entitled, ‘Freak Out!’ was a double LP by the Mothers of Invention.  The first song on the album, ‘Hungry Freaks, Daddy’, was written for someone named Carl Orestes Franzoni who, according to Zappa’s liner notes, “is freaky down to his toe nails (sic). Someday he will live next door to you and your lawn will die”.

The song’s lyrics decried America’s culture of mindless conformity and consumerism with such lines as:

      “Mister America walk on by your schools that do not teach
       Mister America walk on by the minds that won’t be reached
       Mister America try to hide the emptiness that’s you inside
       When once you find the way you lied
       And all the corny tricks you tried
       Will not forestall the rising tide of HUNGRY FREAKS, DADDY…”

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       and

      “…Mister America try to hide
        The product of your savage pride
        The useful minds that it denied
        The day you shrugged and stepped aside
        You saw their clothes and then you cried
        ‘Those HUNGRY FREAKS, DADDY!’…”

When I officially met Carl, it was in 1974, but I had known of Carl and Vito Paulekas from my adolescent days in 1967 Hollywood, where I grew up as a child.  Little did I know at the time that in 1974, when I began attending Sonoma State College, home of Project Censored, I would actually meet Carl and Vito.  Together, with the ‘Free Store’, that Carl and Vito had started in the early seventies in Cotati, California we spent at least one decade together fighting for social justice, sustainable development, downtown reconstruction, the building of the Cotati park and of course, rent control and the fight for decent affordable housing.

Carl is an American icon, and now at age 78 he has made a documentary of his life which will preview on public TV Channel 30 and Channel 26 at the Sonoma Community Media Center.  It is entitled: ‘Hollywood Days’.

Today Carl lives in Santa Rosa and is and has lived more than a colorful life — his life has been psychedelic.  Growing up as a young man in Cincinnati, Ohio, relocated to San Francisco in the late 50′s, and then gravitated to Los Angeles and, along with Vito Paulekas.  Carl was a dancer and in the 1960’s, together with Vito Paulekas, Carl was literally responsible for the heady and psychedelic explosion of music and culture on Sunset Strip in the mid 1960′s.  Carl was not just there, he broke cultural ground.

Carl Franzoni toured as a dancer with the Byrds and the Mothers of Invention in the formative years of those bands.  In fact, it can be stated with authenticity that if not for Carl and Vito, there would be no ‘hippies’ for the two of them coined the word ‘freaks’ in the early 1960’s to describe the youth movement that the media soon thereafter branded ‘hippies’.  The original term was freaks and the launching of the ‘freak’ movement occurred in early 1960 and was to have ramification all over the world.  Frank Zappa understood this and is why he recorded as he did and why he used the word ‘freaks’.

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If you want to know about the music of Frank Zappa (without Carl this genius of music might not have risen to acclaim), the Byrds and David Crosby, and the active and exciting lives that they lived on the Sunset strip at night, going club to club dancing with entourages of ‘freaks’, thus assuring that a new generation that followed the ‘beats’ of the 1950’s, you will not want to miss this one hour documentary, the first of many that will air over the next several months. 

You will hear about the development of Cantor’s restaurant as a ‘hip’ center in the early 1960’s, located in West Hollywood, and how Carl turned the struggling Jewish Deli into a night life that can only be historically mourned and embraced, even though it is still going strong.  You will travel historically with Carl and identify the clubs, like the Whiskey A Go Go, Pandora’s Box, Ciceros and many more that were scattered across a small swath of geography called the Sunset Strip.  This is where Carl and Vito spent their time, where they created a youth generation that would have profound effects on what was to be called the ‘counterculture’.

But Carl was not just a dancer with the Byrds and Frank Zappa (who lived in Carl’s automobile when he first came out to Hollywood), you will also learn about the protests that took place at this time, the characters that occupied the landscape, the mystic qualities of Laurel Canyon (the log cabin house where Frank and Carl lived) and the development of the many, many rock and roll groups that called this hilly part of Hollywood their homes and had a profound effect on a generation.  From Joni Mitchell to Carol King; from Frank Zappa to the Momma’s and the Papa’s; from Graham Nash to David Crosby; from Sonny and Cher to Jim Morrison of the Doors — Carl was not just there, Carl helped make it all happen.

It can be said with exhileration and candid truth that if not for Carl Franzoni Davis and Vito Paulekas, there would have been no Sunset Strip, no movement of young people that eventually coincided with the anti-war movement; there would be no ‘free dancing’ that was and still is the rage, and of course there would be no Rock and Roll, the kind we all remember from an era shrouded with be-ins, love, excitement, freedom and social and individual consciousness.

Please join Carl in the first of many documentaries to come and see the amazing life of this man and his contributions to American culture and politics.

Carl’s first one hour documentary, that will begin with his birth in 1933 and will be played on Channel 26 and Channel 30, public TV stations sponsored by the Santa Rosa Community Center in Santa Rosa, California.  There website for the media center is: (http://www.communitymedia.org/news_newsletter.php).  This is where Carl now spends his time making movies and films.

The Community Media TV channels, unfortunately, are only available for those who live in Santa Rosa for the Community Center has only a small geographical reach.  But for those of you who are available to see this beautiful historical oral history, who can access the Santa Rosa station, are in for a big surprise.  For Carl is fresh, full of stories you might never have heard and continues to be a profound influence on culture and politics.

We owe Carl a debt of both enthusiasm and historical significance, for Carl Franzoni is truly a revolutionary whose life spans through some of the most tumultuous eras in youth history of the 1960’s.

Later programs on Carl’s life will travel with Carl from his life in Hollywood to his travels across Canada and finally to his arrival in Cotati which, without him and Vito Paulekas, would not be the community it is today.

The one hour documentary, the first of many, will be shown on the following dates on the following channels I indicate below:

Wednesday the 4th and 11th at 6:00 PM on Channel 30;

 

Thursday on the 5th and 12th of August at 9:30 AM on Channel 30;

 

Friday the 6th and 13th at 3:00 AM in the morning on Channel 30;

 

Saturday the 7th and 14th of August, on Channel 26 at 6:00 PM in the evening;

 

Sunday the 8th and 15th of August at 2:00 AM in the morning on Channel 26.

Please join Carl for a one hour special on his life and the life of the 1960’s in Hollywood that then catapulted eventually into the early development of Cotati and the cultural revolution in Sonoma County. 

This is a true gem!  Please be there.  If you read this and cannot get the stations due to not living in Santa Rosa, perhaps you can have a friend record the program for you.  This way you cannot only view it, but pass it around for there are millions who owe a debt to Carl and who would love to see this stunning oral history.  Have a friend record this for you!  You will not be disappointed.

You can contact Carl at: captainf@sonic.net

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About the author

Dr. Danny Weil is an investigative journalist, author and public interest attorney who practiced public interest law for more than twenty years and has been published in a case of first impression in California. He received the Project Censored "Most Censored" News Stories of 2009-10 award for his article: "Neoliberalism, Charter Schools and the Chicago Model / Obama and Duncan's Education Policy: Like Bush's, Only Worse," published by Counterpunch, August 24, 2009 and again in 2013 for his 2012 article, "HR 347 Would Make Many Forms of Nonviolent Protest Illegal" (http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/10-hr-347-would-make-many-forms-of-nonviolent-protest-illegal/). He writes profusely on education and for-profit predatory colleges.

 
  • Bev

    Carl Franzoni aka Robert Davis was not in Cotati until the ’70′s. I hold him responsible for the inappropriate sexualization, the drug addiction and death eventual death of the oldest daughter of Franzoni’s cohort, Vito Pee.

    • weilunion

      You should write him and tell him, Bev. And google Danny Weil and Carl Franzoni Davis and watch the eight hours of Youtube.
      No one said he was in Cotati earlier than the 60′s. Again, for readers interested in the controversy and the life of Carl and Veto, see the nine Youtubes.