Murdered Academy Awards Streaker Gets A Movie

Categories: Film

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Robert Opel will be forever known as the guy who streaked naked across the stage of the 1974 Academy Awards, showing the world what a real trophy looks like (though host David Niven chimed in with a witty remark about how Opel was allegedly revealing his shortcomings).

But he was so much more than a penis flasher.

Opel happened to be a San Francisco avant-garde gallery owner and play producer who was at the forefront of performance art and gender politics.

But despite -- or maybe because of -- the impressive counterculture legacy he was building, he was not invulnerable to psychos.

In 1979, he was murdered by an intruder who demanded drugs and money, and now, his nephew -- Robert Oppel -- has come out with a documentary aiming to find out exactly what happened.

The film, Uncle Bob (on DVD), is an innovative fantasia filled with vintage clips, interviews, and segments with the young Oppel playing at being his uncle while re-creating his filmmaking, his TV appearances, and even his bloody death.

It's the just the kind of sprawling, unconventional, subjective doc Opel deserves and would have loved.

By the end of it, you feel his shortcomings, if any, were very few.



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13 comments
Barkley
Barkley

How could a naked guy get backstage, then onstage, at a huge nationally televised event?  It was staged, they had security even in 1974.  One of the funniest clips I've seen is Dyan Cannon at the Oscars when the sound guy screwed her and her opening notes of her Best Song nominee came out as squawking feedback.  Hysterical!

Cindylouadkins
Cindylouadkins

Love, love ,love this film!!!!!!!    this story needed telling, and Robert Oppel did his uncle justice. Bravo!!!!

Michael Rich
Michael Rich

Uncle Bob is an entertaining and heartfelt documentary that I saw at the Gay film festival in San Francisco last year. It is a creative and thoughtful documentary that reveals much historical information,entertains and calls out for justice that was never served in the case of the murder of Robert Opel.

Musto
Musto

What I got from the film was that it wasn't set up, but I'm not convinced of that.

Gregorama
Gregorama

Now I feel officially "old," since I remember clearly when that Oscar incident happened.  Today, something like someone running nude across your TV scarcely rates a raised eyebrow....but in 1974, now THAT was some pretty shocking stuff--even in black and white!  That whole "streaker" craze of '74---when suddenly, everyone thought it hilarious to run nude in public---was terribly exciting for a hormone-raged pubescent.  I've always been under the assumption that it was somehow staged with a "wink-wink" from the Academy bosses.  Michael, would it be a "spoiler" to tell us if the film answers that question?  Was he for real, or was this an "inside job"?

Nicholas Gibson
Nicholas Gibson

Robert Opel has been a mysterious figure who fully deserves a film about his life. The facts about the man which most simply are unaware of were much more interesting than his most notorious moment at the Oscars. He was a relentless voice that was an endless source of *artistic justice*, fighting the police abuse of power in California he & so many became outraged by. I can't wait to see this movie!

alexgeana
alexgeana

once again you bring u bring us important news that the main stream media fails to report :-)

Guest
Guest

Nah, Niven has what one would call, a 'quick wit'.

Herman
Herman

I always wondered how Niven came up with that quip so quickly. Must have been staged.

Guest
Guest

You find the most amazing stuff.

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