Chicano Rock Heading for the Big Screen

1211 Entertainment begins development of "Land of 1000 Dances" biopic of Cannibal and the Headhunters

By Ann Marie Ramirez
Published on LatinoLA: February 20, 2011

Chicano Rock Heading for the Big Screen

1211 Entertainment, the shingle started by actor Steven Bauer and filmmaker Frank Aragon in 2004, according to Variety magazine, has begun working on its seventh project. "Land of 1000 Dances" is a script started in 1999 by Aragon along with Richard "Scar" Lopez, a member of the pioneering Chicano rock group from East Los Angeles Cannibal and the Headhunters.

"The script was written over the course of the last ten years as I met with Richard 'Scar' Lopez and received contributions from Bobby 'Rabbit' Jaramillo," said Aragon. "The project has been my dream film since meeting Richard on the set of my very first film 'My Fathers Love'; he was my main star's (Jeffrey Licon's) uncle".

"He gave me a VHS cassette to watch and I shelved it while doing post on the film. Then one day I opened the envelope and there they were, Cannibal and the Headhunters, on American Bandstand with Dick Clark. I was so amazed and inspired. I immediately met with Richard 'Scar' Lopez and eventually met Bobby 'Rabbit' Jaramillo," revealed Aragon. Although its been a long time coming and the world just lost "Scar" to lung cancer in August of 2010, these talented teen-agers were the biggest Mexican-American group with a billboard chart climbing single titled "Land of 1000 Dances." The members were Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia, Richard "Scar" Lopez, Bobby "Rabbit" Jaramillo and his younger brother, Joe "Yo-Yo" Jaramillo. All members are now deceased except for Bobby "Rabbit" Jaramillo.

In 1965, Cannibal & the Headhunters had a dream come true year: They would go on to open for such acts as the Rolling Stones, the Righteous Brothers, and Paul Revere and the Raiders, and perform on TV shows, including the musical-variety Hullabaloo with Michael Landon, Dick Clark's new show, Shebang, and American Bandstand. They also played Murray the K's CBS-TV special It's What's Happening, Baby, where Herman Munster himself danced to "Land of 1000 Dances."

The project is a biopic narrative story about four young men who started in the poverty stricken Ramona Gardens housing project in East Los Angeles and ultimately performed their way to becoming the opening act for The Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965. "It's a period piece with a lot of extras, a lot of music, and a lot of bands. East Los Angeles in the 60's was the epicenter of the fresh sounds of Chicano rock. We want to make sure we do this right, so we will be taking our time", acclaims Aragon.

Aragon's 1211 Entertainment is the production company behind the critically acclaimed film "Down for Life" that is now in platform release before opening nationwide later in the fall. Aragon produced and 2nd unit directed that film. He will produce and direct "Land of 1000 Dances" with Jeremy Ray Valdez in talks to potentially playing the role of Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia. The film is considered officially in development now.

About Ann Marie Ramirez:
Ann Marie is a UCLA Communications major graduate specializing in Latino Entertainment news

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