The Wanderers (1979)

“Gotta go, but if you ever need us just whistle loud and we’ll be there.” A great cast of relatively unknowns portrays a 1960’s teen gang living in the Bronx, where they must deal with the likes of the “Fordham Baldies,” “The Wongs,” “Del Bombers” and the mysterious “Ducky Boys,” who resemble the zombies in Night of the Living Dead. Ken Wahl (who was later cast in the title role of the TV series Wiseguy) portrays the Wanderers gang leader, “Richie Gennaro,” who is forced into a shotgun wedding by a group of aging, overweight bowlers wearing Hawaiian shirts. Who can forget the infamous football game that devolves into a full-blown riot? Or the scene where the Baldies and their notorious leader Terror (Erland van Lidth, best known as “Grossberger” in the 1980 comedy Stir Crazy) get drunk one night and sign up for the Marines? How about the excellent soundtrack that includes such classics as “The Wanderer”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Runaround Sue” and “Walk Like a Man”? Turkey betraying the gang by shaving his head and becoming a member of the Baldies? Joey’s insane father? The gang getting caught in the nightmarish turf of the Ducky Boys? Last but not least, how about when Richie follows Nina (Karen Allen) into that coffeehouse where Bob Dylan sits on stage singing “The Times They Are A Changin’”? Based on a 1974 novel by Richard Price (who was just 24 years old at the time) and directed by Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff), this highly entertaining flick is an unappreciated classic even though every member of the “teen” gang looks like they are in their 30s. The talented cast includes John Friedrich as “Joey Capra,” Toni Kalem as “Despie Galasso,” Alan Rosenberg as “Turkey,” Linda Manz as “Peewee,” Dolph Sweet as “Chubby Galasso” and Tony Ganios as “Perry LaGuardia.” Ganios later portrayed Anthony “Meat” Tuperello in Porky’s (1982), Porky’s II: The Next Day (1983) and Porky’s Revenge! (1985). Wahl was married to Penthouse Pet of the Year Corrine Alphen (1984-91) and later married Shane Barbi, one of “The Barbi Twins.”

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