Perhaps the most notorious recording made during the PAL Studio days was the soundtrack to one of the greatest independent movies ever, The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962). The movie was written, directed, and produced by Timothy Carey, who had previously acted in The Wild One (1953), East of Eden (1955), and two movies directed by Stanley Kubrick, The Killing (1956) and Paths of Glory (1957). Despite being made very cheaply – much of the action was shot in Carey’s garage in El Monte – The World’s Greatest Sinner was certainly ahead of its time. Carey plays a messianic rock’n’roll singer who invokes riots, while the ensuing political takeover predates by several years movies such as Riot on Sunset Strip and Wild In the Streets. The score was produced in November and December 1961, with Zappa recording a 20-piece chamber ensemble and a 55-piece orchestra at the Chaffey College auditorium, as well as an eight-man rock’n’roll band at PAL. (Zappa later made an off-color remark about the movie on The Steve Allen Show – on which he also ‘played’ a bicycle – effectively ending his relationship with Carey.)
– Domenic Priore, Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock’n’Roll’s Last Stand in Hollywood (Jawbone Press, 2007)
Frank Zappa with Timothy at the Sinner premiere
Too bad Frank bad mouthed Tim’s film. Seems like Tim gave him a break in having him do the music because he was really unknown at the time. I don’t blame Tim for having a fallout with him What I really didn’t like was him bad mouthing El Monte. He didn’t live there, what the hell does he know about E.M.
True, Tim gave him his big break and Zappa appeared to have been taken in by the bad reviews, etc. and wanted to distance himself from it. Too bad for him! He was familiar with southern California, though, having grown up in large part in Lancaster.