Today, April 1st, marks the 44th anniversary of one of Lionel Pink’s most acclaimed films “The Outskirts”. In honor of this film, our team has constructed this little production book of sorts. Not much is known about Lionel Pink but we’ve gathered every fact possible for this publication. Two years after his first film,, "The Outskirts” was released he made his first television appearance on “What’s My Line?”. When asked about what prompted his decision to be on the show, he replied, “I saw Paul Newman on the show, and who doesn’t love that man?”
EDITION ___ of 1
Lionel Pink was only a working director for five years and in those five years there are only a handful of facts about him that have been discovered through interviews. He was born and raised in California. His father died when he was just a young boy, leaving his mother Maggie to juggle raising their soon and working as a school nurse. Pink said that his fascination with cheerleaders began in middle school and continued on throughout adulthood.
“Cheerleaders were a respected group of people,” said Pink, “I was obsessed with how they represented themselves and I also craved that same respect.” Unfortunately for Lionel, he did not really get that respect until three years after graduation when he began writing “The Outskirts.” The script caused quite the buzz and many studios offered to finance the film, but it wasn’t until Pink met Robert Palacke that he decided to settle with Columbia studios.
Pink was banned from filming at several high schools after the script was leaked and eventually started scouting college campuses. Vanguard University of Southern California granted permission to Lionel in 1968, and he wrapped up filming in two months that summer. He casted actual students and five actor friends he had. During an interview he stated that the reason for casting mostly unexperienced actors was because “you wouldn’t think it was real otherwise.”
L. Sophia Clarke at Vanguard during location scouting
School violence speech in ‘The Outskirts.” R. (Top) Extras on set (bottom) Pink’s friend Rudy Treach
“Although this is a film about cheerleaders I tried to keep the girls in normal clothes as much as possible. There are a total of three scenes where they are in their uniforms, and it’s then that you really see what they are capable of. The scene where Laura tells Shelly that she has no problem moving a dead body is probably my favorite. She’s saying all these very horrifying things while waving around pom poms.”
(Top) Shiloh Pots as Shelly, (bottom) Laura’s squad
Carla Evans as Mrs. Pearl (Right) Sheela Mott as St. Cathy the Christian
“The boys of the film were the most exciting for me to write actually. I don’t relate to them at all, and I didn’t really have an interest in those kind of people in school. Tina (top left) was a lesbian
who we accidentally cast as a boy. Leon, Tommy, and Bryan were all great as well. Those three were all chemistry students and took direction incredibly well.”
“The history teacher, Mr. Decarch, was based off a real professor than I had had. He was perverted and gross and always smelled of shoe polish. I amplified his personality by casting Michael Lore, who immediately set me on edge during his auditiion. He was so strange and had a very shrill voice for a man. When I told Michael the stories about my old professor he was excited to renact them. Oddly enough, Michael was actually loved as a teacher and taught English at Vanguard. I didn’t initially believe this so I asked around and sure enough, Mr. Lore was loved by most.”
Lionel Pink outtakes from a TIME photoshoot in 1970. Lionel suggested Central Park as the shoot location since it was his â€œfavorite place on earthâ€?.
He was promised the cover but was then was pulled last minute and replaced by Richard Nixon.
“The AV Club completely came to me in a dream two weeks into filming. I had dreamt that there were a group of boys, not necessarily too popular, who had a radio show at school. They are were also a part of the school’s AV Club. They’re completely innocent during the entire movie until one of them leaves the mic on while having a conversation with Laura. None of them have any kind of malicious intent, and there are a few scenes towards the beginning of the movie where they are just hanging out being guys. You do notice that, Lee, the taller of the group starts to take notice about the gossip spreading about Laura. He doesn’t take any immediate action and he doesn’t tell his friends but the mic scene is his revenge.
I usually never have dreams like that.”
(Top) Mr. Libe and Mrs. Conley in conversaion. (Right) Alice Suthop “The entire school became involved in the film. I hardly casted anyone who wasn’t already a teacher or a student. It made my job easier, and because none of them were actors with experience they didn’t really have too many expectations.”
After “The Outskirts”, Pink became somewhat of a recluse. He didn’t go to the opening night party, or the screening. Pink accepted a total of three interviews and then lived in Florida for two years until he started his next film, “Dollface.” The film was still based around a “mean girl” and it was not at all close to what audiences were expecting. With “The Outskirts,” there was a perfect blend of drama and comedy. “Dollface” had more of a horror element and didn’t go over too well with the critics.
“The Outskirts” still remains as one of the most influential ‘bitch flicks’ inspiring films such as “Heathers”, “Mean Girls”, and “Jawbreaker.” “When I think about the success of “The Outskirts,” says Pink, “it makes me nervous. I know that no one else will ever come that close to a perfect film. Not even I could reach that level again. I’m happy it happened, and I was so thrilled with the final outcome but I would never wish that kind of success on anyone else. “
Lionel Pink died in 2001 at the age of 62. Rat poison was found during the autopsy and moments before his death he was having dinner at his motherâ€™s home Pasadena. She loved him very much.
Special thanks to Frank Poll from Vanguard and Rober Palacke from Columbia.