Plot & Details
In 1979, while working as a cameraman for a local news program in Salt Lake City, Trent Harris made the acquaintance of a genial but eccentric entertainer from the nearby town of Beaver, UT, who called himself Groovin' Gary. Harris' experiences with Groovin' Gary inspired three different short subjects, and The Beaver Trilogy collects Harris' three Groovin' Gary films into one feature presentation. In 1979's The Beaver Kid, viewers are introduced to Groovin' Gary, the self-proclaimed "Rich Little of Beaver," as he shows off his car (named after Farrah Fawcett), does impressions, and plugs a talent show in which he'll be appearing. Gary's act turns out to be a full-drag (and painfully sincere) impersonation of Olivia Newton-John performing "Please Don't Keep Me Waitin'." Two years later, Harris made The Beaver Kid 2, essentially a satiric recreation of the first film, with Sean Penn (who had then only recently scored his first film role) playing Groovin' Larry (the real Gary had since chosen to distance himself from Harris and his documentary). Finally, 1985's The Orkly Kid features Crispin Glover (who later starred in Harris' Rubin and Ed) as Larry, an aspiring comic and entertainer from Orkly, IA, who bears a certain resemblance to Groovin' Gary. Larry feels he has a gift and a message he wants to share with the world, but his fellow citizens of Orkly aren't so sure they're ready for Larry's Olivia Newton-John tribute, eventually leading Larry to move on to the big city in hopes of making his dreams come true. Both The Beaver Kid and The Beaver Kid 2 were produced on color video (the latter on a reported budget of only one hundred bucks), while The Orkly Kid was filmed in 16 mm, with the support of the American Film Institute; the three shorts were transferred to 35 mm film for their release as The Beaver Trilogy.