carl orestes franzoni

Carl Franzoni was one the L.A. freaks in the early sixties. Frank Zappa wrote 'Hungry Freaks, Daddy' for him.

Carl was part of Vito Paulekas' troupe that danced and freaked out at the early Mothers concerts. Various photographs of the early Mothers include Carl Franzoni.

Carl Franzoni took part in some of the early recordings of the first Mothers Of Invention.  In more recent years, John Trubee walked in to a Carl Franzoni art exhibition in Santa Rosa, and conducted an excellent interview.

The picture on the right shows Vito Paulekas, Leslie J Michel and Carl Franzoni.
Thanks to Leslie J Michel ( for the picture.

David Borboa made a documentary about Carl Franzoni, entitled: "Freak Out! - The Carl O. Franzoni Movie".

The picture on the right shows Carl Franzoni, and was sent in by David Borboa.
"franzoni early morning wile wearing a catheter".


1 the mothers of invention: freak out!
    (1966, 2lp, usa, verve)

  soundtrack: mondo hollywood
    (1967, lp, usa, tower / capital) - soundtrack for the l.a. freak scene documentary

mondohollywood_lp.jpg (95493 bytes)

  kaosmik kitty: kitty o'nine tales... or the nine lives of kaosmikitty - volume 2
    (2004, cdr, usa, private release) = kaosmikitty interviewed by john trubee, cover-picture by carl franzoni

77 frank zappa: the mofo project/object
    (2006, 2cd, usa, zappa records)

78 frank zappa: the mofo project/object
    (2006, 4cd, usa, zappa records)

  "freak out! - the carl o. franzoni movie" by david borboa
    (unrleased, dvd, usa, david barboa)



  documentary: stupor mundi
    (2016, dvd, france, sycomore films / les éditions de l'octet) - feat. frank zappa, gail zappa, trey spruance, carl franzoni, vito paulekas

stupormundi_dvd.jpg (33274 bytes)



John Trubee did a couple of interviews with Carl Franzoni. An edited version of these got published in Scram number 17.
  • Scram n°17
        (2003, mag, usa, scram)


"Last of The Freaks: The Carl Franzoni Story"
          (As Told To John Trubee by Carl Franzoni)    - the july 2002 version

info from Efram Turchik
          (As mailed to John Trubee by Efram Turchik)

"Last of The Freaks: The Carl Franzoni Story"
          (As Told To John Trubee by Carl Franzoni)    - the february 2003 version

the sundazed interview   (


random notes

AKA: "Captain Fuck"

Photo (c) 1999 Robert Carl Cohen

     From: Frank Zappa (The Real FZ Book)
Next stop: Dallas.  We flew into Love Field and found ourselves walking down a long hall, full of soldiers and sailors- stopped dead in their tracks, staring in utter disbelief.  They didn't say anything.  They didn't throw anything at us.  They didn't shoot us like Easy Rider- they just stood there.
The high point of the performance was Carl Franzoni, our 'go-go boy.' He was wearing ballet tights, frugging violently.  Carl has testicles which are bigger than a breadbox.  Much bigger than a breadbox.  The looks on the faces of the Baptist teens experiencing their grandeur is a treasured memory.

     From: Randy Cech (
     Subject: David Crosby, Carl Franzoni and Vito: Freakout liner note connection revealed
In the 1990 Byrds box set which got from my Library there is a photograph with the caption "The Byrds with Carl Franzoni and "Some Weird Friends". "In the photograph David Crosby is wearing a cloak or a cape and doing a vampire pose. The other people in the photograph's attention seems to be split between Carl Franzoni and the photographer.
Later in the story "inside The Byrds" : Personal Reflections by Derek Taylor, original Byrds publicist and press agent.
    "The Jefferson Airplane, and all the good San Francisco others, not least the Grateful Dead, were all endorsed by David Crosby, just as in L.A., Love, the Lovin' Spoonful, and the Mamas And Papas picked up similar encouragement from the Byrds. But the wellspring of sincere commercial group-weirdness was the Byrds and it was made manifest in Ciro's in the
spring of 1965.  Audiences at first small at Ciro's grew to capacity and overflow. In time, anybody who was anybody was there again!
    "Mr.. Tambourine Man" was released in May. (snip) There was no "rock press" then. (snip)There was absolutely no "underground." (snip)
    Meantime, after more residencies at Ciro's, a kind of rolling "Byrds Meander Across America With Some Weird Friends" jaunt was put together. They did now have a following of some really way-out freaks, led by an older beat type called Vito and a memorable corkscrew-haired maybe-hipster named Carl Franzoni, reeking of Patchouli and usually very, very high.
There was also a gaggle of flower-children. I was frightened of the effect of all this on a totally unprepared and very jumpy Middle America, but the Byrds pooh-poohed my anxiety and went ahead with it. It was, of course, quite okay."
Ciro's was at 8433 Sunset, on the strip in Hollywood California.

     From: Bossk (R) (
I found this web page so maybe all the film the Mothers did on this film is not lost.

     From: Patrick Neve (
Also see:

     From: Craig Jones (
Footage of Vito & Carl can be seen in a LSD-is-evil-film from 1967 called, "LSD-25", in which Vito & Carl are seen in a short scene entering a shop & trying on some mod glasses...

     From: computeruser (computeruser69@hotmail.com0
     Subject: Re: You Are What You Eat (1968)
Animal Huxley, Vito & Carl Franzoni mostly. Some footage from some presumably Hollywood Strip club, Mothers on stage.
Music did seem to be FZ. Tiny Tim and David Crosby also appear in film, together with the names above. All were mentioned in the Freak Out liner notes. Apparently Tower records had a soundtrack album of this film.

     From: Hustler Magazine, August 1974:
Hustler: Where'd you get those shoes?
Zappa: These are regular shoes that were painted by a crazy person.
Hustler: Anybody we know about?
Zappa: Yes, Carl Franzoni. Do you remember Carl? Carl Franzoni, believe it or not, is now the commissioner of parks and recreation in a town in California.

     From: robert cohen (
Karl Franzoni (aka CAPTAIN FUCK) was a disciple of VITO THE MAGNIFICENT - KING OF THE HIPPIES, who introduced us in 1965.  I don't recall Capt. Fuck ever saying much in my presence.  I recall having heard that he had to
flee to Canada in the 1970s due to having become involved in some sort of drug deal.  The only story I know about him is that, in addition to enhancing his manly appearance at Cantor's Delicatessen on Fairfax Avenue by wearing a rolled-up towel in his tights, he was selected one night by a lesbian who desperately needed to be initiated into heterosexual activities.  The poor thing awoke a few days later to find herself not only pregnant, but also afflicted with syphilis, gonorrhea, and trenchmouth!  Was this factually correct?  Perhaps not, but it certainly mirrored his public image.

This is a true story--I'm not shitting you.
I was at the local Santa Rosa Junior College today--there was an open house, people milling about, tables with brochures on 'em etc. I went into an art lounge gallery to look at pictures--and I heard somebody introduce this older hippie type guy as 'Carl Franzoni' . I remembered his name from the FREAKOUT liner notes, I started yakking with him--and he was THE Carl
Fanzoni who inspired HUNGRY FREAKS, DADDY. Pretty weird. He was telling me old Mothers crap--he is an artist and lives right here in Santa Rosa. He seemed eager to talk and was flattered that a mere damn bystander would
recognize him as a reference in a 35 year old LP liner note. He gave me his number--mebbe I'll learn more about the freak days in LA. Do I sound like one of those idiots on the Zappa news group?  'Hungry Freaks, Daddy' was one of the anthems of my youth--so it was kinda nifty meeting the guy about whom the song was written.  Next I gotta get David Cassidy's autograph.  So what's gonna be yer sarcastic response?
Peace, baby--
John Trubee

* * * * *
and there's more to be found on carl franzoni & the early l.a. freaks:

"When LOVE played the still hipper Whisky A Go-Go, further west along Sunset, Arthur Lee claims they 'started the whole hippy thing' in tandem with an in-crowd of freaks led by aging beatnik sculptor Vito Paulekas. It was Vito, Carl Franzoni, Sue, Beatle Bob, Bryan Maclean and me…people would come to Ben Frank's to hang out with us after we played shows."

-Barney Hoskins

(from "LOVE - Through the Keyhole" - MOJO Magazine)

* * *
somewhere in a newsgroup, domenic said:

"... The original Beatle Bob, who went on the road with Vito Paulekas' 9 (?)-person dance troupe from the Byrds' Ciro's gigs, today works at a Tatoo Parlor on Melrose. The Byrds actually brought these people out on the road, because the 1965 freak scene in L.A. was so different than anything else anyone had seen before, that the Byrds felt it necassary to bring the Sunset Strip hardcore audience out on the road with them. Kim Fowley related to me that both the Byrds and Love did their early rehersals at Vito's clay sculpture studio, the location (303 Laurel) of which is cattycorner to a hip little diner on Beverly (which I've forgottent the name of, sorry.) Anyway, you can sit in this rennovated-by-alt.rock-kids '50s diner, and orb the old Clay Vito location across the street. Vito's troupe used to dance at all the Mothers of Invention gigs too, and can be seen dancing at Whisky a Go Go in THE COOL ONES. Vito also shows up in MONDO HOLLYWOOD in an interview segment, and his troupe are dancing to the Mothers '66 gig at the Shrine in YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT... you can even see them putting on their body paint at Clay Vito in the film, and one of the bodies is painted by Von Dutch, the Mad Martian Pinstriper who influenced Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. Too bad the Shrine footage has Electric Flag music dubbed over it. Calling Greg Shaw on this one: Does anyone out there know what the operating name of this dance troupe was? Vito cut a record as Vito & the Hands (thanks, Mr. Fowley), so that's not it. Anyways, one of the Vito troupe members had a nickname, "Johnny Fuck Fuck" that you never read in the liner notes or anthologies...

* * * * *
from another source

Who Were They?-- Vito Paulekas, Rory Flynn, Emerald, Carl Franzoni, Suzy Creamcheese (Pamela Zarbica), Linda Bopp, Szou, Beatle Bob, Butchie, Karen Yum Yum.

recent poem by Carl Franzoni...
(july 2004)

We used to go to the cemetery, Catherine and Dara and i, and take pictures and i did a small movie in the rain. Carr st. leads to cemetery, Catherine family are in the crept, on the sunny side. Just thinking of U. i happen to be very intuitive , about people i like, Is that as scary as the dead people. Remember my Indian astrology, is death and the wind. Now poem i wrote: 

The year 2001 en-ron failing, pg&e stealing from california, martha stuart rip off, cushbush going in- to political toilet after 9 months in office, talaban inbush's pocket, this planned with the last president and gore the whore. who never contested the vote. and then wallstreet stealing from it's customers, that was what the hopi prediction is about, because they are stock customers too, several tribes and greenpeace protested and did one hour drumming in front of #7 building wallstreet, then were asked to come upstairs 37th. floor, and they protested and gave a prediction of total destruction of wall-street, this happened in april 2001. leman-brothers#7 building falling three weeks after u.s. marshals demolished their holly grounds august 2001 in mesa arizona . wall street had to fall, to hide everything. and to make sure, it was boomed from the inside with plastic.

-- cof.      

2003 11 12
Carl Franzoni says:

Xavier Filliol from Paris, wants me to write about my life story, in 60s & up until now.

Are you interested, in knowing it was me that whispered in Jane Fonda's ear about the War in Vietnam! We were all siting in Canters Restaurant in Hollywood, Dennis Hopper was sitting there also .God have you all forgotten about old carl franzoni
Remember it was Vito that had the Teen Dance that was busted by the local police , on the walls were placards and signs about stopping the WARinVietnam and the same Cop that busted the dance, tried to assassinate me in a house on Fairfax Blvd. in Hollywood in 1968;
the cop said to me as he hit me across my temple with his blue steele automatic pistol, 'You don't know who I am do you franzoni, You dirty fucking commie bastard!!! all the people in Hollywood heard what happened, and only Frank and Gail Zappa helped me get out of jail, it was a phony dope charge, the US government threw it out of court in early 1969 but i stayed underground in till 1/1/1970 but have been afraid to say any thing until resently being probed and filmed, By Xavier Filliol, a producer and Rock musician from Paris, France.who came this last March to film us in Hollywood We do not know the out come of the footage Xavier took, and we did do a shoot in Gail Z's house, at that time! Just write a book thats what they say to do.

if U are confused about this, what do do you think about us.

here in Santa Rosa, California, me, i just keep making small movies,About local Indians and another called Karl's Kitchen. # 5 will be shown on local TV Community Media Channel this next 11/13/2006 .

2007 08
info from John Kaminski

Trailer for the up coming documentary on Carl O. Franzoni by David Borboa.

David Borboa is currently seeking funding to complete this project. Go to his website and donate, or e-mail him suggestions at his website.

 2008 01 21

info from Marco Kalnenek:

On Saturday, February 2, Esotouric, the eclectic collective whose offbeat bus tours expose LA's secret history, presents a special edition of "Where the Action Was" with guest stars Carl "King of the Freaks" Franzoni, and John "King of the Prank Callers" Trubee. The four-hour tour, co-hosted by pop critics Kim Cooper and Gene Sculatti, explores the musical history of Hollywood and the Sunset Strip through visits to celebrated nightclubs, recording studios, record label offices and other places of subcultural importance, and includes avant garde gelato from Scoops. On the bus Carl Franzoni will share personal tales of how his troupe danced across the US with the Byrds on their first tour and later with Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, and answer your questions on the weird and wonderful world of freaky 1960s Los Angeles, and John Trubee will share hilarious tales from his time as an Enigma Records artist and Dr. Demento Show favorite for his single "Blind Man's Penis."

For more info, or to reserve your seat, please visit http://www.esotouri

February 2008, John Trubee and Carl Franzoni were guides at one of the "Los Angeles Tours" that is offered by Esotouric.

There's an article about it in the San Francisco Chronicle:


Get a new view of Los Angeles on these tours
John Flinn, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, May 11, 2008


(05-11) 04:00 PDT Los Angeles -- Even those of us who don't share San Francisco's petty and rather tiresome loathing of our large neighbor to the south have to admit that Los Angeles can be a tough town to get a handle on.

It's so vast and, it seems, amorphic. Where do you start?

One good way to bring it into focus, I've found, is by taking specialty tours. There are dozens of them covering all manner of interests, from genteel walking tours of Pasadena's rose gardens to the "Helter Skelter Tour of the Manson Murder Locations."

To get a sampling on a recent visit, I signed up for three unusual tours:

Celebrity homes Segway tour

The thing about cruising through Beverly Hills on a Segway is that it neutralizes the gawking factor. You're gawking at the ivied and colonnaded mansions, while the owners - rich people, never genuine celebrities - come out to gawk at your Segway.

Segways are those personal transportation thingies that look vaguely like lawnmowers. They were supposed to revolutionize the world of human transport, but mostly seem to have found a niche with shopping mall security guards.

But here's the thing: They're fun to drive, or ride, or whatever it is you do on them. Really fun. Extremely fun. Like, I-gotta-get-me-one-of-these fun.

My first 60 seconds on one was unnerving, but I quickly learned to shift my weight forward, backward and sideways to make them go faster, slow down and turn. It felt almost like skiing.

My guide and instructor, Axel, claimed to be the Segway trainer to the stars, the guy who gets actors and musicians up to speed for movies and music videos.

The owners of Segwow, the tour company, insisted I not name any of the celebrities we saw or divulge any addresses. And that's fine because we didn't see any celebrities, and I had my hands too full to write down addresses.

It didn't matter. The tour was two joyous hours of zipping childishly around the hills of Bel-Air and Beverly Hills on these oh-so-cool devices, past mansions and starter castles and three-story hedges behind which various celebs and moguls may or may not have resided.

The company offers 18 Segway tours in the Los Angeles area, from Santa Monica to the Hollywood sign, and I'm guessing one is every bit as fun as the next.

The Dearly Departed Tragical History Tour

Do we have a disturbingly macabre sense of celebrity-worship these days, or is it that Hollywood's stars have come up with endlessly bizarre and original ways to shuffle off this mortal coil? Either way, the Dearly Departed Tragical History Tour is a wickedly entertaining way to spend 3 1/2 hours.

Owner Scott Michaels, a man with a deliciously twisted sense of humor, drove us in a van past the spots where everyone from Lucille Ball to Dee Dee Ramone to Bela Legosi to River Phoenix drew their last breaths, to the sites of the Menendez and Manson family murders, and to the spots where Hugh Grant and Michael "Kramer" Richards tried to commit career suicide.

One of the things you learn is that for all its square mileage, Los Angeles really is a small town. Practically everything that happens of note here happens where something else of note once happened. For example:

William Frawley - Fred Mertz on "I Love Lucy" - collapsed with a fatal heart attack in 1966 in front of the Hollywood Boulevard building that now houses the Scientology center. The Los Palmas Hotel, where Julia Roberts resides in "Pretty Woman," is where the Black Dahlia, a.k.a. Elizabeth Short, lived before the grisly and unsolved murder that still haunts the city 61 years later. Janis Joplin and Bobby "I Fought the Law" Fuller died within 100 yards of each other, albeit four years apart. And when the Beverly Hillbillies drove down that palm-lined boulevard during the opening theme of their show, they passed right by the site where George Michael would one day be arrested for "engaging in a lewd act" in a public restroom.

Where the Action Was

The company, Esotouric, offers a wonderfully varied menu of some of the most offbeat and well-researched tours in Los Angeles, many focused on literary footsteps and sensational crimes.

Its roster includes, among others, "James Ellroy Digs L.A.," a tour hosted by the author himself; "Main Street Vice," a "celebration of the ribald, racy, raunchy old promenade where the better people simply did not travel"; and "Visionary Hollywood," a look into some of the more, um, unorthodox religions spawned in Tinseltown. Put it this way: Scientology doesn't even make the list.

There's no fixed schedule; the tours are offered sporadically, usually on weekends. For listings, check the firm's Web site (see "If You Go").

I signed up for "Where the Action Was," a look at Los Angeles' rock scene in the 1960s and early '70s. San Francisco likes to think it was the vortex of the rock universe then, but it's hard to argue with a town where you could pop into the Whisky a Go Go on any given night and catch the Byrds, the Doors, Buffalo Springfield or Frank Zappa.

Rock journalist Gene Sculatti was one of the guides, and one of the guests on my tour was Carl Franzoni, part of a psychedelic dance troupe, known as "the Freaks," that performed with the Byrds and Frank Zappa. The first song on Zappa's "Freak Out!" album is dedicated to Franzoni.

Many of L.A.'s old venues, though, are gone, so mostly what you get on this tour are stories - like the time Sonny Bono was laughed out of an Italian restaurant for showing up in his bobcat-fur vest; he wrote "Laugh at Me" about the incident. Or the time a drunken John Wayne heckled Zappa at a now-defunct club, even going so far as to squash Zappa's Homburg hat. We drove past what was once the site of a club known as Pandora's Box; the police response to a teenage riot outside was the inspiration for Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth."

If you go

John Flinn is executive editor of Travel. To comment, visit

2008 09 01
from John Trubee

Here's an article from the Guardian about Esouteric's Tours of LA. Carl Franzoni and I were featured guests on the Rock & Roll Hollywood Tour last February. Here's a pic of Carl dancing in front of where Vito had his art studio at Beverly & Laurel.

John Trubee  
PO Box 4921  
Santa Rosa, CA 95402 USA  

LA's top 10 cult locations

Think you know Los Angeles? Think again. Benji Lanyado explores the city's cult locations and off-beat cultural landmarks

Because we've all grown up seeing the tanned, supple bodies of Los Angeles splashed across our TV and cinema screens, it's easy to make the mistake of thinking we know the city intimately. But take it from Kim Cooper and Richard Schave - native Angelenos and principals of Esotouric, the bus adventure company that delves deep into the city's secret heart - the real Los Angeles remains a beautiful enigma.

Esotouric's bus tours are dedicated to discovering these elusive locations and putting them into a cultural context - the secret power spots where pop culture moments fizzed into life, where great writers found their muses and where incredibly strange happenings gave everyday places cult status.

We caught up with them, and convinced them to divulge their top 10 spots:


5. Vito's Studio

In the early 1960s, these modest art-deco storefronts were the starting point for a social, musical, artistic and fashion revolution spearheaded by Vito Paulekas, a 50-something sculptor and dancer. The community of self-professed "freaks" that formed around Vito, his fashion designer wife Szou and court jester Carl "Captain Fuck" Franzoni, included a who's who of 60s youthquakers: The Byrds got their start in the basement, Love's Bryan MacLean lived upstairs, and the Fonda kids learned how to dance freak-style. Paulekas left town around the time of the Manson killings, but today you can work out above the former site of Szou's dress shop and Vito's basement art studio in Harvey Easton's historic gymnasium, founded in 1938 and long a favourite of Hollywood's athletic set. The site is one of the highlights of Esotouric's Where the Action Was rock history tour - Carl Franzoni once got on the bus with the visitors, and then proceeded to demonstrate free-form dance moves on the sidewalk.

· Easton Gym Hollywood, 8053 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048; +1 (323) 651 3636;



le dispositif
    (2013, 4 dvd-box + book, france, sycomore films)

Episode 46 of Le Dispositif is a trailer from "Ritual of Pope Decapitation", a documentary about the L.A. freaks in the early sixties.
The trailer features Vito Paulekas, Carl Franzoni, Frank Zappa, Gail Zappa, ...


Up for auction at Julien's Auctions "Icons & Idols: Rock n' Roll 2016
Featuring Property From The Estate of Frank & Gail Zappa", November 4, 2016.


A marker on posterboard artwork titled "Mercy G.T.O. 12:40 a.m.," signed Robert James Davis and dated August 1, 1971. Davis is also known as Carl Franzoni, a member of the L.A. Freaks and Vito Paulekas’ dance troupe. "Mercy G.T.O." refers to Miss Mercy/ Mercy Fontenot member of the band The GTOs. Frank Zappa produced The GTOs album Permanent Damage . Housed in a yellow wood frame, not examined outside of frame.

29 by 23 inches, framed



Up for auction at Julien's Auctions "Icons & Idols: Rock n' Roll 2016
Featuring Property From The Estate of Frank & Gail Zappa", November 4, 2016.


A marker on posterboard artwork signed by Robert James Davis and dated November 11, 1971. Davis is also known as Carl Franzoni, a member of the L.A. Freaks and Vito Paulekas’ dance troupe. The image is of a woman wearing a shirt that reads “Gruvi.” Housed in a frame, not examined outside of frame.

Up for auction at Julien's Auctions "Icons & Idols: Rock n' Roll 2016
Featuring Property From The Estate of Frank & Gail Zappa", November 4, 2016.


A marker on posterboard artwork titled “Dweezel,” signed Robert James Davis. Davis is also known as Carl Franzoni, a member of the L.A. Freaks and Vito Paulekas’ dance troupe. The name Dweezel or Dweezil is said to have been made up by Frank Zappa and used as the name of one of Gail Zappa’s pinky toes. Later, Gail and Frank named their son Dweezil (with an “i”).

28 by 22 inches


Up for auction at Julien's Auctions "Icons & Idols: Rock n' Roll 2016
Featuring Property From The Estate of Frank & Gail Zappa", November 4, 2016.


A marker on posterboard artwork signed by Robert James Davis and dated November 6, 1971, with the time "12:55am." Robert James Davis is also known as Carl Franzoni, a member of the L.A. Freaks and Vito Paulekas’ dance troupe. The image is of nude women and men on a couch with what looks like a portrait of Frank Zappa in the background. Housed in a frame, not examined outside of frame.

36 1/2 by 52 1/2 inches


Up for auction at Julien's Auctions "Icons & Idols: Rock n' Roll 2016
Featuring Property From The Estate of Frank & Gail Zappa", November 4, 2016.


A pair of green and white customized platform shoes stage worn by Frank Zappa in 1973 and 1974. The hand drawings on the shoes feature a portrait of Zappa, figures that appear to be in the style of Robert James Davis' figures, and are inscribed “Hi Kids,” “Hi Mom,” “Toes Knows,” “Lick Lips,” “Hot Tits,” “Kiss my Toes,” and “Fing A Ling.” Size 10 1/2. Zappa is documented wearing the shoes in Roxy the Movie (Universal, 2015). Accompanied by a copy of the film.


Additional informants:
Charles Ulrich (


frank zappa  / musicians timeline



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