Posted March 4, 2010 by Greg Dragon in Blaxploitation

Petey Wheatstraw (1977)

Rudy Ray Moore stars as Petey Wheatstraw, a comedian who strikes a deal with the devil in order to take revenge.

Growing up on the poverty-stricken streets, Petey is one day accosted by some bullies as a seemingly broken old man looks on. The boy does his best to fend off the bullies but loses the fight in the process. The old man, impressed by the boy’s bravery offers to teach him self-defense. After mastering karate, and various weapons, Petey tells his old master that his true passion was to be a comedian and to have people laugh. The old man gives him his blessings and Petey grows up to become an extremely successful comedian.

Later on in life, comedians Leroy (Leroy Daniels) and Skillet (Ernest Mayhand) strike a deal with a gangster named Mr. White (George Mireless) in order to fund a new venue. They are told that if the show does not produce numbers they will be dealt with severely and they gladly accept the offer. One day Petey returns to do a show for his old neighborhood in a rival venue to Leroy and Skillet. This starts a feud and since the duo owed Petey money from the past he refuses to postpone his show which leads to an all out war. During the war Petey is killed and is visited by the devil who gives him a strange offer in return for his life. The devil wishes for Petey to marry his ugly daughter and produce an heir to his throne. Petey accepts but never plans

Well there is cheesy and then there is cheesy and Petey Wheatstraw is pretty bad. Once you’ve gotten past the slow motion martial arts and Rudy Ray Moore’s sassy rhyming, you are left with a crazy story, some god-awful props and I think I saw an 8 yr old playing the part of a newborn baby. This is pure camp in all its glory and if you are a fan of the rhyming, jiving, high-kicking comedian, you will no doubt love Petey Wheatstraw. For myself, no amount of naturally buxom succubus’s and witty devils could sucker me into liking this flick. It’s amusing, but that’s about it.


Greg Dragon

Cinephile and opinion writer, Greg Dragon has been a fan of movies since the 80's when Kung Fu theater was all the rage and Roger Moore was James Bond. Greg is the founder and lead critic of Spicy Movie Dogs. You can follow him on Twitter @Rafacus or on his Google+ account.