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By Travis Mullis

This Thursday at IPH, Charlotteans new and old will be able to experience a unique piece of Queen City history and a one-of-a-kind grindhouse film celebrating its 50th anniversary. The Night of the Cat may well be the only grindhouse movie ever filmed and produced in North Carolina. With this one-night-only event approaching fast, I reached out with questions to Michael G. Plumides Jr., the son of the film’s producer, Michael G. Plumides. He wrote a rollicking history of the film on Famous Monsters of Filmland

Tickets for this special anniversary screening are going fast, so be sure to get yours as soon as possible. After the screening, Michael and other members of the Plumides family will regale the audience with stories from the production of The Night of the Cat and its long and twisted route to re-discovery. 

The Night of the CatWhat should people know going into the screening?

First, no one on set really knew how to run sound. Garland Atkins, one of the actors I interviewed, said, “There were no boom mics, so the further away an actor was from the mic, the less chance his voice got picked up.” Nick Dennis, my father’s friend and actor who plays the mob boss, was in Spartacus. Both my mother and my infant brother Damon were in the film. Noted Charlotte Observer columnist Kays Gary, now deceased, printed that some Hollywood producers who saw the dailies of the chase scene said it “rivaled The French Connection,” but the film’s writer/cinematographer, Norman Williams, didn’t know any Hollywood big shots. My dad mortgaged his house to pay for the film’s completion. Williams was arrested twice during the production: once for a “false pretenses” charge and another for passing $13,000 in fraudulent checks. My dad was Williams’ attorney. I could go on, but we’ll cover some of this at the screening.

What would you most want people to know about your father?

Michael G. Plumides, Esq., was a pioneer. He brought exotic entertainment to Charlotte after visiting Cuba a few times before Castro. Dad was a character. He and my mother ate dinner with King Saud of Saudi Arabia. He was friends with the golf pro Chi Chi Rodriguez, Jim Backus, Telly Savalas and other celebrities. He even got Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder to baptize his youngest son. 

Dad fought the ABC board in North Carolina and won his Supreme Court case. My dad earned undergraduate and law school degrees from UNC. He was drafted during the Korean conflict and served in our country’s Army. Mike was a lifelong Democrat. He was a member in good standing of the N.C. Bar Association until his death in 1995. His law partner and brother, John Plumides, Esq., went to the White House and had met every president since Harry Truman before his death in 2005. My dad and his brother were both born in Charlotte and were a shining example of how the sons and daughters of immigrants can rise to greatness.

What does the film say about Charlotte in the 1970s, and how has Charlotte (specifically the arts/film scene) changed?

I think The Night of the Cat will demonstrate at least one thing: what sheer will and determination it takes to complete an independent movie in the face of adversity. Even though the movie was not well-received, it’s a glorious snapshot of the early 1970s. The Night of the Cat was Charlotte’s first and only grindhouse film. I describe the film as a “Southern Sexploitation Disasterpiece.” But let’s be honest. The film isn’t any dirtier than Dirty Harry. It just might not be as good.”


Travis Mullis is a Charlotte native and freelance writer always on the lookout for a good meal and a good film.
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