When I was a kid, my cousin and I spent hours upon hours watching all those beach party movies and wishing we could dance like "Candy" the blonde shakin' machine. It seemed as if the local channels had them on a loop tape, they were always on in the summer time. We watched them over and over again much to our parents dismay. Once we were kicked out of the backyard pool for turning into prunes, we would dry out in the patio dancing the "Pony" the "Frooge" and the "Watusi." We would crack each other up by putting our index finger up to our temples to paralyze ourselves like Erick Von Zipper did, the "bad ass" biker dude who always tried to ruin the kid's fun in every film.
Here is a scene from Pajama Party one of our many favorites.
Our absolute favorite movie was Beach Blanket Bingo. Note: Candy is the blonde in the beginning of the clip dancing with the guy in the Rat Fink hat.
Recently, my friend's 7 year old daughter caught wind of these Technicolor dandies off of you tube, so I tried to remember the names of all of the actual films. Curiosity got the better of me, then I found this:
Frankie & Annette MGM Movie Legends Collection Box set: Featuring Beach Blanket Bingo; How to Stuff a Wild Bikini; Beach Party; Bikini Beach; Fireball 500; Thunder Alley; Muscle Beach Party and Ski Party I damn near died from excitement! So much joy for under $30? The only bad news is the boxed set version will not be released until July 10th... can I handle the wait? I guess I'll have to!
The one missing is the Ghost in the Invisible Bikini but since neither Frankie or Annette are in it, it seems to reason it wouldn't be included.
I can't wait to carry on the tradition of living room dance parties with my little friend! In the meantime, there are many others to watch. I already have the Gidget Collection.
I love the campiness of Sandra Dee, the ruggedness of Cliff Robertson's "Big Kahuna" but James Darren wasn't as groovy as Frankie Avalon in our book. Sure we dug the crazy surf digs, the driftwood shack and the way Malibu Beach used to look like, but there's very few dance numbers. And dancing is what we do. With panache! My little friend found these movies too complex, she asked many questions throughout, such as "Why won't they let her surf?" "Why do the boys not want her in their group?" "Why can't girls do what the boys do?" "Why doesn't she just tell Moondoggie she likes him?" So many questions! I guess we have come "A long way, baby!" I loved Sandra Dee, as Gidget the best, the other actresses who played Gidget in the latter films never seemed to have the same energy, but my cousin and I watched them anyway. My little friend, however, did not care much for Gidget Goes Hawaiian so I didn't force it.
It seemed as with all successful movies there would be similar fare... the other classic films my cousin and I watched obsessively were
Village of the Giants Ron Howard creates a "goo" which causes all things who ingest it to become abnormally large. After testing the goo out on his pet ducks, the ducks become 20 feet tall and head straight for the "Whiskey a Go-Go" as ducks do! They tear up the dance floor hopping to the Beau Brummels Band. The local crazy teens want in on the action and end up terrorizing the town after they get their hands on the stuff. This movie not only stars Ron Howard, but Beau Bridges and Playboy playmate Joy Harmon. Also, the Disney staple actor Tommy Kirk. It also features various George Barris hot rods.
Where the Boys Are
Starring Connie Francis, Paula Prentiss, Frank Gorshin and Jim Hutton, the Spring Break in Florida version of the formula Beach Party movie. But Frank Gorshin steals this one as the myopic beatnik. Lots of girls unwittingly tricking boys into marrying them, one with tragic results...
That's all I can remember right now. Perhaps anyone else wants to add to this campy list of beach party fun? Comment now!