“Jody McCrea’s career, during which he made many westerns in the shadow of his father (Joel McCrea 1905-90), was more limited, though he came into his own in six of the seven Beach Party movies in the 1960s.
Almost all of the series, made for the youth market, starred Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, with slow-drawling McCrea in the supporting cast and ancient Hollywood stars on their last legs as guest stars. The plots usually involved a group of young, scantily clad surfers defending their right to continue their love-ins and gyrations to surf music without interference from killjoy “squares”.
McCrea played a character variously called Deadhead, Big Lunk and Bonehead, who could always be counted on to say something idiotic, much to the despair of his comparatively brighter companions.
“It took me four pictures to figure it out. The kids liked Deadhead because they felt superior to me, to him,” McCrea said many years later.” The Guardian.