Dragstrip Johnny

BIKINI BEACH, Original 1964 John Ashley in Dragster, AIP Teen Film Photo #3

John Ashley (1934 – 1997): screen debut in Dragstrip Girl (1957). How a Faded Teen Idol Helped to Shape the Face of Exploitation Cinema in the 1970s (and Beyond). Needless Things Thursday, June 18, 2015. “… Fast forward to the year 1967- Ashley hadn’t released a record in six years, his marriage to Deborah Walley (the Gidget of the movies) had quickly soured and ended in divorce, and his acting career was stuck in a miserable rut. His television roles were fewer and minor, and mostly inconsequential one-off spots. Even worse, the now 33 year old Ashley was still primarily finding work on the big screen in juvenile delinquent films and beach movies, playing characters far younger than he was in real life and being cast to play second, third, or fourth banana behind stars like Frankie Avalon. The careers in acting and music that had both looked so promising to Ashley and those who knew him just ten years earlier were now starting to look like dead ends. …”

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