Author Archives: Hillard Elkins

sleek styling

This high powered sleek styling performance vehicle was featured in American International‘s motion picture “The Fireball 500“ ~ Promotions Inc, 19717 E Nine Mile, St Clair Shores, Michigan. Advertisements

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Leander and Fans

Linda Bent, Salli Sachse and Fabian in George Barris‘ title car of Fireball 500 (1966): Fabian and Frankie Avalon are rival stock car drivers competing for the affections of Annette Funicello. The days of fun in the sand, surfing and … Continue reading

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1966 Plymouth Barracuda

Annette Funicello with the George Barris title car from Fireball 500 (1966): The base of the car was a 1966 Plymouth Barracuda; the signature characteristic was the dual cockpit, and to give the car its luminous shine, four men spent … Continue reading

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Kelp and the White Buick Riviera

Bob Denver posing with the George Barris customised and repainted white Buick ‘Villa Riviera’ featured in For Those Who Think Young (1964).

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Gardner Pruitt III’s Cherry Red Buick Riviera

When ‘For Those Who Think Young‘ director Leslie Martinson was visiting George Barris Kustom in North Hollywood, he was quite taken with the cherry red Villa Riviera but quickly signed a contract that included a clause to repaint the Buick … Continue reading

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George Barris, 1925 – 2015

George Barris (20 November 1925 – 15 November 2015): creator of Kustom cars, supplying vehicles to Hollywood including the cherry red Villa Riviera for For Those Who Think Young (1964), the spymobile ZZR for Out of Sight (1966) and the … Continue reading

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Martha Hyer, 1924 – 2014

Martha Hyer, born 10 August 1924, died 31 May 2014; ‘Vivian Clements’ in Bikini Beach (1964) ~ “a horrible juvenile comedy in which surfers fight cyclists and convert their elders to the pleasures of the bronzed physique” NY Times. Obituary…

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AKA Tara Ashton

Darlene Lucht (1938 – 2011): three credits as Tara Ashton: Wendy and Me (TV 1965) – ‘Tea Leaves for Two’ with Connie Stevens Marriage on the Rocks (1965) with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin Five Bloody Graves (1969) with husband … Continue reading

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Lady Bug and the dragster

Bikini Beach (1964): ‘Lady Bug’ (Danielle Aubry) inspects the dragster to be raced by English mop-topped singer ‘Potato Bug’ (Frankie Avalon) – built by Schiefer Manufacturing Company of San Diego and customiser George Barris, creator of the original Batmobile, the … Continue reading

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Morey Amsterdam, circa 1912 – 1995

Morey Amsterdam (14 December circa 1912 – 28 October 1996): played Cappy in Beach Party (1963) – manager of surfer hangout ‘Big Daddy’s’ (Vincent Price played the eponymous owner); then promoted to proprietor of ‘Cappy’s Place’ in Muscle Beach Party … Continue reading

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Danielle Aubry

Danielle Aubry: born Renée Aubry, 15 October 1931, France or Canada. Married to Charles B. Penrose 1954 – 1972 Married to 1940s independent movie producer Leo Popkin until his death in 2011 In American pageants and pin-up mags from 1957 … Continue reading

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Starlet In Green Bay

Starlet in Green Bay — Blonde and vivacious Darlene Lucht was in Green Bay Thursday for a whirlwind tour of local radio and televisions stations to publicize “Muscle Beach Party.” Miss Lucht, a former Miss Milwaukee, is featured in the … Continue reading

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cars, bikinis and high-heels

Patti Chandler promoting her first Beach Party movie, American International Pictures‘ Bikini Beach (1964), the third Beach Party Gang movie.  

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from Miss Milwaukee 1958 to Bikini Beach 1964

Darlene Lucht (born Darlene 17 Mar 1938 Franklin, Wisconsin; died 5 Mar 2011, Milwaukee, Wisconsin): Miss Milwaukee 1958, Myrtle Beach Miss Sun Fun USA 1961, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Miss December 1961, Muscle Beach Party (1964), Bikini Beach (1964).

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San Francisco pageant girl

Darlene Lucht of Bikini Beach and Sebastian Cabot in an episode of the Doug McClure vehicle Checkmate (TV 1962, S2E12), also featuring Tina Louise ~ McClure and Anthony George operate a San Francisco detective agency, aided by British criminologist Cabot. … Continue reading

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In Pathecolor and Panavision

DARLENE LUCHT is featured in American International Pictures‘ “Bikini Beach” which stars FRANKIE AVALON and ANNETTE FUNICELLO. In Pathecolor and Panavision.

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Bob Cummings (1910 – 1990)

Robert “Bob” Cummings: born 9 June 1910, Joplin, Missouri; died 2 December 1990, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California; on screen 1935 – 1986. Beach Party (1963) ‘Professor Sutwell’ Gidget Grows Up (TV Movie 1969) ‘Russ Lawrence.’

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Ready for Plunge

August 29, 1958: Four members of water ballet group who appeared in Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks 1958 Water Carnival pose on paddle boards at edge of pool before performance. Ready for plunge in Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks pool are from left, Mary … Continue reading

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Rhonda in a yellow polka dot bikini

Valora Noland (born Valor Baum, 8 December 1941) made her film debut as Rhonda in Beach Party (1963), returning as ‘Animal’ in Muscle Beach Party (1964); final acting credit: Seduction of a Nerd aka Up Your Teddy Bear aka The Toy Grabbers (1970).

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Rhonda AKA Animal

Valora Noland — ‘Rhonda’ in Beach Party (1963) and ‘Animal’ in Muscle Beach Party (1964) — in a photo to promote the John Wayne western The War Wagon (1967).

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Six Kitten

Eva Six (born Eva Klein 1937 in Budapest, Hungary) the blonde bombshell in Beach Party (1963). APRIL 1963. THE REDS INVADE… But lovely, blonde EVA SIX was not there! Meet the Hungarian actress who arrived in Hollywood as a refugee … Continue reading

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Spring Prom Queen hopefuls, 1963

Donna Russell (born 1944) beach girl in Beach Party (1963), Surf Party (1964), For Those Who Think Young (1964) and Catalina Caper (1967). One of these Valley College coeds will be the college’s 1963 Spring Prom Queen. The winner and … Continue reading

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Youthful Divers

Donna Russell (born 1944) beach girl in Beach Party (1963), Surf Party (1964), For Those Who Think Young (1964), Catalina Caper (1967) and credited roles in My Three Sons (TV 1964) S05E13 and Wagon Train (TV 1965) S08E19.

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Donna Russell

Donna Russell (born 1944) of Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles and a Theatre Arts Major at Valley College, spent her summer break in 1963 filming Beach Party (1963) with Frankie Avalon, before being elected First Princess to the Homecoming Queen in October … Continue reading

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Santa Monica Beach Surfers 1963

Los Angeles local Pamela Colbert would appear in the first Beach Party movie, released in August 1963.

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Beach Monster Press Book

The Beach Girls and The Monster (1965) press book supplied by Edward Janis Productions.  

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Gidget’s Hawaiian Dream

Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961): Deborah Walley and Michael Callan.

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Hawaiian Lobby Cards

Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961): 19 year old Deborah Walley and 23 year old  James Darren.    

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Gidget goes water-skiing

Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961): James Darren (born 1936), Vicki Trickett (born 1938), Michael Callan (born 1935), Bart Patton (born 1939), Deborah Walley (1941 – 2001), Jan Conaway (born 1938), Robin Lory (? – ?), Don Edmonds (1937 – 2009), Arnold … Continue reading

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Deb Star of 1959

Yvette Carmen Mimieux, born 8 January 1942, Hollywood California; first three film credits: Platinum High School (13-May-1960), The Time Machine (17-Aug-1960), Where the Boys Are (28-Dec-1960).

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Northwestern Alum

Plays were the thing when Paula Prentiss attended graduate school at Northwestern to study acting: “All of us had our noses in the air, we were going to go directly to theater and have nothing to do with movies.” So much … Continue reading

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Ahna, not Anna

Ahna Capri, who began as a child actress in the 1950s and had a career as a sexy starlet through the 1970s, died on August 19 at age 65 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Los Angeles ~ … Continue reading

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Loving Elvis

19 year old Dolores Hart and 22 year old Elvis Presley in Loving You (1957): “How do you explain ‘love’?” she laments, as she sits in her cluttered, monastic cell with her pet bird. “I was in love with God.” … Continue reading

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Loving Dolores

“Uh need somebody,” Elvis informs the smitten young Dolores Hart, squinting over her shoulder (probably toward the nearest exit) – New York Times review of Loving You (1957).

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Come Fly With Me (1963)

Come Fly with Me (1963): directed by Henry Levin (Where The Boys Are); starring Dolores Hart (born 1938), Pamela Tiffin (born 1942), Lois Nettleton (1927 – 2008), Dawn Addams (1930 – 1985), Hugh O’Brien (1925 – 2016), Karlheinz Böhm (1928 … Continue reading

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Bergie, Carol and Donna

Lois Nettleton (1927 – 2008), Pamela Tiffin (born 1942) and Dolores Hart (born 1938) as flight attendents Hilda ‘Bergie’ Bergstron, Carol Brewster and Donna Stuart in Come Fly With Me (1963).

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Best always, B. A. Sassoon

Beverly Adams: married to celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon (1928 – 2012) from Feb 1967 to Jan 1981.  

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Ashlyn Martin | Laura Lynn | Laura Lynn Hale

Laura Lynn: 20 Mar 1946 – 24 Oct 1991 (suicide) as Marcy in Blood Feast (1963).

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Sue Williams | Sue Hamilton

Sue Williams: Playboy Magazine Miss April 1965. also known as Sue Hamilton: actress for American International Pictures 1965 – 1966. unrelated to Karen Sue Hamilton (1945 – 1969): Arizona model and minor Hollywood actress.

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Surf’s Up?

Cliff Robertson as Malibu Beach surf bum ‘Kahuna’ in Gidget (1959). Novelist Frederick Kohner based the character on surfer Terry ‘Tubesteak’ Tracy.

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Gidget’s boy friends

Hot Shot (Robert Ellis) and Moondoggie (James Darren) carry Gidget (Sandra Dee) down the beach while Lover Boy (Tom Laughlin, rear left), Lord Byron (Burt Metcalfe, rear center), Stinky (Joby Baker, rear right) and Waikiki (Doug McClure, foreground right) run … Continue reading

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Hot Shot, Waikiki, Lover Boy, Stinky, Moondoggie, Lord Byron, Kahuna

Left to right: Hot Shot (Robert Ellis), Waikiki (Doug McClure), Lover Boy (Tom Laughlin, behind Sandra Dee), Stinky (Joby Baker), Moondoggie (James Darren, with Shary Marshall), Lord Byron (Burt Metcalfe), Kahuna (Cliff Robertson) in Gidget (1959).

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Burt Metcalfe

Burt Metcalfe: born 19 March 1935, Saskatchewan Canada; on screen 1955 – 1965, including ‘Lord Byron’ in Gidget (1959) and Father of the Bride (TV 1961 – 1962) with Myrna Fahey, before producing the TV hit M*A*S*H (1972 – 1983).

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Robert Ellis 1933 – 1973

Robert Ellis: born 24 Aug 1933 Chicago; died 23 Nov 1973 Los Angeles (kidney failure); a child star of sorts on radio and TV from 1948; Pvt. Joe Rattigan in Space Master X-7 (1958) and ‘Hot Shot’ in Gidget (1959); final credit … Continue reading

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Tom Laughlin 1931 – 2013

Tom Laughlin: born 10 Aug 1931, Milwaukee; died 12 Dec 2013, Thousand Oaks; on screen from 1955, including South Pacific (1957), Senior Prom (1958), and Gidget (1959) as Lover Boy; wrote, directed and starred The Young Sinner (1961) costarring Stefanie … Continue reading

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Waikiki and Little Joe

Doug McClure (1935 – 1996) – played ‘Waikiki’ in Gidget (1959) – and Michael Landon – played ‘Little Joe’ in Bonanza (TV 1959 – 1973).  

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Moondoggie

The love-interest of the original Gidget (Kathy Kohner) was a 20 year old Malibu surfer named Bill Jensen, but the nickname ‘Moondoggie’ belonged to artist-surfer Billy Al Bengston.

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Gidget’s boy Moondoggie

James Darren was 22 years old when filming Gidget in the summer of 1958. He returned for Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961) and Gidget Goes To Rome (1963).

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Gidget’s rival Joanne

Shary Layne a.k.a. Shary Marshall was 23 years old when filming Gidget in the summer of 1958, appearing in one scene as Moondoggie’s girlfriend who doesn’t like the outdoors.

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Shary Marshall 1935 – 2014

Shary Marshall: born Sharlayne Adell Williamson 29 March 1935, Monmouth Oregon; died Shari Santilli 31 May 2014, Laguna Hills California. Moving to Hollywood after winning a beauty contest, she had two TV credits in 1958 as ‘Shary Layne’, before appearing … Continue reading

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Betty Louise’s boyish hairstyle

Sue George‘s short hair while for Gidget (1959) was useful for her role in Jefferson Drum — “The Outlaw” (TV 1958) as “a girl disguised as a boy” discovered on the open prairie by titular western hero Jefferson Drum.

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Gidget’s friend Betty Louise

Sue George was 25 years old when filming Gidget in the summer of 1958 and had been married for 2 years to insurance salesman James Thobe.

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Sue George

Sue George: born Sue Ellen Weber, Los Angeles CA, 15 Apr 1933, on screen 1955 – 1961 three feature film credits: Rock, Pretty Baby (1956), The Dalton Girls (1957) and Gidget (1959).

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Gidget’s friend Patti

Patti Kane was 25 years old when shooting Gidget in the summer of 1958. She had been married since 1954 to fellow Pasadena Playhouse alumnus Ken Becker. Gidget was her only film credit.

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Patti Kane

Patti Kane: born Patricia F. Kane, 20 December 1932, Reseda CA. Only one film credit: Gidget (1959).

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Gidget’s friend Mary Lou

Jo Morrow was 18 years old when shooting Gidget in the summer of 1958. She appeared uncredited in Ten North Frederick (1958). She shot Juke Box Rhythm after Gidget, but it was released a week before the surf movie in … Continue reading

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Gidget’s friend Nan

Yvonne Craig was 21 years old when shooting Gidget in the summer of 1958. Her previous credits were Eighten and Anxious (1957), two episodes of Schlitz Playhouse (CBS TV 1958) directed by Don Weis and John Brahm; and a episode … Continue reading

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Nan, Mary Lou and Patti

Gidget (1959): Gidget (Sandra Dee, born 1942), Gidget’s friends: Nan (Yvonne Craig, born 1939), Mary Lou (Jo Morrow, born 1939), and Patti (Patti Kane, born 1932).

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Jo Morrow

Jo Morrow: born Beverly Jo Morrow, 1 November 1939, Cuero Texas. First credit: Sam Katzman’s Juke Box Rhythm (1959); second credit: Gidget (1959) as Mary Lou.

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Gidget in thumbnails

Gidget (released 10 April 1959) Columbia Pictures. Based on the novel by Frederick Kohner, directed by Paul Wendkos, starring Sandra Dee, James Darren, Cliff Robertson, with Yvonne Craig, Joby Baker, Doug McClure.

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Frankie in Hong Kong

Frankie Avalon in Sumuru die Tochter des Satans (“Sumuru the daughter of Satan”) aka The Million Eyes of Su-Muru (1967).

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Shirley’s assassins

The Million Eyes of Su-Muru (1967): unidentified, Shirley Eaton, Patti Chandler (behind), and Ursula Rank.

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Tom Nardini

Tom Nardini: born 16 April 1945, Los Angeles CA. First credit: The Lieutenant (TV 1964); select credits: Cat Ballou (1965) with Michael Callan and Dwayne Hickman; Winter A-Go-Go (1965); Cowboy In Africa (TV 1967) with Dodie Marshall; Born Wild (AIP … Continue reading

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Michael Callan

Michael Callan (born Martin Harris Calinieff, 22 November 1935, Philadelphia PA) Moondoggie’s rival in Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1959), his fifth feature film appearance. Other credits include Because They’re Young (1960) with Dick Clark, Warren Berlinger, James Darren; The Flying Fontaines … Continue reading

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The Million Eyes of Su-Muru (1967)

The Million Eyes of Su-Muru (1967) Starring Shirley Eaton, Frankie Avalon, Patti Chandler, Salli Sachse, Maria Rohm • Directed by Lindsay Shonteff • Produced by Harry Alan Towers • Screenplay by Kevin Kavanagh • Original Story by Peter Welbeck • American … Continue reading

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Gidget’s last movie

Ms. Dee‘s last feature film was “The Dunwich Horror” (1970). Washington Post.

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Teddibly noisy in hyah

Frankie Avalon and Mark Wynter in Horror House (1970). The young swingers actually get outswung by a glistening butcher knife. “Teddibly noisy in hyah,” murmurs one of them, shortly before getting a seasonal carving. NY Times.  

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The Dunwich Horror (1970)

The Dunwich Horror (1970) American International Pictures. Starring Sandra Dee.

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Horror House 1970

Horror House a.k.a. The Haunted House of Horror (released 15 April 1970 USA) Tigon (UK) / American International Pictures. Starring Frankie Avalon and Jill Haworth.

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The Horror of Party Beach 1964

The Horror of Party Beach 1964. The first horror monster musical! An Iselin-Tenny Production | Released by 20th Century-Fox.

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The Beach Girls and the Monster 1965

The Beach Girls and the Monster (released 15 September 1965). Music by Frank Sinatra, Jr. | with John Hall • Sue Casey • Walker Edmiston • Arnold Lessing and The Girls from The Hollywood Whiskey – A-Go-Go. Produced by Edward … Continue reading

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Hawaiian autographs

James Darren (born 1936), Deborah Walley (1941 – 2001), Michael Callan (born 1935) — Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961).

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WOW What a figure!

Gidget Goes Hawaiian is outgrossing the first Gidget by 52% in its first 152 engagements! from Columbia!

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she had left her heart in California

Gidget Goes Hawaiian by Frederick Kohner | BUT — She had left her heart in California and nothing — well, almost nothing — could make her forget… See Deborah Walley, the new Gidget, in the sparkling motion picture GIDGET GOES … Continue reading

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Malibu 1961

One day in 1961, when the surf was small, two older men walked down the beach fully clothed and covered with camera equipment. They even had shoes on! “Hi, my name is Allan Grant and we’re from Life Magazine. We’re … Continue reading

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Melanie Tolman

Yvette Mimieux (born 1942). First three film credits: Platinum High School (1960) Lorinda Nibley; The Time Machine (1960) Weena; Where the Boys Are (1960) Melanie Tolman. Retired from acting at age 49, final screen credit: a supporting role in the … Continue reading

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Tuggle Carpenter

Paula Prentiss (born 1938): discovered by a talent scout at Northwestern University (Illinois) for Where the Boys Are (1960). Later appeared in Follow the Boys (1963) with Connie Francis. Married to actor Richard Benjamin (born 1938) since 1961. Most recent … Continue reading

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Merritt Andrews

Dolores Hart (born 1938) 10 films in Hollywood, including the lead role of Merritt Andrews in Where the Boys Are (1960) and two movies with Elvis Presley, before retiring to join a convent.

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Frazzled Frolic

Connie Francis for Follow The Boys (1963) with Paula Prentis and Russ Tamblyn (Peyton Place, West Side Story). Frazzled Frolic: Follow the Boys Is a Familiar Story By BOSLEY CROWTHER | The New York Times | February 28, 1963

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Angie, Bonnie, Libby and Ginger

Connie Francis, born Concetta Rosemarie Franconero, 12 December 1938, Newark, New Jersey. She acted in four movies: Where the Boys Are (1960) Angie; Follow the Boys (1963) Bonnie Pulaski; Looking for Love (1964) Libby Caruso; When the Boys Meet The … Continue reading

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xes spelled backwards

Where The Boys Are (1960) — Here are all these youngsters jammed together, on the beach, in beer joints and motels—coeds from state universities, fellows from the Ivy League—with only one thing on their minds. That is xes spelled backwards. … Continue reading

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The Little Girl with Big Ideas

THE surf goddess was just 15 when she started hanging with the crew at Malibu and gave surfing to the world.

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Dick Clark Goes For “Gidget”

Modern Screen, May 1959.  

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Cliff Robertson 1923 – 2011

Cliff Roberston (born 9 September 1923; died 10 September 2011) as Burt Vail aka ‘The Big Kahuna’ in Gidget (1959). When the movie was shot in August 1958, Robertson was almost 45 years old, Sandra Dee was 16, and James … Continue reading

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Picture Show and TV Mirror

Cliff Robertson, Sandra Dee and James Darren in “Gidget” (1959).

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Gidget in England

A wet Sandra Dee in Gidget (1959) the movie on the dustjacket of Gidget the novel by Frederick Kohner (British first hardback edition, 1958).

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a candid and refreshing novel

Frederick Kohner’s 1957 novel, Gidget, which sprang from his daughter’s adventures with a gang of Malibu surfers, sold nearly two million copies and spawned seven sequels, a hit single by James Darren, a 1959 movie starring Sandra Dee and a … Continue reading

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Gidget and Moondoggie

James Darren (Moondoggie) and Sandra Dee (Gidget) in a publicity photo for Gidget (1959).

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Gidget and Gidget

Kathy Kohner (born 19 January 1941) and Sandra Dee (born 23 April 1942). “Somebody actually did call me ‘Gidget’ at the beach,” recalls Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, 37. “I asked, ‘What does it mean?’ and he said, ‘Girl midget.’ That’s how … Continue reading

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Spook

Harry Dean Stanton (1926 – 2017): ‘Spook’ in The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968), with Patty McCormack, Barbro Hedström and Sandra Marshall.

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Dean Stanton 1926 – 2017

Harry Dean Stanton (born 14 July 1926, West Irvine Kentucky; died 15 September 2017, Los Angeles California. ‘Spook’ in The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968), above, with Jeremy Slate and Sherry Jackson.

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Dick Miller

Dick Miller (born 25 December 1928, The Bronx New York). First credit: Apache Woman (1955). Select credits: The Girls on the Beach (1965) First Waiter; Beach Ball (1965) Cop #1; Wild Wild Winter (1966) Gangster; The Wild Angels (1966) Rigger; … Continue reading

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Patty McCormack

Patty McCormack (born 21 August 1945, Brooklyn New York). First credit: Man Against Pain (1953); continuous credits until three year hiatus 1965 – 67, then Maryjane, The Mini-Skirt Mob, The Young Runaways, The Young Animals (1968). Still acting (2017).

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The Young Runaways (1968)

The Young Runaways (11 September 1968). Producer: Sam Katzman. Starring: Brooke Bundy, Patty McCormack, Quentin Dean, Kevin Coughlin, Richard Dreyfuss, Lloyd Bochner, Dick Sargent, Hortense Petra, Lynn Bari, Norman Fell.

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Diane is wild

Diane Varsi, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her first film, “Peyton Place,” died on Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 54 years old and lived in Los Angeles. Miss Varsi played Allison MacKenzie in “Peyton Place,” the … Continue reading

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Diane Varsi 1938 – 1992

Diane Varsi (born 23 February 1938, San Mateo California; died 19 November 1992, Hollywood California). Movie debut: Peyton Place (1957) in the lead role of Allison MacKenzie; retired 1960 – 1965; 8 more credits 1966 – 1977, including Wild in … Continue reading

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If you’re thirty, you’re through!

Wild In The Streets (1968). “A pop singer is elected President, the administration establishes a mandatory retirement age at 30. At 35, citizens are escorted — by black-shirted young goons in baseball caps—to “rehabilitation camps,” where, “in groovy surroundings,” they … Continue reading

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Wild In The Streets 1968

Wild in the Streets (29 May 1968) American International Pictures, starring Shelley Winters (1920 – 2006), Christopher Jones (1941 – 2014), Diane Varsi (1938 – 1992), Richard Pryor (1940 – 2005), Ed Begley (1901 – 1970).

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Laurie Mock

Laurie Mock (born 11 September 1944, Orange County California). First credit: The Great Adventure (TV 1964); select credits: Riot on Sunset Strip, Hot Rods to Hell (1967); final appearance: Dirty Harry (1971).

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Hot Rods To Hell (1967)

Hot Rods to Hell (27 January 1967) Four Leaf Productions — MGM. Producer: Sam Katzman. “a harrowing account of the harassment of a nice, All-American family by some animalistic teen-agers, murderously careering around in flashy cars.” NY Times.

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