C’mon Eddie

Eddie Hodges: born 1947, on Broadway from aged 10, in movies from age 12, won a Grammy at age 14; career failing by  age 20 – appearing as the “comic relief” in the low budget musical C’mon, Live A Little. By 22 he’d quit.

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Hortense Petra 1904 – 1982

Hortense Petra (born Hortense Petrimoulx 9 December 1904, Mississippi; died 8 July 1982 Los Angeles California). First credit: Is Your Daughter Safe? (1927), appeared in movies produced by husband Sam Katzman (1901 – 1972) including: Kissin’ Cousins, Get Yourself A College Girl (1964), When The Boys Meet The Girls (1965), Hold On! (1966), Hot Rods to Hell, Riot on Sunset Strip, The Love-Ins (1967), For Singles Only, The Young Runaways (1968) and The Loners (1972). Photo: Hortense Petra and Dennis O’Keefe in Chicago Syndicate (1955).

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Hollywood tragedy

Brenda Benet: born Brenda Ann Nelson, 14 August 1945, Hollywood California; died 7 April 1982 West Los Angeles California – suicide.

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Track of Thunder (1967)

Track of Thunder (15 September 1967 – Ambassador Films/United Artists), starring Brenda Benet and Tommy Kirk.

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Salli on a trip

Salli Sachse in The Trip (1967  American International Pictures).

 

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The Trip (1967)

The Trip (released 23 August 1967) American International Pictures; produced and directed by Roger Corman, written by Jack Nicholson. Girls: Susan Strasberg, Salli Sachse, Luree Holmes; boys: Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Dennis Hopper, Michael Nader, Michael Blodgett; olds: Dick Miller.

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The Love-Ins (1967)

The Love-Ins (released 26 July 1967) . “This lurid melodrama, which Sam Katzman has produced and Arthur Dreifuss directed, is a gaudy, gleeful glorification of the fun that hippies have at their jolly outdoor love-ins and on their phantasmagorical trips.” Bosley Crowther, NY Times.

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C’mon, Let’s Live A Little (1967)

C’mon, Let’s Live a Little (released 3 March 1967): Jackie DeShannon, Suzie Kaye, Kim Carnes (born 1945 – only movie credit); Bobby Vee, Eddie Hodges, Frank Alesia, Patsy Kelly, Russ Conway (The Lively Set).

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Mimsy Farmer

Mimsy Farmer (born 28 February 1945, Chicago Illinois). First screen appearance: Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961) uncredited girl in hotel lobby. Selected Hollywood credits: Bus Riley’s Back in Town (1965), Hot Rods to Hell (1967), Riot on Sunset Strip (1967), Devil’s Angels (1967), The Wild Racers (1968) and then European films until Safari (TV Movie 1991) directed by Roger Vadim.

 

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Riot On Sunset Strip (1967)

Riot on Sunset Strip (released 2 March 1967). “This 1967 quickie – made to reference recent confrontations between Hollywood police and the local youth – is so earnestly trying its best to be fair that it sometimes doesn’t seem to recognize just how little its parts fit together.” Jay Seaver, efimcritic.com.

 

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Hollywood cocktail party

Attending a recent cocktail party in Hollywood are actress Brenda Benet, costarring in Elvis‘ new picture Harum Scarum, and Anthony Hayes (Ride the Wild Surf and Winter A-Go-Go).

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Daniel Boone, Little Fawn and Mingo

Daniel (Fess Parker) and Mingo (Ed Ames) are entrusted with an Indian princess (Brenda Benet) and asked to escort her to her betrothed in order to unite the two tribes and avert war. The young princess does not want the arranged marriage and fights them every step of the way. Daniel Boone (TV 1966) – ‘The Matchmaker’ (S3E07).

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Frank Alesia 1944 – 2011

Frank Alesia (4 Jan 1944 Park Ridge Illinois – 27 Feb 2011 Carlsbad California). Continue reading

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Dick Gautier 1931 – 2017

Dick Gautier (1931 – 2017) with Barbara Stuart (1930 – 2011), married 1967 – 1979. Dick Gautier played ‘Mark Hillman’ in ‘Gidget Gadget,’ Gidget (TV 1965) episode five, and an uncredited prisoner in Maryjane (1968); famous for ‘Hymie the robot’ in six episodes of Get Smart (TV 1966 – 1968). Barbara Stuart played ‘Bunny Wilson’ in 21 episodes of Gomer Pyle (TV 1964 – 1969).

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Martin Milner 1931 – 2015

Martin Milner: born 28 December 1931, Detroit Michigan; died 6 September 2015, Carlsbad California. Select credits: Sex Kittens Go to College (1960), Gidget (TV 1965): S1E3 The Great Kahuna – ‘Kahuna’, Ski Fever (1966), Valley of the Dolls (1967), Adam 12 (TV 1968-75).  Continue reading

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Doug McClure 1935 – 1996

Doug McClure (11 May 1935, Glendale Los Angeles – 5 February 1995, Sherman Oaks Los Angeles). First credit: South Pacific (1957) – pilot in hospital. Selected credits: Gidget (1959) – Waikiki; The Lively Set (1964) – Chuck Manning. Final credit: One West Waikiki (TV 1996) – died during filming from lung cancer. Continue reading

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all American boy

Tab Hunter: born Arthur Andrew Kelm, 11 July 1931, New York City New York. Lt. Morgan Hayes in Operation Bikini (1963 with Frankie Avalon and Eva Six), and Steamer Lane in Ride the Wild Surf (1964).

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before batgirl

A bikini-clad Yvonne Craig (1937 – 2015); does not appear in a bikini in Kissin’ Cousins (1964) or Ski Party (1965).

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beach party ‘animal’

Donna MichellePlayboy Playmate of the Year 1964 BIRTHPLACE: Los Angeles, California USA BUST: 38″ D WAIST: 22″ HIPS: 37″ HEIGHT: 5′ 4″ WEIGHT: 118 lbs AMBITIONS: To act in legitimate theater. TURN-ONS: Sports. HOBBIES: Music, playing concert piano, ballet, modern jazz dance, scuba diving. DID YOU KNOW? I studied Russian ballet for seven years and have worked as a dancer in the New York City Ballet. I also had some movie parts as a child. I KEEP BUSY WITH: Swimming, taking care of and riding my horse, and driving my sports car. WHAT I LIKE IN MEN: Honesty and sincerity. I DISLIKE MEN WHO: act like they’re God’s gift to women.

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Lorelei on a surfboard

Marta Kristen: plays the mermaid ‘Lorelei’ in Beach Blanket Bingo (1965).

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FTWTY lobby card

For Those Who Think Young (1964): James Darren and Pamela Tiffin. “Miss Tiffin plays a stanchly virtuous student, briskly pursued over the campus and along the beach by Mr. Darren, a rich playboy. Add to all the splashy cavorting, the thumping tunes and limber twisting at the club, thronged by the clean-cut girls and boys, with a random, bearded beatnik or two…The New York Times, published: July 9, 1964.

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el Doctor G. y su máquina de bikinis

The Doctor G. and his Bikini Machine with Dwayne Hickman, Frankie Avalon, Vincent Price and a redheaded Susan Hart.

 

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A zany satire on teenage girls!

Glendon Swarthout, an associate professor of English at MSU, was teaching an honors class in 1958 when he overheard one of his students talking about spring break. When Swarthout asked his students for more specifics, he was invited to join them in Fort Lauderdale and see for himself. MSU. Continue reading

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Why do thousands of coeds flock to Fort Lauderdale?

“This novel is meant to be a half-gay, half-sad, but always breezy account of that, by now, minor institution — the collegiate goings-on in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, during the spring semester vacation.” Kirkus Review.

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Best-looking tan under the sun!

Michael Callan (Gidget Goes Hawaiian) and Barbara Eden (Ride the Wild Surf), co-stars in The New Interns (1964) directed by John Rich (Roustabout and Clambake) advertsing Coppertone.

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Beverly Powers

Beverly Powers: born Beverly Jean Montgomery, 7 August 1939, Los Angeles California. First film credit: Nightclub Stripper in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) as Miss Beverly Hills. Other credits include American International Pictures The Comedy of Terrors (1963 – photo above), Kissin’ Cousins (1964), Viva Las Vegas (1964), I’ll Take Sweden (1965), and Speedway (1968). Final credit: Fantasy Island (TV 1979).

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Gari Hardy

Gari Hardy: born Garyfalia Julia Hardy, 26 August 1948, Bakersfield California, USA. “Dumb Blonde” in Speedway (1968).

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Willa in the Hangout

Karen Hamilton in the non-speaking and uncredited role of ‘Willa’ in Speedway (1968).

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A blonde in boots

Nancy Sinatra: Elvis Presley’s blonde co-star in Speedway (released 12 June 1968). By then, Nancy was a popstar: These Boots are Made For Walking reached #1 on the Billboard Singles Chart in February 1966, How Does That Grab You Darlin’? #7 May 1966, Sugar Town, #5 December 1966. Something Stupid, #1 April 1967, You Only Live Twice, #44 July 1967 and Lightning’s Girl, #24 October 1967. Her final chart entry was Drummer Man, #98 in September 1969. Billboard.

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Sinatra, Ercolani and Crocetti

Nancy Sinatra, daughter of Frank (1915 – 1998), James Darren, born James Ercolani, and Claudia Martin, daughter of Dino Crocetti (1917 – 1995) in a publicity photo for For Those Who Think Young (1964).

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the girl in the yellow bikini

Nancy Sinatra: born 8 June 1940, Jersey City Jersey, first child of Frank Sinatra. All movie credits: For Those Who Think Young (1964), Get Yourself a College Girl (1965), Marriage on the Rocks (1965) The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966), The Last of the Secret Agents? (1966), The Wild Angels (1966), Speedway (1968).

 

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Karen Sue Hamilton 1945 – 1969

Born Karen Sue Levitt in Queens, New York, November 14, 1945. Graduated from Bayside High School, New York, in January 1962.

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not the same person

Karen Sue Hamilton (1945 – 1969): part-time model and aspiring actress; never appeared in Playboy Magazine, never acted in a Beach Party movie. She committed suicide less than four months after her engagement announcement.

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Miss April 1965

Sue Williams aka Hamilton: born Los Angeles 1940, Playboy Magazine Miss April 1965, five AIP beach movies and three episodes of Gidget between July 1965 and June 1966, final appearance as Sue Williams Playboy Playmate in September 1966; divorced in the late 1960s and remarried in the 1970s; was not Karen Sue Levitt/Hamilton; did not commit suicide in 1969.

 

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Frankie and Sue

Sue Hamilton and Frankie Avalon in Fireball 500 (1966). Born Los Angeles 1940, Playboy Magazine Miss April 1965 (as Sue Williams), five AIP beach movies and three episodes of Gidget between July 1965 and June 1966, final appearance as Sue Williams Playboy Playmate in September 1966; divorced in the late 1960s and remarried in the 1970s; was not Karen Sue Levitt/Hamilton; did not commit suicide in 1969.

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visible bikini

Sue Hamilton promoting The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966). Born Los Angeles 1940, Playboy Magazine Miss April 1965 (as Sue Williams), five AIP beach movies and three episodes of Gidget between July 1965 and June 1966, final appearance as Sue Williams Playboy Playmate in September 1966; divorced in the late 1960s and remarried in the 1970s; was not Karen Sue Levitt/Hamilton; did not commit suicide in 1969.

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“underrated”

The joy lies in watching Disney idol Annette and chipper pop favorite Frankie strut their stuff with any colorful personalities available for a day or two of work under the AIP banner. Thus the viewer is treated to an oddball assortment of characters including go-go dancer Candy Johnson, underrated vocalist Donna Loren, some pop groups including the Exciters and the Pyramids, future Filipino horror icon John Ashley, future head-trip case Timothy Carey, a typically manic Don Rickles as the teen’s sole “old generation” advocate, a rousing third-act appearance by “Little Stevie” Wonder, and even a cameo by Boris Karloff who would later have much more prominent roles in the series. TCM.

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Summertime is movietime, U.S.A.

Also on the bill is ‘Bikini Beach,” a horrible juvenile comedy in which surfers fight cyclists and convert their elders to the pleasures of the bronzed physique. Eugene Archer, New York Times.

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Sue Williams / Sue Hamilton Update

A neighbor and friend of Sue Williams/Hamilton provided information that enabled me to establish that the woman once known as ‘Sue Williams’ (Playboy) and ‘Sue Hamilton’ (Sergeant Dead Head) is indeed alive and living in the USA.

The story got confused because neither ‘Sue Williams’ nor ‘Sue Hamilton’ is her real name.

The woman at the center of the story was born in the early 1940s, married young, and had two children by the time of her modeling and acting career. She divorced her first husband in 1967 and married her second husband a few years later.

Some details in the Playboy profile are accurate (her first husband was a firefighter) and others are fantasy (she didn’t graduate from high school in June 1964).

The Playboy photos caused trouble with her familly and her first husband. After her divorce in 1967, she wanted nothing to do with acting or modeling and chose not to stay in contact with the film or modeling industries.

Put the blame on Evelyn Mack Truitt and the internet for confusing Karen Sue Hamilton (1945 – 1969) with Sue Williams/Hamilton.

The woman behind the myth has enjoyed 50 years of anonymity; let’s respect her privacy.

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Dead watusi dancer and the monster

The Beach Girls and the Monster (1965) Director John Hall wisely hired “The Watusi Dancing Girls” from Hollywood’s Whisky a Go Go club on Sunset Boulevard to get things off to a swinging start, and you may feel compelled to join in at home once you synch with the red hot vibes of Frank Sinatra Jnr’s “Dance, Baby Dance.” Or not. Worst Movies Ever Made.

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Al, Carl, Dennis, Mike and Brian

THE GIRLS ON THE BEACH (1965) The Beatles are coming…to a southern California sorority party! At least the Alpha Beta sorority thinks so! Believing that The Beatles have agreed to fly from England to perform at their fundraiser, the girls arrange for a big musical show and begin a full-scale promotion. When the Fabs don’t show, the ingenious girls imitate the Beatles complete with “yeah, yeah, yeahs!” Then they bring down the house when they sing, “I Want To Marry a Beatle.”The Beach Boys,The Crickets and Lesley Gore. Songs include: “Leave Me Alone,” “It’s Gotta Be You,” “I Don’t Want to Be a Loser” (Lesley Gore). “La Bamba” (The Crickets). “Girls On the Beach,” “Lonely Sea” and “Little Honda.” (The Beach Boys). Lots and lots of scenes of cute girls in skimpy bikinis! Noreen Corcoran, Martin West, Aron Kincaid, Gail Gilmore, Peter Brooks, Bruno Ve Sota, Dick Miller, Lana Wood, Mary Mitchell, Anna Capri, Arnold Lessing, Steve Rogers. The Girls on the Beach! The Video Beat.

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Linda Marie Hines

Lori Saunders (aka Linda Saunders): born Linda Marie Hines, 4 October 1941, Kansas City Missouri. First credit: The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (TV 1960) – as Linda Hines … The Girls on the Beach (1965) Patricia Johnson (as Linda Saunders); Petticoat Junction (TV 1965 – 70) Bobbie Jo Bradley – 148 episodes … Final credit: Captive (1980).

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A totem of wholesome American masculinity

“Tab Hunter typically played soldiers and surfers and other totems of wholesome American masculinity.” From The New Yorker Magazine review of the brilliant 2015 documentary “Tab Hunter Confidential.”

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Lee DuMonde from ‘Days of Our Lives’

LOS ANGELES, April 8, 1982 — Brenda Benet, an actress who played on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” shot and killed herself, the police said. Continue reading

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slightly spicy beach movies

Walt Disney told Annette Funicello that he had been approached by American International Pictures about her making a beach movie. He said he thought it sounded like “good clean fun,” but asked her not to expose her navel. She readily agreed. She and Mr. Avalon ultimately starred in a series of beach movies together, beginning with “Beach Party” in 1963. On Jan. 9, 1965, Ms. Funicello married her agent, Jack Gilardi. She made a few films in the middle and late 1960s, including “Fireball 500” and “Thunder Alley,” but her attention was focused on her children, Gina, Jack Jr. and Jason Michael. NY Times.

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Whatever happened to…

Update here (August 2017).

Sue Hamilton aka Sue Williams, Playboy Playmate and beach party movie actress, WAS NOT Karen Sue (Levitt) Hamilton, who died by suicide in 1969. Who was the actress who played “Peanuts” in How To Stuff a Wild Bikini? And what happened to her after her final film appearance in Fireball 500 (1966)? Please comment below or send information to hillard_elkins@ yahoo.com. Discretion assured.

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Batgirl in a big bikini

Yvonne Craig, actor and dancer, born 16 May 1937; died 17 August 2015. The dark-haired beauty, a native of Taylorville, Ill., began her theatrical career at age 17 as the youngest member of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. She traveled the U.S. and was with the troupe for three years when she was discovered by director John Ford’s agent son Patrick and cast for the lead in the movie The Young Land (1959). She then starred opposite Elvis Presley in the films It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963) and Kissin’ Cousins (1964). Her film résumé also included 7 Women From Hell (1961) — with future Joker villain Cesar Romero — Ski Party (1965) and Mars Needs Women (1967). The Hollywood Reporter.

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Celluloid Junk

TWO reels of celluloid junk called “The Mini-Skirt Mob” and “Angels From Hell” unwound in succession yesterday on a circuit theater double bill. Both American International packages transparently pay awed tribute to a motorcycle gang, a repulsive roundup of young humanity. “The Mini-Skirt Mob” is simply a monotonous exercise in sadism, as a bunch of girl cyclists and their male partner torment a honeymooning couple. “Mini-Skirt” is sickening. “Angels” is merely dull. Howard Thompson, The New York Times.

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Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude

Roddy McDowall: born 17 September 1928, London England; died 3 October 1998, Los Angeles USA. First credit: Murder in the Family (UK 1938), moved to the US the following year, on screen until 1998. Selected credits: Lord Love a Duck (1966), The Cool Ones (1967), Hello Down There (1969).

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Honeymooners at Idlewild Airport

The bride wore a purple cocktail dress, no shoes, and one of America’s favorite smiles; the groom, a jacket and one of America’s favorite snarls. The 10-minute ceremony at music publisher Don Kirshner’s Camden, N.J., home was preceded by a high-speed car chase to elude reporters, but when the smoke cleared on Dec. 1, 1960, Bobby Darin, 24, and 16-year-old Sandra Dee were man and wife. EW.

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James, Danielle and Jessie

James Darren, Danielle de Metz, and Jessie Royce Landis (1896 – 1972) – “Gidget,” that wholesome American girl with the wide-eye appeal and the Buster Brown hairdo, is now conquering Rome. Her past successes include Hawaii and California, fans will recall. BOSLEY CROWTHER September 12, 1963, New York Times review.

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As performed in the motion picture…

Not to be outdone by “Tammy” (and her faithful goat), “Gidget” is also back in a sequel — a broad but bouncy one — with some pretty Hawaiian scenery for armchair travelers. Replacing Sandra Dee, as the briskly virtuous teen-ager who magnetizes beach boys, is a newcomer named Deborah Walley. HOWARD THOMPSON August 10, 1961, The New York Times review.

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Easy Dodie

Dodie Marshall: born Rhoda Bailey Wolf 1934; on screen 1964-67, including Spinout (1966) and Easy Come Easy Go (1967). In 1991 claimed to have achieved a perfect score of 200 on a self-administered IQ test (LA Times); from 1977 to 2004 lived in the Hotel Del Flores, 409 North Crescent Drive Beverly Hills LA; in 2008 received $750,000 in a mediated settlement with Los Angeles County for medical expenses and damages resulting from a 2005 fall on a bus after the driver slammed the brakes.

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Rhoda Bailey Wolf

Dodie Marshall dancing with Elvis Presley in Spinout (1966)

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Spies in love

Troy Donahue (centre) and Valerie Allen (to the right of Troy) and others on set for the bikini spy caper Come Spy With Me (1967). Donahue and Allen married in Ireland after filming in October 1966, before the film was leased 18 January 1967 to virtually no interest. Allen last Donue, a drug addict and alcoholic, in April 1968 and divorced him in November of the same year.

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Lucienne, Dan and Katie

Bit players in Come Spy With Me (1967): French actress Lucienne Bridou (born 1943, in Hollywood 1964-68), minor actor Dan Ferrone (1937-99, on screen 1962-85), and teenager Katie Saylor (née Aldrich, born 1951).

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No chance with the bikini girl

Chance Gentry and Katie Aldrich together in a publicity photo for their only film credits – bikini spy caper Come Spy With Me (1967), starring Troy Donahue. Like Donahue (born Merle Johnson), Chance was a creation of infamous Hollywood agent Henry Willson (Rock Hudson and others). Katie Aldrich (born 1951) was the daughter of New York fashion designer Larry Aldrich. She married Lawrence Saylor Jr. in 1967, and returned to Hollywood as Katie Saylor 1973-77.

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Come Spy with Her!

Valerie Allen: formerly Paramount Pictures’ last contract player at twenty-three, eight years later in bikini spy caper Come Spy With Me (1967) where she met two-year husband Troy Donahue.

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Valerie Allen 1936 – 2013

Valerie Allen: born 10 February 1936, New York NY; died 18 June 2013 Woodland Hills CA. Daughter of Ziegfield Follies showgirl Valerie Raemer and talent agent Edgar Allen, on screen from 1957, including I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958), an episode of 77 Sunset Strip (TV 1959) with Edd Byrnes, before appearing in the bikini spy caper Come Spy With Me (1967) where she met an already alcoholic Troy Donahue. They married in Ireland 21 October 1966, separated in April 1968 and divorced 16 November 1968. She retired from acting in 1967 to become a television executive (Valerie Allen named East Coast program coordinator for SelectaVision, RCA’s color TV playback system. She has been an executive director of Golden Jet Enterprises, associated with Charles K. Feldman Productions and is a former actress (Billboard July 18, 1970).

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Original Title Song of 20th Century Fox Motion Picture

Come Fly With Me (1967) original title song by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

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Lynette Winter

Lynette Winter: born Mary Lynette Winter 17 June 1946, Decatur Illinois. On screen 1958-70, married Charles Edward “Ted” Cessac (1945-2011) 18 June 1969 in Los Angeles, relocated to Abbeville Louisiana and co-founded the Abbey Players in 1976, co-founded the Bodwin Portable Theater Company in Cleveland with Carrie Bodenger (left by 1999), now living in Carmel Monterey, directing at the Carl Cherry Centre for the Arts and acting at the Pink Flamingo Theater.

Complete screen credits:

Highway Patrol (TV 1958)
The Real McCoys (TV 1960)
The Parent Trap (1961)
Gidget (TV 1965-66) 26 episodes
My Three Sons (TV 1967)
Family Affair (TV 1967)
Petticoat Junction (TV 1966-70) 7 episodes

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Stephen Mines

Stephen Mines: born 3 February 1939, Muskegon Michigan. On screen 1961-71, including two episodes of Gidget (TV) as Jeff a.k.a. Moondoggie. He retired from acting to start a woodworking business in Los Angeles. In 2005 he relocated to his home town of Muskegon.

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Dear Diary – Et Al.

“Dear Diary – Et Al.” (Gidget episode 1, 15 Sep. 1965). Gidget’s private and personal feelings are revealed when her older sister “accidentally” comes across Gidget’s diary.

Girls: Sally Field (Gidget), Betty Conner (Anne Cooper), Lynette Winter (Larue), Pamela Colbert (Cornbread – credited at the end of the episode but scenes deleted. She can be seen in the unaired second version of the pilot on YouTube).

Boys: Stephen Mines (Jeff aka Moondoggie – in photo above), Peter E. Deuel (John Cooper), Mike Nader.

Olds: Don Porter (Professor Russell Lawrence)

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Daphne Dutton

Diane McBain (born 1940): from Surfside 6 (TV 1960-62) 44 episodes as Daphne Dutton, to I Sailed to Tahiti with an All Girl Crew (1968).

 

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The Mini-Skirt Mob 1968

The Mini-Skirt Mob (released 3 May 1968 American International Pictures); director: Maury Dexter, writer: James Gordon White; girls: Diane McBain, Sherry Jackson, Patty McCormack, Barbro Hedström, Jackie Rohr; boys: Jeremy Slate, Ross Hagen, Harry Dean Stanton, Ronnie Rondell Jr.

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Maryjane 1968

Maryjane (released 13 March 1968 American International Pictures), director: Maury Dexter, writer: Maury Dexter (story), Dick Gautier, Peter Marshall; girls: Diane McBain, Patty McCormack, Linda Cooper, Teri Garr,  Jo Ann Harris, Dodie Warren; boys: Fabian, Kevin Coughlin (1946-76), Gary Marshall, Frank Alesia, Ronnie Dayton

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Maury Dexter

Maury Dexter: born 12 June 1928, Paris Arkansas USA. Directing credits include: Surf Party (1964), Wild On The Beach (1965), Maryjane (1968), The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968), The Young Animals (1968), Hell’s Belles (1969).

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Miss America 1959

Mary Ann Mobley, who stepped into the spotlight as the first Miss Mississippi to become Miss America and later hit the silver screen opposite Elvis Presley, has died. She was 77. LA Times Obituary, LA Times December 2014.

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Martin Milner 1931 – 2015

Martin Milner: born 28 December 1931, Detroit Michigan; died 6 September 2015, Carlsbad California. Select credits: Sex Kittens Go to College (1960), Gidget (TV 1965): S1E3 The Great Kahuna – ‘Kahuna’ Ski’, Ski Fever (1966), Valley of the Dolls (1967), Adam 12 (TV 1968-75).

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Jeremy Slate 1926 – 2006

Chris Noel and Jeremy Slate promoting The Lieutenant (TV 1963). Jeremy Slate born 17 February 1926 Atlantic City New Jersey; died 19 November 2006, Los Angeles California. Selected credits: G.I. Blues (1960), Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), I’ll Take Sweden (1965), The Born Losers (1967), The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968), Hell’s Belles (1969), Hell’s Angels ’69 (1969). Scandanavian looks: played ‘Gunnar Borgstrom’ in Bonanza (TV 1962 S3E29), ’Erik Carlson’ in I’ll Take Sweden (1965) and ‘Erik Larsen’ in Convoy (TV 1965 S1E12).

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Roddy McDowall 1928 – 1998

Roddy McDowall: born 17 September 1928, London England; died 3 October 1998, Los Angeles USA. First credit: Murder in the Family (UK 1938), moved to the US the following year, on screen until 1998. Selected credits: Lord Love a Duck (1966), The Cool Ones (1967), Hello Down There (1969).

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Tuesday Weld

Tuesday Weld: born Susan Ker Weld 27 August 1943, New York City; child model turned actress.

Screen debut in Rock! Rock! Rock! (1956 – songs voiced by Connie Francis); TV appearances including Sunset Strip; The Tab Hunter Show and 17 episodes of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (TV 1959-62); films including Sex Kittens Go To College (1960) with Martin Milner and Norman Grabowski; and High Time (1961) with Fabian and Yvonne Craig.

Beach movie-related credits: I’ll Take Sweden (1965) with Frankie Avalon; and Lord Love A Duck (1966) with Roddy McDowall, Martin West, Jo Collins.

1960 Golden Globe award for best newcomer. Final screen credit in Ethan Hawke’s Chelsea Walls (2001).

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The Swedes

I’ll Take Sweden (1965): starring Frankie Avalon (born 1939), Tuesday Weld (born 1943), Jeremy Slate (1926-2006), Rosemarie Frankland (1943-2000), Bob Hope (1903-2003) and Dina Merrill (born 1923).

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Frankie takes Sweden

Frankie Avalon and Bob Hope’s mistress Rosemarie Frankland in the comedy dud “I’ll Take Sweden” (1965).

 

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a random, bearded beatnik or two

For Those Who Think Young (1964): It’s strictly summery, light-headed fare, pretty to look at but about as obvious and empty as breeze. Miss Tiffin plays a stanchly virtuous student, briskly pursued over the campus and along the beach by Mr. Darren, a rich playboy. Add to all the splashy cavorting, the thumping tunes and limber twisting at the club, thronged by the clean-cut girls and boys, with a random, bearded beatnik or two. July 9, 1964, New York Times review.

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Swinging Twisting Surfing

Muscle Beach Party (1964) novelization by Elsie Lee quotations: Her hand caught warmly in Frankie’s, Dee Dee wandered where he led, across the sands and away from the sounds of civilization, If you can call it that, she thought vaguely. … “Like maybe brains do count for more than brawn?” Dee Dee suggested.  “Like maybe that’s what our pappies were proving against Mr. Hitler?” … “Honey, the beach is free,” he said with soft intensity… ‘the surf keeps rolling, rolling, with a rhythm nothing can match – and your life’s your own as long as you keep looking up and riding the curl… Isn’t that enough?” – courtesy Richard Blandford.

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Guys are swinging with their Dolls

Muscle Beach Party (1964) synopsis: Surfers Frankie and Dee Dee and their friends become uneasy when muscleman Flex Martian and his friends from Jack Fanny‘s gym invade their section of the beach. On a yacht offshore, a wealthy contessa named Julie is arranging for her business manager S. Z. Matts to obtain Flex as the latest in a long string of boyfriends. Julie is temporarily content with Flex until she meets Frankie. When he returns her affection, Dee Dee becomes jealous, and the rift between the surfers and the musclemen widens. S. Z. tells Frankie about Julie’s past affairs, and he goes back to Dee Dee. The surfers and the musclemen finally battle in a night brawl, but the fight is broken up by a Mr. Strangdour, who convinces Flex to concentrate on his muscles and forget Julie, who then decides to settle down with S. Z. Turner Classic Movies.

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diverting and zany

Critical reaction to Muscle Beach Party was, not surprisingly, harsh. The New York Post branded the outing “abysmal.” Photoplay was kinder, daring to suggest that Muscle Beach Party was superior to Beach Party while Seventeen went out on a limb to declare it “diverting” and “zany.” Star Annette Funicello received a Golden Laurel Award nomination for “Top Female Musical Performance,” an honor tempered by her nomination for “least promising young performer” by the Harvard Lampoon. – Richard Harland Smith, Turner Classic Movies article.

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teenage-geared romantic farce with songs

Muscle Beach Party is American International‘s followup to Beach Party, its click of a year earlier. The novelty of surfing has worn off, leaving in its wake little more than a conventional teenage-geared romantic farce with songs. December 31, 1963, Variety review.

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a twitch-and-twist musical

The second feature on the program is a twitch-and-twist musical film entitled “Muscle Beach Party,” which stars Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon and a tangle of vigorous young people with beautiful bodies and empty heads. If you can last through “A Distant Trumpet” and then this, you’re a double-dyed stoic. BOSLEY CROWTHER, May 28, 1964, The New York Times review.

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a beach romp in color

Beach Party (1963) What’s wrong with a beach romp in color that contains some tanned, carefree youngsters, their musical hi-jinks and their light-hearted involvement with a snoopy anthropologist and his loving assistant? Obviously, not a sun-baked thing. September 26, 1963 The New York Times review.

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highly carbonated elixir of sex, sunshine and beer

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Here are all these youngsters jammed together, on the beach, in beer joints and motels—coeds from state universities, fellows from the Ivy League—flirting and making passes, with only one thing on their minds. That is xes spelled backwards. BOSLEY CROWTHER, January 20, 1961. New York Times review.

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wholesome American girl with the wide-eye appeal

Gidget,” that wholesome American girl with the wide-eye appeal and the Buster Brown hairdo, is now conquering Rome. Her past successes include Hawaii and California, fans will recall. BOSLEY CROWTHER September 12, 1963, New York Times review.

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pretty Hawaiian scenery for armchair travelers

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Not to be outdone by “Tammy” (and her faithful goat), “Gidget” is also back in a sequel — a broad but bouncy one — with some pretty Hawaiian scenery for armchair travelers. Replacing Sandra Dee, as the briskly virtuous teen-ager who magnetizes beach boys, is a newcomer named Deborah Walley. HOWARD THOMPSON August 10, 1961, The New York Times review.

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Sun and Surf and the Story of a Teen-Age Girl

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GIDGET” is enough to make anybody leave one of the neighborhood theatres, where it opened yesterday, and light out for Long Island Sound. Pictorially, this mild little Columbia frolic, about a teen-age girl with boy trouble, seems an ideal way to usher in the beach season. Most of the story spills along a balmy California shore, with the young folk soaking up sun and endlessly skimming the waves on surfboards. Howard Thompson, April 23, 1959, New York Times review.

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The Lively Set (1964)

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The Lively Set (24 October 1964) Universal Pictures
Directed by Jack Arnold (1916-92) – Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Hello Down There (1969); written by Mel Goldberg (1922-2015) – Hang ‘Em High (1968); produced by William Alland (1916-97) – Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954); music by Bobby Darin.

Girls: Pamela Tiffin, Joanie Sommers, Carole Wells
Boys: James Darren, Doug McClure (Gidget 1959), Peter Mann
Olds: Marilyn Maxwell, Russ Conway, Wink Martindale, Max Schumacher

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James Darren

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James Darren: born James William Ercolani, 8 June 1936, Philadelphia USA. First credit Rumble on the Docks (1956) with Timothy Carey. Selected credits:

Gidget (1959 – Moondoggie) with Sandra Dee
Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961 – Moondoggie) with Deborah Walley
Gidget Goes To Rome (1963 – Moondoggie) with Cindy Carol
For Those Who Think Young (1964) with Pamela Tiffin
The Lively Set (1964) with Pamela Tiffin
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Danielle de Metz

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Danielle De Metz: born 27 July 1938, Paris France.

Gidget Goes to Rome (1963) Daniela

First screen credit: Return of the Fly (1959), followed by many guest roles on American TV, almost always as a European temptress, including
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (TV 1960) Parlez-Vous English?
The Tab Hunter Show (TV 1961) Me and My Shadow, The Art Patron
Bachelor Father (TV 1961) Encore in Paris
Surfside 6 (TV 1962) The Artful Deceit
77 Sunset Strip (TV 1962) The Parallel Caper
The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (TV 1967) The Catacomb and Dogma Affair
I Dream of Jeannie (TV 1967) My Master, Napoleon’s Buddy
The Flying Nun (TV 1969) The Moo Is Blue
Final credit: Cool Million (TV 1972)  The Abduction of Baynard Barnes

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Muscle Girl Flo

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Amadee Chabot (born 1945): Miss USA 1962, muscle girl ‘Flo’ in Muscle Beach Party 1964, a movie star in Mexico 1966-69, then a realtor in Merced, California.

 

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Little Black Bikini

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Jocelyn Lane: Tickle Me (1965), Hell’s Belles (AIP 1969), A Bullet for Pretty Boy (AIP 1970)

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A Pretty Ticklish Belle

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Jocelyn Lane: Tickle Me (1965), Hell’s Belles (AIP 1969), A Bullet for Pretty Boy (AIP 1970)

 

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Sam Katzman (1901 – 1973)

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Sam Katzman: born 7 July 1901, New York City; died 4 August 1973, Hollywood. Nicknamed “Jungle Sam”. Spouse: Hortense Petra (1904-82)

First producing credit: Western Justice (1934) – a 56 minute cowboy movie starring Bob Steele.

Twist Around the Clock (1961)
Don’t Knock the Twist (1962)
Hootenanny Hoot (1963)
Kissin’ Cousins (1964)
Your Cheatin’ Heart (1964)
Get Yourself A College Girl (1964)
When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965)
Harum Scarum (1965)
Hold On! (1966)
Riot on Sunset Strip (AIP 1967)
For Singles Only (1968)
Final credit:  Police Trap (1972) with Dean Stockwell

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The Roughest Ride In Town!

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HELL’S BELLES (29 April 1969)
Directed by Maury Dexter (Surf Party, Wild On The Beach); written by James Gordon White (The Glory Stompers) and Robert McMullen; cinematographer, Ken Peach; produced by Mr. Dexter; released by American International Pictures. Running time: 95 minutes.
Dan . . . . . Jeremy Slate
Tampa . . . . . Adam Roarke
Cathy . . . . . Jocelyn Lane
Cherry . . . . . Angelique Pettyjohn
Rabbit . . . . . Jerry Brutsche
Barney . . . . . Ronnie Dayton

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Charles Arthur Floyd had none of the minor vices!

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A Bullet for Pretty Boy (15 July 1970)
American International Pictures

Director: Larry Buchanan (Mars Needs Women 1967)
Writers: Enrique Touceda, Henry Rosenbaum
Music: Harley Hatcher (The Wild Angels 1966)
Starring: Fabian Forte, Jocelyn Lane, Astrid Warner and Adam Roarke as ‘The Preacher’

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Everybody’s girl next door

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Astrid Warner in A Bullet For Pretty Boy (1970). “Both Miss Lane and Miss Warner are very lovely. Miss. Warner especially, who plays the tragic wife in the manner of the girl next door, ought to be everybody’s girl next door. In her performance, as in so much else in the movie, there is an awkward innocence, an utterly inappropriate charm.The New York Times, November 5, 1970.

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Gidget #2 in France

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Cindy Carol (Gidget Goes To Rome 1963) and Fabian Forte (Ride The Wild Surf 1964) in the 20th Century-Fox comedy Dear Brigitte 1965.

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Sally discovers a touch of fall in “First Frost”

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Sally Field: born Sally Margaret Field, 6 November 1946, Pasadena California. First screen appearance: Moon Pilot (1962) beatnik girl – uncredited; first credit: Gidget (TV 1965-66) Gidget – 32 episodes; The Flying Nun (1967-70) Sister Bertrille – 82 episodes; most recent credit: Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015) Doris Miller.

 

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Don Porter (1912 – 1997)

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Don Porter: born 24 September 1912, Oklahoma USA; died 11 February 1997, Beverly Hills California. First credit: Mystery of the White Room (1939); selected credits:

Gidget Goes to Rome (1963) Russell Lawrence
Gidget (TV 1965-66) Russell Lawrence
Live a Little, Love a Little (1968)

Final credit: CBS Summer Playhouse (TV 1988) episode ‘Old Money’

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Jim Begg

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Roddy McDowall, Nita Talbot, and Jim Begg decide to make a team in a scene from the film ‘The Cool Ones‘, 1967.

Jim Begg: born William James Begg 2 March 1938, Battle Creek, Michigan; died 15 February 2008, Los Angeles. First screen credit: The Patty Duke Show (TV 1964) – waiter. Selected credits:
Village of the Giants (1965) Fatso
The Cool Ones (1967) Charlie Forbes
It’s a Bikini World (1967) Boy
Catalina Caper (1967) Larry
Cattanooga Cats (TV 1969) Scoots (voice)
Final credit: The Fantastic World of D.C. Collins (TV Movie 1982), directed by Leslie H Martinson
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the most ravishingly beautiful thing

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Tisha Sterling (Village of the Giants) “Tisha was the most ravishingly beautiful thing, like a fawn,” says Ms. Sothern, ”but she had a low estimation of herself. It’s not my fault I’m a star, but it was tough for her to face all those people saying, ‘Miss Sothern, we love you.’ ” – New York Times.

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