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A variety of articles dealing with surf history, surf films and surf culture in general.

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Top 12: stylish surfers from the 60s

Surfboard labels from the 60s and 70s

 

 

 

Surf film filmography

Beach party filmography

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So corny, that it’s great!

 
 

The Hondells with Linda Evans.

 
 

Bear in “The Big Wednesday”.

 
 

From the intro of “Bikini Beach”.

 
 

Sandra Dee surfin’ the bed.

 
 

Original poster.

 
 

Ride the wild surf.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

BEACH PARTY FILMOGRAPHY

This is a filmography of beach party movies from 1959 until 1967, plus some movies with a similar feel from. Also are included films directly related to the surf culture of the 50s, 60s and 70s produced by Hollywood.
I discard some titles I consider don’t fit with the vibe of the beach/surf Hollywood flick.
Corrections and additions are welcomed. And sorry for my poor english!

 

1959:
Gidget (Paul Wendkos)
Pioneer teen beach flick from Columbia Pictures. Four years before Frankie and Annette were crowned as beach bums, Sandra Dee (Gidget), James Darren (Moondoggie) and Cliff Roberston (Kahoona) were the first to wet their boards on celluloid. This movie is loosely based on real facts and responsible of the surf massification of the 60s. While the surf music guitarists were defining their styles the clean cut Four Preps were the musical guests.
The surf sequences were filmed in Secos, north of Malibu. Surfer Mickey Muñoz doubled for Sandra Dee wearing a bikini and a blonde wig. Another Malibu local, Johnny Fain made the stunt in wich Gidget get caught in the kelp. Miki Dora and Kemp Aaberg were choosen as stunt riders too.

 

1961:
Blue Hawaii (Norman Taurog)
This film is just mentioned because you can see Elvis floating on a balsa surfboard.
Who could imagine that Elvis would spend almost all the 60s decade making cheapo flicks like this.

Gidget Goes Hawaiian (Paul Wendkos)
The Gidget saga is getting away from the surf as main leitmotiv. This is just a silly teen romantic comedy. Nothing to do with the freshness of the 1959 classic.  

 

1963:
Beach Party (William Asher)
First chapter of the beach party movie saga from American International Pictures..
Teen idols Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello jump in the surf bandwagon.
Dick Dale got even a part in the movie besides performing some numbers.
Surf/hot rod music masters Gary Usher and Roger Christian write some songs for the movie.

Gidget Goes To Rome (Paul Wendkos)
Even more far from the surf theme,,, they go to Rome for more “I love you… I don’t love you” thing.

The Horror Of Party Beach (Del Tenney)
Worst beach party related film ever. From the east coast. They tried to emulate what they did at the other side of the country.
The rock’n’roll combo is one forgotten band called Del-aires, who got nothing to do with the surfin’ west coast sound. Amateurish B grade film.

Surf Party (Maury Dexter)
First beach party movie who followed the succes of “Beach Party”. Bobby Vinton gets the lead role. The musical acts are Jackie DeShannon and the Routers. Not forgeting the Astronauts performing "Firewater" and the title theme.
Miki Dora appears as an extra and in promotional pics for the movie.

Surf Scene (Dale Davis)
This a Tv pilot to showcase the popularity of musical duo Jan & Dean. Typical silly and childish humor combined with surf footage courtesy of surf film maker Dale Davis. The Tv executives didn’t think this was enough good for airing.

 

1964:
Bikini Beach (William Asher)
Third A.I.P. beach party movie. The british invasion is used as main plot for this flick. The bald surf music band the Pyramids perform a couple of songs penned by Gary Usher. The Exciters band -the back up band for the go go dancer Candy Johnson- also appears.
Little Stevie Wonder sings a couple of tunes surrounded by blond surfer kids. And hot rod icon Tommy “tv” Ivo drives his four wheel drive rail dragster, and no to forget the “Manta Ray” show rod by Dean Jeffries.

For Those Who Think Young (Leslie H. Martinson)
James Darren five years after Gidget charges again. Bob Denver give us a surrealistic beach-beatnik performance. Nancy Sinatra in her first movie role.
The title of the movie is actually the Pepsi Cola slogan of the time. In fact, the drink company financed part of the movie.

Muscle Beach Party (William Asher)
Surrealistic musical combination: king of the surf guitar Dick Dale with his Deltones are used as back up band for wonder kid of soul lil’ Stevie Wonder. The rest: muscle men, mediocre actors, more Frankie versus Annette, more Deadhead with silly jokes…

Pajama Party (Don Weiss)
Annette stars without Frankie, instead Tommy Kirk is co-starring. In fact, Kirk acted with Annette in some Walt Disney films. The wonderful Donna Loren sings some tunes, and the unknown Nooney Ricket Four play some danceable instro tunes.

Ride The Wild Surf (Don Taylor)
Columbia Pictures tried to avoid the silly beach comedy cliché and bet for a teen drama with the big surf of Oahu’s North Shore as scenario.
It was supposed that Jan & Dean would appear in the movie, but due to the implication of Dean in the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra’s son, they were avoided.
Anyway, the main theme for the movie was provided by the surf music duo.
The movie’s musical leitmotiv was composed by Stu Phillips and was covered by the Astronauts and released as a single by RCA.
The action scenes were filmed in the 1963-64 winter. The stunt double for Fabian was of course, Miki Dora. Dora was a great surfer in small to medium waves but got no experience in bigger stuff. For money he charged Waimea with no experience and the guy did it!!!
James Mitchum’s stunt double was jailhouse trunked Greg Noll. Other famous surfers involved in the production were Dave Jackman, Phil Edwards and I think Mike Hynson.

 

1965:
A Swingin' Summer (Robert Sparr)
The musical performances are done by hot rod band the Rip Chords with his "Red Hot Roadster". Carol Connors composed the title theme for the movie. Another musical guests: Righteous Brothers, Jody Miller and Gary Lewis & the Playboys. Beautiful Raquel Welch made her debut with this film.

Beach Ball (Lennie Weinrib)
Paramount released this film with the Supremes singing "Surfer Boy".
Other musical personalities: Righteous Brothers, Four Seasons, Walker Brothers... nothing surf music related except the Hondells.

Beach Blanket Bingo (William Asher)
One of the more populars movies of the saga. The Hondells perform "Cycle Set" and Linda Evans acts as a beach bunnie.
Donna Loren is just great when she sings "It Only Hurts When I Cry".

The Beach Girls And The Monster (Jon Hall)
Also known as "Surf Terror" or "Monster From The Surf". The horror B movie concept is mixed with the beach party genre. Soundtrack scored by some unknown surf instro band (maybe the Truants or the Hollywood Tornadoes).
Main theme composed by Frank Sinatra jr. Dale Davis provided the surf footage filmed in Sunset and Pipeline. In black and white.

Dr. Goldfoot & The Bikini Machine (Norman Taurog)
Frankie Avalon and Susan Hart are the stars of the film. The beach is forgotten now, but the feeling is the same: musical performances, silly humor and bikini bombshells.

The Girls On The Beach (William A. Witney)
It was said the Beach Boys would appear in an entire movie located in Hawaii, but the project never materialised due to disagreements between the studio and the Capitol records.
The Hawthorne 5 at least got their five minutes of fame in this sub-product. They perform "Little Honda", "Lonely Sea" and "Girls On The Beach".
If you want to see more Brian Wilson and the boys on celluloid, get Walt Disney’s “The Monkey’s Uncle” with Annette Funicello.
The Crickets and Leslie Gore also appear in "Girls On The Beach".

How To Stuff a Wild Bikini (William Asher)
Silly title for this film with Annette, but without Frankie. The plot was just absurd, well… this is what beach party movies are supposed to be. For those who like the Kingsmen, you got ‘em singing "Give Her Lovin'".

Skater Dater (Brad Page): Short film. An early teenage skateboard gang hang around until one of the members realised his little dick gets big when he looks a typical California teen girl. I mean, the kids discover all those things about love, the birds, the bees and blah blah blah…
The skaters are all Hobie and Makaha Skateboards riders. Soundtrack by Mike Curb and of course, Davie Allan.

Ski Party (Alan Rafkin)
American International Pictures invented a sub-subgenre. The beach scene is changed to the ski slopes. Frankie do his thing without Annette. The Hondells performs the great “The Gasser” at the end of the film. Lesley Gore and James Brown are the other musical guests. Another time, Miki Dora is used as an extra.

Wild On The Beach (Maury Dexter)
The Astronauts, Sonny & Cher, Sandy Nelson among others wander in front of the cameras. More beach stuff, more silly jokes.

Winter A Go Go (Richard Benedict)
Columbia Pictures tries to go to the snow resort with the beach party ingredients.
Another time the Hondells sings, this time the main theme. Secon rate names among actors and musical guests.

 

1966:
Dr. Goldfoot & The Girl Bombs (Mario Brava)
Italo-american film with Vincent Price and Fabian followed by a bunch of italian actors.

Ghost In The Invisible Bikini (Don Weis)
Maybe the main interest of this production is the one and only screen appearance by the Bobby Fuller 4. Months later Fuller would die in strange circumstances. Nancy Sinatra performs the song "Geronimo".

Out Of Sight (Lennie Weinrib)
Another screen appearance by the Astronauts. A surf band known as the Crossfires, changed their name in 1965 and became the famous Turtles. They appear in this film along with Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Freddie & the Dreamers and Dobie Gray & the Knickerbockers. Not to forget the George Barris show rod made for the movie.

Wild, Wild Winter (Lennie Weinrib)
More light comedy in the snow slopes. Performances by the Beau Brummels, Dick & Dee Dee, Jay & the Americans and you know who? Yeah, the Astronauts. You can see the pretty Chris Noel from time to time.

 

1967:
Catalina Caper (Lee Shoelm)
The less known beach party flick. Starring Tommy Kirk. Carol Connors sings with a sensual dress and the out of his time Little Richard sings “Scuba Party”.

Don't Make Waves (Alexander Mckendrick)
Actually this is a pseudo beach party movie. This was made for a more adult public. The main actors are Tony Curtis, Claudia Cardinale and the beautiful Sharon Tate.
The Byrds make their own lecture about the California beach experience in sound. The original soundtrack by Vic Mizzy is great.

It's A Bikini World (Stephanie Rothman)
The surf music days are gone, the garage is here to stay. The beach bunnies are dancing to the sounds of the Animals, the Castaways, the Toys and the Gentrys. The final competition sequence is as long as absurd, with some surrealistic stints.

Mondo Hollywood (Robert Carl Cohen)
Documental showing the pop trash culture of Los Angeles. Dale Davis, the surf film maker appears giving us a few glimpses of his lifestyle.

Mondo Mod (Bethel Buckalew)
Another mondo movie. There’s a surf segment with a vocal surf music song called "The Last Wave Of The Day".

 

1968:
San Diego Surf  (Andy Warhol & Paul Morrisey)
Never released film about the La Jolla surf scene made with the artsy fartsy look of Andy Warhol. Also known as “Surfing Movie” or “Surfing”.
There’s a documentary about this thing called “Andy Makes A Movie”.

The Sweet Ride (Harvey Hart)
The plot is about a starlette (Jacqueline Bisset) who lives the vanal Hollywood’s life. Beach parties and some surf are included.

 

1969:
Gidget Grows Up (James Sheldon)
Tv made production. This time Gidget is interpreted by Karen Valentine.

 

1972:
Rainbow Bridge (Chuck Wein)
Psychedelic pastiche filmed in Hawaii. The main atraction of the film is Jimmi Hendrix. Surfing footage of Mike Hynson and David Nuuhiwa in Maalea.

 

1978:
Big Wednesday (John Milius)
John Milius was a local surfer of Malibu in early 60s. He became a screenwriter and movie director. Without any doubt, this is the most well done Hollywood movie with surf as a main theme.
Great surf segments done by the best surf photographers: Bud Browne, George Greenough and Greg McGillivray. The stunts doubles were Billy Hamilton and Pete Towned. Actors Jan Michel Vincent, Gary Busey and William Katt learned how to surf adding credibility to the surf sequences. Johnny Fain, famous Malibu local and usual extra for beach party movies had a secondary role.

Deadman’s Curve (Richard Compton)
Tv Jan & Dean biopic. Surf, beaches, roadsters and Jan Berry facing the drama of the Deadman’s curve with his custom Corvette.

Hawaiian Fantasy (a.k.a. Surfer Girls) (Al Silliman Jr.)
Silly beach comedy of the era in 3-D. Girls in bikini (and without bikini too).

Malibu Beach (Robert J. Rosenthal)
A film celebration of the 70s California beach culture. It’s like a long video clip. The plot is almost non-existing.

 

1979:
Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola)
John Milius co-wrote the original script. He included the surf segment of course.
You know, “Charlie don’t surf”.

California Dreaming (John D. Hancock)
Typical beach film of the era, with some nudity and some beach scenes. Starring Glynnis O’Connor, Tanya Roberts, James Van Patten and finally Johnny Fain acted as the devoted surfer he really was.

Malibu High (Irving Berwick)
B grade comedy with Jill Lansing, Stuart Taylor and Katie Johnson.

 

1982:
Conan The Barbarian (John Milius)
Good ol’ Milius called Pipeline guru Gerry Lopez and gave him a secondary part.

 

1983:
Spring Break (Sean S. Cunningham)
Beach comedy with Florida as main scenario.

 

1984:
Hardbodies (Mark Griffiths)
Californication in 35 mm. The clichés of the era: bleached blond youngsters obsessed with roller skating bikini girls. Even there’s a chase with jet surfboards.

Surf II (Randall M. Badat)
Another beach frivolity from that time. The 60s beach party genre clearly influenced this thing. In the soundtrack you can hear the Straycats and the revival surf instro band Jon & the Nightriders. You can see zombie surf punks surfing with longboards.

Top Secret! (Jim Abrahams & David Sucker)
Listed here for its supreme intro. A Beach Boys music parody illustrates a surfing/gun craze. Just hilarious.

 

1986:
The Malibu Bikini Shop (David Wechter)
More pretty looking 80s girls and California beach boardwalks.

Sizzle Beach, U.S.A. (Richard Brander)
Kevin Costner in his first role.

 

1987:
Back To The Beach (Lyndall Hobbs)
Revivalist beach party film with original stars Frankie, Annette, Connie Stevens and Dick Dale (with horrible hairdo). Even Gary Usher produced the soundtrack. You can see some Surf Punk band members in the night beach party segment.

North Shore (William Phelps)
You have seen this kind of movie thousand of times. A boy with a great instinc of superation, tries hard to reach his dream, but lacks experience and knowledge so an older guy take him under his wing and the boy conquers his objective and gets the girl. Well, so here is this movie with a look at the 80s North Shore surf scene. Lots of ideas taken from “Ride The Wild Surf” of 1964.

Surf Nazis Must Die (Peter George)
You can expect more from the movie looking at the poster. Overvalued B movie produced by Troma Pictures. Lacks the silly colorful clichés of 80s beach related films. Just some tit here and there but that’s all.

 

1988:
Aloha Summer (Tommy Lee Wallace)
Some teenagers learn how to surf on holidays in Waikiki in the summer of 1959.
Some Hollywood cliches through the movie. The best: surf segments with vintage boards, the soundtrack with oldies like “I Only Have Eyes For You” by the Flamingos, “Walk Don’t Run” by the Ventures and the obscure surf song “Bustin’ Surfboards” in the Bongo Teens version. Nostalgia meets hawaiiana.

Beach Balls (Joe Ritter)
So silly you have to watch it. The opening credits were ideal for wanking if you were a teenager: dumb choreography of bikini girls wearing thongs while an 80s surf instro theme can be heard.

Earth Girls Are Easy (Julien Temple)
Geena Davies co-stars this film with Jim Carrey. Besides the surf bum character there’s a musical number that take us to the days of Annette and Frankie.
The song title says it all: “Cause I’m A Blonde”.

 

1989:
Lauderdale (Bill Milling)
The Penthouse pet and future porn star Janine Lindemulder let us see her skin. Teenage wonker film. Even porn actor Ron Jeremy has a cameo.

 

1990:
Summer Dreams: The Story Of The Beach Boys (Michael Switzer)
Mediocre Tv made film about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.

 

1991:
Bikini Summer (Robert Veze)
No shame beach/bikini movie. A simple and effective formula: forget about a plot, just show pretty siliconed girls in thong bikinis and you have it. This formula was taken by David Hasselhof for the Baywatch series: show’em some meat, that’s all what they wanna see. One of the best onanistic beach films.

Point Break (Kathryn Bigelow)
Well, I didn’t want to include this piece of… film history. Hollywood tries to reflect the surf scene of the era with some cheap whore make up. Stints of localism violence, silly surf zen philosophy and very bad bad guys, they’re so bad they’re cool or something like it…
Gary Busey works again in a movie with surf related theme. In “Big Wednesday” he surfs, but here he doesn’t get wet.

 
1992:
Bikini Summer II (Jeff Conaway)
The first “Bikini Summer” provoked so many male erections they had to make a sequel with more fresh meat.



1993:

Malibu Summer (Rafe M. Portilo)
More girls in bikini and silly script.


2000:

Psycho Beach Party (Robert Lee King)
A pale try to rescue the beach party stereotypes. The original beach party flicks were boring, but at least they were time capsules. This is simply boring from start to end. Not even the Straitjackets performance save the film.


Written by Didac Piquer Puigdemont.
Copyright Control.

 
 
 
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