Most fans of Sixties starlets remember the late Deborah Walley for her role as Gidget in Gidget Goes Hawaiian or for her being a Disney girl or for her beach-party appearances in Beach Blanket Bingo, Ski Party, and Ghost in the Invisible Bikini or for chasing Elvis in Spinout. However, most don’t know that before she was tapped to take over Sandra Dee’s surfing sweetie role, Walley was doing Chekhov Off-Broadway to nice reviews.
Her one chance to prove she had more to offer than acting saccharine in those Disney comedies or shaking her bikini-clad bod in the beach movies was in the low-budget MGM programmer, The Young Lovers (1964) airing 9/27 at 3AM on TCM. Though the film was supposed to showcase the talents of Peter Fonda and Sharon Hugueny as a college students who find themselves in the family way, Walley steals the show as Hugueny’s kooky best friend who is a virgin and proud of it to the chagrin of her draftee boyfriend, Nick Adams. Walley’s character is far more intersting than the bland Hugueny’s and the movie falls flat whenever she is not on screen. Ignore the moralistic preaching by the adults who berate poor Hugueny for getting knocked up, and enjoy Deborah Walley proving that she was able to give a first-rate performance when given a chance.