It’s a Gail Gerber double feature!

Here’s the lineup for Wednesday April 18’s movies co-hosted by Ben Mankiewicz and me accompanied by my mini reviews from my book Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies.

8:00 pm The Girls on the Beach (TCM premiere)

The Girls on the Beach is one of the better Beach Party clones enhanced by witty dialog, a pleasant, wholesome cast, and outstanding musical performances by the Beach Boys and Lesley Gore.  A gaggle of coeds (including Noreen Corcoran, Lana Wood, Gail Gerber) are trying to raise funds to save their sorority house when three surfer dudes (Martin West, Aron Kincaid, Steve Rogers) who want to score with them trick the gals into thinking that they are tight with The Beatles.  The girls then announce a fundraiser with the Fab Four as headliners much to the detriment of the guys.  When they learn that they have been duped, the coeds don longhaired wigs and impersonate The Beatles…badly.

Co-starring Linda Marshall, Anna Capri, Mary Mitchell, Linda Saunders, Peter Brooks, Christopher Riordan

9:30 pm Beach Ball

Despite the drubbing from the critics and some beach movie fans, Beach Ball is arguably the breeziest and most enjoyable of the Beach Party clones.  It is also the most blatant rip off throwing in everything from surfing, skydiving, and hot rodding to a battle-of-the-bands contest and the guys in drag to match the zaniness of the AIP beach movies.  Four college dropouts (Edd Byrnes, Robert Logan, Aron Kincaid, Don Edmonds) try to con some nerdy girls (including Chris Noel, Gail Gerber) at the student union to give them a student loan for tuition but in fact the money is needed to pay for their musical instruments.  The gals get wise to their scheme and try to trick the guys into returning to school. The film works well because it is fast-paced, nicely photographed in color, has some funny moments, lots of beach scenes, a healthy-looking cast, a bouncy score, and an excellent roster of musical performers most notably the Supremes, the Righteous Brothers, the Walker Brothers, and The Four Seasons who are interspersed throughout the movie.

Co-starring Brenda Benet, Mikki Jamison, Anna Lavelle

11:00 pm The Endless Summer

Filmmaker Barry Brown proved that you could make an entertaining movie about real surfers without shimmying bikini-clad girls or singing beach boys, and still attract the general public.  The plot is simple as two surfers (Mike Hynson, Robert August) traipse the globe following the summer season searching for the perfect wave. It serves up some of the finest surfing footage of the decade excellently photographed enhanced by an enchanting musical score, gorgeous scenery, handsome surfers, and witty narration making it the definitive surf movie of the Sixties and perhaps of all time. Once you start watching you won’t be able to take your eyes off of it.

12:45 am The Barefoot Adventure

An early Bruce Brown surf doc done in his typical tongue-in-cheek style. Beautifully transferred to digital, you would never know by watching that he had to crib the film, narration, and music from bits and pieces from his attic. He lost the original sound and had to create new narration but luckily he retained the music score by jazz great Bud Shank. Defintely worth viewing to see what the early surf docs that played mainly to Southern California surfers in high school auditoriums up and down the coast were like.


Comments: 6

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  • Raymond Woods

    Hello Tom, I was just watching you on TCM, during spring break and really dug your style. Its great to see people who skew a bit younger on TCM declaring their love for classic films. You also seemed to have carved out a pretty interesting little niche for yourself with the whole sixties angle. Good stuff. You have a convert.

    • Thanks for the compliments Raymond. Glad you have enjoyed the intros. Ben was such a nice guy and I had a lot of fun despite my bit of nervousness and the bright lights. LOL Tom

  • Jill Martin

    I am a long time fan of TCM and I was really pleased to discover you and your sixties knowledge this week. You are a treat to watch. My favorite flick this week has been “The Endless Summer”.
    I first saw it on tv in 1969 or 1970, with my Mom who passed away in 1971. We really loved it and it’s a favorite memory of her. I recorded it the other night and plan to show it to my 35 year-old son. I’m not sure if he’s ever seen it, but we have discussed it before, when we were talking about my Mom .
    Thanks for all the groovy memories and flicks!!

    • Sorry for the delayed reply Jill. Thanks for the kind words. The outpouring of emails/comments I have received was overwhelming and missed yours. Hope your son checked got to see The Endless Summer. I never tire of watching it. Such a terrific surfing doc. Tom

  • Jill Martin

    By the way, you said in your above post you were nervous. It isn’t obvious on camera, you look relaxed LOL.
    I’m happy to hear that Ben is a great guy, I am a big fan.

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