I always get asked when did my fascination with Sixties starlets begin since I was just a little kid by the end of the decade. So here goes. Picture it. A seven-year -old boy sits down to watch this new comedy/drama set in late 1800s Seattle called Here Come the Brides starring pop sensation Bobby Sherman. The kid loves his music as he is all the rage of the teenage baby-sitting set and we had a lot of baby-sitters. My first starlet crush (not counting him but that is for another Blog) was on the delightful Bridget Hanley as his girlfriend Candy. I don’t know if it was because of her great hair styles or because if she was paired with that teen dream wearing the tightest pants allowed on network TV.

I next fell for Deanna Lund as the fiery redheaded, mini-skirted intergalactic castaway Valerie Scott on Land of the Giants. In the first couple of episodes, her character had spunk and schemed with villainous Col. Fitzhugh to get themselves rescued. Later as her skirts became shorter, she became more of a team player with her fellow castaways. My brother and I at this time used to play with Matt Mason 6 inch action figures. We had a space pod and 3-story space station. I would always get my sister’s red haired Dawn doll, put her in a mini-skirt, and dub her Valerie the damsel in distress to be rescued by Matt and his team. Too much information? I hope my poor mother doesn’t read this.

Number three was Marta Kristen on Lost in Space. Watching in syndication, I like most viewers enjoyed the machinations of Dr. Zachary Smith and his interplay with Will Robinson and the Robot. Then the third season began and Marta’s Judy Robinson went from long limp blond hair and a pants suit to a wild mod hair style and mini-skirt with matching go-go boots. I was awed. And unlike the earlier seasons, she is featured prominently in a lot more episodes here.

By 1970-71 my starlet affection grew to include Batman‘s Yvonne Craig as Batgirl and Julie Newmar as Catwoman (do they really think the scrawny, ridiculous Anne Hathaway will be able to fill Ms. Julie Newmar’s catsuit? I think not.); Tina Louise from Gilligan’s Island (no contest for me who I prefer. Pitiful Dawn Wells entire post-Gilligan’s Island career consists almost entirely of bad-mouthing Tina); Meredith MacRae and Linda Saunders (Billie Jo and Bobbie Jo) from Petticoat Junction; Judy Carne from Laugh-In; Karen Valentine in Room 222; Annette Funicello; Shelley Fabares; and Linda Harrison who played Nova in the Planet of the Apes movies.

So wasn’t I excited when I discovered ABC-TV’s anthology series Love, American Style when it moved to the 10pm timeslot on Friday nights. I think for two years the line-up before it began with The Brady Bunch at 8pm followed by The Partridge Family; Room 222; and The Odd Couple at 9:30pm. I loved them all (maybe not so much The Partridge Family as skinny David Cassidy ws no Bobby Sherman). I would sit with bated breath as the opening for Love, American Style would begin hoping one of my gals would appear. I would clap in delight when I saw Tina or Julie or Yvonne or Bridget or Shelley or Deanna’s face appear in the heart-shaped opening. The 4 skits was just soooo that period in time and the clothes and hair styles and sets spot on. I think most of the adult themes went right over my 9 year-old head but I just loved this show.

My fascination with all these actresses never went away, but did take a back seat when I saw The Poseidon Adventure on May 11, 1973. I was infatuated with the pretty waifish-looking long-haired blond who played the terrified pop singer Nonnie. When I asked my mom who she was she said, “Carol Lynley. She was in that vampire movie I told you not to watch.” The light bulb went off. She was reporter Carl Kolchak’s girlfriend in The Night Stalker. The movie that gave me nightmares for days. I was in heaven demented as that sounds. Once I saw a more glamorous Carol with a short haircut playing tough-talking Yvonne Phillips who goes part way across the country in a stolen sedan with Vietnam Vet Glen Campbell in Norwood I was hooked. Forty years later I still am on Carol and all the other Sixties starlets.



Comments: 9

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  • Stephen Bowie

    You’ve told me some of this but I didn’t realize that HERE COME THE BRIDES, of all things, was the trigger.

    My question was always not so much how it started, but how come you have better taste in women than most straight guys I know?

    • I do have good taste, don’t I? LOL Yes, Candy was the first TV girl crush.

  • LOL, hey, some of us straight guys like the Sixties Chicks too… and Elvis’ Women, of course. Candy definitely had the big hair. Nice story, Tom!

    • It was about 1974 when I discovered Pamela Tiffin, Yvette Mimieux, Anjanette Comer, Diane McBain, etc., Elvis’ women and the beach girls from watching the ABC-TV 4:30 Movie here in the New York metro area.

  • John Black

    I first discovered Marta Kristen in Disney’s SAVAGE SAM. I was already a fan of Angela Cartwrright, so LOST IN SPACE was indeed out of this world for me. Hayley Mills was a biggie for us baby boomer children, too. My earliest crush was probably Angela, or maybe Terry Burnham from “Nightmare as a Child” (from THE TWILIGHT ZONE).

    By the way, Lori (Linda) Saunders’ rare psychodrama flick, SO SAD ABOUT GLORIA, is now being sold by Code Red via direct mail order. It was just announced a couple of days ago, on a two-fer disc with the Deborah Walley shocker THE SEVERED ARM.

    • Thanks for the news about So Sad About Gloria and The Severed Arm. The stunt casting of Petticoat Junctioner Lori Saunders and former Gidget Deborah Walley ratchets up the interest tenfold for me. I have never seen either I don’t think.

  • Michael H

    This is very interesting and I appreciate your sharing how it all started. I saw just about every major Hollywood release in my child hood and became fascinated with many of the beautiful young women stars at that time. To this day, I don’t really understand the attraction except it provided an escape from the boredom of living in a small town in the South. Each time a new movie with Carol Lynley, Pamela Tiffin, Stefanie Powers, Ann-Margret, Raquel Welch, Stella Stevens, Annette Funicello, Deborah Walley or Sandra Dee came out…. I was there. They kept me from going bonkers in my hometown.


  • Matthew Johnson


    • Thanks for the kind words. Working on a book about Carol Lynley focusing on her career in horror, fantasy and suspense.

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