The Sixties Cinema website and blog is written by author Tom Lisanti. Tom Lisanti grew up on Long Island and was a kid during the sixties. His parents, Vincent and Joan Lisanti, were movie buffs and would load Tom and his siblings Joe and Lorraine into the family station wagon and head off to the drive-in practically every other weekend during the spring and summer months. Tom remembers nodding off during the musicals Mary Poppins and Paint Your Wagon, seeing his first pair of boobs (Britt Ekland’s) in The Night They Raided Minsky’s, and feeling saddened for the family gunned down by the Mexicans in A Fistful of Dollars. A new sister, Donna, and many other nights at the drive-in followed watching Love Story, The Boatniks, Patton, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Airport, Skyjacked, and then the one that would change his life forever, The Poseidon Adventure. The movie, and especially the capsizing scene, mesmerized the eleven-year-old. He began reading about and collecting everything he could on The Poseidon Adventure and his favorite actor from it, Carol Lynley as the hot pants, go-go booted clad pop singer Nonnie.
When not at the drive-in, Tom spent his afternoons watching the ABC-TV 4:30 Movie, which featured Gidget Week, Beach Party Week, Elvis Week, Biker Film Week, etc. While Tom’s neighborhood buddies could tell you how many career home runs NY Yankee Bobby Murcer hit, Tom was able to list the complete cast of Beach Blanket Bingo right down to background surfer boys and beach girls—Ed Garner, Salli Sachse and Mary Hughes.
His first signs of writing talent occurred around this time when the short story he wrote about three students who steal the answers to their final exam and then have a change of heart was read aloud to the junior high school student body. He never tried to develop his writing skills even when he won Mepham High School’s award for Outstanding English Student due to the many creative writing projects he submitted. In college he was so focused on creating a story treatment for his proposed soap opera, Roxbury Heights that he flunked two accounting courses, which was his major. Suffice it to say he never became an accountant.
Tom didn’t write anything creative for over ten years. Then in 1994 while working as Business Manager for The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, he was recruited to help organize an exhibition entitled, Screams on Screen: 100 Years of Horror Movies due to his vast movie knowledge. A huge Carol Lynley fan, Tom made sure she was highlighted in the exhibition due to her horror movie appearances in The Shuttered Room, The Night Stalker, and The Cat and the Canary. He wrote many of the captions and the writing bug resurfaced. An article on Carol Lynley for his friend Louis Paul’s small video fanzine morphed into an interview with the actress herself for Filmfax magazine.
Interviews with sixties starlets Pamela Tiffin, Chris Noel, Deanna Lund of Land of the Giants, Diane McBain, and Linda Harrison of Planet of the Apes quickly followed. These articles appeared in Filmfax, Outré, Films of the Golden Age, or Femme Fatales. Tom eventually decided to take the advice of friends and family and compile them into a book. Tom rewrote the above interviews and combined them with new ones for his first book, Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema: Interviews with 20 Actresses from Biker, Beach & Elvis Movies (2001) released by McFarland and Company, Inc.
The book was a hit and and he hasn’t stopped writing since.