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 into the family station wagon and head off to the drive-in practically every other weekend during the spring and summer months. He remembers seeing, among many others, Paint Your Wagon; The Night They Raided Minsky’s; Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows; A Fistful of Dollars; Love Story; The Boatniks; Patton; Beneath the Planet of the Apes; 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.
Fast forward to 1994 where he was working as Business Manager for The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and 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. 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, and 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. More interviews and books on 1960s actresses and movies followed. He went on to share the Silver Medal IPPY for Best Memoir of 2010 with ’60s starlet Gail Gerber for the book Trippin’ with Terry Southern: What I Think I Remember.
Tom’s 8th book Pamela Tiffin: Hollywood to Rome, 1961-1974 is now available and look for his next book Sixties Pop Cinema in 2016.