Hollywood Surf & Beach Movies

Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave by Thomas Lisanti 

Official nominee by McFarland and Co. for the Theatre Library Association’s 2006 Best Film Reference Book Award 

Named one of the 10 Best Books of 2005 by Classic Images 

“definitive…A better discussion of these films is impossible.” –Laura Wagner, Classic Images 

“written with high style, an aficionado’s love of his subject, and packed with meticulous, how-did-he-ever-find that information.” – John Rowell, Show Business Weekly 

“‘must have’ for all nostalgia fans” – CinemaRetro 

“extremely entertaining” – Steven Puchalski, Shock Cinema 

“…a cornucopia of sublime information – Jack Varsi – OutSmart Magazine 

“a very enjoyable read—impressive.”—Brian Walker, Brian’s Drive-in Movie Theater 

“A terrific book…packed with really dishy new interview quotes…”—Tom Weaver, Author and Film Historian 

“my favorite…446 pages packed with everything you ever wanted to know about surf and beach movies…”–Sharyn Peacocke, The Lively Set 


“highly entertaining…thirty-two films covered in exhaustive detail with literate and witty aplomb.” – Brutarian 

Surfers loathed them, teenagers flocked to them, critics dismissed them, and producers laughed all the way to the bank. “Them” are surf and beach movies, which were Hollywood’s interpretation of the surf culture. For a short period in the 1960s these films were extremely popular with younger audiences due to the combination of the sand and surf, the musical performers, the shirtless surfer boys and bikini-clad beach girls, and the wild surfing footage. 

Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959-1969 features profiles on 32 sizzling fun-in-the-sun teenage epics from Gidget to the Beach Party movies with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello to The Sweet Ride plus a few offshoots in the snow. This lavishly illustrated work contains an introduction with an overview of the surf movie genre; film entries with credits, plot synopses, DVD availability, memorable lines, reviews, and awards; and biographies of actors and leading actresses who made their marks in the genre. Plus behind-the-scenes gossip from the actors, actresses, and directors who worked on the movies: Louis Arkoff, Peter Brown, Jackie DeShannon, Dave Draper, Don Edmonds, Shelley Fabares, Edward Garner, Gail Gerber, Susan Hart, Aron Kincaid, Kathy “Gidget” Kohner, Arnold Lessing, Leslie H. Martinson, Jody McCrea, Ted V. Mikels, Chris Noel, Quinn O’Hara, Bart Patton, Bobby “Boris” Pickett, Robert Pine, Frankie Randall, Darlene Tompkins, William Wellman, Jr., and Lori Williams. Catch the wave! 

You’ll read about: 

  • Raquel Welch’s diva behavior in A Swingin’ Summer!
  • The wacky antics of legendary surfer Mickey Dora!
  • How Annette Funicello barely acknowledged Jody “Deadhead” McCrea’s presence despite working together six times!
  • The cast and crew revolt over working conditions on Ride the Wild Surf!
  • The off-camera jealousies on The Girls on the Beach!

Movies discussed in the book include: 

  • 1959 – Gidget
  • 1960 – Where the Boys Are
  • 1961 – Blue Hawaii, Gidget Goes Hawaiian
  • 1963 – Beach Party
  • 1964 – Bikini Beach, For Those Who Think Young, The Horror of Party Beach, Muscle Beach Party, Pajama Party, Ride the Wild Surf, Surf Party
  • 1965 – Beach Ball, Beach Blanket Bingo, The Beach Girls and the Monster, Girl Happy, The Girls on the Beach, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, One Way Wahine, Ski Party, A Swingin’ Summer , Wild on the Beach, Winter A-Go-Go
  • 1966 – Endless Summer, The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, Out of Sight, Wild Wild Winter
  • 1967 – Catalina Caper, Don’t Make Waves, It’s a Bikini World
  • 1968 – The Sweet Ride

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