Pajama Party (1964)

Article 2130 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-14-2007
Posting Date: 6-12-2007
Directed by Don Weis
Featuring Tommy Kirk, Annette Funicello, Elsa Lanchester

A martian arrives on earth as the vanguard of an invasion. Meanwhile, a con man has set his sights on finding the hidden fortune of the dotty old woman next door, and he enlists an American Indian and his Swedish bombshell sidekick to help him. Meanwhile, teens party on the beach, and a motorcycle gang vows revenge on a muscular teen in a crazy broad-billed red baseball cap lovingly called Big Lunk. Hilarity ensues.

This movie is dumb, but it’s a beach party movie; what do you expect? I’ve always liked the way that these movies found places for older actors and actresses to take part in them, and this one features Elsa Lanchester, Dorothy Lamour, Don Rickles, and Buster Keaton. I’m always a bit embarrassed to see the kind of shtick that was handed to the latter near the end of his life; he was capable of being funny without the help of silly costumes or goofy characters, but that’s pretty much what they gave him. His best moment is a perfume feud he has with a saleslady because it relies on comic timing rather than goofy dialogue. I’ve heard that MARS NEEDS WOMEN (which also features Tommy Kirk as a Martian) was partially based off of this; this one, which is fairly energetic, is certainly much better than that one. The movie also features a young Teri Garr, Frankia Avalon in a cameo (you’ll know who he is), and the usual cast of beach partiers.



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