Bikini Beach (1964)

Article 3269 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-1-2010
Posting Date: 7-27-2010
Directed by William Asher
Featuring Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Martha Hyer
Country: USA
What it is: Beach party movie

The Beach Party gang has to contend with a millionaire who is campaigning against their depravity. Furthermore, Frankie has to worry that Dee Dee will be stolen from him by that British recording star, the Potato Bug.

What can I say – it’s a Beach Party movie, and that means loud, energetic, dumb, and rather irresistible. I think it’s the only one of the series that I’ve seen for my project that features both Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon in lead roles, so it’s probably the most representative of the ones I’ve covered. There’s surfing, drag racing, dancing, music, a chase scene, a brawl, a monkey (Janos Prohaska really does an impressive job in a fairly convincing monkey outfit here) who drives and surfs, and an array of guest stars (Keenan Wynn, Don Rickles, Stevie Wonder and Boris Karloff). The big question is, though – how does it qualify for this project? It’s pretty marginal for the most part; one could say that the talented monkey and a talking hawk-like bird push it into the realm of fantasy, but the most prominent element is the inexplicable appearance of a werewolf in a pool room (he just sits there). Still, to fans of fantastic cinema, the movie is probably most famous for the Boris Karloff cameo, which I’d heard about for years, and though his “monsters” comment is his most famous line here, I think I like his passing reference to Vincent Price even more.


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