I never realized that twist songs could give me a headache, but that's exactly what happened in Twist Around The Clock (TATC). Besides the plot being recycled from Rock Around The Clock, the main problem was having Clay Cole sing the majority of the songs in the movie. Clay Cole may have been well respected for his work as a disc jockey and TV dance show host; however, his singing style leaves a lot to be desired.
When I said above that the plot was recycled, I'm not kidding. At least 95 per cent of the plot of TATC is EXACTLY the same as Rock Around The Clock. There are only a few very minor changes. Not only is the plot recycled but almost all of the dialogue is EXACTLY the same, except with the word "twist" inserted where previously the actors would have said "rock and roll". My guess is the only reason that some of the dialogue is a little different is because a cast member forgot their lines and just ad-libbed.
I basically have already gone over this plot when I reviewed Rock Around The Clock, so just I'll briefly go over the plot of Twist Around The Clock: A "rock and roll" band manager tells the band they're washed up and they fire him. There is a cute line here when the manager tells them "There aren't enough rock and rollers left in the country to keep you in tight pants and suede shoes". He leaves for New York accompanied by one of the band members (Alvy Moore, best known as Hank Kimball on Green Acres) who decides to stick with him. Along the way, they find a town that's crazy about a singer, Clay Cole, and his new dance tunes. The manager and his pal hear two songs, both sung by Clay Cole, "Twist Around The Clock" and "Don't Twist With Anyone But Me" and watch the kids dancing along, but still have to ask "What's the name of this dance?" DUH! The Twist!!! The manager recognizes it as the next big thing and wants to take it nationwide.There's some trouble getting the band and dancers bookings because the booking agent's daughter wants to marry the manager, but he's in love with one of the dancers. No worries, everything works out in the end.
When the manager first gets to New York he has a meeting with the booking agent at a club where we get our first good piece of music, Dion singing "The Wanderer", although Dion has a really hard time with his lip synch. The booking agent blackballs Clay and the dancers as a favor for his daughter. The manager then meets with the owner of Club 7 who owes him a favor and we see Chubby Checker on stage singing "Twistin U.S.A" - why Chubby is singing a twist song and doing the twist before anyone should know about it is unexplained....let's just call it a big plot hole. Chubby says that Clay and his group just need a break and he'll pretend to have laryngitis and Clay can take his place at next show. Chubby then wants them to hear his new song"Your Lips". At the club performance, Dion opens the show with "Runaround Sue", followed by Vicki Spencer singing a really cute "Too Many Boyfriends" and then Clay Cole gets to sing and everyone dances and The Twist is a big hit.
They decide to put on a Jazz Jamboree (???)....I swear that 's what they call it... in Los Angeles because they're crazy out there for jazzy (???) concerts....once again, I swear that's what they say. At the Jazz Jamboree, Clay Cole gets to sing again (I haven't mention ALL of the songs Clay sang in the movie, since I'm trying to wipe them from my memory), followed by Dion doing a dance song of his own "The Majestic". The Marcels are up next....strangely singing "Merry Twist-mas"....I said strangely since TATC was released December 30 of 1961, and that makes it look like "Merry Twist-mas" was being promoted a little too late. Vicki Spencer then performs "He's So Sweet", followed by Chubby closing out the show and movie with "Twist Along With Me".
Chubby was a pretty cool performer and of course it goes without saying that seeing Dion was great. Vicki Spencer reminded me of a combination of Connie Francis and Lesley Gore and both of her songs were really good. Seeing The Marcels, if only briefly, with their one song was a treat. Unfortunately those were the only bright moments in TATC and those few bright moments were heavily outweighed by having to hear Clay Cole "sing" so many songs and sit through a plot I had already seen.