Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Beach Blanket Bingo (BBB) was the fourth or fifth entry into the"beach party" series, depending on whether you count Pajama Party (which I don't). BBB still holds up today as good lightweight entertainment with stress on the word lightweight. As usual, there's some jealous tension between Frankie and Dee Dee (Annette) that will be resolved before the end of the movie, there's a featured musical group (The Hondells) , there's a simple plot to hold everything together, there's some dancing, some surfing, a slapstick chase, and most importantly there are lots of pretty girls in bikinis. The funny thing is when I was younger, I knew the girls in the movie were too old for me....and now I'm too damn old for them!

Linda Evans (Dynasty) plays a budding singer named Sugar Kane and her manager is Paul Lynne. He cooks up a publicity scheme to make it appear Sugar Kane is diving out of a plane over the ocean, when actually it's Deborah Walley doing the skydiving (well a stunt woman, but it's supposed to be Walley). When she lands in the water, she'll need to be rescued and this will generate some news according to Lynne's plan. Frankie Avalon is the hero of the day when he saves Sugar and, of course, Annette gets jealous about Sugar and Frankie. The real trouble comes when Frankie decides to try skydiving and tells Annette it's for guys only, she belongs in the kitchen (
oh, how times have changed). Besides Annette being mad at Frankie over this remark, the skydiving outfit run by Big Drop (Don Rickles in his last "beach party" movie) employs two pilot/skydivers: John Ashley and Deborah Walley (who in real life were married to each other) who set their sights respectively on Annette and Frankie. Deborah isn't really that interested in Frankie she only wants to make John jealous. I think John was digging on Annette's lacquered hair and thought they could share cans of hairspray.

As far as the music in
BBB, Frankie and Annette sing the title tune "Beach Blanket Bingo" as the movie opens. After some plot development, we see Donna Loren back at the beach house singing a terrific song called "It Only Hurts When I Cry". The gang gets invited to a party to hear Sugar Kane/Linda Evans "sing" (her songs were actually done by Robin "Wonderful Summer" Ward) and she performs "New Love" with The Hondells backing her up. Frankie then sings "These Are The Good Times" at the same party.

Later after some skydiving and other plot development, Frankie and Annette have once again reconciled and during a moonlight stroll on the beach, they sing a really sweet song called "
I Think, You Think". Back at the club, The Hondells perform "The Cycle Set" as the gang dances along and Buster Keaton chases around a blond bombshell (Bobbi Shaw). This is followed by Sugar Kane/Linda Evans "singing" "He's My Fly Boy".

As Eric Von Zipper schemes on how to get his new love Sugar Kane, he performs a Broadway show type tune called "
Follow Your Leader". As the movie ends and the credits roll we get more of Buster Keaton chasing Bobbi Shaw, taking the place normally occupied by Candy Johnson who left the series or was forced out after Pajama Party. Maybe it was because it was also Don Rickles last appearance in the series, but in a scene at the party, he gets to go into his nightclub "putdown act" on the gang. I won't spoil all the good lines he has, but he starts off by calling Frankie and Annette "43 year old yo-yo's". This scene is a highlight in BBB, which was already one of the best of the "beach party movies".

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