Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Bikini Beach (BB) was the third entry in the "beach party" series and spoofs The British Invasion in its main storyline. Frankie Avalon plays dual roles - Frankie and Peter Royce Bentley aka Potato Bug, (get it! Bug instead of "Beatle"....the out of touch adults who wrote this movie, must have thought that was hilarious!). Annette, who wants to get married (doesn't she always), uses Potato Bug to make Frankie jealous....but don't worry, they'll be back together before the end of the film. The secondary plot of BB concerns Keenan Wynn trying to make the beach gang seem insignificant, by showing that his pet ape can do everything they can.....YES, you read that correctly....his pet ape can surf, drive a car and dance! Once he gets the teenagers off the beach, he can expand his old folks home and make more money....but don't worry, he'll see the error of his ways before the end of the movie.
BB opens with the gang rolling down the highway singing the theme song to the movie, "Bikini Beach". After Frankie and Annette have their usual spat, Donna Loren gets a solo number (she did a duet with Dick Dale in Muscle Beach Party) and sings "Love's A Secret Weapon" while the beach gang all dance along. BB moves us along and introduces us to Potato Bug who sings "Gimme Your Love" (which includes a lot of "Yeah Yeah Yeahs" in the song) for all his young female admirers.
After some drag racing, the gang goes to what used to be Morey Amsterdam's club, now owned by Don Rickles and called Big Drag's. At the club, we get a second dig at The Beatles when The Pyramids (replacing Dick Dale and The Del-Tones) all have their mop-top wigs fly off revealing that they are bald....comedy gold....sorry I had to be sarcastic for a moment....now back to the music....as the The Pyramids perform "Record Run". After some comedy from Eric Von Zipper (who we last saw in Beach Party) where, as usual, he winds up giving himself "The Finger", Potato Bug obliges his female fans by singing "How About That". For some reason The Pyramids are replaced by Candy Johnson's band The Exciters who shout out "It's Watusi Time" and play "Gotcha Where I Wantcha".
We next see Frankie and Annette taking a moonlight stroll and singing the love ballad "Because You're You". Later that evening, Frankie disguises himself as Potato Bug to find out Annette's true feelings. He gets busted when the real Potato Bug shows up, but Annette winds up mad at both of them. BB gets one more dig in at The Beatles when Annette calls Potato Bug “you beetle-eyed bug”. Annette winds up alone on the beach and sings a plaintively "This Time It's Love".
Eric Von Zipper and Gang decide to sabotage Potato Bug's dragster in the hopes everyone will think Frankie was the culprit, but being Von Zipper and Gang, they sabotage Frankie's car by mistake and it crashes at the big race. When it's revealed Von Zipper was the cause of the dragster crash, everyone takes off after Von Zipper. At this point, BB turns into a silent movie car chase, which is followed by a big slapstick fight back at Big Drags. After the Rats and Mice are defeated, Stevie Wonder (once again billed as "Little") starts singing "Happy Feelin' Dance and Shout", but unfortunately his song here is ruined as the credits roll over his performance.
Several small things to watch for in BB: Boris Karloff has a short cameo (as Vincent Price did in Muscle Beach Party). Near the end of the movie when Von Zipper and Gang are in the pool hall inexplicably there's a teenage werewolf, research shows this was the winner of a contest put on by Famous Monsters of Filmland. First prize was a part in BB, the best part of the whole story....the second place winner was Rick Baker. One final note about BB, Director William Asher claims that The Beatles were supposed to be in the movie, but when they declined, the character of Potato Bug was created. I can find no evidence of anyone but Asher stating this fact and I find this highly doubtful and only wishful thinking on Asher's part.