Thursday, September 2, 2010
DON'T KNOCK THE TWIST
After making some pretty good coinage from Twist Around The Clock, Sam Katzman produced this follow up sequel, Don't Knock The Twist (DKTT). Having a bigger budget for this movie allowed for the inclusion of more music acts, resulting in a much better movie than the first one. DKTT even got its very own plot (unlike Twist Around The Clock, which copied the plot from Rock Around The Clock)....it might not have been much of a plot....but at least they didn't just copy the plot from Don't Knock The Rock.
GBC broadcasting company wants to put on a "Twist TV Spectacular" and it has to be done before a competing network airs their "Twist Special". Ted Haver (Lang Jeffries) is given the job of finding the talent and putting on the show. Since a lot of acts are already booked for the other show, Ted gets Chubby Checker to help him line up the talent. Ted's fashion designer girlfriend, Dulcie Corbin (Mari Blanchard), is having trouble coming up with some new exciting frocks for her clients. Dulcie decides to design fashions just for dancing, which can be featured on the TV show. In the meantime, Ted has discovered a dancing brother and sister team Billy and Madge Albright (Stephen Preston and Georgine Darcy) who will dance on the TV special. Dulcie wants Madge to be her exclusive fashion model for her line of dance outfits and this causes friction between her and Ted, but everything works out for the best by the end of the movie.
Chubby Checker has a much larger role in DKTT, his relationship with Ted reminds me somewhat of the way Chuck Berry and Alan Freed were always hanging out together in Go Johnny, Go!. Chubby sings 6 songs during the movie - "Twistin'", "La Paloma Twist", "I Love To Twist", "The Fly", "Don't Knock The Twist" and a duet with Dee Dee Sharp "Slow Twistin". Since Chubby works at a club and the movie also has "The Twist Spectacular" at the end of the show this allows the movie to include performances from The Dovells (featuring lead singer, Len Barry) doing "The Bristol Stomp" and "Do The New Continental", Vic Dana singing "Little Altar Boy", The Carroll Brothers rocking out on "Hey Bo Diddley", Linda Scott performing "Yessiree", and best of all Gene Chandler decked out in all of his regalia doing "Duke of Earl" (see video clip below).
I'm sure the producers knew that the twist was a fad, which could end at anytime, even possibly before they got the movie into the theaters. It looks like they hedged their bets by introducing several other "dance" songs in the movie. When the brother and sister are discovered they are dancing to a record of Dee Dee Sharp singing "Mashed Potato Time". In DKTT we also hear "Do The New Continental", "The Bristol Stomp", and even Chubby stepping away from the twist with "The Fly".