Tuesday, June 8, 2010
1960s Icon Donna Loren Talks with the Cafe about Mickey Mouse, the Beach Party movies, Shindig, and More!
Café: You were pretty much a veteran performer by the age of 8, having appeared professionally on stage and on television's acclaimed Playhouse 90. You also appeared as a guest on The Mickey Mouse Club. How did that come about?
Donna Loren: I auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club. They wanted me to become a Mouseketeer but my Dad, who called the shots, said: “She’s a solo.” I was chosen to be a guest artist on their “Friday Talent Roundup” when they gave me my ears!
Café: Being selected as the first (and only) Dr Pepper Girl had to be a career-changer. What were your official duties other than appearing in TV commercials and print ads?
Café: How did you come to be cast in Muscle Beach Party and end up doing a duet on "Muscle Bustle" with Dick Dale and the Del-Tones?
Donna: Dr Pepper had a product placement in the film. Currently, I am writing my autobiography with more details about this subject.
Café: You had solos in Bikini Beach, Pajama Party, and Beach Blanket Bingo. In fact, "It Only Hurts When I Cry" (my personal fave) and "Among the Young" rank with the best songs in the whole Beach Party series. Who determined which songs you performed and what was your favorite among your numbers?
Donna: Music director Al Simms and the song writers Guy Hemric and J. Styner picked my songs. “Among the Young” from Pajama Party was the most fun because of the arrangement and tempo changes.
Donna: I love singing, so singing in a movie was really great. Everyone on set treated me like royalty.
Café: What do you remember best about your four Beach Party movies?
Donna: Actually, there were five in all. Sergeant Deadhead was never as popular, but had a great cast. The cast of each movie was so diverse. Everyone from silent film star Buster Keaton to Little Stevie Wonder made for an exciting time. My favorite part was always being on the beaches in Malibu.
Café: What led to your gig as a regular on the TV variety series Shindig? Thanks to YouTube, some of your performances can still be enjoyed, such as your cover of "Goldfinger" and your duet with Bobby Sherman on "Casting My Spell on You." Who else did you duet with?
Donna: Another audition lead to my role on Shindig. Mostly, Bobby Sherman and I were paired up, but once I did a duet with Bobby Hatfield.
Café: What were some of the songs you enjoyed singing on Shindig?
Donna: #1 would be “Wishin’ and Hopin’” because that was my first show for Shindig. I also really enjoy singing "Shakin’ All Over," even to this day.
Donna: I think Dick Clark was my favorite. We worked closely for Dr Pepper.
Café: In addition to your acting and singing, you also found time to write two monthly columns for Movie Life Magazine. What kind of advice did you dispense in your advice column "Let's Talk It Over"?
Donna: Gossip is gossip, even teenage talk in the 60's. Sometimes, a word of truth would slip in from my interviews with my ghostwriters.
http://donnaloren.net/ and have a blog that's quite logically titled Let's Talk It Over (http://donnaloren.net/latestnews/). That's quite a career! What keeps you going?
Donna: Thank you, Rick, for asking. I love connecting with people and enjoying life which is why I SING.