|Frankie surfing...in front of a rear screen.|
|Annette--pretty in pink!|
Beach Party opens with Frankie and Annette singing the catchy "Beach Party (Tonight)" as they cruise down a seaside road in Frankie's yellow jalopy, with surfboards protruding from the back. Their destination is a beachfront cabin where they will spend the summer together--although with different expectations as highlighted in this dialogue exchange:
Frankie (motioning to the cabin): There it is, Honey. It's all ours.
Dolores: Just you and me. All alone.
Dolores: It's just like we were married.
Thus, in the film's first scene, we learn the source of friction in the relationship between Frankie and Dolores: She wants to get married; he wants the sexual benefits of marriage without the commitment. This theme carries throughout most of the films in the series and results in each character going to extremes to make the other jealous.
|Bob Cummings watching "tribal" teens.|
|Frankie gets cozy with Eva Six.|
Everyone shows up at Big Daddy’s that evening, including Sutwell, who has decided he needs to get closer to his subjects. Unfortunately, Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck), an unpopular motorcycle gang leader, also makes an appearance. When Dolores decides to leave after watching Frankie flirt with several other girls (including Ava), Von Zipper approaches her. “Hey, baby, girls fall for Eric Von Zipper,” he tells her. “I like you and what Eric Von Zipper likes, he gets.”
|Lembeck as Eric Von Zipper.|
|Morey Amsterdam spouting|
|Dick Dale jamming on his guitar.|
While Beach Party isn't the series' best entry (that'd be Beach Blanket Bingo), it's a pleasant diversion and deserves kudos for establishing the prototype for all subsequent 1960s teen sand 'n'surf movies. That makes it historically significant! And if that's not enough to convince you to watch it, then you might have to deal with Eric Von Zipper and the Ratz....