Friday, March 29, 2013

The Beach Party Movies: A to Z

A – It’s for Annette, of course! (Though Avalon is a fine choice, too.)

BBeach Party, the 1963 movie that started it all. Or, it can also be for Bonehead, Frankie’s dimwitted pal played by Jody McCrea (Joel’s son).

Candy Johnson.
C – Candy Johnson, the fringe-dressed dancer who shimmies through most of the closing credits.

D – Dick Dale, the “King of the Surf Guitar,” who appeared in Beach Party and Muscle Beach Party with his band The Del-Tones. Quentin Tarantino used Dale’s “Misirlou” as the theme to Pulp Fiction.

E – Eva Six, the Hungarian bombshell who tries to lure Frankie from Annette in Beach Party.

F – “The Finger,” a self-defensive maneuver, also known as the Himalayan Time Suspension Technique, employed originally by Professor Sutwell (Robert Cummings) in Beach Party. Sutwell would place his index finger on a “complex pressure point” on his opponent’s temple. The victim’s body would then go into a state of “time suspension” for several hours. The most frequent victim was Eric Von Zipper.

G – Go Go (Tommy Kirk), a Martian teen who falls in love with Connie (Annette) instead of preparing for the Mars invasion of Earth in Pajama Party.

H – Dwayne Hickman, TV’s Dobie Gillis, who wooed Annette in How to Stuff a Wild Bikini. Or, it could be Susan Hart, the beauty who starred as The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini after an earlier appearance in Pajama Party.

Harvey Lembeck as
Eric Von Zipper.
I – “I Am My Ideal” a reprise of Eric Von Zipper’s “Follow Your Leader” music number that first appeared in Beach Blanket Bingo and then How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.

J – Jack Fanny, the bodybuilding trainer played by Don Rickles in Muscle Beach Party.

K – Sugar Kane, a singer played by Linda Evans in Beach Blanket Bingo (the song vocals are by Jackie Ward). Or, it can be for Buster Keaton, who appeared in Beach Blanket Bingo, Pajama Party, and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.

L – Lorelei (Marta Kristen), Bonehead’s mermaid girlfriend in Beach Blanket Bingo. It could also be for Donna Loren, who sings some of the best songs in the series, including “It Only Hurts When I Cry” (from Bingo).

M – Flex Martian, the bodybuilder played by Mission: Impossible's Peter Lupus (shown on right) in Muscle Beach Party. Or, it could be Dorothy Malone, the only Oscar winner in a BP movie (Beach Party).

N – The Nooney Rickett Four, an L.A. rock band that appeared in Pajama Party.

O – “O Dio Mio” a pre-Beach Party hit song for Annette.

P – The Potato Bug, a British rock singer played by Frankie Avalon in Bikini Beach (in addition to his regular role of Frankie).

Q – Quinn O’Hara, Scottish redhead who played Basil Rathbone’s homicidal daughter in The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.

R – The Ratz, the name of Eric Von Zipper’s motorcycle gang. (The female members were known as the Mice.)

South Dakota Slim.
S – South Dakota Slim (Timothy Carey), the creepy pool shark from Bikini Beach and Bingo (where he kidnaps Sugar Kane). Or, it can for Bobbi Shaw, the curvaceous blonde with a fondness for taking baths in the final four Beach Party movies.

T – Toni Basil, one of the singer-dancers in Pajama Party. In 1982, she had a No. 1 hit song with "Mickey."

U – Gary Usher, the influential 1960s composer, who wrote tunes for four Beach Party movies when not collaborating with Brian Wilson, The Byrds, and others.

V – Vivian Clements, a teacher played by Martha Hyer in Bikini Beach.

Dick Dale and Stevie Wonder.
W – Little Stevie Wonder, who performed in Muscle Beach Party and Bikini Beach.

X - Francis X. Bushman, famous silent film actor and the first star labeled "King of the Movies." He had a supporting role in The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.

Y – “Yoots,” which is how Eric Von Zipper pronounces “youths” as in the Ratz being a bunch of “good clean American yoots.”

Z – Eric Von Zipper (a bit of cheat to make it to “Z”). Eric’s most famous quote: “I like you. And when Eric Von Zipper likes someone, they stay liked.”


  1. This is the best kick-off to a theme you've ever done. I am in awe of the amount of time you must have spent putting this alphabetical wonder together. My favorite is "yoots"! Reminds me of My Cousin Vinnie! Great stuff, Rick!

  2. Love this list! Makes me want to head to the beach with a surf board, and I don't have a clue how to surf, although an ape did in one of the BP entries. Eric Von Zipper is my ideal, but, Rick, you are my idol! Well done!

  3. Loved these movies!!! Forgot what a hottie Marta Kristen was until I saw your photo. But Eric Von Zipper is why I watched these movies. He was hilarious!

  4. Fabulous! I hope when you completed this work of art you patted yourself on the back and said "best blog ever".

    Your wander through the alphabet via my favourite "young" surfers is a treat for fans and should pique the interest of new fans.

  5. Superb list, Rick, and great fun! I appreciate the pictures, too, particularly the first one, as I'm of the opinion that no other BP lady holds a hottie candle to Annette. I'm looking forward to a month of BEACH PARTY films. I like this list, and when Eric Von Zipper likes a list, it stays liked!

  6. All, thanks for the lovely comments! This was a surprisingly easy post to write...perhaps because I've seen these movies too many times. Actually, I didn't become a BP fan until later in life. By the way, the only letters I struggled with during the A-Z were "O" and "Y." My wife reminded of Eric Von Zipper's popular use of "yoots" (which, as Becky pointed out, was used in MY COUSIN VINNY, too). I'm looking very forward to this month's theme.

  7. I love the Beach Party movies - all of them. Don't ask me why... They are my guilty pleasure.

  8. Yikes! I knew every reference A-Z! I am feeling the need to stuff a wild bikini.... Thanks for a fun post, Rick!