Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)

Fifty-six years ago today, the film Beach Blanket Bingo premiered. The cast list is impressive, the music is catchy, and it will put a smile on your face. Even so, when it premiered, the New York Times movie reviewer wrote “It’s for morons.”

Title: Beach Blanket Bingo
Directed by: William Asher
Produced by: Samuel Z. Arkoff, James H. Nicholson
Written by: Leo Townsend, William Asher
Starring: Frankie Avalon as Frankie, Annette Funicello as Dee Dee, Harvey Lembeck as Eric Von Zipper, John Ashley as Steve, Deborah Walley as Bonnie, Jody McCrea as Bonehead, Marta Kristen as Lorelei, Linda Evans as Sugar Kane, Don Rickles as Big Drop, Paul Lynde as Bullets, Donna Loren as Donna, Timothy Carey as South Dakota Slim, Buster Keaton as Buster
Music by: Les Baxter
Cinematography: Floyd Crosby
Edited by: Eve Newman, Fred R. Feitshans Jr.
Production Company: American International
Release date: April 7, 1965
Running time: 98 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $175,000

A singer, Sugar Kane (Linda Evans), is unwittingly being used for publicity stunts for her latest album by her agent (Paul Lynde), for example, faking a skydiving stunt, actually performed by Bonnie (Deborah Walley).

Meanwhile, Frankie (Frankie Avalon), duped into thinking he rescued Sugar Kane, takes up skydiving at Bonnie’s prompting; she secretly wants to make her boyfriend Steve (John Ashley) jealous. This prompts Dee Dee (Annette Funicello) to also try free-falling. Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) and his Rat Pack bikers also show up, with Von Zipper falling madly in love with Sugar Kane. Meanwhile, Bonehead (Jody McCrea) falls in love with a mermaid named Lorelei (Marta Kristen).

Eventually, Von Zipper “puts the snatch” on Sugar Kane, and in a Perils of Pauline-like twist, the evil South Dakota Slim (Timothy Carey) kidnaps Sugar and ties her to a buzz-saw.

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