Frankie & Annette: Beach Movies Deluxe Box Set

The MGM Movie Legends Collection

    

5 Beach Movies, 1 Ski Sequel, and 2 Racing Spin-offs = 8 Movies

As a Disney fan, I have to shamefully admit that I had never seen even one of the Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello beach movies, until I recently purchased this box set. So I gamely embarked on a movie binge to see what all the fun was about. And was it fun?

My wife, Karen, gave up 30 minutes into the first movie. But I swam on, determined to add these classic(?) movies to my viewing list and Disney-related knowledge. For me, as an admitted King of Cheese, it was worth it!

Let’s look at the movies in order:

1963

PLOT: An anthropologist, Professor Robert Orville Sutwell is secretly studying the “wild mating habits” of Southern California teenagers who hang out at the beach and use strange surfing jargon. After he temporarily paralyzes Eric Von Zipper, the leader of the local outlaw motorcycle gang, who was making unwanted advances on Dolores, a.k.a. Dee Dee (Annette), she develops a crush on the Professor. Her surfing boyfriend Frankie (Frankie Avalon) becomes jealous and begins flirting with Ava, a Hungarian waitress. Meanwhile, Sutwell’s assistant Marianne further develops her crush on the Professor. Von Zipper and his gang plot to bring down Sutwell, only to be thwarted in the end by the surfing teenagers.

1964

PLOT: Frankie (Frankie Avalon), Dee Dee (Annette), and the beach party gang hit Malibu Beach for another summer of surfing and no jobs only to find their secret surfing spot threatened by a gang of bodybuilders, led by the dim-witted coach Jack Fanny. All the while, a bored Italian Countess is trying to steal Frankie from Dee Dee and, much to everyone’s surprise, he seems more than happy to go along with it. She’s going to turn him into a teen idol, not unlike Frankie Avalon’s real-life persona. Fortunately, due to some razzing from his former surfing buddies and sage advice from wealthy S.Z. Matts, Frankie sees the error of his ways and goes back to his American beach bunny, Dee Dee.

1964

PLOT: School is out and the teenagers head for the beach. All is well until millionaire Harvey Huntington Honeywagon III comes around, convinced that the beachgoers are so senselessly obsessed with sex that their mentality is below that of a primate – especially Honeywagon’s wunderkind pet chimp Clyde, who can surf, drive, and watusi better than anyone on the beach. With the teenagers demoralized and discredited, Honeywagon plans to turn Bikini Beach into a senior citizens retirement home. Meanwhile, foppish British rocker and drag racer Peter Royce Bentley, better known as “The Potato Bug” (played by Frankie Avalon in a dual role), has taken up residence on Bikini Beach. Annoyed by Frankie’s (Frankie Avalon) reluctance to start their relationship towards marriage, Dee Dee (Annette) becomes receptive to Potato Bug’s advances. In a jealous rage, Frankie challenges The Potato Bug to a drag race, in hopes of winning Dee Dee back.

1965

PLOT: A singer, Sugar Kane, is unwittingly being used for publicity stunts for her latest album by her agent, for example, faking a skydiving stunt, actually performed by Bonnie. 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 jealous. This, of course, prompts Dee Dee (Annette) to also try free-falling. Eric Von Zipper and his Malibu Rat Pack bikers also show up, with Von Zipper falling madly in love with Sugar Kane. To top all this, Bonehead falls in love with a mermaid. Eventually, Von Zipper “puts the snatch” on Sugar Kane. The film takes a The Perils of Pauline-like twist, with the evil South Dakota Slim kidnapping Sugar and tying her to a buzz-saw.

1965

PLOT: The story begins with Frankie (Frankie Avalon) going to Tahiti on Naval Reserve duty. While cavorting with local girls, Frankie realizes that Dee Dee (Annette) might be disloyal to him. When Frankie seeks help from a witch doctor, the witch doctor sends a sea beauty, Cassandra, to lure Ricky, an advertising exec, away from Dee Dee. Upon Cassandra’s arrival, the beach turns upside down, as all the surfers fall for her, an executive wants to make her a model, and Eric Von Zipper and his motorcycle gang add to the trouble.

Got all of that? You probably noticed that the movies don’t stray far from the formula and are filled with enough silliness to make even, well… ME, go “What?”

Now I’d like to treat you to a list of things you may not know about these beach movies:

  • Annette’s Navel. It’s legend now that Annette (still under contract with Disney) was not allowed to show her belly button. But she did wear a bikini, and in quite a few scenes throughout the series, she did show the offending body part. If you’re wondering, it’s an Innie.
  • Annette’s Singing. When recording for Disney, they used a dual-track system, where Annette would sing the song twice and the tracks would be layered over each other, giving her signature echo sound. But in these beach movies, this trick was not used, and unfortunately, we can hear that Annette was not that great a vocalist.
  • Giving the Finger! Yes, long before ‘flipping the bird’ was considered a not-so friendly way of saying ‘Howdy’, the guys and gals of the Beach Party set were always giving each other the finger. Of course, it was usually Von Zipper who got it, and ‘it’ was a paralysing press against the temple, with, yes… the finger. Still, it was weird to hear a main character say “Stand still, I’m going to give you the finger!”
  • Fake Surfing. Yes, there was a lot of that! But there was also a lot of real surfing, although, it wasn’t usually competition-quality stuff. Just filler to justify the beach scene and pad the movie.
  • Sex. Yup. SEX! These movies talk about it a lot. Actually, they say the word a lot. But no one has it. Or even comes close to having it. But apparently, every adult in the movies think the young teens are only alive to engage in it. It was nice to see Annette remind Frankie that she wasn’t interested in sex until he married her! Yup, the guys in these movies got no more than a kiss and a tame cuddle.
  • Bikinis. Not that I’m complaining, but not one girl in this entire series owned a one piece! What are the odds? An entire school of girls with bikini bodies and zero body-image issues? Yup, only in the movies!
  • Weird Characters. With names like Eric Von Zipper, The Potato Bug, Harvey Huntington Honeywagon III, and Jack Fanny, you just know you’re going to see engaging characters. Actually, no! Some of these characters were painful to watch.

I could go on, but better that you watch these movies yourselves. Why should I be the only one to suffer for research?

The series had only 5 ‘official’ movies, all starring Frankie and Annette, but other entries did star one or the other of them with some regulars from the series. This last entry, kind of a sequel to the series, was an attempt to transplant the beach formula to the slopes:

1965

PLOT: Todd Armstrong (Frankie Avalon) and Craig Gamble are California college undergraduates who unsuccessfully date co-eds Linda Hughes and Barbara Norris. Arrogant, handsome, athletic classmate Freddie has no such problems and chooses not to fight off all the women chasing after him. As president of the Ski Club, Freddie organizes a midterm vacation trip to ski country (in gorgeous Sawtooth National Forest) in Idaho. Although they know nothing about skiing, Todd and Craig follow Linda and Barbara on this bus trip, to try to learn “the secret of Freddie’s technique”. Once at the rustic ski resort, Todd and Craig pose as frumpy, non-threatening, young English women, Jane and Nora, with terrible accents. When not interrupted by a mysterious ice skating, yodeling polar bear, or toying with psychologically-imbalanced and lederhosen-clad lodge manager Mr. Pevney, they observe the girls in their group up close, to learn how to succeed with women, and figure out how they have gone wrong. Finally, the whole group and Pevney, end up at Todd’s parents’ beachfront house (back to the beach). There the two couples share their true feelings and the boys surprise the girls with their ruse.

After this, Frankie and Annette starred in a racing movie called Fireball 500 with Fabian and then Annette starred with Fabian in another racing movie. These were basically spin-offs from the beach movies, using many of the same actors.

And that rounds out my 8-movie box set. So have you watched any of these movies? What did you think? Do you think all self-respecting Disney fans should follow Annette to the second step of her career? Or just skip this period and jump right to the Skippy peanut butter commercials?

Just in case you haven’t had enough, there was a revival movie called Back to the Beach:

1987

PLOT: Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello are husband and wife living in Ohio — far from the surf and sand of their earlier lives together. Frankie is a stressed out car salesman and former “Big Kahuna” of the surf scene in California while Annette bottles her own sense of angst up in a bevy of shopping, and they are both raising a son, Bobby, who is in the throes of rebellion against his seemingly square folks. One day, the family decides to take a vacation to Hawaii, deciding to stop in California to visit their daughter Sandi. Frankie and Annette are appalled to learn that she has been making time with surfer Michael throughout her time there. The family misses their flight to Hawaii, and ultimately end up staying in California, much to the chagrin of Frankie. Frankie and Annette get caught up with the lives of their old friends and their old beach, and thus their last beach adventure begins. Along the way, Frankie must work together with a new generation of younger surfers while nearly ruining his marriage by dallying with Connie Stevens. In the end The Big Kahuna overcomes his own fears and proves that he is still the king of surfers, as he takes back his title and saves the beach from a gang of beach punks.

And also a fantastic parody version called Teen Beach Movie, that just may be the best entry in the series:

2013

PLOT: Brady (Ross Lynch) and McKenzie “Mack” (Maia Mitchell), are surfing together at a beach near McKenzie’s grandfather’s hut. Mack oversees her grandfather and Brady watching their favorite film, where bikers and surfers battle for which gang gets the privilege to hang out at Big Momma’s, a local diner and hangout. Brady later learns that Mack made a promise to her aunt that after her mother died she would attend a private school and they were to leave the next day. Mack asserts that although going is her choice, she feels it is what she has to do, since it’s what her mom would want. She sadly tells Brady they will have to break up since they will be too far away to maintain their relationship. Before Mack leaves, she decides to surf a 40-foot wave that is about to hit the beach. Alarmed, Brady gets on a jet ski and goes after Mack, who is still in the ocean. Mack and Brady end up getting swept away and eventually end up on another beach. They soon realize they have been swept inside Brady’s favorite movie “Wet Side Story”.

If you see only two of these movies, watch Beach Party (because it’s the original) and Teen Beach Movie (because it’s the best!)

And if you’ve managed to make it to the end of this post: I SALUTE YOU!

Prayers for the Week – Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

Hello everyone, and welcome to our Palm Sunday edition of the Prayers for the Week Post.  Palm Sunday celebrates the triumphant entry by Jesus into the city of Jerusalem all those years ago.  It represents the best that we had to offer our Lord and Savior, because by the end of the week, we would be showing our absolute worst side to Him.  Today is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar.  The video I’ve got here shares some words about Palm Sunday — please have a look.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about today.  The world today, by and large, does not know what this day is about.  If they worship Jesus, that is great, but so many don’t, so for them, today is just one last Sunday before Easter comes next week, when they will eat candy and get presents and have friends and family over or go visit them.  Last year, on Palm Sunday, there was a marathon going on in Raleigh, where we live, and it really disrupted access to the downtown churches that day.  Fortunately, this year the marathon is going on the weekend after Easter, so hopefully it will not be a big issue.

My friends, my brothers and sisters, my prayer for you today is that you are closer to Jesus today than you were yesterday.  My prayer is that you have given your life into His loving hands, and that you worship Him, Praise Him, Pray to Him, and that you see how much better life is with Jesus in your life than without Him.  Now, please read our prayer requests and praises this week, there are a lot of them, and a lot of sad and hurting people that need our prayers, comfort, support, and love.

Prayer Requests and Praises…

  • Please pray for my Aunt Ti and Uncle Don. Here is what Aunt Ti wrote on Facebook:
    What a week…again. Don is now in U Va Hospital in Charlottesville. They finally had to intubate and sedate him because he was so exhausted from trying to breath. They still have him on 4 different antibiotics and haven’t seen much progress. His blood gases are showing better but his kidneys and lungs aren’t yet. Monday am he was flown down to Cville because they thought he was having a heart attack but then they said no. There is a slight problem with his heart but Dr. said the muscle itself is pumping good. All we can do is wait for them to find a more specific bacteria and antibiotic so please pray that they do that soon. I was relieved when they put him ‘under’ because of how exhausted he was. Rest peacefully my love. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts, please keep it up cause we still need His help.
    Please pray for Uncle Don’s healing, for their Peace, Comfort, and Strength, and for the medical team as they work to get him mended quickly. Thank you everyone!
  • My friend Kelly has a prayer request. Here is what she wrote on Facebook:
    Could you add a young couple that my daughter babysits for. They just turned 30. 4 Children. Amazing Christian family. He may be facing cancer for the 6th time. Waiting for reports right now. Thank you.
    Please pray for his healing, and for Peace, Comfort, and Strength for the whole family. Also please pray for the skill of the medical team that is treating him. Thank you!
  • Please pray for my friend Jennifer’s grandchild! Here is what she wrote:
    Please say a prayer for my grand daughter. She is in emergency surgery now due to her shunt malfunctioning. She’s a tough little girl but she can use all of your prayers. Thank you.
    Please pray with me:
    Heavenly Father, please be with your servant Jennifer and her family and especially her granddaughter as she battles this serious medical problem. If it is Your Will, please grant her Healing, Your Healing Touch on her life, and guide the hands and eyes of the medical team so that they may perform Your Miracle. Please grant Your Peace, Comfort, and Strength to all of the family and friends, and hear our prayers, please. It is in the wonderful name of Your Son Jesus that we pray. Amen!
  • My wife’s co-worker Dee has had a loss in her family.  She and her husband Robert have lost their cat, Pickles.  For people like Dee and Robert, who don’t have children, their pets become their children, and Dee is heartbroken over the loss of Pickles.  Please pray for them, that they remember the good times and good memories they have with Pickles, and that they remember that Pickles isn’t hurting anymore, and that they remember the long life that Pickles had.  Thank you for remembering them in their time of need.
  • For all of those out there that are coming up against tax issues, please pray for them.  I know that taxes are a thing we all have to deal with, but please pray that taxes would not be something that burdens us too much, that we would be able to put it all in perspective, and that we would all pay our fair share.
  • Next, I have a prayer request and a praise to share, all in the same event.  I would like to give God Glorious Praise for the marriage of Torri and Michael!  They were married yesterday in a beautiful ceremony, and now begin their life as husband and wife.  Please pray that God would Bless their marriage, that He would guide them in all of their steps, and that they would call on Him each day as they walk their walk together.
  • Lastly, please give Praise to God today for Sophie and her dance partners at Church, under the wonderful leadership of Ms. Sarah and Ms. Brook.  They are dancing a very complex dance for Palm Sunday today, so please give Praise to God for them and their worship in dance, and please pray for their nerves (if they have any!) and that it would be a wonderful display of their Love for God!

Now, please pray with me the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever.

Disneyland Diamond Celebration Past and Future

Image ©Disney

Image ©Disney

As you know, My Dreams of Disney is traveling on the road in July to celebrate the Disneyland Diamond Celebration!  We’re going to be there on July 17th, drinking it all in, and sharing with all of you some of the grandeur and spectacle that will be found on that day.  As part of our run-up to that wonderful day, we are taking a look at some of the great things that will be part of that celebration.  In today’s post, we’re going to share a little bit with you about what special celebrations Disneyland has up their sleeve, and also share with you a great look back at the beginning as well!

World of Color – Celebrate!

Image ©dpost.jp

Image ©dpost.jp

As I’m sure you all have heard, a new World of Color — Celebrate! — is coming to Disney’s California Adventure Park.  I’m certain that this show will captivate audiences just as much as the original show has since it was first introduced!  For more information on this show, check out the Disney Parks Blog.

Paint the Night Electric Parade!

Image ©Disney Parks

Image ©Disney Parks

Another new show that is coming to Disneyland is the Paint the Night Electric Parade!  This special parade is similar to the Main Street Electrical Parade, and a version currently exists at Hong Kong Disneyland.  This is going to be a great parade, I believe, and can’t wait to see it!  Read all about it at the Disney Parks Blog!

Disneyland Forever

Image ©Disney Enterprises

Image ©Disney Enterprises

The Disneyland Forever Fireworks show looks to be a great upgrade on the existing Fireworks show that you can see at Disneyland, and I can’t wait to see it!  This image is an artist rendition, and if the real show is anything like this image, it’s going to be great!  Read all about this at the Disney Parks Blog for more details!

All of these changes start on May 22nd with the kickoff of the Diamond Celebration.  Before you leave, though, have a look at this look back at the making of Disneyland — special h/t to my friend Sheila for sharing with me!

What other celebrations does Disneyland have up it’s sleeves?  Are you going to be able to go to Disneyland to celebrate the birthday?  Let us know in the comments, and thanks!

Monsanto’s Place in Disney History

{Editor’s Note:  We are pleased to be joined by our buddy Lee from Disney Nouns today!  Lee is excellent at discovering little known tidbits of Disney History, and today he writes about the connection between Monsanto and Disney.  Please give him a hearty welcome!}

So who remembers Monsanto? You may better remember the attraction at Disneyland that they sponsored, The House of the Future, that was open from 1957 to 1967. The attraction offered a tour of a home of the future, set in the year 1986, and featured such futuristic household appliances as the microwave oven!

Monsanto Future House

The attraction hosted over 20 million visitors before it closed after Monsanto shifted their sponsorship to a different attraction, Adventure Thru Inner Space. But just who was Monsanto back then? What else did they do? I have the answer!

I was watching a special edition DVD of the musical Camelot the other day and it had a feature showing the movie premiere. The cool thing was that this feature also showed the original commercials that played on the TV the night the premiere aired. One of the commercials was for a line of garments designed after the medieval costumes from the film.

Monsanto 002

Yup, ladies could wear a dress inspired by Guinevere herself! Horse not included.

These dresses were designed and produced out of Stevetex fabric by Stevens of Monsanto Blue ‘C’ Nylon.

Monsanto 003

The line was called ‘The Then Look of Camelot’. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

So Monsanto was into making fabrics at the time they sponsored the House of the Future. So likely if you had the chance to tour this marvel, all of the interior fabrics, whether on furniture or window treatments, would have come from Monsanto. How about a vintage Monsanto commercial for nylon:

Today Monsanto is at the center of controversy over its genetic manipulation of seeds for food production. But back in the day, it was all about futuristic houses, medieval fashion, and dangerous transportation of textiles. Good times!

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about this company and its place in Disney history.

This Girl’s Take on Cinderella – with Disney Trivia too!

Cinderella 2015

Hi Guys! It’s me, Sophie, and here is the trivia question for today! The question is: You can “Come in a Stranger, Leave a Little Stranger” in ____?  The Answer is: The Adventure’s Club. If you ask my Dad, or me, we will tell you that this remix of Cinderella is the best ever made by Disney. It’s not animated, but the effects are just as amazing. One of my favorite parts of the movie is when the carriage, dress, attendants, and horse-mice all transform around Cinderella. The pumpkin turns back and shrinks, with Cinderella still inside! You could see the seeds! The horse had extremely big ears too. My mom says that two of the characters, Ella and Druzella, played roles in Downton Abby. In my opinion, the remix is even better than the original animated movie.

Well, thats all I’ve got. But don’t worry, my Dad has a lot more to say about this movie, which you can read about here, or, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, check out this post that has two of the trailers in it! So, Bye, but thanks for stopping by to read what we’ve got for you at the Kid’s Corner and all over the site! :)