Archive for the Fabian Category

RIDE THE WILD SURF/1964/FABIAN

Posted in Barbara Eden, Fabian, Music and MP3s, Soundtrack Samples, Surfboards and Hotrods on October 24, 2011 by Bill Courtney
RIDE THE WILD SURF

1964/Director: Don Taylor/Writers: Jo Napoleon, Art Napoleon

Cast: , Fabian, Shelley Fabares, Peter Brown, Barbara Eden, Tab Hunter, Susan Hart, James Mitchum

Columbia Pictures’ Ride the Wild Surf is considered one of the better surf/beach party movies of the mid-sixties because it tried to veer away from the campy zaniness of the AIP Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello features and attempted to make as lightly more ‘serious’ surf movie. There are still those campy little moments of course and sometimes they are intentional and other times they are not. The unintentional laughs and embarrassing moments stem from occasional over acting and the cliché situations the characters find themselves in one scene after another, but even given those expected shortcomings the movie is pretty good. There are no crooning surfer boys, silly bikers or people in gorilla suits and the catchy theme song sang by Jan and Dean is saved until the closing credits. But there are lots of blue screen shots of Fabian and Tab Hunter on their boards that cut away to shots of professional surfers riding the waves and silly beach party antics. The film is shot in Hawaii rather than the usual locales of Santa Monica and Malibu. Hardly the first surfer/beach film shot in Hawaii (Gidget goes Hawaiian, Blue Hawaii, Paradise, Hawaiian Style) but one of the better ones that focuses on the powerful and intimidating waves, sometimes 30 foot, the islands get at certain times of the year. And of course there are a trio of romances with our male and female leads that can be summed up as the formulaic boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back routine (and what other formula would you really want here) but it is all pretty bearable nonetheless.

Three basically All-American boys meet three All-American girls while they are in Oahu Hawaii to surf the big waves at Waimea Bay. The guys must face their own mortal shortcomings, of course, while wooing the gals and competing the seasoned local surfers. Jody (Fabian) is the college drop-out with a chip on his shoulder who falls for sensible and down to earth Brie Matthews (Shelley Fabares) and tries to gain her attention initially by shooting a pineapple on a dork’s head with a spear gun. She acts all repelled by his hokey machismo but of course she can’t enough of him and his edgy bad boy attitude. And like every good girl she makes it her mission to turn the bad boy around by the film’s end. Jody is intent on proving to everyone, and to himself, that he is not a “chicken”. The big waves intimidate him the way Apollo Creed intimidated Roxy and the way Steve Vai intimidated Ralph Macchio in Crossroads, but he has to conquer them to conquer himself and make Brie really respect him and know he is not just another “bum from the neighborhood”. Jody is more concerned with Jody going back and finishing college and after a heated discussion of about ten seconds he totally changes his views on college and his future and decided to go back and give it try, but it will have to wait until he has conquered the surf and competition, including his pals and local legend Eskimo (played by Jim Mitchum, another  of Robert Micthum’s boys, along with Chris, whose acting career never really went anywhere).

Chase (Peter Brown) is a pretty common sense sort of surfer and even wear nice sports jackets to beach. While he wants to shoot the tubes of Waimea he is basically a fairly conservative guy who prefers to color inside the lines. Well that all changes when flips –literally- for perky Augie Poole (the always gorgeous Barbara Eden) who happens to a black belt in judo. Augie takes delight at first in simply shaking Chase’s tree any chance she gets but soon enough, natch, she is falling in love with him and he learns to loosen up and gt a little crazy once in awhile himself, such as when he jumps drunk off a dangerous cliff into a pond known for bringing the waves to Waimea, if the diver does not crack his head open on the rocks beneath the surface. Rounding off the romance angle of the film is Steamer (Tab Hunter) and local girl Lily Kilua (Susan Hart) who have problem’s convincing Lily’s mom that Steamer is not just another beach bum like her ex-husband was. The old gal is pretty hard to convince but eventually ol’ Steamer pulls out his wallet and shows her his bank account of about $1800 and some paid off bills and that puts the old bird’s fears to rest and she all but starts calling him son after that. Susan Hart does one wild Hawaiian dance at a beach party that is not to be missed. She would later marry AIP co-founder and co-producer James H. Nicholson.

Surf movies are not for everybody. They are usually pretty contrived and typically downright silly. I guess some guys may even feel a bit uncomfortable watching bronze surfer boys run around, much the way they may feel watching queasy with most sword and sandal/peplum films. Ah, never bothered me. I only recently realized that these movies are called “homo-erotic”, or whatever, by lots of my fellow straight guys. Who the hell cares if it is, this is fun stuff. If you must know I own the Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary Pumping Iron and that is great too, homoerotic or not! And for fear of seeing guys in swim trucks these types will miss the best part of these surf flicks and that is those full figured 60’s chicks in bikinis. No tasteless things, just old school bikinis, and Barbara Eden can certainly fill her’s out. Ride the Wild Surf is not heavy in the pop tune department and the score by Stu Philips works just fine. But there is the catchy surf tune sung by Jan and Dean –and co-written by Beach Boy Brian Wilson- that is saved until the end of the film. I lifted the song form the film and I think it is a bit shorter here than the full 45 rpm version, but here is the film version of Ride the Wild Surf by Jan and Dean.

http://ia700600.us.archive.org/8/items/swf-player/player.swf
TITLE SONG FROM RIDE THE WILD SURF

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MARYJANE/1968 /FABIAN

Posted in AIP, Dope, Fabian, Juvenile Delinquents-Troubled Teens, Trailers on July 2, 2011 by Bill Courtney
MARYJANE

1968/Director: Maury Dexter/Writers:Maury Dexter, Richard Gautier   

Cast: Fabian, Diane McBain, Kevin Coughlin, Michael Margotta, Patty McCormack, Terri Grrr, Richard Gautier (uncredited)

Maryjane is an entertaining little piece of 60’s AIP marijuana exploitation starring teen idol Fabian as high school art teacher Phil Blake. When Blake isn’t working on nailing the frigid girl with a big secret Elli Holden (Diane McBaine) he is trying to hold on to his job and stay out of jail after he confesses to school administrators and the town sheriff he smoked some grass in college and trying to stop ‘good kid’ –but total moody, sniveling wuss- Michael Margotta (Jerry Blackburn) from trying to join the school reefer gang ominously called the Mary Janes. The Mary Janes look like harmless extras from Happy Days. These were the good old days when doper teens all wore letter jackets –since they usually played football- and knit sweaters and the girls looked like proper little cheerleaders. The film was directed by Maury Dexter who did other AIP exploitation gems like The Mini-Skirt Mob, Wild on the Beach, The young Animals and Hell’s Belles. Actually I am not 100% sure if all of those films are AIP productions but the titles sure sound like they should be. Dexter co-wrote the script with Richard (Dick) Gautier whose face would be familiar to anyone who watched prime-time TV in the 70’s. Fabian’s singing career was waning at this time and he made a few pictures for AIP including A Bullit for Pretty Boy Floyd, also directed by Dexter. Gauiter has a brief uncredited role as a prisoner in the film. Also appearing briefly in the film are pretty Teri Garr as a party girl and producer Garry (Happy Days) Marshall as a gas station attendant. The film’s obligatory bad girl is played by the original Bad Seed herself Patty McCormick.

The film is not that bad really though certainly a cheese classic. The acting is not really terrible and the photography and color looked great. Even the ‘day for night’ shots are better than average. The film of course garners harsh criticism online from marijuana apologist who feel the sacred herb is beyond reproach and not in any way unhealthy nor does it impair driving or other motor skills. I think these old films were written and shot with tongue firmly in cheek and with most of the cast and crew buzzed out of their gourds on something or another while it was being made. Look at some of the other AIP drug films like The Trip. Can you imagine that Bruce Dern never fried a brain cell or two. I simply think one has to ‘turn off the old mind, relax and float down stream’ while watching these films and forget about social commentaries. Of course the films throws a few in anyway such as when Blake tries to convince the appalled school administrators that weed is less harmful than cigarettes or alcohol and what a shock to find out little miss goody two shoes Elli the history teachers is far beyond grass. Football jock and drug dealer Jordon Bates (Kevin Coughlin) has finally got her hooked on smack, which is where –we all know by know- smoking the devil’s weed leads all who inhale its evil fumes. Lots of unintentional laughs but not over the top or preachy. Good shit.
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MARYJANE TRAILER