Monday, June 21, 2021

Nancy Sinatra: In Eight Motion Pictures Reflecting A Generation, 1964 to 1968

Yes, "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'", but I also remember Nancy Sinatra for eight, 1960’s, motion pictures. Which included a highly influential in my opinion, if not controversial, Vietnam Era movie with Peter Fonda. That after seeing that motion picture, would result in my placing her photo, as an old fashion World War 2 style "Pin-Up", inside my locker on the aircraft carrier, "U.S.S. Shangri-la CVA -38".
















Nancy Sandra Sinatra was born on June 8, 1940, in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her father was the singer my teenage mother went crazy for, known as "The Voice", Frank Albert Sinatra. I remember listening to one of my mother's old "Tommy Dorsey and His Band" records. On the label, under Dorsey's name, it said, "with Male Vocalist". 




























Above, Nancy with her father and mother, Nancy Rose Barbato. Below, Nancy with her brother, Frank Sinatra, Jr., and her sister, Tina, around 1949, in Toluca Lake, California.
























However, this is not a look at Nancy Sinatra's private life, but her on-screen work and primarily eight motion pictures. 

Below is a still from, "Frank Sinatra's Welcome Home Party for Elvis Presley", May 12, 1960.




















Left to right, in the front row are, Joey Bishop, Frank, Elvis, Nancy, and Sammy Davis, Jr. This program is listed, on many sites, as Nancy Sinatra's first appearance with her father. That is erroneous, because she appeared with two of her high school friends, Belinda Burrell and Jane Ross, singing "Side By Side", on "The Frank Sinatra Show", November 1, 1957.

On February 13, 1963, during the first season of the Western television series, "The Virginian". In the 20th episode, "If You Have Tears", at 17th billing, as "Cary", was a 22 years old singer-actress being eyed by Doug McClure as "Trampas". Nancy Sinatra had her first professional acting role.














Later, on November 15, 1963, Nancy appeared at 10th billing, in the role of "Jill Stacy", on the Gene Barry and Gary Conway television show, "Burke's Law".























Other guest stars in the episode, "Who Killed Wade Walker?". Had included, Rhonda Fleming, Anne Francis, Martha Hyer, Dana Winter and singer, Frankie Laine. 

Nancy Sinatra's first motion picture was:



 FOR THOSE WHO THINK YOUNG that premiered on June 3, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois.





"For Those Who Think Young" is described as a "Beach Party Movie". Other than being set around a surfer beach, the description is a misleading statement. Which was made by many film critics and studio publicity departments during the 1960's. This picture should more accurately be described as a "Beach Party Style Movie". Because it is not part of the copyrighted "American International Pictures" franchise. Which originally starred Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. 

Technically, "Beach Party", released August 7, 1963, might be considered a reimagining of the Sandra Dee, April 10, 1959"Gidget". Except for the films strange source.

Nancy Sinatra would appear in the final film of the "Beach Party" series and I will mention that movie later in this article.

However, for those of my readers interested in the original series of movies. My article on that strange origin, and the complete series:

"THE GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW MEETS THE GHOST IN THE INVISIBLE BIKINI: The Story of the BEACH PARTY Motion Pictures" will be found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2018/11/the-ghost-of-dragstrip-hollow-meets.html 

The background for "For Those Who Think Young" is interesting. The rights to the screenplay, at the time, entitled, "A Young Man's Fancy", were purchased by Frank Sinatra, for his "Essex Productions". The screenplay was planned as a vehicle for actress Dolores Hart. However, Hart's final on-screen appearance was in 1963, on the television series, "The Virginian". That same year, the actress called off her wedding, and entered the "Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis", in Bethlehem, Connecticut, to became a Nun.

The role was first recast with actress-singer Ann-Margaret. Who, prior to the start of production, left to co-star with Elvis Presley, in 1964's, "Viva Las Vegas". 
The role finally went to actress Pamela Tiffin.

Director Leslie H Martinson was chosen, because of his fast pace work on Warner Brother television. The movies shooting schedule called for only 18 days and United Artists wanted it in theaters prior to the release of the third "Beach Party" entry, "Bikini Beach", in July. 

The screenplay was written by three writers. The original story was from Dan Beaumont, a television writer, this was his only feature film. James O'Hanlon started writing screenplays in 1942. Among his work are Producer George Pal's 1950, Science Fiction classic, "Destination Moon" and the Doris Day and Howard Keel, 1953, musical, "Calamity Jane". At this time, he was writing television scripts for Warner Brothers on several of the shows Leslie Martinson directed. George O'Hanlon was an actor and writer. Among his 62 writing credits are a series of short films that he also starred in. These were the "So You Want To Be A---" series that ran from 1942 to 1956.

The title "For Those Who Think Young", was a tie-in to one of the films financial backers, "Pepsi-Cola". Product placement was throughout the movie. As our good, clean-cut, innocent teens, played by 20 something actors, drank their fill.






The Main Cast:

James Daren portrayed "Gardner 'Ding' Pruitt III". In 1959, he was Sandra Dee's love interest, "Moondoggie", in "Gidget". In 1961, he was again the surfer love of "Gidget" in "Gidget Goes Hawaiian", but Deborah Walley was in the role. That same year, James Darren attempted to change his "Teen Image". By co-starring in the World War 2 feature, "The Guns of Navarone", but in 1963, it was back to "Gidget Goes to Rome". This time she was portrayed by Cindy Carol. Whose acting career ended on the forgotten television series, "Never Too Young", in 1966.





Pamela Tiffin portrayed "Sandy Palmer", In 1961, Tiffin co-starred with James Cagney in Director Billy Wilder's political comedy, "One, Two, Three". Which was about a Coca-Cola executive in West Germany. In 1963, Tiffin co-starred in the Dolores Hart vehicle, "Come Fly with Me". While, also, in 1964, Pamela Tiffin and James Darren would co-star in "The Lively Set".























Paul Lynde portrayed "Uncle Sid Hoyt". Stage and television comedian Lynde had just recreated his 1960, Broadway role, in the 1963, motion picture, "Bye Bye Birdie", but was mainly guest starring on comedy television shows.

Tina Louise portrayed "Topaz McQueen". Louise had been acting since 1955 on television and her first motion picture was 1958's, "God's Little Acre", based upon the Erskine Caldwell novel, starring Robert Ryan. She followed that picture, co-starring with Richard Widmark and Lee J. Cobb, in the 1959, crime drama, "The Trap". In 1960, Tina Louise co-starred with Kerwin Matthews in the Italian Peplum epic, "Saffo-Venere di Lesbo (Saffo-Venus of Lesbos)". That would come to the United States, in 1961, as "The Warrior Empress". At this time, Tina Louise, was three months away from the first episode of televisions "Gilligan's Island", portraying "Ginger Grant".



























Above, Tina Louise and Paul Lynde.

Speaking of "Gilligan's Island" and "Gilligan".

Bob Denver portrayed "Kelp". From 1959 through 1963, Bob Denver portrayed beatnik "Maynard G. Krebs", opposite Dwayne Hickman, in the title role of televisions "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis". After which, except for the James Stewart and Sandra Dee, 1963, "Take Her, She's Mine", Denver appeared strictly on television until this picture which was released four months prior to the first televised episode of "Gilligan Island".

Nancy Sinatra portrayed "Karen Cross". 


















Above, Nancy Sinatra is keeping an eye on her boyfriend, Bob Denver.

Robert Middleton portrayed "Burford B. Sanford Cronin". Middleton started television acting in 1951 and for the first four years of his career stayed in the medium. In 1955, he made his first two motion pictures, "Trial", starring Glenn Ford and Dorothy Malone, and the comedy, "The Court Jester", starring Danny Kaye, Glynnis Johns and Basil Rathbone. However, the actor's main income came from television programing.

























Above on the left, Robert Middleton is speaking to Woody Woodbury, playing a character named "Uncle Woody Woodbury". Comic actor Woodbury was known for his risque stories and adult themed comedy albums.


Claudia Martin portrayed "Sue Lewis". The daughter of singer and actor Dean Martin, had her first on-screen role, portraying a 11 years old girl in her father and, then partner, Jerry Lewis', 1956 movie, "Hollywood or Bust". Claudia didn't appear again until a 1963 episode of "The Donna Reed Show" and a 1964 episode of, "My Three Sons". This was her fourth of sixth on-screen credits.






















Above a publicity photo of, Nancy Sinatra, James Darren and Claudia Martin.

Ellen Burstyn using the name, Ellen McRae, portrayed "Dr. Pauline Swenson". The actress born Edna Rae Gillooy, used the name of McRae, from 1958 until the 1970 Donald Sutherland feature, "Alex in Wonderland". When she first became Ellen Burstyn, the actress known for 1973's, "The Exorcist", and as the Best Actress Oscar winner, for 1974's, "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore".



















Below are "Cronin's Henchmen" and old movie gangsters.
























Left to right, Robert Armstrong who played "Carl Denham" in 1933's, "King Kong", Jack LaRue, who Howard Hawks brought from Broadway to star in 1932's, "Scarface", but lost the role to Paul Muni. Allen Jenkins, who played the good-natured gangster that was working for "Gentlemen Detectives" in "B" films and provided the voice of "Officer Dribble" on the Hanna-Barbera animated series, "Top Cat". Far right, not having worked in over four years was George Raft.

For those of my readers that are fans of the original "King Kong". My article, "Robert Armstrong: It Wasn't All 'The Eighth Wonder of the World', His Brat, or 'Joe", may be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2020/08/robert-armstrong-it-wasnt-all-eighth.html



The Screenplay:

The minimal plot has rich kid, "Gardner Pruitt III", known to his friends as "Ding", looking for a new conquest and setting his eyes on teenage girl, "Sandy Palmer". 
























While, "Karen" and "Kelp" just "dig" each other to the tune of a "Baskins and Robbins" product placement. The picture's target audience didn't care about product placement and if Annette could cover her pregnancy. with a "Kentucky Fried Chicken" box, in "Pajama Party". Sharing a "31 Flavors Milk Shake" fell right in line.




















While "Uncle Sid" plays the piano at "Uncle Woody's" surfer hangout and "Topaz" seductively sings.








Meanwhile, "Burford Cronin", "Ding's" influential grandfather wants to stop his romance with "Sandy" and also shut down "Woody's Surfer Hangout" in the process. He complains to the College Administration about the bad influence the hangout is having on their students. So, they send out "Doctor Swenson" to investigate and she falls for "Woody".



































































In the end it is discovered that "Burford Cronin", is in actuality, gangster and major bootlegger, "B.S. 'Nifty' Cronin". The students and surfers turn the tables on "Grandpa" and threaten to reveal who he really is unless he lets "Woody's" remain open. Of course, "Ding" reforms his own ways and stays with "Sandy".

What surprised me was that both "Tina Louise" and "Bob Denver" had songs to sing, but not Nancy Sinatra.























Above Nancy and Claudia on the set of "For Those Who Think Young". Below, Nancy and her father on the set.





















In 1956, disc jockey Albert James "Alan" Freed, who coined the term "Rock and Roll", was seen in the first Rock and Roll musical motion picture, "Rock Around the Clock". A feature from Producer Sam Katzman, who knew his target audience of pre-teens and teenagers. 

The movie had a thin story line and when 9 years old Lloyd, went to the "Dome Theater", in Ocean Park, California, to see it. It wasn't the story I was after, but the acts that appeared in the picture that I only knew from 45 RPM records and the radio. It wasn't until the following year, on August 5, 1957, that ABC brought a local Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, television show, "Bob Horn's Bandstand", to national television, as "American Bandstand", hosted by Dick Clark.

"Rock Around the Clock's" headliner,
 performing the title song, was "Bill Haley and the Comets". Haley's song had first been heard in the Glenn Ford, Ann Francis and Sidney Poitier, 1955 motion picture, "Blackboard Jungle". Before the end of 1959, Allen Freed, would appear in five more thinly written screenplays from Sam Katzman. All aimed at pre-teens and teenagers featuring other popular, or not so popular "Rock and Roll" performers. 






Eight years after "Rock Around the Clock", Nancy Sinatra would appear in an updating of those 1950's formula Rock and Roll motion pictures. That motion picture would also be Produced by Sam Katzman, a very imaginative "B" Film Maker.

My article, "Superman' Meet 'The Giant Claw' to the Tunes of 'Bill Haley and the Comets': Executive Producer Sam Katzman", is ready to Rock and Roll at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2018/10/superman-meets-giant-claw-as-earth-vs.html


GET YOURSELF A COLLEGE GIRL aka: THE SWINGING SET aka: WATUSI A GO-GO! aka: THE GO-GO SET released on December 18, 1964.





The picture was Directed by Sidney Miller. Who had been a television Director since 1953 and his first, of only three motion pictures, was 1959's, "The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock", starring Lou Costello, without Bud Abbott, and Dorothy Provine. This was his second feature film.

The screenplay was by Robert E. Kent. Kent started writing screenplays in 1937 and began working with Sam Katzman with, 1950's, "The Last of the Buccaneers". He would write both the screenplays for, 1955's, "Rock Around the Clock", and 1956's, "Don't Knock the Rock". So, Robert Kent was familiar with the formula Katzman wanted for "Get Yourself a College Girl".


The Main Cast":

Mary Ann Mobley portrayed "Teresa 'Terry' Taylor". Mobley was 1959's "Miss America", and had only appeared in an episode of the daytime soap opera, "General Hospital", and one of Gene Barry's, "Burke's Law", prior to being cast as "Terry". She followed this film with seventh billing in the Elvis Presley and Shelley Fabares, 1965, "Girl Happy". fifth billing in the Nick Adams, Robert Conrad and John Ashley, 1965, "Young Dillinger" and moved to co-starring with Elvis in 1965's, "Harum Scarum". After which Mary Ann Mobley worked mainly on television.

Chad Everett portrayed "Gary Underwood". Everett, who became "Dr. Joe Cannon", 1969 through 1976, on televisions "Medical Center", started on-screen acting in a two-part episode of the Warner Brother's television series "Maverick" with Jack Kelly. He followed that with seventh billing in Warner Brothers version of the Erskine Caldwell novel, 1961's, "Claudelle Inglish", starring Diane McBain. He stayed a Warner Brothers contract player until this feature film.























Above, Mary Ann Mobley is having a disagreement with Chad Everett.

Joan O'Brien portrayed "Marge Endicott". Singer-actress O'Brien's first on-screen appearance was on an episode of, "The Liberace Show", in 1954. Her first feature film was the 1958 drama, "Handle with Care", co-starring with Dean Jones and Thomas Mitchell. Then it was television until the, 1959, Cary Grant and Tony Curtis, World War 2 comedy, "Operation Petticoat". John Wayne would cast Joan O'Brien as "Mrs. Sue Dickinson", in 1960's, "The Alamo", that provided her first chance to sing on-screen.

 

























Above, Joan O'Brien, center shows the college girl's how to really dance.


Nancy Sinatra portrayed "Lynne". 

Chris Noel portrayed "Sue Ann Mobley". Basically, a television actress, Noel, had eleventh billing in the 1963, Steven McQueen and Jackie Gleason comedy drama, "Soldier in the Rain". Between 1963 and 1964, Chris Noel had different roles on Producer Gene Roddenberry's Marine Corps series, "The Lieutenant", starring Gary Lockwood. She was also in the cast of Elvis Presley's, 1965, "Girl Happy".


























In the above publicity still, left to right, Joan O'Brien, Mary Ann Mobley, Chad Everett, Chris Noel and Nancy Sinatra.

The Screenplay:

The screenplay could be lifted right out of Robert E. Kent's 1956, "Don't Knock the Rock". Which was about a disc jockey's attempt to prove to parents that "Rock and Roll" is harmless and won't turn their kids into juvenile delinquents.

In this case, College Senior "Terry Taylor", at the very conservative "Wyndham College", is a secret song writer under another name, but her publisher, "Gary Underwood", accidently reveals her double life. This results in the College's Trustee's, including the grandson of the school's founder, California Senator "Hubert Morrison", played by Willard Waterman, condemning "Terry" for indecent behavior.

"Terry" needs to get away from the trustees and have time to think. With her two friends, "Sue Ann Mobley" and "Lynne", along with the girls physical-education instructor, "Marge Endicott". The four travels to Sun Valley, Idaho, over Christmas break.
























Above, getting off the bus, left to right, Mary Ann Mobley, Chris Noel, Joan O'Brien and Nancy Sinatra.

In Sun Valley, they girls meet "Gary" and his friend "Armand", played by Fabrizio Mioni, and the two men romance "Terry" and "Sue Ann". While, "Lynne" spends most of her time in bed with her husband, "Ray", played by Paul Todd. Senator "Morrison" shows up to solicit the youth vote for his re-election. His attitude will start to change as he falls for "Marge".

While the action is taking place, in the background are the performances of the groups that are the draw to the motion picture.

Of the leads, only non-singer, Mary Ann Mobley, gets to sing. The only other time Mobley sang was before she became "Miss America". This was in a group song with Audrey Meadows, Jayne Meadows, and Roberta Sherwood, in an 1958 episode of televisions, "The Steve Allen Plymouth Show".























Above, Mary Ann Mobley sings the title song, "Get Yourself a College Girl".


The Performers Included:


"The Dave Clark Five" performing "Whenever You're Around" and "Thinking of You Baby".
























"The Animals" performing "Blue Feeling" and "Around and Around".



























"Astrud Giberto" and the "Stan Getz Quartet" performing "The Girl From Ipanema".























"Jimmy Smith with the Jimmy Smith Trio" 
performing "Comin' Home Johnny" and the instrumental, "The Sermon".
























"The Standells" performing "Bony Maronie".






















"Freddie Bell" and "Roberta Linn" with "The Bellboys" performed "Talkin' About  Love".


























Once again, Nancy Sinatra did not have a song to perform.


MARRIAGE ON THE ROCKS released on September 24, 1965.





Back on September 17, 1962, both the Italian language and English dubbed versions of a, December 28, 1961, Italian comedy drama arrived in the United States and Canada. "Divorzio all'italiana (Divorce Italian Style)", starred Marcello Mastroianni, and was a hit upon its arrival. Two years later, the motion picture was still playing in both countries.

The original title for "Marriage on the Rocks", was "Divorce American Style". 

Jack Donohue was selected to Direct. Donohue had started directing television in 1951 and among his early work were 30 episodes of the 1950 to 1952, "The Frank Sinatra Show". He also directed both comedian Red Skelton's, 1954 to 1955, "Red Skelton Revue" and "The Red Skelton Hour". From, 1957 to 1958, Jack Donohue was back with the new, "The Frank Sinatra Show", and in 1959, he directed "The Dean Martin Show Special". Between, 1962 and 1968, Donohue also directed 107 episodes of Lucille Ball's, "The Lucy Show". From 1968 to 1974, Jack Donohue would direct "Here's Lucy".

The somewhat troubled screenplay was written by Cy Howard. His entire output as a screenplay and television writer were18 titles. Howard's first screenplay was based upon a popular 1940's and early 1950's, radio program and kept the title of "My Friend Irma". The 1949 picture starred forgotten John Lund, Diana Lynn, and Marie Wilson as "Irma", but introduced a comedy-musical duo named Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The same five were back in Howard's screenplay for 1950's, "My Friend Irma Goes West", but Martin and Lewis had become the audience draw. Cy Howard would next create the 1952 to 1954 television version of "My Friend Irma", still starring Marie Wilson. Otherwise, his output  was sporadic and this was his only feature film after the second, "My Friend Irma", movie.

Cy Howard's original screenplay was considered offensive by the "Breen Censorship Office". So, he had to rewrite it and his new title was, "Community Property". After some more rewrites, over the next four months, the screenplay passed the motion picture censors but may still have held clues to the original offensive material

When the "Motion Picture Code" was passed, back in 1934, the movie industry was charged with protecting American morality. For those who might be interested, my article, "CENSORSHIP Protecting (?) America's Morality in Motion Pictures: 1923 to 1971", will be found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2017/06/censorship-protecting-americas-morality.html

Two points on the final released story. Warner Brothers cut 14-minutes out of the picture, after preview audiences panned it. Also, to that censorship issue, apparently the Mexican Government did not like the films depiction of Mexico. They banned the picture and several others starring Frank Sinatra.


The Main Cast Plus One:


Frank Sinatra portrayed "Dan Edwards". Earlier in 1965, Frank Sinatra had starred with British actor Trevor Howard in the World War 2 prisoner of war escape feature, "Von Ryan's Express". He would follow this picture with a cameo, as himself, without on-screen credit, in the 1966 motion picture, "The Oscar". 





















By this motion picture, Frank Sinatra was a well-established serious actor and not just a singer. However, prior to the 1953 motion picture, "From Here to Eternity", that wasn't true and the studio system did not want to put him in anything, but musicals. There are three other 1950's dramatic Frank Sinatra roles, that I saw as a pre-teen, which I will never forget.

These are, 1955's, "The Man with the Golden Arm", the politically based and mostly forgotten Western, 1956's, "Johnny Concho", and 1957's, "The Joker is Wild". My article, "FRANK SINATRA: Three Dramatic Motion Picture Roles", is available for your reading at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/11/frank-sinatra-three-dramatic-motion.html


Deborah Kerr portrayed "Valerie Edwards". Prior to having an approved screenplay, Frank Sinatra had Deborah Kerr cast as his wife. The previous year, Kerr had been seen with Richard Burton and Ava Gardner in Director John Huston's film version of the Tennessee Williams play, "The Night of the Iguana". The actress would follow this picture with the, 1966, British Horror film, "Eye of the Devil", co-starring David Niven and featuring unknowns Sharon Tate and David Hemmings.




 














Dean Martin portrayed "Ernie Brewer". Martin had just appeared with John Wayne in Director Henry Hathaway's, 1965 Western, "The Sons of Katie Elder". He would follow this film with the first of his "Matt Helm", rip-offs of "James Bond", 1966's, "The Silencers".


















Cesar Romero portrayed "Miguel Santos". The first motion picture "Doc Holliday", one-time "Cisco Kid" and future, "The Joker", had just co-starred with Frankie Avalon and Deborah Walley in the 1965 comedy, "Sergeant Dead Head". Romero would follow this feature with a appearance on televisions "Rawhide".
























Hermione Baddeley portrayed "Jeannie MacPherson". Character actress Baddeley started her on-screen career in 1927. She had been seen portraying actress "Marie Dressler", in the Carol Lynley, 1965, "Harlow". The year before that, Baddeley was the maid in Walt Disney's, 1964, "Mary Poppins". She followed this feature, co-starring with Doris Day and Rod Taylor, in 1965's, "Do Not Disturb". 























Tony Bill portrayed "Jim Blake". Bill had appeared with Frank Sinatra in both Neil Simon's 1963, "Come Blow Your Horn", and the World War 2 feature, 1965's, "None But the Brave". 


















John McGiver portrayed "Shad Nathan". Character actor McGiver started television acting in 1955, but prior to this picture. His limited motion picture roles included, Director Blake Edwards', 1961, "Breakfast at Tiffany's", starring Audrey Hepburn, and Director John Frankenheimer's, original, 1962, "The Manchurian Candidate", starring Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Harvey.















Nancy Sinatra portrayed "Tracy Edwards". The role was originally cast with Mia Farrow, who was playing, "Allison McKenzie", on televisions night-time soap opera, "Peyton Place", but had dropped out. On the above poster, Nancy's name is in very small print, sandwiched between John McGiver and Trini Lopez.





The Screenplay:


After 19 years of marriage, "Dan Edwards", still spends the majority of his time at the office and not at home. This has been frustration for his wife, "Valerie", who considers him a bore. As compared to his "Ad Agency", girl chasing bachelor, business partner, "Ernie Brewer". 































Above, one of the few images I could find with Nancy Sinatra in it and its a picture within a picture. Below, Dean Martin with Joy Lansing as "Lola".

























"Ernie" suggests that "Dan" and "Valerie" take a nice Mexican vacation to relax.. They go, but start arguing in front of "Miguel Santos'" Divorce Office and next thing the two know, they are.



























"Dan" and "Valerie" realize the mistake they made and decide to correct it by remarrying. However, an urgent matter comes up and "Dan" must immediately return home, or loose a very large client. He leaves for what should be a day or two, but it gets extended and "Ernie" has to go to Mexico to inform "Valerie". However, things go haywire and "Valerie" and "Ernie" end up married. Now, "Dan" is the bachelor enjoying his new lifestyle and "Valerie" discovers that married life turns "Ernie" into "Dan". Things get straightened out in the end.


































































Above, Davey Davidson as "Lisa Sterling" and Nancy Sinatra.


On, October 16, 1965, Nancy Sinatra would perform two songs, "If He'd Love Me" and "So Long Babe". While appearing on televisions "Hollywood a Go Go"



THE OSCAR released on March 4, 1966.





Don't look to hard for Nancy Sinatra in this motion picture. She's sitting with her father in the audience for the Academy Award Presentations. 

Stephen Boyd and Elke Sommer star it what was supposed to be a drama, but because of the screenplay by Harlan Ellison, Clarence Greene and Russell Rouse. Along with the Direction of Russell Rouse, the end result is a campy comedy look at Hollywood with overblown acting by the main actors.

As major movie critics, Bosley Crowther of the "New York Times" wrote, on March 6, 1966:
Not only is this screen translation of a novel by Richard Sale about a cheapskate Hollywood actor who tries to bludgeon his way to an Academy Award a piece of expensive claptrap, loaded with harrowing clichés, but it also is shamelessly endorsed by the presence of some of the great and near great of Hollywood.



















Above, Frank Sinatra with his daughter Nancy, now a brunette.

























IF, my reader has read the above link about the "Beach Party" movies. Then they know what's coming next.


THE GHOST IN THE INVISIBLE BIKINI released on April 6, 1966 in Boston, Massachusetts.






The picture must have had at least one fan of the classic movie monsters, because there are parodies of several of those films throughout the story. On the above poster's upper left corner is Lon Chaney, Sr., as 1923's, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". While, in the upper right corner, the character could be based upon either John Barrymore, Frederick March, or Spencer Tracy as "Dr. Jekyll".
























Above Elena Williams-Andreas and her husband, Herb Andreas, as the two characters in the upper right corner of the poster. The two had a Las Vegas and Los Angeles nightclub act known as "The Magical Dolls". In "The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini", they portray wax statues within the Haunted House.

"The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini" was the sixth and final entry of the actual "Beach Party" series. Even though there is no beach, or surfing, seen anywhere in the movie.

The motion picture was Directed by Don Weis. Weis had already directed 1964's, "Pajama Party". He started directing feature films in 1951 and in 1953, directed Debbie Reynolds as "Pansy Hammer", and Bobby Van, as "Dobbie Gillis", in "The Affairs of Dobie Gillis". In 1954, starting with the television series, "I Married Joan", starring 1940's comedian, Joan Davis, and actor Jim Backus, the future "Thurston Howell III" on "Gilligan's Island". Weis made the switch to television until "Pajama Party".

The screenplay was another thing altogether. It was written by Louis M. Heywood and Elwood Ullman.

Heywood became a contract writer for AIP, in 1964, with "Pajama Party". Prior to that year, he had only six credits between 1950 and 1961. In 1965, Louis Heywood co-wrote with Ib Melchior, the English language script for Mario Bava's, 1965, Science Fiction classic, "Terrore nello spazio (Terror in Outer Space)", that the two renamed, "
Planet of the Vampires". Louis Heywood, became AIP's Foreign language movies to English language script writer. Which was a major job during the first half of the 1960's.

Ullman started writing short subjects in 1932, and, it wasn't until 1945, that he co-wrote one feature film. After which, he returned to short subject writing until 1951. In 1952, Elwood Ullman created the story for the Bud Abbott and Lou Costello feature, "Lost in Alaska" and then switched to television writing. Later, he would co-write the screen plays for, 1961's, "Snow White and the Three Stooges", both of 1962's, "The Three Stooges Meet Hercules", and, "The Three Stooges in Orbit". In 1965, after returning to television, Elwood Ullman wrote, "The Outlaws is Coming", for "The Three Stooges".

In January 1965, the screenplay for this picture was entitled, "Pajama Party in a Haunted House". Then it became, "The Girl in the Glass Bikini", followed by, "Bikini Party in a Haunted House", and lastly, "The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini".

The screenplay was finished, the motion picture shot and completed based upon it, but both AIP Executives, James H. Nicholson, and, Samuel Z. Arkoff, didn't like what they saw in the screening room. The entire screenplay was ordered rewritten and two new characters added to the story.

Trivia:

In the closing credits of 1965's, "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine". There is a promo-card seen advertising the upcoming AIP movie, "The Girl in the Glass Bikini".


Some of the Cast of the First Version:

Tommy Kirk portrayed "Chuck Phillips". Kirk started television acting in 1955, and NO, he was never a "Mouseketeer". However, he did appear in two mini-series on the show. These were, 1956's, "The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure", and, 1957's, "The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Ghost Farm". Of course, Tommy Kirk, was in Walt Disney's, 1957, "Old Yeller", with its need for a box of tissues at the end, and he portrayed the original title character, of 1959's, "The Shaggy Dog". Tommy Kirk would appear in several other Disney features until 1964. When he co-starred with Annette Funicello in "Pajama Party".

For those of my readers either remembering, or interested in the original "The Mickey Mouse Club". My article, "M.I.C.K.E.Y. M.O.U.S.E.': Walt Disney's Original Mickey Mouse Club, 1955 To 1959: An Honorary Mouseketeer in Good Standing Remembers", will be found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2019/12/mickey-mouse-walt-disneys-original.html


Deborah Walley portrayed "Lili Morton". She took over for Sandra Dee as "Gidget" in 1961's, "Gidget Goes Hawaiian". Walley would follow that movie with two comedies from the "Walt Disney Company", and had fourth billing behind Peter Fonda, Sharon Hugueny and Nick Adams, in 1964's, "The Young Lovers". In 1965, Deborah Walley was in "Ski Party", co-starring with Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman. That same year, the three were in the comedy, "Sergeant Dead Head". Next, Walley was reduced to a cameo appearance in 1965's, "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine", starring Vincent Price, and the AIP comedy duo,  Avalon and Hickmann. 




















Above, Tommy Kirk and Deborah Walley at the séance.

Aron Kincaid portrayed "Bobby". In 1959, Kincaid had a uncredited role in Director Roger Corman's, "The Wasp Woman", and in 1960, was lost in the background of Director Stanley Kurbrick's "Spartacus". In 1965, with sixth billing, Aron Kincaid played his first surfer role, in the non-"Beach Party" feature, "The Girls on the Beach", starring Noreen Corcoran of televisions, 1957 to 1962, "Bachelor Father".  Aron Kincaid, next, dropped to seventh billing in 1965's, "Ski Party", that is considered an AIP spin-off of the "Beach Party" films. Then he did another non-"Beach Party" feature, 1965's, "Beach Ball", starring Edd Byrnes, "Kookie" of televisions "77 Sunset Strip", and Chris Noel, of "Get Yourself a College Girl". While still in 1965, Kincaid was in "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine".

Kinchaid had sung two songs in the original, "The Girl in the Glass Bikini", but both were dropped during the re-edit of the screenplay.




















Harvey Lembeck portrayed "Eric von Zipper", a comic parody of Marlon Brando, from 1953's, "The Wild One". Lembeck had appeared in all six "Beach Party" motion pictures as "von Zipper" with his "Rat Pack", sorry Frank and Dean, of misfits that are always bested by the "Beach Party Gang".


















Nancy Sinatra portrayed "Vicki" and finally had the on-screen song, "Geronimo". 



































Claudia Martin portrayed "Lulu". This was her first on-screen appearance since 1964's, "For Those Who Think Young". Martin would follow the feature with her last on-screen appearance, in 1966's, "Ski Fever". In which, she co-starred with actor Martin Milner, two years before he first starred on televisions, "Adam-12".





















Basil Rathbone portrayed "Reginald Ripper". Rathbone had started in motion pictures in 1921. Besides being known for portraying British author Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes". Basil Rathbone's career included portraying "Pontius Pilate" in Merian C. Copper's. 1935 version, of "The Last Days of Pompeii". The true swordsman, appeared in both 1935's, "Captain Blood", and 1938's, "The Adventures of Robin Hood", opposite Errol Flynn. In 1938, the actor became the first "Son of Frankenstein", and in 1940, with his sword skills, portrayed the villain in Tyrone Power's, "The Mark of Zorro". While in 1962, Rathbone was the evil sorcerer, "Lodac", in Director Bert I. Gordon's, "The Magic Sword". Right before this picture, Basil Rathbone, started appearing with Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre in several Roger Corman entries.

 
















Above, next to Basil Rathbone is comedian Patsy Kelly as "Myrtle Forbush".

Quinn O'Hara portrayed "Sinistra". Scottish born Alice Jones started on television as O'Hara in 1956. Her break from television work was in another non-"Beach Party" feature, 1965's, "A Swingin' Summer", co-starring with James Stacy and William Wellman, Jr. Then the actress returned to television until this movie.
















Jesse White portrayed "J. Sinister Hulk". Comedian and character actor White, had started his career in 1943. Among his feature films are 1950's, "Harvey", starring James Stewart, 1951's, "Bedtime for Bonzo", starring Ronald Reagan and a Chimpanzee, and 1951's, "Francis Goes to the Races", starring Donald O'Connor and "Francis the Talking Mule". Jesse White would become a familiar face on television, appearing with, Ann Sothern, Danny Thomas, and Frank Sinatra, among others. Prior to this film, Jesse White had been seen in episodes of "The Munsters", "Perry Mason" and "The Wild Wild West".























The Original Screenplay,

"Chuck Phillips", is an heir to an estate that contains a supposedly Haunted House. There are two other heirs to the property, "Myrtle", and her son "Bobby". The three decide to bring their "Beach Party", the tie-in, friends to the estate for a pool party. According to the will, the three must remain overnight to inherit. 

Things start happening, when lawyer "Reginald Ripper" uses his daughter, "Sinistra", and henchman, "J. Sinister Hulk", to scare the heirs away. According to the will, if the three do not stay the night, the property goes to "Reginald".
















Above, on Nancy Sinatra's right, is 13 years old Italian singer Piccola Pupa, discovered by actor-singer Danny Thomas. Piccola would sing one song, below, but Hollywood show business didn't agree with her and she left it and returned to Italy.























































Above "Ripper" has "Lili" tied up to lure "Chuck" to his "accidental" death. Ripper's henchman, "S. Sinister Hulk" looks on with his two stooges, "Chicken Feather", played by comedian Benny Rubin, and, "Princess Yolanda", played by Bobbie Shaw. 





















The Revised Screenplay: 


Two Added Characters for the Screenplay Re-write:


Boris Karloff portrayed the ghost of "Hiram Stokeley". Karloff had just been seen with Nick Adams in the 1965, H.P. Lovecraft, "Die Monster Die". He would follow this picture with an appearance on televisions, "Wild Wild West".

Susan Hart portrayed "Cecily the Ghost". Actress Hart's husband, American International Pictures co-owner, James H. Nicholson, asked her to do the role. The year before, Hart had been in "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine".

 

 










 
Trivia:

Karloff never left the coffin, because he was standing in it with a leg brace to help counter major back problems. Their scenes were Directed by Film Editor Ronnie Sinclair and the two never interacted with any of the original cast.

The rewrite opens with the ghost of the recently dead, "Hiram Stokeley", given 24 hours to do a good deed to get him into Heaven. He calls upon his long-dead girlfriend, "Cecily", to stop "Ripper" from taking over his estate and to help his heirs.





























 

The following scenes with Susan Hart were added and the original actors had no idea until they saw the movie. Example, the scene below, has dialogue, but there was no Hart in it. Note, all the "Rats" are looking at Harvey Lembeck and have no idea Susan Hart is there.





















Below, "The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini", is about to save "Chuck" from being killed by "Ripper". The planned movements given to Susan Hart, as in the above scene, were made, to appear to the audience, as if she was causing the original scenes actions.


















THE LAST OF THE SECRET AGENTS? released on May 25, 1965.




This feature is considered the first American spoof of the spy genre that had been reinvigorated by the "James Bond Franchise". Televisions "The Wild Wild West", did not premiere until September 17, 1965, and it was the next day, that televisions "Get Smart", had it premiere.

In 1966, the American studios would start to catch up with the U.K. and European "Bond" spoofs with the first of Dean Martin's "Matt Helm" series. It would be followed by James Coburn's, "Our Man Flint" and "In Like Flint", 

While in 1967, probably the ultimate "James Bond Spoof" was released. The All-Star comedy version of "Casino Royale", with every main character eventually named "James Bond". This included Woody Allan, as the villain, "Little Jamie Bond", Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, and British actor, Terence Copper. all taking on the name of "James Bond". Along with David Niven, as the original, "Sir James Bond". Who during World War One, had a love child with the German spy, "Mata Hari", named, "Mata Bond", played Joanna Pettet. A must see spoof.

While, in Italy, somebody really got to thinking out of the box! There was the, 1967, Italian motion picture, "Operation Kid Brother". That starred Sean Connery's younger brother, Neil Connery, and featured, Daniela Bianchi ("From Russia with Love"), Adolfo Celi ("Thunderball"), Bernard Lee ("M"), and Lois Maxwell ("Miss Moneypenny").


Which brings me back to this picture from Paramount Studios.

Norman Abbott, the nephew of Bud Abbott, was the Director. Abbott worked on television and started with the forgotten series "Stars of Jazz". Among his programs were, "The Jack Benny Show", "Leave It to Beaver" and "Get Smart". "The Last of the Secret Agents?", was his only motion picture and he returned to television until his retirement later that same year.

Norman Abbott also created the story for this film, but the screenplay was written by Mel Tolkin. This was also television writer Tolkin's only screenplay, but he wrote comedy for Bob Hope, Sid Caesar, Danny Thomas and Danny Kaye. Tolkin would also write 34 episodes of "All in the Family".


The Main Cast:

Paramount Studio's had major success teaming Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in a series of "Road" movies during the 1940's Paramount had repeated their success with a short series of 1950's movies with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Now, the executives thought, the studio could repeat those successes in the 1960's.

Like Martin and Lewis, there was a popular night club duo appearing regularly on televisions "The Ed Sullivan Show", "Allen and Rossi".

Marty Allen portrayed "Marty Johnson". Allen was a nightclub comedian and with his partner Mitch Dewood, were the opening act for singers such as Sarah Vaughn and Nat King Cole. In 1957 the act broke up and Marty would team-up with singer Steve Rossi.

Steve Rossi portrayed "Steve". Rossi had a "Bachelor of Arts" in Communication and Theatre. He spoke both Greek and Latin fluently and had become a comedian-singer in nightclubs. 

 


























John Williams portrayed "J. Frederick Duval". Born in the United Kingdom, Williams is best known for portraying "Chief Inspector Hubbard", in Director Alfred Hitchcock's only 3-D motion picture, 1954's, "Dial M for Murder", starring Ray Milland and Grace Kelly. Some of his other feature films include Hitchcock's, 1955, "To Catch a Thief", starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, Director Billy Wilder's, 1957, version of Agatha Christie's, "Witness for the Prosecution", starring Tyrone Power, Charles Laughton, and Marlene Dietrich, and the Stewart Granger and Bernard Fox, 1972, version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "The Hound of the Baskervilles".


















Above, John Williams demonstrates a special weapon to Martin and Rossi The weapon was created by "Professor Werner von Koenig", played by actor-comedian Sid Ruman.


Nancy Sinatra portrayed "Micheline" and sings the title song, "The Last of the Secret Agents". Below, is the jacket for the German, 45 RPM, release of the song.























































Lou Jacobi portrayed "Papa Leo". Canadian character actor Jacobi began his on-screen work in 1953 television and had his first motion picture appearance in Director George Stevens' version of the Broadway play, "The Diary of Ann Frank". Jacobi was primarily a television actor. 






































Theodore "Theo" Marcuse portrayed "Zoltan Schubach". Marcuse was a major 1950's and 1960's television villain. 

His character is alleged, on some sites, to have been based upon the "James Bond" villain and head of "S.P.E.C.T.R.E.", "Ernst Stavro Blofeld", as seen in the motion pictures. 

However, the first time the audience gets to completely see "Blofeld", before he's only a pair of hands stroking a white cat and a voice. Would be on June 12, 1967, in, "You Only Live Twice", and that was two years after this movie.





















Above, John Williams is looking at a photo of Theodore Marcuse as "Zoltan". Below, Donald Pleasence in "You Only Live Twice". 




























For the record, in the Ian Fleming's novels, "Ernst Stavro Blofeld", was never bald! However, he does change his appearance to avoid being recognized. The following are three drawings of his appearance, by George Arnold, from an article about "Blofeld" in the "007 Wiki":

https://jamesbond.fandom.com/wiki/Ernst_Stavro_Blofeld_(Literary)

Below in "Thunderball".
 


.











Below in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service".














Below, in the very important, "You Only Live Twice".

















The Screenplay:


"Allen and Rossi" are two American ex-pats looking for work in Europe. They unwittingly become couriers for art thieves that are part of the evil organization, "THEM". Which is led by the very evil "Zoltan Schubach". "THEM" plans to steal priceless artifacts, especially the "Venus de Milo". Our heroes are recruited by "GGI (Good Guys Inc.)" to take "THEM" down.






































Below is comedian Harvey Korman in a very funny cameo role as a German Colonel.





















"The Last of the Secret Agents?" isn't anywhere as bad as the film critics, at the time, wrote. My reader must remember, as I mentioned, it predated "Get Smart" and was ahead of its time. Unfortunately, the audiences read the critics reviews, the picture never made back its investment, and Paramount never made a second movie. 

They also didn't listen to Steve Rossi, who wanted part of their act, as seen on the "Ed Sullivan Show", incorporated into the screenplay. Unlike, Martin and Lewis, that were allowed by the studio to cut loose. Allen and Rossi were tied to the screenplay with no latitude to give their public what they expected from them.


Back on December 30, 1953, Marlon Brando starred in a controversial motion picture, "The Wild One". It was about a motorcycle gang taking over a small California town. In fourth billing was Lee Marvin. 












































The picture caused a few things to happen:

It was banned in the U.K. for fourteen years and when it was finally released, November 21, 1967. After all that time, the British censors still gave it an "X-Certificate", No One Under 16 years of age permitted.

In the United States, the movie received positive reviews from the film critics. Brando's character of "Johnny" influenced young men, such as Elvis Presley and James Dean, to grow long sideburns. While, black leather motorcycle jackets became a rage and my parents bought their seven years old son one.

There was an increase in the sales of motorcycles. Even though the "Triumph Motorcycle Company" argued against the image "The Wild One" was giving Americans.

Even the Independent film industry didn't really follow up on the story idea of the movie. As even the majors were doing with "Hot Rods". Except, for the very tame and misleading 1957, "Motorcycle Gang", from "American International Pictures". Which was nothing more than switching hot rods for motorcycles and both films starred clean cut, John Ashley. Who would become Frankie Avalon's pal in the "Beach Party" series!




























Above, Frankie Avalon, Annette Funnicello, Deborah Walley and John Ashley.


In September 1965, I joined the United States Navy to defend Democracy in far off Vietnam. The antiwar protests were still in their infancy and volunteering was still considered the "American" thing to do. In October 1965, there were pro-Vietnam marches throughout the United States.

However, by years end, using the "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution", passed back on August 7, 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson increased the Draft and by the end of 1965 things really started to change in the United States as a result. 

On, December 31, 1965, the United States had 184,300 troops in-country. By December 31, 1966, the number of troops, as a result of LBJ's order, had increased to 425, 300.

The mood in the United States was changing and especially among my age group. "American International Pictures" was one of many smaller studios, they actually never had a lot of their own and leased space, that started turning out films to reflect that mood. 

I look at some of those motion pictures, including the next Nancy Sinatra feature, in my article, "Five Influential Vietnam Era Movies You May Never of Heard About", at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/02/5-influential-viet-nam-era-movies-you.html



THE WILD ANGELES released on July 20, 1966 






The motion picture was Produced and Directed by Roger Corman. Two years earlier Corman had Directed the last of his Edgar Allan Poe series, "The Tomb of Ligeia". He would follow this feature with 1967's, "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre". 

For those of my readers with a Poe bent. My article, "Quoth 'The Raven": ROGER CORMAN", will be found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2018/06/quoth-raven-roger-corman.html

Two writers, one without on-screen credit, wrote the screenplay. The credited writer was Charles B. Griffith. Griffith started writing the first of 35 screenplays for Director Roger Corman, with the 1956, "B" Western, "Gunslinger", starring John Ireland and Beverly Garland. His work would include, 1956's, "It Conquered the World", 1957's, "Attack of the Crab Monsters", 1959's, "Bucket of Blood", and 1960's, "Little Shop of Horrors".

The uncredited writer was future major Director, Peter Bogdanovich. This was his first screenplay and his next would be his classic, 1968, "Targets", with Tim Kelly and Boris Karloff.




The above ad that leaves off two of the main actors, "Joint", is played by Lou Procopio, "Bull Puckey", is played by Colby Denton, "Frankenstein", is played by Marc Cavell, and "Mama (Momma Monahan)", is played by Joan Shawlee.


The Four Leading Actors:


Peter Fonda portrayed "Heavenly Blues". Fonda began his on-screen career with fifth billing, after actress Jo Van Fleet, in the January 17, 1962, episode, "The Night the Saints Lost Their Halos", on the "Naked City" television series. His first motion picture was opposite Sandra Dee in 1963's, "Tammy and the Doctor", or as Peter Fonda called the feature, "Tammy and the Schmuck Face". In 1967, Fonda would make another of the films in my article, "The Trip". It was written by Jack Nicholson, he wasn't in the cast, and Directed by Roger Corman. In 1968, Peter appeared with his sister Jane Fonda, in a segment Directed by her then husband, Roger Vadim, of the three-part Edgar Allan Poe based, "Tre passi nel delirio (Spirits of the Dead)". The film would come to the United States, from AIP, dubbed and edited with an introduction and ending by Vincent Price.

"Tre passi nel delirio" is part of my article, "Edgar Allan Poe Through the Eyes of European Film Makers", found for your reading at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2016/07/1928-s-fall-of-house-of-usher-1964s.html

I would be remiss if I did not mention Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper's, 1969, Academy Award nominated, "Easy Rider".



Nancy Sinatra portrayed "Mike 'Monkey". 
























Bruce Dearn portrayed "Joe 'Loser' Kerns. Dern's first on-screen appearance was without on-screen credit in the Montgomery Clift, Lee Remick and Jo Van Fleet, 1960, "Wild River". Then it was television until the twelfth billed role of "Sailor", in Director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1964, "Marine", starring Tippy Hedren and Sean Connery. Next, the actor moved up to tenth billing in Director Robert Aldrich's, 1964, "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte", starring Bette Davis and Olivia De Havilland. More television appearances until this film. Recently, Bruce Dern portrayed "George Spahn", in Director Quentin Tarantino's, 2019 take, on the murder of actress Sharon Tate, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood".



















Above, Bruce Dern riding with Peter Fonda.


Diane Ladd, the wife at this time of Bruce Dern, portrayed "Gaysh". Ladd started out in an episode, "The Small of Death", on the long forgotten, 1949, television series, "The Big Story". Television carried Ladd until an unnamed, uncredited role, in her first feature film, 1961's, "Something Wild", starring Carroll Baker and Ralph Meeker. Then, with the exception of playing a "Bride on her honeymoon", in the Tony Curtis, Phil Silvers and Suzanne Pleshette, 1962, "40 Pounds of Trouble", all of Diane Ladd's roles were on television until this feature and then back to the small screen media. Ladd was "Ida Sessions" in Director Roman Polanski's, 1974's, "Chinatown", starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The actress followed that role with her Best Supporting Actress nomination, BAFA win, and Golden Globe Awards nomination for her role of "Flo", in 1974's, "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore". Then it was back to television programs and from 1980 through 1981, the role of "Belle Dupree", on television's "Alice", and a Golden Globe win.



















Above, Peter Fonda and Diane Ladd with Nancy Sinatra in the background.


The Screenplay:


The plot is very simple, to begin with, all my reader needs to know is that "Heavenly Blues" is the leader of the San Pedro, a suburb of Los Angles, chapter of the "Angels". "Loser" is his best friend and "Mike" is "Blues'" "Old Lady". While, "Gayish" is in love with "Loser". 
























"Loser's" bike is stolen and "Blues" believes it's in the Riverside community of Mecca with a Mexican biker gang. All his chapter now heads for Mecca to confront the other gang.


























There they find parts of what appear to be part of "Loser's" stolen bike.



























A fight breaks out between the rival gangs and it appears the "Angels" are winning. However, police sirens are heard and the "Angels" leave, but "Loser" has gotten separated from his gang. He steals a police motorcycle, will be shot attempting to escape, and brought to a local hospital.

"Blues", with some other "Angels", sneak into the hospital to get "Loser" out of it. One of the "Angel's" attacks a nurse, but "Blues" stops him and they get "Loser".





































However, without proper medical care "Loser" dies. Back at the hospital, the "Nurse" identifies "Heavenly Blues", but the screenplay doesn't make it clear if she tells the police, he was her attacker, or just the leader of the rescue group.

All of this is a build-up to the climax at a small mountain community church. The "Angels" want to bury "Loser", and find the local preacher to conduct the service at a podium covered by a Nazi flag. However, the lack luster and fake sounding eulogy causes "Blues" to call the funeral off and a party in "Loser's" honors.




















The church becomes the site of an orgy of sex, drugs, and drinking. All the while, "Joe 'Loser' Kearns" is a party participant. Below Diana Ladd with Bruce Dern.





























"Blues" declares the party over and the funeral procession heads for the burial site.























On the "Angels" line of travel to the town's graveyard, the towns people have come to watch. At the town cemetery the "Angels" want to peacefully bury "Joe Kearns", but townspeople have showed up blocking the entrance. One of the younger residents picks up a rock and tosses it at the "Angels". This results in a brawl between both groups as police sirens are heard in the distance. 

"Blues" and "Mike" are standing by the open grave and she tells him it's time to leave. He tells her to get on the bike of another member and leave. "Blues" deep in thought tells "Mike" that:
There's nowhere to go 

As the others leave and the police sirens get closer, "Heavenly Blues", picks up a shovel and starts to bury his friend.


The music was by young composer Mike Curb. Curb would write the scores for several AIP movies and would become California Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, Republican Lieutenant Governor.

The budget for "The Wild Angels" is listed as $360,000 and the initial box office is listed as $15.4 million dollars. Indicating the impact of this little motion picture.

The movie would spawn a whole series of "Biker Flick's". This started with 1967's, "The Devil Angels", with John Cassavetes and Beverly Adams and would include, but not limited to, Tom Laughlin's first appearance as "Billy Jack", in 1967's, "Born Losers", also in my article. Then there were, 1967's, "Hells Angels on Wheels", starring Jack Nicholson and featuring the San Francisco Hells Angeles Chapter and 1968's, "The Mini-Skirt Mob", starring Diane McBain and Patty McCormick, 1968's. "The Savage Seven" and "Hell's Angels '69" in 1969. 

I mentioned putting Nancy Sinatra's picture in my Navy locker after I saw "The Wild Angels". I wrote to "American International Pictures", for a photo of her. Instead, I received a large envelope containing the "Press Book" and about 20 pictures from the film. 



Portraying "Coco Cool", Nancy Sinatra appeared on television's, "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.", in "The Take Me to Your Leader Affair", December 30, 1966.












Above David McCallum and Nancy Sinatra.

"Dr. Adrian Cool", played by Woodrow Parfey, has invented a radio telescope and he's discovered a space ship heading for the Earth. The head of the "United Network Command for Law and Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.)", "Alexander Waverly", portrayed by Leo G. Carroll. Director Alfred Hitchcock's 1945, "Spellbound" and 1951's, "Strangers on a Train" and the cult 1955 science fiction, "Tarantula", sends "Napoleon Solo", portrayed by Robert Vaughn, 1960's original "The Magnificent Seven" and 1969's, "The Bridge at Remagen", and "Illya Kuryakin", portrayed by David McCallum, 1963's, "The Great Escape", and television's "N.C.I.S.", from 2003 to the present, to investigate.

Meanwhile, "Dr. Cool's", daughter, "Coco", is kidnapped. In the end it was evil industrialist "Simon Sparrow", portrayed by Paul Lambert, out to get "Dr. Cool's" invention.



























ABC had a children's animated television series, "Off to See the Wizard". The "Wizard of Oz" characters were actually the hosts. Season One, Episode 6, October 13, 1967, was entitled, "Who's Afraid of Mother Goose".  



































The All-Star voice cast included, Maureen O'Hara voicing "Mother Goose", Margaret Hamilton, who was the "Wicked Witch" in 1939's "The Wizard of Oz", voicing "The Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe", the current "Three Stooges", Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Joe DeRita as the "Three Men in a Tub". 

While, 
Frankie Avalon voiced "Jack", and Nancy Sinatra voiced "Jill".

Which brings me to Nancy Sinatra's eighth and final motion picture.


SPEEDWAY released on June 12, 1968





Although, "Speedway", would become a Box Office success and the final formula musical for Elvis Presley. The road toward being filmed was a bit twisted.

The picture was originally planned, by "Columbia Pictures", as a second vehicle for the popular singing duo, "Sonny and Cher", but their first motion picture, "Good Times", didn't even make its costs back. So, the second film was dropped by "Colombia", but the story rights were sold to "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer".

MGM wanted to make another Elvis feature film, but Presley wasn't really interested in a musical and wanted to make dramatic motion pictures. However, MGM, offered him his usual $850,000, 1967, dollars, equal as of this writing to, $6,850,770, but increased his share of the film's profits to 50 percent.. That got the singer-actor to change his thinking.

The Director was Norman Taurog. Taurog started Directing short subjects in 1920, but in 1929, made the musical drama, "Lucky Boy". When he started on the production, it was a silent film, but he would add sound footage. Which, like many films that year, became a hybrid during the film industry's transition into sound. The movie was basically a revised version of Al Jolson's 1927, "The Jazz Singer". In 1931, Norman Taurog made the first sound version of Mark Twain's, "Huckleberry Finn". The picture starred Jackie Coogan, "Uncle Fester", on televisions, "The Adams Family". In 1938, Taurog directed Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney in "Boys Town" and in 1941, its sequel, "Men of Boys Town". In 1947, Taurog directed the first motion picture about the "Manhattan Project" and the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima,
"The Beginning or the End".

The screenplay was written by Phillip Shuken. Shuken started out as a writer for the 1950, "The Pinky Lee Show", and until 1967, was only a television writer, but for some of the major 1950's and 1960's comedy sitcoms. In 1967, he wrote the screenplay for "Doctor, You've Got to Be Kidding", starring Sandra Dee and George Hamilton. 

This feature was his second and last motion picture screenplay.

Elvis Presley portrayed "Steve Grayson". Earlier in 1968, Elvis was seen with Burgess Meredith and Joan Blondell in the musical romance, "Stay Away Joe". The picture was panned by the critics for its portrayal of Native Americans. Presley followed this motion picture with another musical romance, 1968's, "Live a Little, Love a Little", with Michele Cary. None of these films was the drama he was looking for.





















Even with Elvis and a screenplay, MGM couldn't find a co-star. Initially they wanted Petula Clark, but she didn't want the role. Next, it was Annette Funicello, but she had just made AIP's, stock car movie, "Fireball 500" and was working on another, "Thunder Alley". However, there was one singer-actress who wanted the role and would make it her last feature film.

Nancy Sinatra portrayed "Susan Jacks". Below is a great publicity still of Nancy at the time.





























Bill Bixby portrayed "Kenny Donford". Bixby had just finished, the 1963 through 1966, television series "My Favorite Martian". He had fourth billing in 1967's, "Doctor, You've Got to Be Kidding", had fourth billing in the Elvis and Shelley Fabares, 1967, musical romance, "Clambake", and was in a episode of  "It Takes a Thief", entitled "To Steal a Battleship".





















The Screenplay:


I could not locate any specific information on the original "Columbia Pictures" screenplay. Other than it was "Re-tooled" for Elvis by MGM. There can be little doubt that Shuken's screenplay has similar elements to the studios, 1964, "Viva Las Vegas", teamed Elvis with singer-actress Ann-Margaret.

Both stories have Elvis as a race car driver. In "Viva Las Vegas", he's a Gran Prix driver working as a waiter in Vegas to pay for his needed new engine. In "Speedway", Elvis is a "NASCAR" driver with a heart of gold, in financial trouble with the IRS, because of mismanagement by Bill Bixby's character.

In both features there are some excellent racing sequences.

In both pictures he falls for a girl, who at first is not interested in him, but comes to think otherwise. 

In both pictures there are some great musical numbers between both stars and as individuals. 




































































In short, IRS Agent "Susan Jacks", has been sent to monitor "NASCAR" driver, "Steve Grayson", and take a major part of each of his winnings to pay off his debt of $150,000. Equal, as of this writing to, $1,208, 959. While, kind-hearted "Steve", still helps anyone in need with a loan and his manager is dodging a strong-arm enforcer sent by the gambler he owes money too.















































In the movie Nancy Sinatra sings, "Your Groovy Self" and "There Ain't Nothing Like A Song". 

"Speedway" was shot during the Summer of 1967 and remained on the MGM shelf until June 1968. I could not locate why this happened, but it's probable it had to do with the release of Elvis' "Clambake", in October 1967, and the bad reviews and low box office the film received. The box office didn't cover the costs of making the picture.


Although not seen on-screen, Nancy Sinatra, had two excellent title songs back in 1967. The first was for, Sean Connery's, "James Bond" feature, "You Only Live Twice", June 12, 1967. While, the second, was for her father's, November 21, 1967, crime mystery, "Tony Rome". 

Although this is a motion picture and television history blog. I would be remiss, again, if I did not return to where I started with Lee Hazelwood's, "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'". That charted on January 22, 1966, proceeding up the charts in both the United States to #1, on the "Billboard Hot 100", and #1 on United Kingdom singles chart.





















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