Wednesday, December 28, 2011

RIDE THE WILD SURF - Stu Phillips - Jan and Dean - "Who Will Be Crowned King Of The Surf?" (1964)

Well, I've been holding onto this little oyster for a while, and here's what happened. Netflix said "Ride The Wild Surf" was a William Castle film, but I never knew of a William Castle surf movie, so it piqued my interest. Problem is, they got it wrong, William Castle had nothing to do with this movie, but it is quite a bit different from your normal Frankie and (Sorry Bro, no Annette) surf bash and it fits in between X-Mas and New Years as well as anywhere or anything else, so here you go.....

The main theme for "Ride The Wild Surf" was performed by sidewalk surfers Jan & Dean, and the rest of the music was composed by Stu Phillips, the founder of Colpix Records! If the title song sounds a bit Beach Boysish, it's because Brian Wilson was one of the co-authors along with Jan(Jan & Dean)Berry, and Roger Christian! Stu Phillips also wrote the music for "Hells Angels On Wheels," "Venus In Furs," "Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, and more, plus the TV series "Gidget" and "The Monkees" too! Somewhere in the movie they also stuck in the classic "Sufer's Stomp" by The Marketts!

These opening intro shots look like picture prefect postcards, vintage 1964!

"Ride The Wild Surf" is chock full of 60's pop icons! We'll start with Barbara "I Dream Of Jeannie" Eden as Augie Poole. We went to school with Augie's second cousin, third removed on her Mother's side, Sandra! Teenager Barbara was 30 years old when this movie was made!

29 year old teenager Peter Brown wasn't usually blonde and is probably best known for his appearances in 60's cowboy TV shows like "Lawman," and "Laredo!" Some of his various western characters were Clay Conover, and Chad Cooper, and his name in this film was Chase Colton! Yeah, I know, Weirdsville!!! His initial meeting with Augie Poole is also little awkward!!

Fabiano Anthony Forte aka Fabian has the role of Jody Wallis. Fabian's a little closer to being a teenager at 22!

Next up is Shelly "192 episodes of The Donna Reed Show" Fabares, as Brie Matthews, another piece of cheese that doesn't look quite right as a blonde! Shelley was 20 when they made this movie! Shelley was also in an episode of "The Twilight Zone" titled "Black Leather Jackets," and in both "Spinout" and "Clambake" with Elvis Presley!

Fabian inquires into how perky Shelley is feeling!

The main story centers around a surfin' competition in Hawaii! Hit the surf!!

And get ready for some of the fakiest green screen footage you're likely to ever see! As you can see, another teen icon is the third member of this mighty trio, Tab Hunter! Teenager Tab's character Steamer Lane was 33 when this film was made! Maybe it is a William Castle film after all!

The girls cheer the guys on! Here's something interesting that doesn't usually happen with these 60's movies, every person written about so far is still alive!!! Must have had something to do with all that pure Hawaiian air!

Susan Hart as Hawaiian girl Lily Kilua has been poppin' up all over the place around here lately, try a Susan Hart search over on the sidebar, and you'll see what I mean! On Susan's right is Catherine McLeod as her Mother! Catherine was all over the TV in the 50's and the 60's and in the same year "Ride The Wild Surf" was made, she was in the "Outer Limits" episode titled "Soldier!" Catherine is the only main cast member no longer living!

As much as this looks like the perfect romantic moment, in real life Susan went on to marry AIP president James H. Nicholson, and in his 2005 memoir titled "Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making Of A Movie Star, Tab revealed to the world that he was gay!

There is also quite a lot of documentary style real surfing footage!

It's really a fairly serious story, but there are some aspects that are pretty silly, not Harvey Lembeck silly, but silly nonetheless!

Another fantastic romantic moment with just the two of them on the beach!

Steamer might have had second thoughts as Lilly puts on one suggestive and seductive dance number! I think somewhere around here, I still have Tab Hunter's 78 single release "Young Love" that was at #1 for six weeks in 1957! "They say for every boy and girl, there's just one love in this old world, and I know I've found mine" - "Young Love" was first recorded by Ric Cartey and The Jiva-Tones" in 1956 without much success. Besides Tab Hunter it was also covered by Sony James, and The Crew-Cuts!

Augie was going to set off that huge fireworks rocket they were carrying, and she's the only one who also scared of getting burned! Good thing it was a dud!

As the action on the waves heats up, the girls start to show their concern!

To give the whole thing an air of authenticity, the news media interviews 'real' professional surfers!!

The guy giving the happy trio the most difficulties out on the waves is the iconic Robert Mitchum's son, James Mitchum! If you think he kind of looks like his Dad, well, you'd be 100% correcto! Jim played his Dad's younger brother in the classic thriller "Thunder Road" made in 1958! The title song "The Ballad Of Thunder Road" was both written and performed by Robert Mitchum. It hit the charts in 1958 and again in 1962, and reached #62 on the top 100!

Still more high quality surfin' footage!

Shelley finds the time to look concerned one more time!

And the sun sets on yet another prefect day! "I just hope you understand, I just want to go back to The Islands!" - Leon Russell


Debbie D said...

Love it!

zillagord said...

Hear the night birds cry,
Watch the sunset die...

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!!


TABONGA! said...

Sandra Poole, easy to have a crush on that girl! We were in art class together the day Kennedy was shot...

Douglas McEwan said...

Oddly enough, I reference Ride the Wild Surf in a novel I've written that is coming out this spring.

I've seen this film as recently as 4 months ago, and I do not believe there is anything in the film to indicate that these characters are supposed to be teenagers. This is not a teen beach party musical romp, despite the presence of Fabian. It's an attempt to do a serious, dramatic movie about surfers, albeit coming off rather shallow. They're supposed to be professional surfers in their 20s to early 30s, in short, exactly the ages the actors were. There are indeed lots of movies, and even more TV shows, full of actors in their 20s, 30s, and beyond, pretending to be teenagers, but this is not one of them.

The real goof in this movie's casting was Fabian's character. It's a dramatic role of a man with trust issues, and Fabian lacked any sort of acting chops needed to bring it off.

Tab's discussion of the location shoot of this movie in his memoir is very interesting.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

You're right, the teenage references were a joke! You think Surf movies, you think teenagers, it was just that simple.

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