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Beach Blanket Bingo

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Title: Beach Blanket Bingo  
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Subject: Fireball 500, Films directed by William Asher, Kahuna, Earl Wilson (columnist), B movies (The exploitation boom)
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Beach Blanket Bingo

Beach Blanket Bingo
theatrical poster
Directed by William Asher
Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff
James H. Nicholson
Written by Leo Townsend
Sher Townsend
William Asher
Starring Frankie Avalon
Annette Funicello
Music by Les Baxter
Cinematography Floyd Crosby, ASC
Edited by Eve Newman
Fred R. Feitshans Jr.
Distributed by American International
Release dates April 14, 1965
Running time 98 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Beach Blanket Bingo is an American International Pictures beach party film, released in 1965 and was directed by William Asher. It is the fifth film in the beach party film series. The film starred Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello and also featured cameos by Paul Lynde, Don Rickles and Buster Keaton.[1] Linda Evans's singing voice was dubbed by Jackie Ward.


A singer, Sugar Kane (Linda Evans), is unwittingly being used for publicity stunts for her latest album by her agent (Paul Lynde), for example, faking a skydiving stunt, actually performed by Bonnie (Deborah Walley). Meanwhile, Frankie (Frankie Avalon), (duped into thinking he rescued Sugar Kane), takes up skydiving at Bonnie's prompting; she secretly wants to make her boyfriend Steve (John Ashley) jealous. This, of course, prompts Dee Dee (Annette Funicello) to also try free-falling. Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) and his Malibu Rat Pack bikers also show up, with Von Zipper falling madly in love with Sugar Kane. To top all this, Bonehead (Jody McCrea) falls in love with a mermaid (Marta Kristen). 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 (Timothy Carey) kidnapping Sugar and tying her to a buzz-saw.


Cast notes
  • Beach Blanket Bingo was Frankie Avalon's last "starring role" in the Beach Party films. He appears for only a few minutes in the next film, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, and not at all in the last film The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.
  • Jody McCrea, who played "Deadhead" in Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party and Bikini Beach, is now called "Bonehead" in this film, as AIP had decided the term "Deadhead" was a so-called 'bankable noun' and had decided to cast Avalon as the title character of their upcoming Sergeant Deadhead.[2]
  • John Ashley, who played "Ken" in Beach Party, and "Johnny" in both Muscle Beach Party and Bikini Beach, returns in this film as "Steve," playing opposite his real-life wife Deborah Walley.
  • Rat Pack leader Harvey Lembeck (Eric Von Zipper) is given more screen time than ever before in this third film to feature his character. He even gets to sing his own song titled "Follow Your Leader" (which he reprises as "I Am My Ideal" for the follow-up How to Stuff a Wild Bikini).
  • The part of Sugar Kane, played by Linda Evans, was originally intended for Nancy Sinatra. This change was due in part to the fact that the plot involved a kidnapping, which was somewhat reminiscent of her brother Frank Sinatra, Jr.'s kidnapping a few months before shooting began and it made her uncomfortable causing her to drop out.[2]
  • Donna Michelle, who portrays Animal, was Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Year for 1964.
  • Bobbi Shaw, again is playing her "ya, ya" Swedish bombshell part.[3]
  • Though this was Rickles' fourth film in the series, it's the only one in which he was allowed to "be himself" in one scene. He did a little of his night-club act and insulted the cast members, notably asking why Avalon and Funicello were in the picture: "You're 40 years old!"


Elsa Lanchester was originally announced for a small role off the back of her performance in Pajama Party[4] but does not appear in the final film.

Deleted sequences and songs
  • After the sequence wherein Frankie sings “These Are The Good Times”:[2]
Dee Dee leaves the beach club and sings “I’ll Never Change Him” by herself at the beach house.

(This sequence can still be seen in 16mm prints and television broadcasts of Beach Blanket Bingo,[5] but the Region 1 MGM DVD omits it. See Music section below)

  • After Frankie completes his skydiving jump:[6]
Bonehead asks Frankie if Lorelei and himself can double-date with Frankie and Dee Dee;
Bonehead then goes to a dress shop to get Lorelei’s clothes – where an older saleslady flirts with him as he tries to illustrate Lorelei’s dress size;
A strolling Frankie and Dee Dee see Bonehead with his arms around the older saleslady and figure she must be his date;
  • After Bonehead brings Lorelei her clothes and shoes:[6]
Frankie and Dee Dee arrive to pick them up, and the four of them sing “A Surfer’s Life For Me” as they drive to the beach club in Frankie’s hot rod coupe. Then, as seen in the release print, the two couples arrive together at the beach club as the Hondells are performing “The Cycle Set.”
Movie tie-in

Dell Comics published a 12 cent comic book version of Beach Blanket Bingo in conjunction with the movie's release.[6]


The score for this fifth film, like the four preceding it, was composed by Les Baxter.

Guy Hemric and Jerry Styner wrote seven songs for the film: “Beach Blanket Bingo” sung by Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello with the cast; the duet “I Think You Think” performed by Avalon and Funicello; “These Are the Good Times” sung by Avalon; “It Only Hurts When I Cry” sung by Donna Loren; “Follow Your Leader” sung by Harvey Lembeck with the “Rat Pack;” and the two songs “New Love” and “Fly Boy” – both of which were sung by studio call vocalist Jackie Ward off-screen – and lip-synched by Linda Evans onscreen.

Gary Usher and Roger Christian wrote three songs, “Cycle Set” and the instrumental “Freeway” - both performed by the Hondells; and “I'll Never Change Him” performed by Annette Funicello. (“I'll Never Change Him” was included in initial prints, but later excised for wide release when the decision was made to feature the song as "We'll Never Change Them" in Ski Party.)


  • In the 1983 film The Outsiders, set in the mid 1960s, Beach Blanket Bingo is shown playing at a drive-in.
  • An excerpt from the title song and a partial scene from Beach Blanket Bingo, dubbed into Vietnamese, feature in the 1987 film, Good Morning, Vietnam
  • Beach Blanket Bingo is also a band from the UK


  1. ^ Gary A. Smith, The American International Pictures Video Guide, McFarland 2009 p 20
  2. ^ a b c McParland
  3. ^ "The Score of Beach Blanket Bingo"> of Beach BlanketBingo.html
  4. ^ George Succeeds Despite Miscasting Dorothy Kilgallen:. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) [Washington, D.C] 07 Dec 1964: B11.
  5. ^ Beach Blanket Bingo in I'll Never Change HimAnnette Funicello sings on YouTube
  6. ^ a b c Beach Blanket Bingo, pp. 20–22
  • McParland, Stephen J. (1994). It's Party Time - A Musical Appreciation of the Beach Party Film Genre. Riverside, California, USA: PTB Productions.  
  • "Beach Blanket Bingo". Dell Movie Classic (Dell Publishing Inc.). July–September 1965. 

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