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Ski Party (1965)

Beach Party movies, why limit them to summer? That must have been the thinking among the brain trust at American International Pictures. Apparently, nobody in the room said, “Because most of the drive-ins in America are closed during the winter!”

That’s how we wound up with this unalloyed gem of a movie, a combination of Some Like It Hot  and Beach Blanket Bingo – only in parkas – called Ski Party.

The 6th entry in the Beach Party series has everything – except Annette. Or at least Annette is only around for two quick scenes in the beginning. She is there in the beginning of the movie as a college sex ed professor (!) who gets into some inappropriate behavior with one of her students.

Her replacement on this ski trip is Deborah Walley, who clearly lacks two of Ms. Funicello’s major attractions. I mean Annette’s singing voice and big helmet of black hair (really, get your mind out of the gutter).

Read more: Ski Party (1965)

R.I.P. Ed "Kookie" Byrnes (1932-2019)

He was television's first hispter. Edd Byrnes (boen Edward Byrne Breitenberger combed his way to stardom as "Kookie" on the ABC television series, 77 Sunset Strip. He passed away this January at he age of 87.

Brynes was featured in the pilot episode of Sunset Strip, not as comedy relief, but as the billain. What's more his character, Gerald LLyod Kookson, was killed off in that pilot episode. But so strong was the viewer response to the character that Warners brought him back from the dead and rehabillitated him. Series' star, Emphram Zimbalist, Jr. explained it all to viewers in a special filmed introduction for the episode where they brought the character back. Kookie, as he was often called, was now parking cars for Dean Martin's restaurant, Dino's, right next store to 77 Sunset Strip. Eventually, he left the parkig lot and joined the firm as a full-fledged detective himself.

Beisdes his hipster slang, Kookie's other main trait was the attention he paid to his hairstyle. Both qualities were combined in a novelty record released at the height of hi fame. "Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb" featured Byrnes and another Warner Brothers actor with teen appeal, Connie Stevens. The record (you can't really call it a song as it was mostly spoken, not sung) sold over a million copies, reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and gave the world the phrase, "Baby, you're the ginchiest!"

Following the end of 77 Sunset StripByrnes never reached the same heights of popularity, but continued to find work in movies and tv shows. He had another shot of fame when he was cast as lecherous disc jockey Vince Fontaine in the movie version of Grease.

Forgotten Films of the 60’s: Gambit (1966)

Ah, how soon we forget!

Gambit was an A-list caper film that starred Michael Caine as the thief and Shirley MacLaine as his initially unwitting accomplice.

Caine is out to steal a priceless statue from the world’s richest man (Herbet Lom). MacLaine bears an uncanny resemblance to Lom’s dead wife, whom he adored. (Hey, if she looked like Shirley Maclaine, what’s not to adore?)

The film’s main gimmick is that we first see the caper play out flawlessly. In the film’s first of several twists, we then find out what we’ve been seeing is merely the way Caine has described his plan to his partner, an art forger (John Abbott).

Read more: Forgotten Films of the 60’s: Gambit (1966)

The TV That Time Forgot: Hawaiian Eye

In show biz, imitation may not be the sincerest form of flattery, but it is the most predictable.

When 77 Sunset Strip was a rating success in the 1958 -59 TV season, Warner Brothers immediately began working up other series with the same basic components.

First, you need an exotic, but American locale. Hawaii was perfect. Not only was it tropical, but it was very topical as well. During 1959 and 1960, Hawaii was on its way to becoming our 50th state.

The Hawaiian Eye Detective Agency was headquartered in Honolulu’s upscale Hawaiian Village Hotel. The detectives performed security duties for the hotel in exchange for rent. The offices were quite elaborate with a tiki statue by the front door (often kissed for good luck) and a full sized private swimming pool! (Just what every private eye needs.)

Next, you add a handsome but mature leading man (the Efrem Zimbalist of the show). For Hawaiian Eye, that would be Anthony Eisley as Tracy Steele.

Read more: The TV That Time Forgot: Hawaiian Eye

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