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Film / Bikini Beach

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Bikini Beach is a 1964 American teen film directed by William Asher and starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. It is the third in the series of beach party films produced by American International Pictures (AIP).

Millionaire Harvey Huntington Honeywagon III (Keenan Wynn) is convinced that the teenagers who go to the beach are so senselessly obsessed with partying that their mentality is below that of a primate – particularly comparing them with his pet chimp Clyde, who can surf, drive, and dance better than anyone on the beach. Once he has demoralized the teenagers, Honeywagon also plans to turn Bikini Beach into a senior citizens retirement home.

Meanwhile, British mod rocker and drag racer Peter Royce Bentley (Avalon), better known as "The Potato Bug", arrives at Bikini Beach, where it does not take long for Frankie (also Avalon) to butt heads with him.

This film features examples of:

  • British Rockstar: Potato Bug may be one of the earliest examples (the movie being made in the middle of The British Invasion) although in very cringe-worthy I Am Very British mode (apparently all Britons acted like Terry-Thomas at the time.)
  • The Cameo: Boris Karloff appears as an art dealer at the end.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "The Potato Bug" is a not-so-subtle reference to The Beatles; from the nickname, to his mannerisms being similar to those of John Lennon in particular, albeit his persona is more based on British stereotypes as perceived by Americans, so as mentioned before, he's more like Lennon doing a Terry-Thomas impersonation.
    • The pool player "South Dakota Slim" is a play on the pool shark character "Minnesota Fats" from The Hustler (1961).
    • Boris Karloff's cameo is a riff on Vincent Price's commercials for "the Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art" being offered at Sears at the time. Price had appeared in Beach Party and other AIP films over the previous year doing a similar gag, thus creating a punchline where the audience would assume they would be seeing Price again only for fellow horror actor Karloff to be revealed.
  • Toilet Humour: Honeywagon's surname is a reference to a type of portable toilet of the same name — thus Frankie's reply upon hearing Honeywagon's name: "I'd keep that quiet if I were you."
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: As with all the beach party movies, most of the female cast is in bikinis most of the time.