"Bikini Beach," "Beach Blanket Bingo" and "Beach Party." Most people when asked to name a beach movie, immediately refer to this Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello '60s trilogy ( I don't include the offshoot "Muscle Beach" flick as part of this authentic ouvre).
In 1963's "Beach Party" Annette went by the name Doris (an homage to Doris Day?). The plots, I use the term loosely, were almost interchangeable -- mostly surf, sand, rock 'n roll and sex -- well, mostly innocent tease really. But what's most remembered is the hope -- false as it turned out -- that the voluptuous Annette would reveal a tad more skin. And then there's Bob Cummings in a patently false beard, Harvey Lembeck as the hyper and astonishingly old juvenile delinquent Eric Von Zipper. And of course the tassled Candy Johnson shaking her bikini'd booty over, or is it under, the credits.
In "Bikini Beach" Annette is now Dee Dee (must be an homage to Sandra Dee) and Frankie stretches his chops by playing two roles. He is his standard sex-crazed surfer guy and also the gap toothed (a nod toward Terry Thomas?) Brit singer potato Bug -- apparently a spoof on the Beatles (remember, this is 1964). A drag race is part of the action and there's an ape that surfs.
"Beach Blanket Bingo" what a great title) is probably the best of the bunch. The dialogue is almost witty. And of course there's the great stone faced silent clown Buster keaton doing his timeless bits of busines. (A burned out alcoholic's sad, haunting and poignant farewell to the genius of his youth.) Don Rickles gets a major break with a part that sealed his antagonistic comic persona. Annette show a little more flesh and Frankie has a tan. The rear projection surf shots are still laughable but the over-all photography is much better. Les Baxter's score is full of energy and the title tune is actually memorable and fun.