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Pajama Party (1964)
Topic Started: Apr 17 2010, 05:24 AM (184 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Everybody here knows by now how much I love these Beach Party films, but sometimes watchin' 'em, I don't remember why, exactly. Case in point: this one, which is pretty awful. Martian Tommy Kirk is sent (by Don Rickles and Frankie Avalon, in cameos) as the first stage of an invasion force. He invades Elsa Lanchester's house, which is under observation by Jesse White and his sidekicks, a short bald guy, a gorgeous Swedish blonde who can only say "Ya, Ya!"), and Buster Keaton. Seems Elsa has $20 million hidden in her house somewhere. Elsa is hosting a pajama party for her nephew Jody McCrea and his girlfriend, Annette, who should not be involved with Jody in any way shape or form, even if Frankie IS on Mars. Luckily, Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) and his Rats & Mice are around to liven things up. And Dorothy Lamour does a swell song and dance number, one of the highlights of the entire series.

Don Rickles, watching Tommy Kirk cavort on his Earth Viewer: "He's chasing an INDIAN and a BLONDE! He's such a NUT he'll probably catch the INDIAN!"

I mention that 'cause it's the funniest line in the movie. Ah, well, they can't ALL be gems.

Thanks to Balconeer Thad for this week's recommended cartoon; To Duck...Or Not To Duck (1943) was indeed swell, with Daffy Duck challenging Elmer Fudd to a boxing match that was rigged, duck-wise. In the second episode of The Shadow, our hero survived the falling ceiling but got stuck in the back of a burning truck that exploded on impact with some explosives. And our short subject, "Better Use of Leisure Time" promoted just that, as a bored teenager learns how LUCKY he is that he any free time at all, and is counselled to use it wisely (by a weird, booming male voice that he hears in his head while he lies in his bed. I hear that too sometimes. It tells me to burn stuff).
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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CliffClaven
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Earlier this summer went through all the Beach Party movies but this one; the rest were on double feature discs. Last night while searching for something else I found I had "Pajama Party" and viewed it.

One of those films that exists mainly as an excuse to go to the drive-in. You watch the girls dance, you maybe laugh at some slapstick, you fool around with your date. For an old boomer, it's background for a Five Guys hamburger (you don't rush through it) and idly checking email.

Notes:

-- Turns out this is actually the FOURTH beach movie. Frankie would return for "Beach Blanket Bingo"; he and Annette and most of the other regulars would play the same characters as in the first three. "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" was the last Frankie-and-Annette entry. One of these years I'll make a point of running them in order, mainly to sort out Don Rickles's character development.

-- The Martian opening evokes "Visit to a Small Planet" and the much later "Mork and Mindy". Also later: Tommy Kirk playing the same thing straight in "Mars Needs Women".

-- It's a little strange now to see Annette with Tommy Kirk instead of Frankie Avalon, but that same year Annette and Tommy were paired in "The Misadventures of Merlin Jones", a very cheap Disney movie. A few years prior they were a couple in the far more lavish "Escapade in Florence" (a World of Color two-parter and overseas theatrical). Later they'd return in "The Monkey's Uncle", a sequel (!) to "Merlin Jones".

-- Dorothy Lamour is so much better than that song you're almost embarrassed for her. She turns on the charm and clearly has the moves to do more than react to the chickies, and normally the chickies have my full attention.

-- Annette in a baby doll nightie is worth the price of admission.

-- Candy Johnson, the hyper blonde dancer whose gyrations hit men like a force field; is present and hyper. But now Ms. Hart is the movie's Stupdifyin' Jones. Her slow but admittedly sexy hip action causes flowers to wilt, candles to melt, and punch to explode. That seems anti-sexy somehow.

-- Donna Loren has a single song; does she even appear anywhere else in the movie?

-- Jesse White as "J. Sinister Hulk" would return in "Invisible Bikini". No mention of how he got back from Mars.
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Laughing Gravy
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For the record, here's the entire series - each and every one a comedic masterpiece. Thank you for contributing to this thread about one of the most beloved and important of all film series.

Beach Party (August, 1963)
Muscle Beach Party (March, 1964)
Bikini Beach (July, 1964)
Pajama Party (November, 1964)
Beach Blanket Bingo (April, 1965)
Ski Party (June, 1965)
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (July, 1965)
Sergeant Deadhead, the Astronaut (August, 1965)
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (April, 1966)

You can throw in Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (November, 1965) if you want.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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