A delightful and insightful look at the beach party film genre of the 1960s

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/09/a-delightful-and-insightful-lo.html


I still haven’t found a good recipe for stuffing a wild bikini.


I’m very glad that, here in 2018, “these kids” are finally losing the ability to rule the market. The beach party genre the Boomers supported when they were teenagers wasn’t evil, but many of the political positions they’ve supported since 1980 have been.

[disclaimer: yes, yes, notallboomers]


My curiosity is getting the better of me. Where is this wave of anti-Boomer sentiment coming from? I feel like I’m in the middle - are those of us in Gen X now the sandwich generation in a new conflict? It concerns me because it is such a distraction from how politics and public policy has been taken over by corporate interests and the wealthy. Those at the top who successfully took power out of the hands of voters would love nothing more than to pit them against each other, and cross-generational conflict seems to be the new low-hanging fruit.

Even worse, it’s playing into the current political strategy of attacking the oldest and poorest of the population. We need voters of every generation to try and take that control back. Really, it’s notmostboomers, so why are they getting so much negative focus now?


Even if they are as the video says ‘They are the exact same movie every time’ these are great fun with wonderful cameos and character actors and songs.


While Gen Xers like myself have long held anti-Boomer sentiment, at the moment I think it’s the Boomers’ child generation of Millenials that’s driving it. Now that they’ve come of age they have the clout we never had and realise that the world that their parents’ generation built over the last 35 years is one that’s rigged against them.

Gen Xers at least had a chance to enjoy the dregs of the heady wine of the postwar economic anomaly that the Boomer generation guzzled so profligately starting back when beach party movies were popular; Millenials and younger people are looking at the empty kegs and a new reality of lower earning power, higher inequality, environmental devastation, and extreme political polarisation that’s the morning-after mess on the beach that the partiers left for others to clean up.

Now certainly a lot of Boomers have also paid the price for their generation’s politics of selfishness, smug self-satisfaction, and confrontation for confrontation’s sake – if fewer of them had betrayed the ideals of their youth* and voted for Reagan perhaps we wouldn’t have seen many of them having to postpone their retirements in 2007-2008 (instead hanging on to jobs that might have been filled by younger people). But that didn’t happen, and instead we saw the Overton window shift ever-rightward to the point where in 2016 the Dem establishment was still mired in Third-Way politics, to disastrous effect.

In terms of demographic numbers the Boomers as a generation had a lot of power in politics, in the markets, in culture. In the 1960s it allowed this ridiculous film genre to thrive. However, when an opportunity to effect positive change when they were they were in their 30s (the age their Millenial children are now) was offered to them they squandered it.

[* ideals that, contrary to Boomer 60s mythology, were promulgated by Silent generation leaders of the same generation as Frankie and Annette, who were only playing Boomer teenagers]


Oh, anti-Boomer feelings were key to GenX as well. That’s kind of what we were reacting against in the “slacker” era of the early 1990s. We viewed the Boomers as sellouts, going from hippies to yuppies (yes, I know many Boomers were neither).


Baby boomers drank the neoliberal Kool Aid and voted to destroy to New Deal policies that drove the post-war prosperity. They joined with the reactionary older generation and implemented the Reagan agenda. Even late cohort baby boomers lost out. No wonder more recent generations loathe them.

On the other hand, these were fun movies.


Actor Eddie Deezen wrote the Mental Floss article on these.

So fun fact they originally wanted teen singer and hearthrob Fabian in the part played by Frankie Avalon. They eventually got him for Fireball 500 and Thunder Alley as well as for the second Dr. Goldfoot movie which was directed by one of my favorite Italian schlock directors Mario Bava.


Well. Whose fault do you think that is?


they have just moved on the the market of adult diapers and rascal scooters if the ads on the rerun tv channels tell me anything.


They were. The campy and over-the-top villains (if you want to honour incompetent characters with low-stakes ambitions with that title) were the most fun for me, at least in the two movies I saw. I also loved the goofball teenage characters with the funny hats and the cameos from old-time movie stars like Buster Keaton.

Eddie Deezen, you say? On beach party movies, you say? Off to read that article right now.


Years ago like in the 80s, my friend, Bill W and I wrote a Rock Opera Tragedy called Frankie and Annette.
In the story Frankie and Annette Marry and produce a son Frankie Jr. However Annette catches Frankie with a beach Blanket Extra and leaves him. Fast Forward 20 years and Frankie Jr is in a punk band where he gets hit in the head by a whiskey bottle while playing in the bible belt somewhere. Frankie and Annette meet up again at the boys funeral where Frankie confesses his undying love and wants to get back together. Annette Rejects his proposal. Frankie all depressed goes to the beach and sings his tragic song Frankies Lament and tries to surf to Hawaii. he drowns in the process. Annette hears about his death while filming a peanut butter commercial and chokes to death.

It’s a tragedy


I would start with Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, and others of their ilk, but my focus is on the players of the game - not the pieces.


I think it’s this… many of the people who dominate politics and who are representative of corporate interests are indeed boomers.

Many of those are indeed boomers. Think about the make up of congress - primarily boomers. think about the people pumping vast amounts of money into politics - many of them are boomers.


All three of them are Boomers, although of a particularly noxious type who skipped over the whole idealistic youth phase, put on suits and ties, and went straight to work supporting Nixon and Goldwater and their ilk long before the bulk of others in their generational cohort sold out to Reaganism.

The larger problem is that many of the Boomers who liked to say “don’t trust anyone over 30” in the 1960s turned around proved by their own behaviour during the 1980s exactly why that was a wise saying.


I believe this is the first time I’d actually heard someone utter the words “argy bargy”.


The seemingly universal human need for something to hate. Hating on people for their race, religion, gender, etc. is no longer acceptable (at least on this site). But create an arbitrary group, let’s say people between 54 and 72 years of age; insist that they have no individual minds but all share the same reprehensible values; blame them for all the wrongs of the world, and there are those who will jump at the chance to indulge in a two minutes’ hate.

Why encourage this? Divide and conquer. In the 1960s it was “don’t trust anyone over 30”. Exploit the natural tensions between parents and children and you can make it less likely that boomers and their children will work for a common cause.

Talk of generations is just lazy. People are born every year. Each cohort grows up in a different world. Each individual reacts differently to the world they grow up in.

Reagan was elected in 1980, when the youngest boomers were 16. But let’s lump them all together anyway.

Aand we move on to victim blaming.


If you’re talking about the clip from Arkoff he’s saying “artsy fartsies”.


The Baby Boomers were born roughly between 1946 and 1965. You may be confusing them with Gen Xers, who were indeed teenagers at the time. [edited to correct typo]

No, it’s pointing out that some individual Boomers were victims of their own generational cohort’s shortcomings.