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Sixties Cinema - starring fantasy femmes, film fatales, drive-in dream girls and teenage beach movies from the 60's

Monday, August 08, 2005

Some great new DVDs were released last month by MGM as part of their Midnite Movie series. I recommend you immediately rush out and buy them!

The first double bill is Fireball 500/Thunder Alley. Fireball 500 (1966) stars Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello in their last film together until they re-teamed for Back to the Beach in the 80s. The sand and surf are no where to be found as Frankie and Fabian play rival stock car racers on the track and off as both pursue the buxom Annette. This film is the last to feature most of the Beach Party gang including Harvey Lembeck, Ed Garner, Salli Sachse, Mary Hughes, Patti Chandler, and Sue Hamilton. Dark-haired Julie Parrish went blonde to play a vixen who uses the pre-occupied boys to run moonshine for her without their knowing.

Remarking why the hair color change, Julie said in Fantasty Femmes, "I was a blonde because Annette Funicello did not want to work with another brunette. Maybe she thought the picture would look better with two contrasting women, I don’t know. But they told us that at the last minute. They tried to bleach my hair but the hairdresser said, ‘It’s not going to work because her hair is going to fall out of her head.’ They then dyed it red. So I reported to the set the next day and they went crazy—‘No! No! No! We said make it blonde!’ So they had to get a wig at the last minute—not a great wig. I hated how I looked in this film.”

In Thunder Alley (1967) Fabian and Annette are re-united in another fun stock car racing drama, which featured sexy Fantasy Femme Salli Sachse on the movie's poster art. Diane McBain is the bad girl in this one playing Fabian's ex who uses his rival (pudgy and totally miscast Warren Berlinger ) to get back at him. When asked to recall anything about making this movie Fantasy Femme Diane McBain laughed and quipped, "I don’t remember much because most of my off screen time was spent watching them film In the Heat of the Night with Sidney Poitier being filmed next door.”


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