I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Performances In The Sand

When James Brown passed away recently, I thought about his appearance in a beach movie entitled Ski Party (1965). Brown and his band at the time, The Famous Flames, show up at the lodge with another character whom they had rescued from the snow. Frankie Avalon and several of the college co-eds pipe up with, "Gee, Mr. Brown, can you sing a song for us?" Immediately, Brown goes into "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and caps it off with one of his signature splits, done in the snow at that. Brown's stint in that film is different from his appearances in The Blues Brothers (1980), Doctor Detroit (1983), and Rocky IV (1985). In those films, Brown's presence is treated as a special treat with an air of respect for his talent. In The Blues Brothers, his role is integral to the plot. Not so much in Ski Party, where it feels as if the producers just threw him and his band in just because they could.

It feels the same when I see other popular rock and soul acts in other beach movies from the 1960's. In fact, you could take their scenes out and not delete anything from the plots, such as they were. The Supremes show up in Beach Ball (1965), singing their one and only surf rock song, "Surfer Boy". They seem to appear out of nowhere, then disappear as soon as the song ends, never to be referred to again in the movie.

Is it me, or did Eric Burdon look very bored in the movie, It's A Bikini World (1967)? He and his group The Animals are shown singing "House of The Rising Son", a hard hitting bluesy rock song that seems out of place in the silly boy vs. girl plot.

The Righteous Brothers show up near the end of A Swingin' Summer (1965). I believe they sang "Justine". They just appear at an impromptu party, where Racquel Welch sheds the prim girl image her character had throughout the movie and dances. An appreciative James Stacy just smiles at her and shakes his head.

Stevie Wonder appeared in a few beach movies which lead me to wonder -- what parent would let their pre-teen kid perform in clubs where college-age kids hang out? After all, he was known as "Little" Steve Wonder at the time, and all of twelve and thirteen years old. At least he would have more than one performance, usually. He'd been seen in the middle of the movie, then at the end while the end credits ran.


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