Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Surfer Girl and the Beach Bums

I had early work today. Maybe it was just as well. We were supposed to be getting rain by later in the afternoon. Not to mention, work was busy, far busier than it has been. We didn't have enough help, especially early on. We were also hit by the chop-shop people buying up half our inventory again, mainly cereal and soda. I really wish these people would keep in mind that they're not the only ones in the universe who need cereal and soda. We do have other customers.

Thankfully, my relief, one of the college boys, was right on time. I headed out as soon as he arrived. A day that had been warm enough in the morning was hot and killer humid by 2PM. It was sunny, but there were clouds coming from at least two directions. I went straight home and didn't go anywhere else.

When I got home, I changed into my regular clothes, then went straight into cleaning the kitchen. It wasn't quite as bad as the bathroom was, but the sink still needed to be scrubbed. Ran the first Gidget movie while cleaning. Beach girl Francie (Sandra Dee) is fed up with her girlfriends flirting with guys but not getting anywhere. She's a tomboy who would rather make friends with them, including falling in love with surfing when beach bum Moondoggie (James Darren) rescues her from being caught in kelp. She gets so good at surfing, the guys consider her their mascot and "girl midget," which gives her the nickname Gidget. Gidget falls for Moondoggie after he rescues her again and enlists some of the other guys, including the "Big Kahuna" (Cliff Robertson) to make the college boy jealous. Her plans backfire when they work too well, and she has two men after her and her parents worried about her "reputation."

This wasn't anything like I was expecting. I figured it would be a campy semi-musical comedy like the Frankie/Annette surfing B-pics from a few years later. Though Darren did sing two songs, this wasn't really a musical. It's a surprisingly well-written dramady about one smart young woman who learns you can be a girl AND one of the guys...and get one of the guys in the bargain. For all of the 50s oh-gosh dialogue (I got a little tired of Dee's constant "gees"), the idea of a girl who goes for what she wants - in what was then still considered to be mainly a guy sport - is surprisingly modern. The second half, where her love life takes over, is both more dated and less interesting.

This also brings back a few childhood memories. The Jersey Shore is a popular surfing spot. I grew up around "surf bums" who worked during the winter and surfed and hung out with the locals in the summer. I sold surfboards in the Wildwood Acme's covered patio from June to Labor Day. A lot of guys I knew in high school were surfers during the summer, too. I never got into it myself - I can't afford surfboards, and while I am a good swimmer, I'm not sure I could balance on a thin board. I did enjoy watching the surfers during my beach walks in Wildwood and Cape May, though.

After Gidget ended, I took a nice, long bath. That felt great. I'm lucky that it hasn't been that busy at work, but there's a lot coming up, including the 4th of July and the beginning of the month. It'll probably be crazy next week.

Watched more cartoons during a dinner of chicken in mushroom sauce with sliced tomatoes and mayo. These were mostly random Harveytoons or the Fleischer one-off color shorts. Most were in lousy shape, but a few stood out. "All's Fair at the Fair" took a hillbilly couple on a stroll through the wonders of New York's 1939 World's Fair. "Cupid Gets His Man" pits a crew of cupids in Mountie uniforms against a confirmed bachelor and bachelorette (the former of whom distinctly resembles W.C Fields). "Crazytown" is about a backwards 'burg where the firemen shoot fire out of their hoses and houses lean every which way. "Circus Capers" looks like an early talkie short, with an imitation Mickey and Minnie falling in and out of love under the big top. The clown mouse loves the bareback rider, but he ends up singing "Laugh Clown Laugh" when she takes up with the ringmaster. But this clown rodent ends up having the last laugh! 

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