California Dreaming (1979)

R | 90 mins | Comedy-drama, Romance | 1979

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HISTORY

When filming began, the project was known as State Beach, while Golden Summer was another name being considered, according to a 14 Sep 1977 Var brief. After legal permission was obtained from the copyright owners of The Mamas and the Papas song, "California Dreamin’," the film was retitled, as noted in the 11 Dec 1977 LAT article.
       Capitalizing on the drive-in theater, teen market, American International Pictures, Inc. (AIP) had earned financial success, but also a reputation for “exploitative” material. As executive in charge of production, Louis S. Arkoff was determined to differentiate California Dreaming from the company’s previous offerings, such as Beach Blanket Bingo (1965, see entry). Articles in the 11 Dec 1977 LAT and the 29 Jun 1978 HR described how this latest beach-themed production indicated a revamped strategy, involving greater participation with merchandising rights, particularly soundtrack albums, larger budgets and more serious stories. Overseeing California Dreaming from development to release also represented a new, prominent role for Louis S. Arkoff, the son of one of AIP’s founding leaders, Samuel Z. Arkoff.
       The film was director John Hancock’s first project after a controversial departure from the production of Jaws 2 (1978, see entry).
       The production started on location 17 Oct 1977 in Santa Monica, CA, at State Beach, but most of the shooting took place at Pismo Beach, near San Luis Obispo, CA, according to an item in the 2 Jan 1979 HR. Neighboring Avila Beach was also mentioned as a filming site in a 2 Dec ... More Less

When filming began, the project was known as State Beach, while Golden Summer was another name being considered, according to a 14 Sep 1977 Var brief. After legal permission was obtained from the copyright owners of The Mamas and the Papas song, "California Dreamin’," the film was retitled, as noted in the 11 Dec 1977 LAT article.
       Capitalizing on the drive-in theater, teen market, American International Pictures, Inc. (AIP) had earned financial success, but also a reputation for “exploitative” material. As executive in charge of production, Louis S. Arkoff was determined to differentiate California Dreaming from the company’s previous offerings, such as Beach Blanket Bingo (1965, see entry). Articles in the 11 Dec 1977 LAT and the 29 Jun 1978 HR described how this latest beach-themed production indicated a revamped strategy, involving greater participation with merchandising rights, particularly soundtrack albums, larger budgets and more serious stories. Overseeing California Dreaming from development to release also represented a new, prominent role for Louis S. Arkoff, the son of one of AIP’s founding leaders, Samuel Z. Arkoff.
       The film was director John Hancock’s first project after a controversial departure from the production of Jaws 2 (1978, see entry).
       The production started on location 17 Oct 1977 in Santa Monica, CA, at State Beach, but most of the shooting took place at Pismo Beach, near San Luis Obispo, CA, according to an item in the 2 Jan 1979 HR. Neighboring Avila Beach was also mentioned as a filming site in a 2 Dec 1977 DV brief. By the end of the year, shooting was completed, as stated in a 22 Dec 1977 DV item.
       The budget was noted as $2 million in the 11 Dec 1977 LAT article.
       As reported by a 20 May 1978 LAT item, the film was scheduled to open summer 1978, but the release was pushed back to avoid competition from films with a similar setting such as Big Wednesday (1978, see entry) and Malibu Beach (1978, see entry).
       The 30 Mar 1979 HR review revealed that the soundtrack album was the first release in AIP’s new distribution arrangement with Casablanca Records and Tapes. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
2 Dec 1977.
---
Daily Variety
22 Dec 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Dec 1977
Section X, p. 66.
Los Angeles Times
20 May 1978.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 May 1979
p. 29.
Variety
14 Sep 1977.
---
Variety
4 Apr 1979
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Samuel Z. Arkoff presents
a Taft Organization Whittaker Production
a Cinema 77 film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr/1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
Wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Key grip
Gaffer
Best boy
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Ward supv
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus exec prod
Mus dir
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom man
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Sd eng
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Body makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
In charge of post prod
Craft serviceman
Asst to the dir
Scr supv
Prod coord
Prod controller
Asst prod controller
Prod auditor
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Casting asst
SOURCES
SONGS
"California Dreaming," performed by America, music and lyrics by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips, produced by Jerry Beckley and Lee Bunnell
"Everybody's Dancin,'" performed by Henry Small, music and lyrics by Fred Karlin, produced by Howard Steele
"Forever," performed by Michelle Phillips, music and lyrics by Fred Karlin, produced by Howard Steele
+
SONGS
"California Dreaming," performed by America, music and lyrics by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips, produced by Jerry Beckley and Lee Bunnell
"Everybody's Dancin,'" performed by Henry Small, music and lyrics by Fred Karlin, produced by Howard Steele
"Forever," performed by Michelle Phillips, music and lyrics by Fred Karlin, produced by Howard Steele
"Among the Yesterdays," performed by Burton Cummings, music by Fred Karlin, lyrics by Robb Royer, produced and arranged by Vincent Albano
"Pass You By," performed by Flo & Eddie, music by Fred Karlin, lyrics by Robb Royer, produced and arranged by Vincent Albano
"Keep It in the Family," performed by Burton Cummings, music and lyrics by Burton Cummings, produced and arranged by Vincent Albano, Burton Cummings performed through the courtesy of Portrait Records
"Come on and Get Ready," performed by Henry Small, music and lyrics by Vincent Albano, produced and arranged by Vincent Albano
"I'm in Love Again," performed by Pat Upton, music and lyrics by Fred Karlin, produced and arranged by Vincent Albano
"See It My Way," performed by FDR (Franklin, Douglas and Rain), music and lyrics by Fred Karlin, produced and arranged by Vincent Albano.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
California Dreamin'
State Beach
Golden Summer
Release Date:
1979
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 18 May 1979
Production Date:
began 17 October 1977
Copyright Claimant:
American International Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 June 1979
Copyright Number:
PA38362
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by Movielab, Inc.
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25182
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Wearing a tie and carrying a suitcase full of records, eager newcomer Tony “T. T.” Thompson arrives at State Beach, California, on a bus from Chicago, Illinois, at the height of summer. Inside the local hangout, Duke’s Vista del Mar, T. T. listens to the jukebox and introduces himself to the owner, Duke Slusarski, explaining that he is in town to honor his late brother Phil, a jazz musician who dreamed of playing his trumpet by the ocean. Touched by T. T.’s “spiritual mission,” Duke offers the young man a place to stay, but Duke’s daughter, Corky, is upset about the visitor’s intrusion, since she was hoping to spend more time with her father during her last month at the beach. The next morning, Corky and T. T.’s interaction begins awkwardly as she undresses in the bathroom, not realizing he is using the toilet. At the local auto shop, Jordy Banks shows off his shiny Corvette to Corrine and her boyfriend, Earl Fescue, the garage’s mechanic. As Earl and Corrine admire the sports car, Jordy, who is trying to impress Corrine, offers a bet that if Earl can live in his old Pontiac until Labor Day, he can have the Corvette; however, if he vacates the Pontiac for any reason, he must give it to Jordy. Confidently, Earl accepts the challenge. At the beach, T. T. stands by in black socks and green shorts, watching Corky and Duke play volleyball. When T. T. introduces himself to local surfers, Rick, Tenner and Mike, they ignore him and call him a “kook” behind his back. Back at the garage among a ... +


Wearing a tie and carrying a suitcase full of records, eager newcomer Tony “T. T.” Thompson arrives at State Beach, California, on a bus from Chicago, Illinois, at the height of summer. Inside the local hangout, Duke’s Vista del Mar, T. T. listens to the jukebox and introduces himself to the owner, Duke Slusarski, explaining that he is in town to honor his late brother Phil, a jazz musician who dreamed of playing his trumpet by the ocean. Touched by T. T.’s “spiritual mission,” Duke offers the young man a place to stay, but Duke’s daughter, Corky, is upset about the visitor’s intrusion, since she was hoping to spend more time with her father during her last month at the beach. The next morning, Corky and T. T.’s interaction begins awkwardly as she undresses in the bathroom, not realizing he is using the toilet. At the local auto shop, Jordy Banks shows off his shiny Corvette to Corrine and her boyfriend, Earl Fescue, the garage’s mechanic. As Earl and Corrine admire the sports car, Jordy, who is trying to impress Corrine, offers a bet that if Earl can live in his old Pontiac until Labor Day, he can have the Corvette; however, if he vacates the Pontiac for any reason, he must give it to Jordy. Confidently, Earl accepts the challenge. At the beach, T. T. stands by in black socks and green shorts, watching Corky and Duke play volleyball. When T. T. introduces himself to local surfers, Rick, Tenner and Mike, they ignore him and call him a “kook” behind his back. Back at the garage among a crowd of onlookers, a television news team reports on Earl’s six-week car-living challenge, as steel bars are welded onto the Pontiac’s windows and the doors are sealed. During the summer, Duke tries to help T. T. fit in by buying him appropriate beachwear and showing him how to play volleyball, a sport that Duke compares to sex. He also shares stories about participating in the 1956 summer Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland, as a swimming athlete. Inspired, T. T. practices volleyball in his room, while Corky continues to ignore him. After smoking marijuana on the beach one day, T. T. goes to the local movie theater. At the crowded concession stand, T. T. becomes aroused by the girls gathered around the counter, and ends up spilling soda on his shirt. In the men’s bathroom, T. T. encounters surfers Rick and Mike, and Mike is too intoxicated to stand. After T. T. helps guide Mike to the car, three girls surround T. T. eager to know a friend of the popular surfers, but he keeps his eye on Corky as she leaves the theater. Meanwhile, imprisoned in his Pontiac, Earl follows Jordy and Corrine around town and watches in frustration as they begin to date. For the next lesson in beach life, Duke teaches T. T. about surfing, using an old redwood board. However, when T. T. tries to ride with Rick and the other surfers, he is swallowed by the first wave, and the board rolls ashore without him. Later, Tenner shows T. T. how to surf on a modern board, and eventually T.T is able to stand up without falling. While driving with Rick and Tenner to a surfing competition at Borrega Beach, Rick advises T. T. that Duke is a fraud, explaining that the 1956 Summer Olympics took place in Melbourne, Australia, not Helsinki. That night, in the back of Rick’s van, an attractive blonde girl seduces T. T. The next day, at the competition, T. T. runs into Corky on the pier, but she is unimpressed by his new surfing pals and image. This time, T. T. retaliates by calling her rude, and Corky walks away surprised by his new self-assurance. When Duke approaches and begins to tell another nostalgic story, T. T. ignores him. Later, at his bar, Duke reveals to Fay, his ex-wife, that he has sold the hangout and plans to sail his boat to Hawaii. When he asks her to join him, she initially hesitates, wishing that he made the offer during their marriage, but realizes she cannot resist and decides to go. At Duke’s house one night, Corky begins to pester T. T., insisting that he stop playing his brother’s depressing jazz music. Unable to suppress her attraction any longer, Corky follows T. T. to the bedroom and kisses him. They make love and fall asleep together. The next morning, Duke wakes the naked twosome to share the news about his rekindled romance with Fay, but he embarrasses his daughter and annoys T. T., who confronts him for telling “phony” stories. Later at a beach volleyball game, Duke plays well in front of Fay and a crowd of onlookers. On the nearby hillside, T. T. is grumpy and keeps his distance. Suddenly, Duke collapses on the beach from a heart attack and dies. Distraught, T. T. remains at the house instead of attending the funeral. Afterward, Corky finds T. T. on the boat and gives him an item that was found in Duke’s closet, a certificate from the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, confirming Duke’s competition in the backstroke event. Corky says he always lied about the year to avoid revealing his age. On his Labor Day deadline, Earl instructs a cement mixer to dump concrete into the Corvette that he has just won from Jordy. Corrine, who is still dating Jordy, screams at the site of the beautiful car being ruined, and Earl drives away in his Pontiac laughing. Meanwhile, Corky and T. T. say goodbye to Fay as she leaves for Hawaii alone. Walking arm in arm, Corky and T. T. begin a new life together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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