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HISTORY


       Back to the Beach was a spoof and homage to the beach-themed movies of the 1960s. As described in a 3 Aug 1987 LAT article, the genre launched in 1963 with the release of Beach Party, (see entry) starring Frankie Avalon, a singer and teen idol, and Annette Funicello, a member of television’s popular Mickey Mouse Club (ABC, 3 Oct 1955--Sep 1959). Beach Party was followed by several sequels, including Muscle Beach Party (1964, see entry), Bikini Beach (1964, see entry), and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965, see entry). These Beach movies, which were released by American International Pictures (AIP), typically had micro-budgets and limited shooting schedules. Beach Party, for example, cost around $500,000 and took three weeks to film, as noted in the 10 Aug 1987 People magazine. Most of the beach-themed movies were filmed on a soundstage, according to the Jun 1987 Los Angeles magazine.
       AIP merged with Filmways, Inc. in 1979, and Orion Pictures Corporation purchased Filmways in 1982. Orion was not interested in doing a Beach sequel, but also refused to sell the rights when Avalon began pursuing such a project. Consequently, distributor Paramount Pictures was careful to say in a 5 Jul 1987 LAT article that Back to the Beach was not a sequel, but rather “parodies all beach movies.”
       Although Avalon’s character was named “Frankie” in the Beach movies, the failure to secure the rights to those movies meant they could not call his character ... More Less


       Back to the Beach was a spoof and homage to the beach-themed movies of the 1960s. As described in a 3 Aug 1987 LAT article, the genre launched in 1963 with the release of Beach Party, (see entry) starring Frankie Avalon, a singer and teen idol, and Annette Funicello, a member of television’s popular Mickey Mouse Club (ABC, 3 Oct 1955--Sep 1959). Beach Party was followed by several sequels, including Muscle Beach Party (1964, see entry), Bikini Beach (1964, see entry), and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965, see entry). These Beach movies, which were released by American International Pictures (AIP), typically had micro-budgets and limited shooting schedules. Beach Party, for example, cost around $500,000 and took three weeks to film, as noted in the 10 Aug 1987 People magazine. Most of the beach-themed movies were filmed on a soundstage, according to the Jun 1987 Los Angeles magazine.
       AIP merged with Filmways, Inc. in 1979, and Orion Pictures Corporation purchased Filmways in 1982. Orion was not interested in doing a Beach sequel, but also refused to sell the rights when Avalon began pursuing such a project. Consequently, distributor Paramount Pictures was careful to say in a 5 Jul 1987 LAT article that Back to the Beach was not a sequel, but rather “parodies all beach movies.”
       Although Avalon’s character was named “Frankie” in the Beach movies, the failure to secure the rights to those movies meant they could not call his character “Frankie” in Back to the Beach, as reported in the Los Angeles article. Consequently, Avalon’s character is listed in the credits as “Annette’s husband” and is referred to in the film only as “The Big Kahuna.” Funicello’s character was named “Dolores” in Beach Party and “Dee Dee” in the sequels, but the writers chose to simply call her “Annette” in the movie.
       When Avalon first started pitching the idea for another beach-movie in the late 1970s, several studios were interested in doing a television movie-of-the-week reunion. However, Funicello and Avalon, who are credited as co-executive producers, held out for the big-screen. The 3 Dec 1981 DV announced that screenwriter Steve Silver was writing a beach sequel, titled The Last Beach Party, which was scheduled to begin shooting in summer 1982 with a Christmas 1982 release date. However, nothing came of that.
       By 1983, the film’s title had changed to Beach Party Reunion, according to the 7 Jun 1983 DV. By 1984, the title changed again, this time to Beach Party ‘85, with a $3 million budget and an Oct 1984 start date, as reported in the 7 Jun 1984 DV. This project was also stillborn.
       In 1986, Frank Mancuso, Jr. came aboard as producer and sold his father, Paramount Pictures chief Frank Mancuso, Sr., on the idea of making the movie. However, the studio rejected the script and only approved the film when James Komack joined the project as writer and director. However, Komack did not stay, telling the 5 Jul 1987 LAT that Paramount wanted a “campier” version of the film than he was interested in doing.
       Australian director Lyndall Hobbs, who had previously directed music videos and documentary shorts, took over. It was her first time directing a feature-length film. Using the working title of Back to the Beach, principal photography began on 9 Feb 1987 in the Los Angeles, CA area, according to the 17 Mar 1987 HR production chart. The movie had a shooting schedule of approximately two months, a $10 million budget, and filmed most of its beach scenes in Malibu, CA, rather than on a soundstage, according to the 15 Apr 1987 LAT.
       During filming, problems with the script became apparent and many writers were brought in to do quick rewrites. By the time filming was completed, a total of seventeen writers were involved and more than $2 million had been spent on writers. The 2 Aug 1987 LAT reported that all seventeen of those writers wanted onscreen credit, but after Writers Guild of America (WGA) arbitration, only Peter Krikes, Steve Meerson, and Christopher Thompson received screenplay credit, while James Komack, B.W.L. Norton, and Bruce Kirschbaum received “story by” credit. The WGA also required the film to include the credit, “based on characters created by Lou Rusoff.” Rusoff was the writer of the original 1963 Beach Party. Writers who are reported to have worked on the script but did not receive onscreen credit included Jeff Buhia, Steve Zacharias, Robert Kauffman, and David Obst.
       Back to the Beach opened 7 Aug 1987 on 1,080 screens, earning $3.3 million in its first three days of release, according to the 11 Aug 1987 DV box office.
      End credits include the following acknowledgments: “The producers wish to express their appreciation to: Trans World Airlines; Galpin Ford; ‘The Mickey Mouse Club,’ courtesy of The Walt Disney Company; ‘The Dick Clark Show,’ clip courtesy of Dick Clark Media Archives, Inc.”

              The last name of script supervisor Julie Pitkanen is misspelled in end credits as "Pitkanin." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Dec 1981.
---
Daily Variety
7 Jun 1983.
---
Daily Variety
7 Jun 1984
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
10 Aug 1987
p. 3, 11.
Daily Variety
11 Aug 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Aug 1987
p. 3, 13.
Los Angeles
Jun 1987
pp.148-156.
Los Angeles Times
15 Apr 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Jul 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 Aug 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
3 Aug 1987
Section G, p. 1, 8.
Los Angeles Times
10 Aug 1987
p. 5.
Movieline
24 Jul 1987
p. 21.
New York Times
8 Aug 1987
p. 16.
People
10 Aug 1987
pp. 24-27.
Variety
12 Aug 1987
p. 17.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
With Special Appearances by:
as the Harbor Master
as the Valet
as the Bartender
as Judge #1
as the Bartender's Buddy
[and]
Pee-wee Herman
as Himself
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PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
A Frank Mancuso, Jr. Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-exec prod
Co-exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst photog
1st asst photog
2d asst photog
Still photog
Dir of photog and water cam op, Surfing unit
Water cam op, Surfing unit
1st company grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Elec grip equip by
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus score
Mus scoring mixer
Record company consultant
Record company consultant
Record company consultant
Vintage mus consultant
Mus asst
SOUND
Sd mixer
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
ADR foley mixer
ADR foley mixer
Re-rec facility
Sd eff library. Des
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles & opt eff by
Title des by
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Addl makeup artist
Addl makeup artist
Body make-up
Addl hairstylist
Ms. Funicello's hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod coord, Surfing unit
Ocean asst, Surfing unit
Prod asst, Surfing unit
Prod coord
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Prod auditor
Asst prod auditor
Prod secy
Asst loc mgr
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Ms. Funicello's driver
Extra casting
Extra casting
Unit pub
Surfing consultant
Asst to Ms. Hobbs
Asst to Mr. Mancuso
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Catering
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Lou Rusoff.
AUTHOR
SONGS
“Absolute Perfection,” by Jack Butler & Paul Shaffer, performed by Private Domain, produced by Jack Butler & Paul Shaffer, additional recording by David Kahne, courtesy of Chameleon Music Group
“As Beauty Does,” by Gil George & Paul J. Smith, performed by Annette Funicello, courtesy of The Walt Disney Company
“California Sun,” by Henry Glover & Morris Levy, performed by Frankie Avalon, Connie Stevens & Dick Dale, produced by Gary Usher
+
SONGS
“Absolute Perfection,” by Jack Butler & Paul Shaffer, performed by Private Domain, produced by Jack Butler & Paul Shaffer, additional recording by David Kahne, courtesy of Chameleon Music Group
“As Beauty Does,” by Gil George & Paul J. Smith, performed by Annette Funicello, courtesy of The Walt Disney Company
“California Sun,” by Henry Glover & Morris Levy, performed by Frankie Avalon, Connie Stevens & Dick Dale, produced by Gary Usher
“Catch A Ride,” written and produced by David Kahne, performed by Eddie Money, courtesy of CBS Records
“Going Back To The Beach,” written, performed and produced by Tay Uhler & Scott Lipsker
“Catch A Wave,” by Brian Wilson, performed by Jan & Dean, produced by Gary Usher
“Jamaica Ska,” by Byron Lee, performed by Annette Funicello & Fishbone, produced by David Kahne, Fishbone courtesy of CBS Records
“I Hate You,” written Kirk Thatcher, arranged by Mark Mangini, performed by Edge of Etiquette
“Limbo Rock,” by Billy Strange & Jon Sheldon, performed by Chubby Checker, courtesy of The Ernest Evans Corporation
“Like We Used To Do (Gonna Have A Party),” written, performed and produced by Harold Payne & Bill Meyers
“The Loco-Motion,” by Gerry Goffin & Carole King, courtesy of Coombe International Limited
“The Lonely Bull,” by Sol Lake
“Love On The Rise,” by Jeff Silbar & Gary Usher, performed by Dick Dale, produced by Gary Usher
“Pajama Party,” by Guy Hemric & Jerry Styner
“The Raiders March,” by John Williams
“Pipeline,” by Bob Spickard & Brian Carman, performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Dick Dale, produced by Gary Usher & David Kahne, Stevie Ray Vaughan courtesy of Epic Records
“Sign of Love,” by Mark Goldenberg & Jennifer Condos, performed by Aimee Mann, produced by John Boylan, additional recording by David Kahne, courtesy of Epic Records
“Some Things Live Forever,” by Michael Sembello & John Bettis, performed by The Cast, produced by Michael Sembello
“Sun, Sun, Sun, Sun, Sun,” written & produced by David Kahne, performed by Marti Jones, courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
“Surfin' Bird,” by Al Frazier, Carl White, John Harris & Turner Wilson, Jr., performed by Pee-wee Herman, produced by Gary Usher, additional recording by David Kahne, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
“Theme From ‘A Summer Place,’” by Max Steiner & Mack Discant, performed by The Lettermen, produced by Tony Butala, courtesy of Alpha Omega Records
“Venus,” by Ed Marshall, performed by Frankie Avalon, courtesy of Chancellor Records, Inc.
“Watch My Body,” written and produced by Linda Moore & Mark Gendel, performed by Linda Moore
“When I Go To The Beach,” by Mark Noone, performed by The Slickee Boys, produced by John Chumbris and The Slickee Boys, courtesy of Twin Tone Records, Inc.
“Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera),” by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans
“Wooly Bully,” by Domingo Samudio, performed & produced by Dave Edmunds, courtesy of CBS Records/Arista Records Limited
“Wipe Out,” by Robert Berryhill, Patrick Connolly, James Fuller & Ron Wilson, performed by Herbie Hancock, guest performances by Dweezil Zappa & Terry Bozzio, produced by Herbie Hancock, David Kahne & Tony Meilandt, courtesy of CBS Records.
+
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
The Last Beach Party
Beach Party Reunion
Beach Party '85
Release Date:
7 August 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 7 August 1987
Production Date:
9 February--mid April 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
14 August 1987
Copyright Number:
PA337076
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Ultra-Stereo®
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® cam by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
94
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28698
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Ohio, fifteen-year-old Bobby worries that his parents have lost their “coolness” and are now boring, conservative, middle-aged parents. Twenty-five years ago, his parents were teen idols. His father was a popular singer and surfing enthusiast known as “The Big Kahuna,” while his mother, Annette, used to be a Mouseketeer on a television show. However, after they got married and moved to Ohio, his father became a car salesman and bought Friendly Ford, the largest car dealership in Ohio. His mother became obsessed with shopping and feeds him Skippy peanut butter sandwiches for lunch every day. Bobby tells his parents about their problem. Dad decides they will take a family vacation to Hawaii. During a ten-hour layover in Los Angeles, California, they go to visit their eighteen-year-old daughter, Sandi, who lives above a bait shop on a pier in Malibu, California. Sandi has not told her parents that she has been living with her boyfriend, Michael, for the past six months, so when they arrive at her door unannounced, Sandi throws Michael and his clothes out the window into the ocean. Dad suspects Sandi had a man in the apartment and goes to the beach to confront him. Dad accidentally knocks over a line of surfboards, provoking the ire of “Zed,” the head of a surfing gang. Zed says that he is “God” and Dad is a “sinner.” The family goes for a drive and sees their old hangout, Daddy-Os, where Dick Dale and the Del-Tones have been performing for the past twenty-five years. A young man named Troy flirts with Annette, provoking Dad’s anger. However, he calms down upon seeing his old flame, Connie, who now owns Daddy-Os. ... +


In Ohio, fifteen-year-old Bobby worries that his parents have lost their “coolness” and are now boring, conservative, middle-aged parents. Twenty-five years ago, his parents were teen idols. His father was a popular singer and surfing enthusiast known as “The Big Kahuna,” while his mother, Annette, used to be a Mouseketeer on a television show. However, after they got married and moved to Ohio, his father became a car salesman and bought Friendly Ford, the largest car dealership in Ohio. His mother became obsessed with shopping and feeds him Skippy peanut butter sandwiches for lunch every day. Bobby tells his parents about their problem. Dad decides they will take a family vacation to Hawaii. During a ten-hour layover in Los Angeles, California, they go to visit their eighteen-year-old daughter, Sandi, who lives above a bait shop on a pier in Malibu, California. Sandi has not told her parents that she has been living with her boyfriend, Michael, for the past six months, so when they arrive at her door unannounced, Sandi throws Michael and his clothes out the window into the ocean. Dad suspects Sandi had a man in the apartment and goes to the beach to confront him. Dad accidentally knocks over a line of surfboards, provoking the ire of “Zed,” the head of a surfing gang. Zed says that he is “God” and Dad is a “sinner.” The family goes for a drive and sees their old hangout, Daddy-Os, where Dick Dale and the Del-Tones have been performing for the past twenty-five years. A young man named Troy flirts with Annette, provoking Dad’s anger. However, he calms down upon seeing his old flame, Connie, who now owns Daddy-Os. Connie has a special display dedicated to The Big Kahuna, which flatters him. Before they leave for airport to catch their flight, Connie persuades Dad to perform a song. Once he takes off his coat and tie and begins singing “California Sun,” Dad begins to relax and unwind. Annette becomes jealous of Connie’s effect on her husband, but Connie tells her to calm down since she is the one who married him. Annette and her husband get into an argument and go their separate ways. Meanwhile, Michael and Sandi get into an argument and break up as well. Annette suggests that she and Sandi take their mind off their problems by having a pajama party, so Sandi invites her friends over. Meanwhile, Dad becomes intoxicated at Daddy-Os' bar and sleeps in a surf shack. When he wakes up with a hangover, Michael provides him a hangover cure, which helps Dad perk up. When Michael asks permission to marry Sandi, Dad becomes angry. However, upon learning that Michael is Connie’s son, he warms to the young man. Annette, Sandi, and Bobby spend the day on the beach. Bobby hangs out with one of the surf gangs, while Annette flirts with Troy, which makes Dad jealous. Dad compliments Zed on the custom surfboards he makes. Zed says he does not sell many boards, so Dad offers his expertise on sales and marketing. Dad suggests they should have a bonfire on the beach, but Michael says the harbor master will never give them a party permit for after dark. Nonetheless, they go see the harbor master, flatter him, and get the permit. Sandi becomes angry when she sees the bonfire and did not get an invitation. She confronts Michael and they make up. Annette sees Dad give Connie a hug and becomes jealous. She spends more time with Troy, even going surfing with him. When that fails to get the response from Dad that Annette wanted, she goes to Connie announcing she can have the man. Connie reports that Annette is the only thing Dad has talked about and that she should go get her man. Annette makes up with her husband. As a large crowd gathers around the bonfire, Dad explains that twenty years ago, he wiped out while riding a big wave, and was in a coma for several days. Consequently, he has not surfed since then. Bobby comes to the party after spending the day with the surfing gang. He announces he is now president of the gang and they used Dad’s credit cards to buy motorbikes. His gang is taking over the beach, but the others get angry. Dad suggests the only way to settle a territorial dispute is to have a “Surf Off.” Michael is supposed to be one of the surfers, but when he breaks his leg, Dad has to take his place. He initially has trouble and does poorly on his first wave. However, storm clouds move in, creating a giant wave, “The Humunga Cowabunga from Down Under.” Dad rides the wave expertly and wins the competition. Everyone celebrates the return of the Big Kahuna.

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

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