Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of William Asher‘s Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)! And how we do that around here is by revisiting that pool-cue-slinging ne’er-do-well, South Dakota Slim. Slim has just been overcome by a cloud of chalk dust thoughtlessly propelled into the air by Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck).
Bingo was the fourth in Asher’s beach opus quintet, which also includes Beach Party (1963), Muscle Beach Party (1964), BikiniBeach (1964), which includes Slim’s first appearance, and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965). We’ve just discovered that Asher first directed Timothy in an episode of Invitation Playhouse: Mind Over Murder entitled “The Last Act,” first airing on May 14, 1952. It’s at the top of my list of lost Careyana.
Our pic today revisits Bikini Beach (1964) and the first of two cinematic appearances by that pool-cue-slinging ruffian, South Dakota Slim. Here he’s having a hard time staying awake while J.D. (Andy Romano), Puss (Alberta Nelson) and Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) discuss the news of the day and The Teenage Werewolf Monster (Val Warren) enjoys a glass of milk.
Blonde and beautiful Ms. Nelson essayed the role of Puss in several of the beach party movies of the 1960s. In fact, she appeared in just about all of them in one role or another. She was also a semi-regular on The Andy Griffith Show for several years. She retired from acting in 1970, and passed away from throat cancer in 2006 at the age of 68.
In the midst of freezing temperatures across the nation (and it’s not even officially winter yet), let’s take a trip back to the beach and those carefree days of summer. Except that we’ll be stuck in a pool hall. Our pic today is from Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), the second film in which Timothy appears as that pool-cue-slinging ne’er-do-well South Dakota Slim. Here he forces himself to be polite to vapid pop singer Sugar Kane (Linda Evans), under the insistence of Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) and his gang.
She looks so girlish and sweet here – it’s hard to believe this is the same Linda Evans who would achieve fame in the ’80s on Dynasty. Well, you gotta start somewhere!
It’s the first day of summer, so let’s go to Bikini Beach (1964)! Or, we could just stay in and play pool with South Dakota Slim and his pals The Teenage Werewolf Monster (Val Warren), J.D. (Andy Romano), Puss (Alberta Nelson), and Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck).
Fellow Brooklyn boy Lembeck made Von Zipper an unforgettable presence in pretty much all of the William Asher/Don Weis-directed beach party movies of the 1960s. He paid his dues on the stage and in supporting roles in many military comedies of the 50s before hitting the big time on The Phil Silvers Show. His son Michael is an accomplished film and television actor and director, and his daughter Helaine is the artistic director of the Harvey Lembeck Comedy Workshop. Harvey passed away of a heart attack in 1982 at the age of 58. His gravestone reads “He Loved – He Laughed – He Lives”.
EDITOR’S NOTE 01/09/2013: The video has been removed. My apologies.
As we near the end of May, our hearts lightly turn to thoughts of summer. Well, up here in the Northern Hemisphere at least. I have already recommended Bikini Beach (1964) and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) on these pages for mindless summer fun, with Timothy’s pool-cue-slinging South Dakota Slim as an added bonus (and as we all know, the best thing in both movies). To reinforce that idea, we present the closing credits of Beach Blanket Bingo as our Video of the Week.
Slim has been overtaken by the voluminous cloud of billiard chalk created by Eric Von Zipper’s (fellow Brooklyn boy Harvey Lembeck) tendency to overdo things. Tim’s son Romeo once said in an interview that his father was a big fan of silent movies. As Buster Keaton has a cameo here, I like to think that Timothy got to indulge in a huge fanboy moment, sitting down with Buster and enjoying a long talk about the good old days of Hollywood.
Starting off the week is another shot from Bikini Beach (1964), featuring Tim’s first appearance as pool-cue-slinging South Dakota Slim. Slim has only one scene here, but he returned the following year with much more screen time in Beach Blanket Bingo (1965).