Category Archives: John Ashley

Blu-Ray Review: How To Stuff A Wild Bikini (1965).

Directed by William Asher
Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff & James H. Nicholson
Written byWilliam Asher & Leo Townsend
Director Of Photography: Floyd Crosby
Film Editor: Eve Newman
Titles: Art Clokey

Cast: Annette Funicello (Dee Dee), Dwayne Hickman (Ricky), Brian Donlevy (B. D. “Big Deal” McPherson), Buster Keaton (Bwana), Beverly Adams (Cassandra), Harvey Lembeck (Eric Von Zipper), John Ashley (Johnny), Jody McCrea (Bonehead), Mickey Rooney (J. Peachmont “Peachy” Keane), Marianne Gaba (Animal), Len Lesser (North Dakota Pete), Irene Tsu (Native Girl), Arthur Julian (Dr. Melamed), Bobbi Shaw (Khola Koku), Alberta Nelson (Puss), Mary Hughes, Mickey Dora, Frankie Avalon, Michele Carey, Elizabeth Montgomery, The Kingsmen

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The merits, or lack of them, of the Beach Party movies may be the embodiment of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” To me, these things are treasure all the way. I love these stupid movies, so I was overjoyed to learn that Olive Films was bringing How To Stuff A Wild Bikini (1965) to Blu-Ray.

How To Stuff A Wild Bikini is one of the later ones — some consider it the last “official” one, and admittedly things were getting a little tired by this point. But many of the key people and elements are in place — Annette, Eric Von Zipper, Bonehead, Animal, surfing, Rock N Roll, Mary Hughes and so on. Buster Keaton is a welcome addition — he’d been in a couple of the previous ones. Instead of Timothy Carey as South Dakota Slim, we get Len Lesser as North Dakota Pete. Frankie’s on hand, but he’s limited to not much more than a cameo.

It goes something like this. Frankie’s away  Tahiti in the Naval Reserve. While he’s enjoying the company of the local girls, he wonders if maybe Dee Dee (Annette Funicello) is behaving as badly. A witch doctor (Buster Keaton) sends the beautiful Cassandra (Beverly Adams) to the beach to catch the eye of Dwayne Hickman, a young advertising man who’s taken a shine to Annette.

Cassandra creates quite a splash at the beach — all the surfers go nuts for her, an executive (Mickey Rooney) wants to use her to sell stuff, and Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) and the Ratz and Mice turn up. It all winds up with a bunch of nonsense on motorcycles, along with a cameo from Elizabeth Montgomery.

Annette Funicello with The Kingsmen.

Some terrific musicians and bands make their way through these films, from Dick Dale to Stevie Wonder. This time around, we get The Kingsmen, the Portland garage band whose “Louie Louie” is the one you hear constantly. A soundtrack LP for the picture had two songs by The Kingsmen, one being the title tune.

And if all that’s not enough, the titles are by Art Clokey, the clay animation guy behind Gumby.

Dee Dee (Annette Funicello): Men! They’re all beasts!
Animal (Marianne Gaba): Yeah. But isn’t it wonderful?

Olive Films has brought How To Stuff A Wild Bikini to Blu-Ray, and it looks splendid. Having seen these things on TV countless time growing up, it’s a revelation to see them on Blu-Ray. Floyd Crosby’s Panavision photography makes the most of the wide screen and saturates the Pathecolor, and it’s all perfectly presented on this Blu-Ray.

Some might consider this a waste of high-definition technology, but this is the only way to see these movies. It’s gorgeous and highly recommended. Now, where’s Bikini Beach (1964)?

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Filed under 1965, AIP, Annette Funicello, Buster Keaton, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Elizabeth Montgomery, Frankie Avalon, John Ashley, Mickey Rooney, Olive Films

Blu-Ray News #237: How To Stuff A Wild Bikini (1965).

Directed by William Asher
Starring Annette Funicello, Dwayne Hickman, Brian Donlevy, Buster Keaton, Beverly Adams, Harvey Lembeck, John Ashley, Jody McCrea, Mickey Rooney, Len Lesser, Bobbi Shaw, Michele Carey, The Kingsmen, Frankie Avalon, Elizabeth Montgomery

Okay, so maybe the whole Beach Party thing was starting to run out of steam by the time they got around to How To Stuff A Wild Bikini (1965). But who cares? All the elements are in place, from Frankie and Annette to Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) and Bonehead (Jody McCrea) to the later addition Buster Keaton (as Bwana in this one).

It’s plenty stupid and tons of Pathécolor, Panavision fun. And I’m so stoked that it’s making its way to Blu-Ray from the folks at Olive Films. They did a tremendous job bringing Muscle Beach Party (1964) and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) to high definition — let’s hope they get around to Bikini Beach (1964). Coming (in off the curl) in late June.

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Filed under 1965, AIP, Annette Funicello, Buster Keaton, Elizabeth Montgomery, Frankie Avalon, John Ashley, Mickey Rooney, Olive Films, William Asher

Blu-Ray News #221: Beyond Atlantis (1973).

Directed by Eddie Romero
Starring John Ashley, Patrick Wayne, Leigh Christian, George Nader, Sid Haig, Lenore Stevens

VCI has announced the upcoming Blu-Ray release (March 12) of Eddie Romero’s Beyond Atlantis (1973). This time around, Romero and producer-star John Ashley aimed a bit higher and added Patrick Wayne to the mix. With a transfer form the original 35mm negative and a commentary, interviews and other extras, this should be a lot of tacky fun.

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Filed under 1973, DVD/Blu-ray News, Eddie Romero, John Ashley, VCI

Blu-Ray News #207: Beast Of The Yellow Night (1971).

besta

Directed by Eddie Romero
Starring John Ashley, Mary Charlotte Wilcox, Leopoldo Salcedo, Eddie Garcia, Ken Metcalfe

VCI has announced their upcoming Blu-Ray release (late February) of Eddie Romero’s Beast Of The Yellow Night (1970). They promise a new restoration from the camera negative and an archival print. Made in the Philippines, it was the first film released by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures.

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Filed under 1970, DVD/Blu-ray News, Eddie Romero, John Ashley, New World, VCI

A Night At The Movies, June 1965.

Back in 1965, Young Dillinger (1965) played as a twin-bill with Mario Bava’s Blood And Black Lace (1964). This ad’s for the opening in L.A., but they played everywhere this way — even drive-ins not far from where I’m sitting here in North Carolina. Man, what a “blazing double-blast of thrills and shocks” this must’ve been.

One’s in gorgeous black and white, the other in eye-popping Technicolor. One is a cinematic love letter to the Tommy Gun, while the other favors all sorts of things with blades. Both are lurid, violent masterpieces — the stuff that makes early 60s genre movies so wonderful.

Incidentally, and the reason I came across this, both of these pictures have seen some recent video activity. Young Dillinger was just made available on DVD by our friends at Warner Archive (the movie’s terrific and the disc looks great), and VCI is prepping Blood And Black Lace for a Blu-Ray due in October.

So, with a little coordinated eCommerce, you can recreate June 9, 1965 in the privacy of your own home.

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Filed under 1965, A Night At The Movies, DVD/Blu-ray News, John Ashley, Monogram/Allied Artists, Nick Adams, VCI, Warner Archive

Blu-Ray News #141: Twilight People (1972).

Chicago_Tribune_Mon__Mar_20__1972_ (1)

Directed by Eddie Romero
Starring John Ashley, Pat Woodell, Jan Merlin, Pam Grier

This is an update to a previous post.

VCI has announced a Blu-Ray release of Twilight People (1972) for January 2018.  Eddie Romero directed this Filipino-American take on H.G. Wells’ The Island Of Dr. Moreau — with a little of Romero’s previous Terror Is A Man (1959) thrown in for good measure.

Star John Ashley was one of the producers. He and Eddie Romero became quite successful with their cheap horror movies, stuff like Brides Of Blood (1968), Beast Of Blood (1970) and The Woman Hunt (1972, yet another version of The Most Dangerous Game). Their films were often done for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, with budgets of around $125,000. This one was the first film released by Dimension Pictures. It played in double bills with everything from Man Beast (1956) to The Sin Of Adam And Eve (1969) to Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes (1972).

twilight-3John Ashley had a fascinating career, going from AIP to TV shows like The Beverly Hillbillies to the wonderfully awful AIP TV movie The Eye Creatures (1965) to these Filipino movies to consulting on Apocalypse Now (1979, shot in the Philippines) to producing The A-Team and Walker, Texas Ranger. Wish he’d written his memoirs before passing away in 1997.

VCI put Twilight People out on VHS back in the day, and their eventual DVD was pretty good. This Blu-Ray release will feature a 2K scan of the original negative, presented in the proper aspect ratio. Extras will include a video interview with Eddie Romero, a still and poster gallery, and a commentary by Toby Roan.

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Filed under 1972, AIP, DVD/Blu-ray News, Eddie Romero, John Ashley, New World, Pam Grier, Roger Corman, VCI