Pajama Party

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PAJAMA PARTY—-fourth in the litter. This one involves not just pajamas, the beach and Eric Von Zipper’s bikers, but a Martian. Directed by Don Weis, it capers 82 harmless minutes, with terrible jokes, and lotsa booty shakin’ (cue Susan Hart). *

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On deck: Annette Funicello, Tommy Kirk, Elsa Lanchester (a good sport), Harvey Lembeck, Jesse White, Jody McCrea, Susan Hart (we mention her again simply because she was so damn hot), Donna Loren, Bobbi Shaw, Candy Johnson (crazypants), Don Rickles, Frankie Avalon (self-demoted, hiding his face but collecting a check), Buster Keaton (ya gotta eat) and  Dorothy Lamour (because). Furiously gyrating in the crowd are Teri Gari and Toni Basil. One of the dancers is Gus Trikonis and the choreography, as such, was by David Winters. If you know your West Side Story, you place Trikonis & Winters as a Shark and a Jet, respectively (and respectfully, this daft job notwithstanding).

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Screenwriter Louis M. Heywerd approached his material with a mission: “These youngsters have the numbers, the buying power and the discrimination to make or break any film product.” Louis (we assume tagged ‘Haywired’ or Heyweird’ in school, as long as we’re on the level of this 1964 nonsense) was blabbing about a 15-25 demographic, age-wise, but maybe the numbers indicate I.Q.  The acumen saw Heyward promoted upwards into executive strata. Rule #1: Know Your Public.

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* Enough fans of the frolics showed up to get this into 81st place among ’64s entries, which included Ride The Wild Surf, where Susan Hart (who’d already battled The Slime People) caught the eye of American-International’s President, James H. Nicholson, 25 years her senior, a gentleman who recognized an earth-shaking situation when he saw one. They married when that wrapped; she coincidentally showed up in Pajama Party, Dr.Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine and The Ghost In The Invisible Bikini. Leaving acting to concentrate on family life and business, when Mr. Nicholson passed away in 1972, Susan inherited the rights to 11 goofy classics from her late husband’s producing career, including choice items like It Conquered The World, The Amazing Colossal Man and both I Was A Teenage Frankenstein and I Was A Teenage Werewolf.

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Well played!

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Credit where due: Susan Hart

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