Surf Party (1964): Beach Party Flick in Black-and-White, Starring Bobby (“Blue Velvet”) Vinton

One of few films in the “Beach Party” subgenre shot in black-and-white, Surf Party is a low-budget, amateurish flick, cashing in on the AIP’s hit Beach Party, which was released six months earlier.

It is notable for the musical acts, featuring Bobby Vinton, Patricia Morrow, and others.

Our Grade: C (*1/2 out of *****)

Three Arizonians girls, Terry (Patricia Morrow), Sylvia (Lory Patrick), and Junior (Jackie DeShannon) drive to California’s Malibu Beach to vacation and to learn how to surf.

They are looking up Terry’s brother “Skeet,” Malibu’s Big Kahuna bad boy (and a former football star whose career was ended with a skull injury).

While the girls are learning to surf, Terry falls in love with Len (Bobby Vinton), the operator of a local surf shop; Junior falls in love with Milo (Ken Miller), a new surfer; and Sylvia falls for Skeet (Jerry Summers).

Milo takes the girls to Casey’s Surfer, the hangout on the pier where the surfers gather. The girls get into the club because Terry is Skeet’s sister, but Milo is kept out because he is just a “gremmie.”

To gain membership into Skeet’s unruly surfing club–“The Lodge”–Milo attempts to “shoot the pier” (surfing through the pier) and is injured when he smacks into a post.

As a result of Milo’s smash-up, Len gets into an argument with Skeet, and just as they are about to fight, Terry warns Len that Skeet’s football injury is still dangerous.

The tale contains the typical character of Sgt. Wayne Neal (Richard Crane), the “anti-surf” police sergeant, who’s waiting for Skeet to screw up so that he can either throw him in jail or out of town.

Skeet is further humiliated when he throws a party and Pauline (Martha Stewart), the wealthy older woman who owns the beach house that Skeet has been living in; she reveals that Skeet is a “kept man.”

Skeet decides to return to Arizona with Sylvia when he realizes how much he loves her, and the girls enjoy the rest of the vacation with their boyfriends.

Popular singer Bobby Vinton, who plays Len, only appeared in three movies, this being his debut; he was only paid $750 a week.

Ken Miller, who plays the fresh-out-of-highschool “gremmie” Milo, was actually 33.

Pro surfer Mickey Dora doesn’t have a speaking role, but is an extra in the Casey’s Surfer restaurant, as the bowling-shirted surfer who follows Skeet’s signal to lead the crowd.

Among the songs, Bobby Vinton performs “If I Were an Artist,” and Patricia Morrow sings “That’s What Love Is” (both written by Bobby Beverly and Dunham).

Directed by Maury Dexter
Produced by Maury Dexter “By” Dunham
Written by Harry Spalding
Music by Jimmie Haskell
Cinematography: Kay Norton
Edited by Jodie Copelan
Production company: Associated Producers (API)
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox
Release date: January 30, 1964
Running time: 68 min.