It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.
This week’s musical:
Winter a Go-Go –Musical #324
James Stacey, William Wellman Jr., Beverly Adams, John Anthony Hayes, Jill Donohue, Duke Hobbie, Julie Parrish, Linda Rogers, Nancy Czar, Tom Nardini
Themselves: The Reflections, Nooney Rickett Four, Peter Brinkman, Joni Lyman,
Jeff (Wellman) inherits a ski lodge from his father and his friend Danny (Stacey) convinces him to turn it into a swinging resort. The two hire beautiful girls and wait for the money to roll in. The only problem is two men show up trying to run the two off so they can foreclose.
-Filmed on location in Lake Tahoe in the winter time
-Features is instructor Peter Brinkman
-Eddie Fisher was supposed to have a cameo in the film but it didn’t pan out, according to William Wellman, Jr, in the book Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959-1969 by Thomas Lisanti
-It was winter time when the girls had to do the bikini scene outside, according to Julie Parrish in the Lisanti book.
-Winter a-Go-Go performed during the credits by the Hondells
-King of the Mountain performed by Joni Lyman
-Hip Square Dance performed by James Stacey
-Do the Ski (with Me) performed by Nooney Rickett Four and Joni Lyman
-(I’m) Sweet on You performed by The Reflections
Take the story line and formula of a surfing beach film and replace the location with a snowy ski lodge and you have “Winter A-Go-Go.” Ah but don’t fear, you still see girls in bikinis. Though it’s snowy outside, there is still a scene of girls dancing in bikinis on a patio of the ski resort.
The only difference is that most of the surfing films, like Beach Party or Beach Blanket Bingo, have a certain level of goofy charm. Even though they are terrible, they are still endearing.
“Winter A-Go-Go” isn’t endearing. It’s terrible.
Both the best and worst part of the film is the Reflections performance of “I’m Sweet On You.” It cracks me up every time as these four guys–wearing matching sweaters–are convinced to come up on stage and sing this ridiculous song. Another highlight is a “hip square dance” everyone decides to do in their pajamas.
I think part of the issue is that James Stacey and William Wellman Jr. are the only notable names in the cast list, but even they aren’t that recognizable.
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The one scene in all the Hollywood musicals that outdoes them all occurs in “Til The Clouds
Roll By” when Van Johnson dances with Lucille Bremer, singing the Jerome Kern classic
“I Won’t Dance.” If you haven’t seen this hugely entertaining and magical footwork, especially
on the part of Van Johnson you have missed out! Van could outdance a Gene Kelly, as he
actually did in “Brigadoon” although he is no slouch as a romantic hero. As a matter of fact,
with his l00th Birthday on the horizon it’s about time to declare Van the one actor, among all
the MGM stars who really had “it!”