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 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.
This week’s musical:
Ski Party (1965) – Musical #696
American International Pictures
Frankie Avalon, Dwayne Hickman, Deborah Walley, Yvonne Craig, Aron Kincaid, Michael Nader, Bobbie Shaw, Patti Chandler, Luree Holmes, Robert Q. Lewis, Steven Rogers, Mikki Jamison, Salli Sachse
Themselves: James Brown, Lesley Gore, The Hondells
Cameo: Annette Funicello
Todd (Avalon) and Craig (Hickman) are unsuccessful with women, especially compared to campus hunk Freddie Carter (Kincaid). To better understand women, learn how Freddie wins women, and get closer to the girls they like —Linda (Walley) and Barbara (Craig) — Todd and Craig join a college ski trip. Part of this involves dressing up like English co-eds, Nora and Jane.
• The end credits plug Cruise Party, which was never made.
• Filmed in Sun Valley, Idaho.
• “I’ll Never Change Him” was a song Annette Funicello performed in “Beach Blanket Bingo,” but it was cut from the film.
• The songs
• Annette Funicello’s cameo
• “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” performed by Lesley Gore
• “I Feel Good” performed by James Brown
• “Never Change Them” performed by Deborah Walley
• “Lots Lots More” performed by Frankie Avalon
• “Paintin’ the Town” performed by Frankie Avalon
Okay, hear me out: Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman were an underrated comedic duo. How were these fellas only in two films together?
Avalon and Hickman co-star in SKI PARTY as a comedic buddy duo who are unsuccessful with women. They got on a ski trip to figure out the secret how college hunk Freddie (Aaron Kincaid) wins all the girls.
Hickman wrote in his autobiography that he and Avalon hit it off immediately, and decided to play their roles in a Bob Hope/Bing Crosby comedic way.
“Frankie would be the Crosby-like character, smart, in-charge and slick, while I would play the Hope role and be the bumbler,” Hickman wrote. “We added a lot of physical business which helped a not very imaginative script.”
The result is charming and hilarious.
Avalon and Hickman are simply hilarious. They break the fourth wall from time to time. At one point, Hickman says, “Go get a Coke or something, nothing is going to happen for at least 10 minutes.” Or when they get stuck in a room with some girls, they say, “What’s the average age of our audience.”
SKI PARTY is an extension of the “beach party” American International Pictures films, that initially starred Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, surfing and smooching on the beach. Here, the story is transported from Malibu to Sun Valley, Idaho for snow and skiing. But the film is bookend by beach scenes, so if you need a bit of surf and sand, you won’t miss out.
While I love the beach films, SKI PARTY seems to have a more cohesive, less sporadic plotline. And a major plus is that there is no Eric Von Zipper, the motorcycle gang leader that always caused trouble for the teens.
There isn’t really a “villain” here. I guess the closest you come is Aaron Kincaid. I’ve watched a few of Kincaid’s films, and so far I think SKI PARTY is his best. Kincaid plays a college Don Juan and is frankly hilarious.
The leading ladies here are Deborah Walley and Yvonne Craig, who resist the advances of Hickman and Avalon, while really liking them. I love one line where Walley is making someone swear to secrecy ending with, “So help me, Liz Taylor.”
If you’re sure you will miss seeing Annette Funicello in this, don’t worry. Funicello has a fun cameo at the beginning as a professor who tries to teach her male students that you can have fun without sex.
The rest of the of the beach party regulars also head out to Sun Valley, including Michael Nader, Bobbie Shaw, Patti Chandler, Luree Holmes and Salli Sachse.
There are also some topnotch musical performances including Lesley Gore singing “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” and James Brown performing his signature song “I Feel Good.”
The only downside? At the end of the film “Cruise Party” is teased and it was never made! I feel so cheated.
I can’t believe that I am saying I love SKI PARTY better than the beach films but I do. It feels higher budget as well. It’s just such a great time and I genuinely laughed out loud.
If this tells you anything, I’ve already watched it three times in 2022.
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