Review: Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection (1972)

One piece of the Gidget franchise has eluded me for a few years: the Hanna-Barbera produced cartoon “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection.”

That’s right. Not only did the Gidget character find herself on the silver screen, TV shows and movies, and in books, Gidget was also featured in cartoon-form.

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Airing on the ABC Saturday Super Star Movie on Nov. 18, 1972, “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection” was one of “galaxy of famous personalities and characters from the realms of literature, sports, television, and motion pictures,” according to a Sept. 9, 1972 article.

Some of these included anything from baseball star Willie Mays, the Blondie comic strips, Tabitha from “Bewitched,” the Banana Splits, Lassie, Marlo Thomas as “That Girl,” and of course, Gidget.

The show aired on Saturday mornings and was geared towards children.

In Gidget’s animated story, after causing trouble in a marina, Gidget and her friends Rink and Jud sign up as a ship crew for a boat race to Mexico … or so they think. Really, the race is a ruse as the three adults onboard are smuggling gold.

Produced by Hanna-Barbera, is similar to other 1970s era Hanna-Barbera cartoon, as far as animation, voice talent, humor and storytelling go.

Gidget looks like she could be related to Daphne from Scooby Doo, and the sleuthing and antics may remind you a bit of Scooby Doo mysteries.

That said, it’s a silly, breezy and not unpleasant way to spend 45 minutes.

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The characters of Barbara and Ralph Hightower, voiced by Virginia Gregg and Mike Road.

The voice talent is fun. The snooty smugglers, Barbara and Ralph Hightower will remind you a bit of Mr. and Mrs. Howell from “Gilligan’s Island.” The two are voiced by Virginia Gregg and Mike Road. I swear Road is doing a Ronald Colman impression.

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The cartoon version of Gidget.

Kathy Gori voices Frances “Gidget” Lawrence in her first acting or voice acting gig. While in the movies and TV show, Gidget can be meddling, in the cartoon she’s meddling and also clumsy. The crew gets in all sorts of trouble, because of her “seventh sense” ideas. If I had to compare this Gidget characterization to any of the other franchises, I would compare it to Cindy Carroll in “Gidget Goes to Rome.” Also of note: Gidget doesn’t do any surfing in “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection.” But she’s still in the water, snorkeling and boating.

Gidget has new friends for the adventure, Jud and Rink, who were not previously characters in the movies. Sorry, no Moondoggie this time. Rink is voiced by Denny Evans and and Jud is voiced by David Lander of “Laverne and Shirley” fame.

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Rink, Gidget and Jud, voiced by Kathy Gori, Denny Evans, David L. Lander.

Bob Hastings and Don Messick also provided voice work on this cartoon.

The creation and air date is interesting for this Gidget installment. It aired 10 months after the Gidget TV movie, “Gidget Gets Married” (1972), where Gidget and Moondoggie get hitched. After Gidget made waves in the 1960s, this was the last hoorah of the franchise until the 1980s TV movie and television series reboot aired in 1985.

In 2017, I completed the Gidget series reviews with the exception of this one. I wasn’t able to find it anywhere, not online or being sold. Searching high and low, it wasn’t until a reader brought it to my attention that someone uploaded it online! (Thank you, Mike!) I will refrain from linking to it (I don’t want it to be taken down!), but a quick online search will help you find it.

Overall, “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection” isn’t the best installment of the franchise, but would be a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.

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Review: Gidget Gets Married (1972) TV movie

Gidget and Moondoggie’s romance started onscreen in 1959 on the beaches of Malibu.
Though the real Gidget didn’t marry “Moondoggie,” the fictional one tied the knot in a 1972 TV movie, “Gidget Gets Married.”

At the end of the TV movie “Gidget Grows Up” (1969), Gidget and Jeff get engaged. Two years later, Gidget (Monie Ellis) has left her job at the United Nations and is now working as a first grade teacher. Jeff “Moondoggie” Stevens (Michael Burns) returns home from the Air Force and is ready to get married immediately.

Jeff/Moondoggie (Michael Burns) and Gidget (Monie Ellis)

Jeff/Moondoggie (Michael Burns) and Gidget (Monie Ellis)

The two go to Gidget’s dad (Macdonald Carey) who is wary of such a quick wedding but relents when he hears Jeff has an engineering job lined up. Former child star and Gidget’s old landlord Louis B. Latimer (Paul Lynde) attends the wedding and brings his movie cameras to capture the moment.

The movie is less about the wedding and more about the newlyweds adjusting to married life, new jobs and communities.

They move to Florida for Jeff’s job at Worldwide Dynamics. Their home is located in a company owned community and furniture is provided by Worldwide Dynamics, which doesn’t sit well with Gidget, because she can’t decorate her first home. Jets also fly over Gidget’s neighborhood. Worldwide Dynamics is separated into three communities based on status within the company and the neighborhoods aren’t supposed to fraternize.

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Review: Gidget Grows Up (1969) TV movie

The world was changing in the late-1960s.

The anti-authority, anti-capitalism, anti-war and free-love movements brought a shift in popular culture.

The surf culture that erupted after Fredrick Kohner’s book “Gidget” hit the shelves was starting to fade with dissatisfaction of establishment. This caused a shift in pop culture, and films and music focused more on social movements and issues rather than wanting to hold hands or surf the USA. There no longer was a place for Technicolor fluff films focusing on beach parties, surfing and wahinis in wild bikinis.

So how does Frances “Gidget” Lawrence, the surfing “girl midget” who first appeared in 1957, fit in a changing world?

She goes to work at the United Nations.

Gidget (Karen Valentine) and her friends Diana (Susan Batson) and Minnie (Helen Funai) become United Nations guides. (Comet Over Hollywood screencap)

Gidget (Karen Valentine) and her friends Diana (Susan Batson) and Minnie (Helen Funai) become United Nations guides. (Comet Over Hollywood screencap)

After three feature “Gidget” films and a 1965 television show that lasted one season, the 1969 television film “Gidget Grows Up” places Gidget in New York City. She’s ready to change the world at the United Nations (UN), which she describes as “one of humanity’s noblest achievements.”

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