Friday, August 23, 2013


Frankie Avalon has always struck me as a gentleman type, former heartthrob or not. Next month he turns 73 years of age. Wow. The first time I took note of who he was, would have been around 1972 or 1973, when the star crooner was in his early 30s and still a young man. This note-taking session would have been a talk show like The Mike Douglas Show or Merv Griffin. Annette Funicello, Avalon's frequent costar of the "Beach Party" movies, was his co-guest on this same talk show installment.

While best known for his signing voice, Frankie Avalon first came to the public's attention as a young trumpeter. As a matter of fact, as actor he appeared in producer-director Irwin Allen's 1961 fun feature film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, where in one scene in the submarine Seaview's mess hall, Avalon rambunctiously plays the trumpet as Barbara Eden dances (non regulation) with equal energy. Absolutely serpentine! (By the way, Avalon's voice did 'appear' in the film; he sang the title theme... which sounds a lot like The Beatles' "Octopus's Garden". The other way around, actually.)

One of the actor's most memorable roles was as Ray Milland's son in Panic in Year Zero! (1962).

Avalon went on to act in less serious fare, namely the entertaining Beach Party movies; Beach Blanket Bingo ("Where two-thousand bodies hit one-thousand blankets.") These flicks hold special appeal to me since they remind me of similar experiences in my youth. Okay, I will come clean: I was just the 'beach water boy' -- which may or may not be the reason why I have a soft spot for Muscle Beach Party....

The Toronto Star...
Frankie Avalon on beach parties, the simplicity of the past, and Annette Funicello: The Big Interview

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