‘Gidget’ on Blu-ray from Twilight Time

Category: Blu-ray's and DVD's

Anyone who grew up in the 1960s knows about Gidget and Moondoggie. The 1959 movie was based on the book, which was based on the exploits on one young California girl who took up the sport of surfing. Sandra Dee inhabited the role of Gidget, aka Frances (Francie) Lawrence, in the movie that started a slew of surfer films, and James Darren stole the hearts of women of all ages as the singing and surfing Moondoggie.

This new Blu-ray edition from Twilight Time includes not only the fun film about Gidget, Moondoggie, and the crew of surfer dudes (Kahuna, Stinky, Lover Boy, Lord Byron, Hot Shot, and Waikiki), but it also has the original movie trailer and a booklet about the movie and making the film.

Francie is basically a tomboy who loves swimming and activities, except for the activity of “man-hunting” enjoyed by her girlfriends. This particular summer changes everything for the straight-A student as she enters the realm of womanhood. For the first time in her life Francie is romantically attracted to a man. Yes, Moondoggie is the object of her affections, but it takes the entire summer for him to realize he is also attracted to her.

Being a film of the fifties, the visuals are not what we would expect from a surfing movie of today. The actors didn’t have to actually surf. They just stood on their boards and pretended to be the surfer dudes they were playing. But that doesn’t take anything away from the film. It is still a story about the friendship between Francie and the guys in the group, and the start of the loving relationship between Gidget and Moondoggie that has remained in the hearts and minds of viewers for over 50 years.

The film inspired two more Gidget movies, with different actresses taking the title role but James Darren remaining in all three as Moondoggie, aka Jeffrey Matthews. The movies then inspired TV shows and TV films. But nothing is as good as the original.

Cliff Robertson co-stars as Kahuna, the head of the group. Joby Baker, Tom Laughlin, Doug McClure, Burt Metcalfe, and Robert Ellis play the rest of “the crew” with Arthur O’Connell and Mary LaRoche as Gidget’s parents. Darren sings the title song and a sentimental love song in the film, and The Four Preps appear in a scene singing their hit song “Cinderella.”

The first time anyone watches the movie they will probably be surprised by the little plot twist that has hints throughout the film. Even if you know what is coming, it’s still cute to watch the first meeting between Frances Lawrence and Jeffrey Matthews.

Gidget inspired a generation of young surfers and introduced the sport to mainstream film audiences.

About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for over 20 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

Follow her on Twitter