- Frankie and Annette, though not as a couple
- Series regulars, like Harvey Lembeck, Jody McCrea, Don Rickles, and Candy Johnson
- Stupid broad humor
- Rent-paying roles for classic film actors, Buster Keaton in his first of four appearances in Beach Party films, along with Dorothy Lamour, Elsa Lanchester, and Jesse White
- Bikinis and dancing to music that was not quite good-enough to sell many records
In Pajama Party, Tommy Kirk plays a Martian scout Gogo sent to prepare Earth for a Martian invasion. He lands in Elsa Lanchester's rose garden. She takes him in, renames him George, throws a bathing suit on him, and sends him to the beach to meet girls. Jesse White plays J. Sinister Hulk, who with the help of Buster Keaton, wants to rob Elsa Lanchester, because her husband died years earlier leaving her a fortune stashed behind a bookcase in what looks like an automat vending machine with stacks of cash. Of course, Harvey Lembeck leads the world's most ineffectual biker gang and is upset at the beach kids for getting footprints on their beach. Right, makes perfect sense.
|Native American Buster Keaton gets a scalp (wig), yes, that's |
about the level of sophistication you can expect in Pajama Party
Of course, there's the obligatory chase scene with speeded up car and motorcycle stunts, rear-projection, vehicles plowing through pedestrians sending them flying in the air, a crash that drops into cartoon animation of smoke, debris, and granny's bloomers, and finally, Harvey Lembeck going off an ocean bluff in a motorcycle side car, "Why? Why me all the time?" Though incredibly stupid, I still find these sequences very funny.
|Susan Hart, shakin' butt and takin' names|
Through much of the film, Annette is frustrated as her boyfriend, Jody McCrea, is too busy organizing volleyball games to realize that she wants some. And next best thing Martian Tommy Kirk is being distracted by one of Jesse White's cronies, a Swedish bikini model (Bobbi Shaw). Annette laments to this in "Stuffed Animal" where she sings about how much better stuffed animals are than the boys in her life. While you're kind of used to Annette staying virginal in these movies, having her on verge of begging for it is an unusual but somewhat sad twist.
Toward the end, Jesse White throws a Pajama Party for the beach kids and asks Elsa Lanchester to chaperone, but he just wants to get her out of the house so he can look for her money. When Harvey Lembeck and his gang crash the party a fight ensues and just about everybody gets knocked in the pool. Sadly, though everyone is wearing PJs and night gowns, there are virtually no thin wet fabric stuck to hot young bodies shots that you would hope for. Ultimately, Tommy Kirk figures out that Jesse White is up to something and uses a Martian device to teleport White, Buster Keaton, and another henchman to Mars.
Largely missing from the film is Frankie Avalon. He and Don Rickles play Martians back on Mars observing Tommy Kirk's progress. Through most of the film, you just see the back of Avalon's head and hear his voice. All ends well with the Martians abandoning their invasion plans and Annette hooking up with Tommy Kirk. I assume Jody McCrea ends up happily sleeping with his volleyball.
|Dorothy Lamour (center) Terri Garr (in yellow, left) and|
Toni Basil, I think (purple top, right)
As Beach Party movies go, Pajama Party is nothing Earth shattering. I chose it mostly because it is one that is not shown all the time. If you hate Beach Party movies, you will hate this one too. If you like them, you will be happy to know that Pajama Party doesn't depart from the tried and true formula by more than a fraction of an inch. And having Elsa Lanchester, Dorothy Lamour, and Jesse White and very young Toni Basil and Terri Garr make it well worth the watch.