Friday, August 24, 2012


My fondness for…no, make that absolute love for this Swinging Sixties pop musical is as close to boundless as it is baseless. Baseless not in that I love it without reason (on the contrary, the list of things I love about The Cool Ones would fill up this entire post), but baseless in that my affection for this unfailingly gladdening go-go groove-a-rama has absolutely nothing to do with good filmmaking and 100% to do with the emotional, visceral, wholly subjective delight I derive from its cheery evocation of a particularly happy time in my youth.
Debbie Watson as Hallie Rogers
Gil Peterson as Cliff Donner
Roddy McDowall as Tony Krum
Phil Harris as McElwaine
Nita Talbot as Dee Dee Howitzer
George Furth as Howie
Mrs. Miller as Mrs. Miller
In the mid-Sixties I was just a kid (ten years-old in '67) but I had a teenage sister who subsisted on a steady diet of the latest 45s (7-inch, 45rpm records) and every dance TV show she could cram in between doing her homework. After school she would rush home to watch Where The Action Is, Shindig, Hullabaloo, Hollywood a Go Go, or The Lloyd Thaxton Showteaching me all the latest dance steps (which often consisted of little more than planting your feet in one spot and shaking like you're trying to dislodge a spider that's landed on your clothes) and the words to the Top 40 record hits of the day. My sister's need of a practice dance partner (I was the only boy among four girls) granted me early entrance into the world of teenagers and I don't think I ever got over it. The colorful mod clothes; the crazy, code-like slang; the infectiously happy-sounding music; the dances so carefree and silly that you had no choice but to lose yourself in abandon...all pretty heady stuff for a bookworm little kid like me. I was much too shy (then) to ever express myself so freely in the outside world, but in our living room, with the furniture pushed to the sides to crate a dance floor, I felt like I was a part of the very "happening" world of the 60s. For some reason, The Cool Ones brings back those days to me better than any other film I've ever seen and thus i find it a physical impossibility not to smile and be made happy while watching it.
The Whizbam Dancers
Teri Garr (left) was a staple dancer in a great many of these 60s musicals
The Cool Ones is a breezy, above average Beach Party movie cloaked in a somewhat toothless satire of show business — specifically the teen-centric West Coast music scene, circa 1966. Hallie Rogers (Watson), a professional wiggler on Whizbam (a fictional teen rock & roll TV show patterned after its real-life counterparts, Shindig and Hullabaloo) harbors a burning desire to hang up her go-go boots and pursue a career as a pop singer. Alas, at every turn she finds her ambitions thwarted. Condescended to by well-meaning friends (“This is a boy’s world. Isn’t it enough to be with them all the time…and get paid for it?”) and rudely dismissed by Whizbam producer Mr. MacElwaine (Harris), frustrated Hallie throws an on-the-air fit that inadvertently sparks a new dance sensation: The Tantrum.
Psycho-Chick: Hallie Makes a Bold Play for Stardom
That's a young Glen Campbell back there being upstaged by desperate-for-stardom go-go girl, Debbie Watson. Campbell, cast as Patrick of the fictional group "Patrick and the East-Enders" would release two of his signature hits in 1967: Gentle on My Mind and By the Time I Get to Phoenix.
Of course she’s immediately sacked - “How dare you flip your wig on our time!” scolds McElwaine flunky George Furth – but lucky for Hallie, her musical nervous breakdown has caught the attention of washed-up-at-24 former teen idol, Cliff Donner (Peterson). With Cliff's help plus the assist of eccentric pop music impresario, Tony Krum (McDowall) — “Tony Krum? Like, he’s zero cool! Everything he touches gets well!” — Hallie at last lands the opportunity to realize her dream of pop singing stardom. But will true love, ethics, and a modicum of singing talent derail Hallie’s teen dreams before they start? Well, you'll have to tune in, turn on, and stay cool to find out.
"She's young, ambitious, and therefore dangerous. It takes a few years on a girl to know how to mix a cocktail of ambition and desire"
As movies satirizing teen culture and the music business date as far back as Frank Tashlin’s The Girl Can’t Help It (1956), there’s really not much that’s particularly surprising or fresh in what The Cool Ones has to say about the mercurial nature of show biz, fickle teenage fans, the randomness of fame, or the absurdity of pop trends. In fact, cartoon fans are sure to note the similarities between the plot of The Cool Ones and episodes of The Flintstones wherein Fred alternately: 1) Becomes an overnight teen singing sensation named Hi-Fye (1960), 2) Stubs his big toe and inadvertently creates a national dance craze called "The Frantic" (1965). Now, how's that for depth?
Have a Tantrum
Debbie Watson and Gil Peterson sing what seriously has to be one of the hippest, grooviest songs ever written. Below, Olivia Newton-John resurrects Watson's black t-shirt and tiger-print mini-skirt for 1980s Xanadu.

What works best about The Cool Ones is its pacing (it was directed by former movie hoofer and Tony Award nominee [for Follies] Gene Nelson, and produced by William Conrad of Cannon fame), and its candy-colored glamorization of the late 60s. I can't think of a single film that does it better or has more fun while doing it.

Well I’d say it’s a neck and neck tie between the music and the dancing. Each of which is capable, at various points in the film, of being both marvelous and ludicrous…frequently simultaneously.
With a soundtrack of some 20-odd songs (accent on the odd) The Cool Ones is virtually wall-to-wall music with practically every member of the cast granted the opportunity to burst into tuneless song at one point or another. The songs are a delightfully mixed bag of groove-a-riffic pop ditties, duets, ballads, and plot-propelling book-type numbers of the kind found in traditional movie musicals. 
Warner Bros. produced The Cool Ones and therefore saved a fortune in royalty fees by peppering the film's soundtrack with songs from their vast music library. There's a great deal of amusement to be had in hearing go-go renditions of such standards as Secret Love, It's Magic, and Birth of the Blues
The Cool Ones is rumored to have initially been conceived as a project for Nancy Sinatra and her longtime songwriting partner, Lee Hazelwood. (Debbie Watson does all of her own singing, but sharp ears might recognize Sinatra's trademark deadpan vocals on The Tantrum.) The late-great Lee Hazelwood (These Boots Are Made for Walkin', Sugar Town) contributes many fine and very danceable tunes to the film's score, along with composer Billy Strange and several others. Even at its most groan-inducing corniness, I am absolutely crazy about the music in The Cool Ones and only wish there had been a soundtrack album.
Roddy McDowall acquits himself very nicely singing a number whose title might well have echoed the actor's own thoughts about his career at this stage: "Where Did I Go Wrong?"
The Cool Ones features guest appearances by several pop groups from the 60s whom you've likely never heard of. Top: The Bantams; Center: The Leaves; Bottom: my personal favorite, T.J. and the Fourmations, materializing in full performance out of an elevator.

Acting of any kind usually gets in the way in movies like The Cool Ones, which run on charm, energy, and personality. Watson and Peterson make for a photogenic couple totally devoid of any real chemistry, but they have real screen charisma and are certainly easy on the eyes.
That actually goes double for the molded-in-plastic good looks of Gil Peterson, the world's worst lip-syncer but best wearer of tight pants I've ever seen. A male starlet of the first order, it matters not a whit that Peterson never convinces as a pop star and displays only a fleeting familiarity with rhythm. Not when the film can (and does) showcase his body at every opportunity.
Dee Dee Goes for the Gusto 
Nita Talbot enacts the fantasy of every gay male in the audience
If the music in The Cool Ones sends me over the top (to use the vernacular, it's wiggy!), then the dancing is just out of this world. It's fun, energetic and just a blast to watch...I get all charged up seeing it. The unbilled choreographer is Toni Basil (of 80s "Mickey" fame) a Shindig! alumnus and student of David Winters, the great granddad of go-go choreography. It's his distinctive style that's most apparent in the film's dance numbers and brings back many great memories from my youth.
The Cool Ones dancers are recognizable from any number of 60s teen musicals.
The Whizbam dancer with the incredible bare midriff is Anita Mann, pictured here with Davy Jones dancing in THIS VIDEO. A terrific dancer, Mann went on to choreograph Solid Gold (and even took a couple of dance classes from me back in the 80s!).

Here I am at the end of my most image-filled post to date and I haven't even touched on The Cool Ones'  mad, mod fashions, its so-bad-it's-good dialog, the film's odd running gag of a mystery man coveting Cliff's vintage automobile, the scenic Palm Springs and Los Angeles locations (much of it taking place just a block away from an apartment I once had near the Sunset Strip), or even the film debut /swansong of atonal 60s novelty act, Mrs. Miller (not to be confused with Merv Griffin professional audience member, Miss. Miller). Ah, I alluded to at the start, a post about a movie that makes me so happy and brings back so many memories could easily fill a post twice this length.  
Roddy McDowall pretty much coasts on the same performance he gave the previous year in Lord Love a Duck  (a superior satire, but not nearly as much fun) while effortless scene-stealer Nita Talbot and veteran actor Robert Coote provide stronger support than the film sometimes deserves.
I have a hunch that had The Cool Ones been made just a few years earlier, it might likely have been a hit. Coming out at such a pivotal and changing time in America's youth culture (it was released just months before the hippy-dippy Summer of Love and the era of psychedelic rock) the world depicted in The Cool Ones already began to looked dated. As a 1967 movie it was terribly corny, but it would have made a GREAT 1965 film. For me, truly entertaining and fun movies are incredibly hard to come by, and on that score The Cool Ones rates top on my list. Although its many pleasures harken back to my distant youth, the enjoyment it gives me as an adult brands it forever a timeless favorite.
And then of course, there are still some things that never go out of style.

Copyright © Ken Anderson


  1. Hey Ken: It is almost frightening how in synch we are on many bizarre things!
    I watched this movie repeatedly as a kid - whenever it would turn up on a local station in Philly - and just had the best time with it. Now I have to track down a copy because I haven't seen it since then!
    Also, seeing pictures of Nita Talbot on this posting struck the deepest nostalgic chords you can imagine. She was seemingly everywhere in 60s TV - and a few films - and then vanished. Call her a road company Paula Prentiss if you will, but she was a wonderful eccentric talent. Thanks for reminding me of her.
    GREAT post!!!

    1. Oh, my God. I seriously didn't think I'd get a single "pro" comment on this post! Few people I know can stand "The Cool Ones", the rest have never heard of it. It speaks well of something about this movie that you have such fond memories of it. Not the least being the excellent Nita Talbot. I wanted to write more about her in this post (she gets the most intentional laughs in the film) as she has always been a favorite of mine, but I ran out of room. I think it's terrific you remember as well. What DID happen to her?
      Joe, I like your taste in movies, films, plays, and books a great deal...but you certainly have climbed a couple of notches on the respect-o-meter when you said this film is a favorite.
      "The Cool Ones" is available now in all its restored, widescreen glory through Warner Bros. made-to-order DVDs. now if only someone would get on the ball an release a soundtrack CD. Thanks!

  2. Aaaaack!! No way! I had never heard of this film in my life until one day at the YMCA I was on a treadmill and this was on TCM in the little TV set in front of me. I got once glimpse of Gil Peterson and walked (and walked!) until it was over. The entire time, not really knowing what the movie even was (I looked it up later at home), I was thinking, "This looks a lot like Grant Williams, but Grant Williams couldn't have been this young at this point in the '60s!" The one pair of trousers he wears in a certain scene are ridonkulously tight... The whole time I was reading this I wasn't sure if you'd zero in on that as such a thing is usually for less tasteful sites like mine (lol) but you did! What a fun movie. Doesn't Nita dress up like a man at one point or am I getting confused? And Mrs. Miller is just a riot...... WTF?!?

    What REALLY fascinated me about it is how it is so very close in plotline and concept to 1980's The Apple. The makers of The Apple HAD to have seen The Cool Ones... many times.

    1. Are you kidding? Not comment on Gil Peterson's tight trousers? That would be like going to Paris and not commenting on The Eiffel Tower! Gil's pants in "The Tantrum" sequence stuck in my brain when I was a kid like the shower scene in "Psycho." Seriously, one of the many reasons I like "The Cool Ones" so much is that, unlike all those "Beach Party" movies that keep shoving the camera at women's behinds and busts, "The Cool Ones" has a considerably high homoerotic eye-candy ratio (so much for my site's "tasteful" quotient).
      Anyway I'm glad you know this movie and indeed Peterson looks VERY much like Grant Williams...I'd never noticed the resemblance before. The movie is just way out fun to watch and listen to. Even that oddity that was Mrs. Miller. Nita Talbot doesn't dress up like a man in this (when you discover what film that happens to be, I hope you pass it on) but she is a great deal more masculine that either McDowall or Peterson.
      As for "The Apple", my partner rented the movie for me one night when I was in bed with the flu or something(how I missed it at the theaters I don't know) and it was so terrible I think I passed out. I don't remember much of it. Would you recommend giving it another try?

  3. After some digging, I see that it was another '60s movie, the Rock Hudson-Leslie Caron film A Very Special Favor, that had Nita dressed like a man.

    I would definitely watch The Apple again (it's on DVD) and try to get through it. I gave it the Underworld treatment a while back, but I know you like to see things first before spoiling too much or being influenced by others. I'm not saying it's good, but it's rarely boring (and I do think it's hard to get in the groove of that weird, futuristic world the film presents, but once you do, it's really hooty.) And where else can you see and hear Yma Sumac in 1980?! Ha!

    1. I think I will read your post on "The Apple". I think I've seen a great deal of it, but when you fall in and out of a flu sleep while watching it, the whole thing feels like a fever-dream. They used to play it at revival houses all the time with either "Xanadu" or "Can't Stop the Music" and it's awfulness is near-legendary. I guess I owe it another try!

  4. Leonard Maltin's 2012 Movie Guide calls this a BOMB! I've not yet seen "The Cool Ones", but Leonard does sometimes miss the point with these things. Leonard was probably never really "hip" back in the 1960s. Not exactly the sort of cat who'd be clicking his fingers at poetry readings in beatnik cafes. Or maybe the 1960s just wasn't his decade.

    These sorts of fun and silly 1960s teen movies are, alas, seldom played at revival cinemas. One that I did manage to catch on the big screen was "For Those Who Think Young". It played as the first-half of a double bill at the Astor Theatre. You'd never guess which film followed "For Those Who Think Young" after the intermission. But if you guessed "The Group", you'd be right. Yes, Sidney Lumet's "THE GROUP"!
    (Unlike many film buffs, I simply adore mismatched double bills).

    Strange to think of this film without a soundtrack album--who'd make such a musically-oriented film aimed at teens and NOT put out a soundtrack album?
    I can't honestly say that I'd heard of this film before reading this review. Thanks for posting, Ken!

    1. Ha! If you knew how little respect I had for Maltin's opinions you'd know that his not liking "The Cool Ones" is as close to a gold-star recommendation as you can get.
      You've read me long enough to know how much I think the film experience is subjective. there are so many wonderful movies out there that are considered bombs and so many films I consider absolute wastes of time that are the biggest moneymakers and award-winners ever.
      Movies like "The Cool Ones" are rarely ever even competent in terms of filmmaking, but that doesn't mean they can't be a total gas (which I think this one is).

      I've never seen "For Those Who Think Young", but I'm given pause when even a reader who's a dyed-in-the-wool Pamela Tiffin fan didn't like it.

      I share your feelings on mismatched double-bills. In the old days when they were the norm, distributors thought this was actually a good for idea (which explains the popular but off-beat, studio-sanctioned 1968 pairing of "Rosemary's Baby" with "The Odd Couple").
      Composer Lee Hazelwood has such a cult built around him, I'm so surprised a bootleg or something of this soundtrack hasn't surfaced. One song from the film, "This Town" was sung by Frank Sinatra on an album (and maybe TV special?), and Nancy Sinatra sang it on her TV special, "Movin' with Nancy" Clearly someone must have thoughts the songs were good, but when the film failed at the boxoffice, maybe Warner Bros. just tabled all other promotion. Too bad. I'd kill for an instrumental version of "The Tantrum."

  5. OMG where has this movie been all my life? This looks and sounds like so much fun!!! I absolutely have to track it down and watch it!!

    1. CAL, this movie is a oddity, but I seriously would be surprised if you didn't go for it. Fun is the operative word for it...wall to wall giggles, both intentional and unintentional.

  6. Again using Maltin's hefty tome as a guide, it appears as if "The Cool Ones" hasn't been released on DVD--and in fact, was never given a VHS release! However, I've a feeling that it'll show up on the DVD market within the next few years. A whole wave of "previously unavailable" movies are cropping up on DVD (usually in those two-for-one DVD packs with psychedelic combinations such as "Wild in the Streets" and Roger Corman's "GAS!". That said, I'd jump at the chance to see this at the cinema, in the off-chance that it were to play at a revival theatre.

    Who in the heck were "The Bantams"? In a strange way, it's comforting to know that the idea of packaging primary school kids as pop superstars is not a new one--because that means that those current annoying kid groups are also destined for the pop music dustbin!

    1. Hi Mark
      The made-to-order DVD of "The Cool Ones" is available from Warner Bros. archive site, and will be available in September from Amazon. I of course ordered my copy of the film the day it was made available and its from that copy that I get my screen caps for this post. It's allegedly the first time it's been seen in its original widescreen since it was released (except for the time The American Cinemateque screened it as part of their "Mods and Rockers" film festival a few years back. It was the second part of a double-bill at The Egyptian Theater, and while I loved it, people were leaving in droves). I can't tell if you'd like "The Cool Ones", but it without a doubt one of my top 60s pop musicals. I like it better than any Beach Party or Elvis film I've seen.

      And, no, I've never heard of "The Bantams" either, but YouTube has, and you can hear them here (kinda awful):

  7. The Bantams must surely violate YouTube's terms of service-- an excruciating two minutes of my life. But if you ever need to induce's like Danny Bonaduce in triplicate.

    Even behind the Berlin Wall, beach party movies were a big hit! Take a look at the trailer for the wholesome 1960s Communist Beach Party blockbuster, Heißer sommer (Hot Summer)from East Germany (and yes, I have watched the movie in full):

    Who says the Reds were no fun?

    1. Hi Mark,
      oh my, thanks so much for that "Hot Summer" clip! It proved in 1967 what the Internet proves daily: 1)the world is a lot smaller than we tend to think it is, 2) people are the same the world over, and 3) trash entertainment is the universal language. What a find!

  8. I am also a big fan of this movie and am thrilled to finally have a sharp, vibrant, widescreen copy. Thanks, Warner Bros.

    A soundtrack album was promoted in the pressbook for The Cool Ones (the proposed cover art is even shown) but was apparently never released.

    I have sat through For Those Who Think Young twice now, and it's in my bottom three of 1960s teen/beach movies along with It's a Bikini World and Beach Ball; in fact, it's worse than either of those movies. While Bikini World and Beach Ball are just plain dumb, For Those Who Think Young is actually embarrassing and offensive. The horrifyingly unfunny comedy of "comedian" Woody Woodbury, the gag-inducing sexual politics, and a musical number where Bob Denver is forced to sing/rap while "nose chinning" buried in the sand make for some truy cringe-worthy moments. I actually found myself feeling sorry for Bob Denver for having to be in this movie. It makes Gilligan's Island look like high art (no slight to Gilligan's Island intended).

    1. Hi Paul
      I'm glad to hear from another fan of the film! It's surprising how many people seem to have a soft spot for this movie. And thanks for the info about the pressbook and the intended soundtrack. It's a pity, but given that I thought no one would EVER release this on DVD (let alone in widescreen), perhaps someone someday will put out a CD of the soundtrack. There are all kind of cult/boutique fans out there.

      You really make "For Those Who Think Young" sound terrible...and indeed, if it's worse than the other two films you named (which I have seen and bear no fondness for) I should let it pass. You describe its awfulness beautifully! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Hi Paul
      You have to tell me when you post your review of "The Cool Ones" on the DVD site. I'd like to know in more detail what you thought about the film. I thought it was great that you researched so much of the actually had more luck than I did in finding info about the pressbook, etc. There's really not a lot out there.
      Also, thanks for the link to the Miss Miller website and that (terrible) clip from "For Those Who Think Young." I agree with you, the cast assembled for that film hints at a better film than it seems to have resulted in. I enjoyed very much reading your comments and look forward to when I can read your review of a "The Cool Ones" a film not many people know about but has a pretty groovy cult following. Thanks for stopping by!

    4. I had removed my last post to revise it a bit, but since you saw it already, I'm re-posting for others who may be interested. My review is now live at:

      Just wanted to flesh out my previous comments a bit (I was typing on an iPad the other night, and we all know how cumbersome that is).

      I found your blog while researching my own review of The Cool Ones for the DVD Drive-In website. I was trying to find out which band exactly was T. J. and The Fourmations. Nothing on, nothing in Goldmine’s record catalog, nothing in Domenic Priore’s exhaustive (and excellent) Riot on Sunset Strip book, nothing anywhere else on the Internet I could find, except for your review. I’m assuming you have first-hand knowledge of the band from growing up in Cali (?). Anyway, thanks!

      My review isn’t posted yet (I submitted it today). Believe me when I tell you that I already had my first draft finished when I read your review and was a little surprised to find that we had expressed some of the same opinions and even used similar turns of phrase without seeing the other’s work. I actually changed a few things so it wouldn’t look like I copied yours! At any rate, your review is probably better than mine anyway, and benefits from your personal observations on the SoCal teen dance shows, etc. Excellent review! Your blog looks very interesting, I look forward to reading your other stuff.

      The information I provided on the MIA soundtrack album was found on the “official” Mrs. Miller fan site. They claim to have made an exhaustive search for a copy based on the pressbook promo and come up dry. It is not listed in my Jerry Osborne Movie/TV Soundtracks guide, and eBay and Music Stack searches proved fruitless, so I’m certain it was never issued (probably, as you speculated, because the movie tanked at the boxoffice).

      For the record, For Those Who Think Young is available for streaming on Netflix (no DVD yet). I looked at the cast—James Darren, Pamela Tiffin, Paul Lynde, Nancy Sinatra, Ellen Burstyn, not to mention Bob Denver and Tina Louise in a movie together before Gilligan (but sharing no scenes)—and thought it had to be a lot of fun. Wrong. It is truly abysmal, more competently made perhaps than Beach Ball or It’s a Bikini World, but it’s one of those movies where everything any character says or does bears no relation to anything a real human being would do or say. I think you know the type. Much has been made on IMDb of the seemingly homosexual relationship between “brothers” Woody Woodbury and Paul Lynde in the film, but that only scratches the surface of its weirdness. The Bob Denver “nose chinning” scene is actually on YouTube here: The only fun to be had with this one is in making rude comments to the TV about how horrid it is. I won’t go on, but it might be worth a look if you’re in the mood for some self-torture. Consider yourself warned.

    5. Thanks for the re-posting, and that's a terrific review on DVD Drive-In for "The Cool Ones"! It should really inspire interest among the uninitiated. This undiscovered movie shouldn't have to remain so. Thanks!

  9. Ken: Thanks for your kind comments on my review of The Cool Ones. Part of the reason I asked George if he'd like a review of it on his site was to hopefully turn some new people on to it. Especially after reading Priore's Riot on Sunset Strip, I can honestly state that if I had access to a time machine, I'd set it for the Sunset Strip, 1960 or so. I think I was born too late.

  10. You're so welcome! I enjoyed it very much and I'm all for more people knowing about this film, too. This is one of those films of which it can be said, time is kind to it. I think many young people look at these 60s images and it has a kind of renewed appeal. I understand your affinity for the 60s. Every era has both good and bad, but I have to say, at least musically and pop culture-wise, I'm kind stuck on the 60s, too.
    Thanks for stopping back, and should you ever hear any news about a possible soundtrack release, you know where the news would be most appreciated!

  11. Bonjour Ken! I discovered your fab blog some days ago while looking out on the web for some info about Hullabaloo and Lada Edmund Jr. Reading here that "The Cool Ones" had been released in widescreen by Warner Archive was a blast. As I just received my copy by mail today, I wanted to drop a line to thank you for your post that nails all what I feel about the film. The moment where Nita Talbot burst into uncontrollable laughter at the end of Mrs Miller performance is one of my favorite movie moments... ever. Oh, you should check 1968's "Girl in Gold Boots" , another gem from those good old days. Best. Tom

    1. Bonjour Tom!
      It's wonderful to hear from you in France! I only recently discovered your terrific blog and I'm looking forward to reading your posts and simultaneously working on my comprehension of French (and of course there's Google translate for when I get frustrated!)
      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting on this film. I'm stunned that such a forgotten 60s obscurity has a fan so far away! Congrats for ordering the DVD, you obviously have marvelous taste!
      I too love Nita Talbot's reaction to Mrs. Miller! I know they are "supposed" to react per the script, but her laugh looks genuine, spontaneous, and as you say, uncontrollable! I think it's the real thing and it's absolute delight how she tries to suppress it. Very cool of you to have noticed it.
      Also, how great is it that you know about and enjoy "Girl in the Gold Boots"?! It's is a favorite of mine that I've seen many times (can't resist a film with go-go dancing, I afraid). But only the MST3K version. I have no idea how I'd respond to the film without the sardonic comments of Mike and those robots. Thanks very much Tom for commenting and visiting my site! Much appreciated.

  12. For what it's worth, I wholeheartedly endorse the non-MST3K version of The Girl in Gold Boots. While it's obviously not a "good" movie, it is funny and rather charming, and one of Ted V. Mikels's most enjoyable movies. Besides, you get to see Hollywood's Haunted House nightclub in all its tacky glory. New copies are available on Amazon for only $6.00 and used ones even cheaper (and the Alpha DVD is a repackage of the Image transfer, so no worries there). You can't go wrong for the price.

    1. Hi Paul
      Well, I think you have convinced me on buying that DVD. How can one lose at those prices? Besides, the move is a great deal of camp fun: Go go girls, Judy Garland's second gay husband, catty dialog,'s a win-win situation. Besides, I live perhaps only a few miles from The Haunted House nightclub on Hollywood Blvd (now called The Cave) and always enjoy seeing the area and the club as it looked in the 60s. Nice to hear from you again!

  13. I just watched the film and wow! It's not half bad.... actually, it predates a lot of films that came later, and has a slight auteur feel to it too... Roddy looked rather mod and handsome which is not the way he usually is seen or remembered... And what ever became of Gil? Hunky brooding blonde guys are not very common... Not much on him when I google him.. something about his being a pilot, having 3 kids, being straight... no pictures of him after this film to be found anywhere! Is he still around? Is he a retired cop or carpenter in some small out of the way town?

    1. Hi Chris
      Sounds like your first exposure to "The Cool Ones" was a surprisingly favorable one! It really is a great deal of fun and infinitely better than its reputation. I agree that Roddy McDowal comes off better here than usual, looking pretty good for his 39 years. And yes, Gil Peterson has fairly faded despite being handsome (and wooden)enough to have done fine in the myriad TV westerns out at the time. I suppose fans of Hulu can find him in some of his many episodic TV appearances, but I do wonder what happened to him post-80s. IMDB doesn't offer much. I keep waiting for him to show up in one of Roddy McDowall's home movies. Thanks very much for reading the post and contributing you comment!

    2. Thanks for your reply. I got the film because i was a friend of Roddy's in the 90;s and miss him. The film came up through an ongoing ebay search. Seeing films like this helps create a sense of reconnection. And I never knew him this young. It seems that Gil followed the cue of his character in the film and left show biz for other pastures... If he was as wooden/unapproachable in real life as in the film, he would unlikely find himself at Roddy's beach parties... I like the use of the word "wooden" which is often a term for carved Indians, but you are right... wooden cowboys, as long as they're good looking and fill out their clothes in all the right ways made for good entertainment in the 60's and 70's...

    3. Yours is a very nice reason to have sought out an early Roddy McDowall film. Making it all the nicer that "The Cool Ones" is a rarely discussed film of his in which he is shown off to better advantage (at least to me) than in some of his other works. So wonderful that you knew him!
      As for Gil, fans of this film are always asking about what happened to him an why, given his looks, he disappeared. True male-starlet material there. Thanks for sharing your personal connection with the star of one of my all-time fave films!


  14. Re-watching You're A Big Boy Now just 24 hours ago & the Cool Ones just a couple of hours ago, I'm left in something of a 60s daze. I much prefer the former, but The Cool Ones evokes perhaps, maybe the sweetest memories ( 2 of them ) of my life. In 1967, my father was owed a lot of paid holiday/vacation time by his company ; he had filled in for some sick colleagues during the past 2 years & had accrued a a lot of rolled-over back holiday/vacation time. His company insisted that he catch up with his allotted paid off-days before the Summer -- or lose them. So, he suddenly had some weeks off. My next-door-neighbour, Cindy, about my age, had her birthday on a day when both of her parents were working late. My father volunteered to take her & me out to town & have a quick meal & see a couple of films. We ate at a Horn & Hardarts ( lemon squares & tea for me ), & then we went to the cinema. It was, I believe, a double-bill, but I have no memory of the accompaniment. The Cool Ones provoked a lot of giggles & groans from the audience. There were a number of discordant notes in the script, eg : the notion that a pop singer would release a 1940s musical album ( as if we of the Beatles, Chuck Berry, Rolling Stones, Billy J Kramer & Dakotas, Gerry & The Pacemakers, James Brown & al generation would switch to the bobby-soxers' & Victory Girls' music ) ; the dedication of Hally to her career, indeed, waiting 6 months for her appearance on Whizbam, & losing her steady dancing job in pursuit thereof, only to abandon it for that guy ? ; oh, &, such peculiarities as the kids' expressing their disapproval by snapping their fingers whilst walking in a semi-circle ( did kids do that in California ? It looks like something from West Side Story. ). But the most discordant & jarring note occurred at the Palm Springs club when the male lead sneeringly threatened to report some kids to the then-existent military-slavery board -- in 1967 that was no joke, for war-criminal Lyndon Johnson's immoral war against Vietnam was already resulting in dead soldiers being returned to the US. That remark would never have been uttered by any person in their 20s. When that remark was uttered by him, it was booed by every single member of the audience, including by me, by my father, & by Cindy. The film, though, as a whole, was a pleasant experience : all that zero-cool & don't throw a 7 talk. We returned home, sang happy birthday to Cindy when her parents returned, &, then, we packed, for, on the very next day, we went to Expo '67 in Montreal. Years later, circa AD 1988 or 1989 or 1990 or 1991, my tomboy daughter was playing street hockey with the boys & was struck by a puck in the jaw. This event entailed a few days of doctor visits & an appointment with the dentist. My father, still alive, phoned to check on her just before we left for the dentist & invited us to stay at his place in order to watch on the telly The Cool Ones. When we arrived at her Grandpa's, I explained we were going to watch a strange, old film. Daughter : I'm already in pain & you're going to increase it ? Grandfather : You'll thank us ! We 3 had a fun time mocking such melodramatic scenes as Hallie sobbing on the bus & we threw wadded-up paper at the screen during that scene. When Mrs Miller sang, my kid was laughing with an ice-pack on her jaw ( for the next month, she quipped : you should have seen the other guy ! ) Both gone now ( my daughter died in a weather-related accident a few years ago, & my dad passed away peacefully in his late 90s whilst watching a hockey game on the telly with a neighbour ) . --Pearl

    1. Hi Pearl
      Wonderful personal memories of this film you shared! I appreciate that. It's a reminder that movies are most often social events and personal experience combined. Even bad movies can be associated with pleasant memories.
      Oh, and all that weird teen behavior you noted (snapping fingers and the line "You were never my age") is exactly from "West Side Story"! Which seems pushing it for 1967 teens to copy and quote a 6 year old film).
      As for the odd idea of a pop star recording old you remember that brief period when groups like Jan & Dean did go-go updates of songs like "Heart and Soul" or "Sunday Kind of Love"?
      Lastly, thanks for sharing that sweet memory of watching this with you father and daughter (so sorry for their passing)...but it's a very nice anecdote you relate, one that reaffirms the power of film in bringing people together; even if only to laugh at and throw wadded pieces of paper at a screen .

  15. PS : notwithstanding my opinions re the script, I do like it, for, to misquote the great Sir Winston Churchill, never have so many given so much for such a little thing ( the script for this film ) . I looked up the author, Joyce Geller, just now on IMDb & note that this is her sole credit. I wonder if Warner Bros confiscated her typewriter & gave her a big pay rise & nominal promotion with a grand title like Chief Steward Of The File Cabinets in exchange for her promise not to write anything else. Is she related to Alan Smithee ? Debbie Watson's career essentially ended at this point. She had appeared in Universal's Karen &, later, Tammy telly shows ( giving away my age by acknowledging that I recall seeing them ) . Since the Cool Ones was at Warners, she must have been traded temporarily for another player & a catcher & pitcher. The Munsters' film part she was given by Universal, Marilyn, was a poison pill, for Pat Priest, the show's Marilyn, was very popular & available & expecting to play the part on the large screen -- this was not a good strategy by Universal. Many decades later, on a visit to West Germany, I tripped across the German-language version of Tammy ; it had a strange title like Munchkin & Hausboot or something ( have no German-language background ) .

    For me the film is a pleasant golden turkey singed with nostalgia. Happy Easter !

    1. I'm impressed that "The Cool Ones" was written by a woman. It's one of the few 60s teen movies where the women are not looked upon as prey. I love that her character is so ambitious and has desires of her own. There was a fellow that attended my dance class regularly for a while, and one day I played "The Tantrum" in class (recorded from the film) and he told me dated Debbie Watson for a time. My estimation of him rose immeasurably in that one moment!
      I never watched that Tammy show, and even to this day I tend to get Debbie Watson confused with Doborah Walley.

  16. Roddy McDowall, normally stoical & cool & the consummate professional, slips out of character and briefly collapses into an understandable fit of laughter during Mrs Miller's singing. He instinctively grabs the stage curtain in order to conceal his face. Nita Talbot ( the White Russian girl in Hogan's Heroes ) , briefly startled, glances in his direction and also has to fight against laughing. I give the film editor credit for leaving that shot in.

    1. I'm glad you noticed that too! It's a wholly spontaneous reaction of the sort that can't be faked. It's a great cutaway and so contagious. If you're not laughing at Mrs. Miller's voice you're certainly laughing at their reaction.

  17. the cool one s is a funny movie//