3 April 2013 5:54 PM, PDT | Moviefone | See recent Moviefone news »

Today, it seems audiences know "Bye Bye Birdie" only from the prominent mention of it on "Mad Men," when the Sterling Cooper agency tried to copy Ann-Margret's minimalist opening number for a diet soda commercial. But when the movie musical premiered 50 years ago (on April 4, 1963), it was a huge smash. It made an instant star out of the Swedish-born actress, as well as boosting the fame of co-stars Dick Van Dyke and Paul Lynde. Based on the Broadway hit musical, "Bye Bye Birdie" was seen as a trenchant pop cultural satire at the time. Everyone knows that Conrad Birdie, the hip-swiveling rocker who is drafted into the Army, and who stages a publicity stunt on the Ed Sullivan show by agreeing to kiss a teen fan before reporting for duty, is inspired by Elvis Presley, who had to put his career on hold in 1958 when he was drafted. But »

- Gary Susman

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