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If you're after fun, escapist, Kennedy-era entertainment with a WB vs.
AIP budget, sit back and enjoy "Palm Springs Weekend" for what it is: A
bunch of kids (most of whom will never see twenty again) invading the
popular resort community for the weekend, getting into all sorts of
romantic trials and tribulations, with the inevitable happy ending.
Troy Donahue, then at the height of his fame, is the nominal hero of the story, a nice young medical student affectionately called "Dr. Jekyll." He has remarkably little to do, however, and it's the more colorful supporting characters who keep your interest through the film: Jerry Van Dyke as Donahue's wackyzanynutty best friend, Robert Conrad (just pre-"Wild, Wild West") as the particularly slimy heavy of the piece, Ty Hardin as the rodeo cowboy turned football hero (He's got steer horns affixed to the front of his car. You know the type), Connie Stevens as the "good girl" who gets in way over her head when she falls for Conrad, and Jack Weston and Carole Cook providing love among the oldsters as the boys' football coach and a local hotel owner, respectively. For the obligatory musical interlude, we have the Modern Folk Quartet performing in a nightclub sequence. See if you can spot a young Cyrus Faryar among the latter.
Norman Tourog's direction is appropriately easy and breezy, and the screenplay is by the young Earl Hamner, Jr. ("The Waltons"). Check your brain at the door and get in the mood for some early-60's-style fun. You'll be glad you did.
Nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon so me and some friends went to
the movies. It was the old Kabar Theater on Anaheim Boulevard in Long
Beach, California. I think it was either a quarter or a half dollar to
get in for a double feature. Popcorn was ten cents.
After the film started, the first thing that caught my attention was this guy, (Robert Conrad) driving a beautiful, 1963 Ford Thunderbird Roadster. It had a tonneau cover over the backseat with Kelsey Hayes wire wheels, which together gave it a sportier look than the standard convertible. With a 5 foot tall Bugs Bunny in the passenger seat, at the age of 12, I thought, that's how you get the girls.
I've owned five old T-Birds since 1969 and even an old Mercury convertible with bull horns on the hood like Ty Hardin drove. Now I'm into old police cars like Andrew Duggan drove.
After this movie, Jerry Van Dyke was one of my favorite funny guys and I envied Billy Mumy. He was a busy child actor in those days. He even appeared twice in one of TV's greatest shows, "The Twilight Zone." I was also in love with Connie Stevens for years. Wasn't she a cu-tie? Still is! This movie has it all. Suave, sophisticated leading men like Troy Donahue. Beautiful leading ladies. Comedy, drama, a hint of sex, live music, violence and a car chase in the desert.
Haven't seen this film in years so naturally I'd like to pick up a copy on DVD but none are available. I guess I'll have to stay up every night and try and catch it on the Late, Late Show.
The nice thing about Palm Springs Weekend is that the film makers did
not waste the audiences' and their time with bad language and obscene
material like today's film makers do. The plot may not be that original
or Oscar material, but then again, not every film is meant to be or
should be. However, it is wonderful, free-wheeling, nostalgic fun.
I'm a college student and I saw this film for the first time when I was eighteen years old, and it was probably the first teen flick I could watch from beginning to end without having to change channels because of inappropriate content. The film centers around a group of college students and their antics when they converge on a Palm Springs Hotel for spring break.
The story has its funny moments, like whenever the kids have run-ins with the local police or when Jerry Van Dyke tries to get people to check out his love machine. Watch out for Bill Mumy in the swimming pool scene. You'll laugh like crazy!
The one to see is a young Robert Conrad (why can't there be more young actors like him today?), who's got a big part in this film, even though Troy Donahue got star-billing. This is the perfect film to watch if you're looking for something that's sweet, innocent, and timeless no matter how corrupt and cynical the world has gotten.
This was the first movie I saw when I was a kid. I was almost seven at
the time and it was on a double bill with "The Sword and The Stone." My
mum dropped my two sisters and myself off at the Altantic Theater in
Long Beach, California and this movie played first. I can't tell you a
thing about the Disney movie, but I remember just about every scene
from Palm Springs Weekend. The '63 Thunderbird, Bugs Bunny, Stephanie
Powers, Connie Stevens, the pool with the bubbles and the car chase at
the end. Hard to believe, but this film made me want to work in the
And so I did. I have worked in film and video most of my career and I always tell people this was the film that first gave me the notion.
During my career I have been fortunate to meet two of the people involved with this film, Connie Stevens and Earl Hamner Jr (the man who wrote this film) When I met with Hamner over lunch, it was to talk about his classic television show The Waltons, but his eyes lit up when I asked him about PSW. He told me several stories and we had a good laugh. A very special memory.
I too would like to see this film released on DVD. It really captures a time and a generation and that '63 T Bird!
Warner Bros. had several fine players under exclusive contract and cast
Troy Donahue, Connie Stevens, Ty Hardin and Bob Conrad in this film
along with another WB contractees Andrew Duggan and Greg Benedict
Troy Donahue had come off a series of Delmer Daves soap operas at WB that were smash hits -A Summer Place, Parrish- Susan Slade and Rome Adventure- and Troy was a very big box office star. Connie Stevens co starred with Donahue in Parrish and Susan Slade and was WB's answer to Sandra Dee. Ty Hardin was cast in several WB films such as George Cukor's Chapman Report, Merrills Maurauders, PT 109 and Wall of Noise. All three were great looking Stars and this film captures Troy, Connie and Ty,at the height of their WB fame and glory. Stefanie Powers on loan out from her home studio Columbia plays Troy Donahue's love interest in this film.Another WB star Bob Conrad is also featured.
Filmed at Warner Bros. in Burbank and on location in Palm Springs it is a delightful escapist entertainment nicely moved along by veteran director Norman Taurog.
You have got to give Warner Bros studios credit for milking Troy Donahue for all they could get with the teenage audience....there was "Summer Place", "Parrish", "Susan Slade", "Rome Adventure"...Warner Bros was riding the high waves with Donahue for the teenage audience in the early 60s.......then they apparently decided to remake "Where the Boys Are"....this time the film is in Palm Springs California instead of Florida....Stephanie Powers more or less recreates the role Delores Hart had in "Where the Boys Are".....a young student looking for teenage/young adult love...Troy Donahue basically recreates the role George Hamilton had.....the handsome lover boy looking for romance.....basically corny and overly silly in a lot of respects. Plenty of comedy though as Jerry Van Dyke plays a over the top goofball who winds up with the homely down and out girl...sort of like the role Frank Gorshin had in Boys Are with Connie Francis....lots of similarities with both films. Troy Donahue did not have to do much acting...just stand around looking handsome and available and the gals ate him up. In a silly teenage film like this much acting was not required at all. For my money a scene near the end where Donahue and Stephanie Powers were standing in front of a fake, paper rock, supposedly in the desert was laughable....Powers says "look out there, see the sands, it is the valley of lost lovers" ha=ha-ha.....or something to that effect....Donahue stands there listening to her with a silly gape on his face....just totally laughable acting. Nothing like that old puss himself Jack Weston to play the lovable loser - he was the basketball coach trying to keep his players under control and falling for the matronly owner of the motel they were at....Weston always a lovable loser, just like in "The Cincinatti Kid" and "Thomas Crown Affair" in the 60s..... For my money Jerry Van Dyke steals the movie as a looney over the top comedian....once again, this is a teenage love flick at it's best....if you saw "Where the Boys Are" you have seen "Palm Springs Weekend"....just the same two films stitched together with different actors....Bob Conrad as the spoiled, rich kid with the fast T-Bird and Connie Stevens as the nubile, and very available coed....she gets mixed up with the wrong guy. Top notch film for the teenagers in the early 1960s.
I first saw this movie as a young person under 10, and didn't
understand the dramatic essence. I think this is probably Robert
Conrad's best dramatic part, very troubled and complex.
The car, a 1963 Thunderbird roadster, still is the real star of this movie, as far as I am concerned. The comedy was adequate for the era, but a bit over the top.
The car chase is, for it's time very appropriate, but as a child I was very concerned about Stretch, LOL such an altruistic lad, I think Stephanie Powers is one of the most beautiful female actresses that has ever graced the screen!
This is a great movie for historians, if they care to investigate the culture and mores of 1963.
Palm Springs Weekend which was unashamedly ripped off from Where The
Boys Meet The Girls, gave the Warner Brothers television stars a last
time to strut their stuff before the cameras. Within three years all of
these contract players would be gone from the Warner lot as the British
invasion led by the Beatles reconstructed the whole idea of what a teen
heartthrob was supposed to be.
Troy Donahue(Surfside Six), Ty Hardin(Bronco), and Robert Conrad (Hawaiian Eye), are all on spring break and bound for that favorite west coast location, Palm Springs. While there Donahue gets involved with Stefanie Powers the police chief's daughter and Hardin and Conrad get to fight over Connie Stevens who's lying about her age. She's borderline jailbait, but looks old.
In that department Connie was the most ludicrous, but the notion that these guys were all students of some kind is beyond belief. All of them were past 25 at this point, they must have felt ridiculous. But the stars of 90210 didn't look much like high school kids so nothing's really changed.
But romance was in the air in Palm Springs Weekend, even Jack Weston the college basketball coach gets to have a fling with hotel owner Carole Cook. Best in the film is Jerry Van Dyke who supplies some needed comic relief and plays a mean banjo.
Still the film really hasn't worn well over the decades. But it's pleasant enough entertainment. Troy Donahue gets to sing over the title credits. That was a mistake.
I recall the New York Times gave a favorable review to this sprightly
fun film that became a smash hit for Warner Bros.
Troy Donahue who was the biggest star on the WB lot is first billed over other WB stars Connie Stevens, Ty Hardin and Robert Conrad. The WB stars all look great. Stefanie Powers is Donahue's romantic interest. The set up is thin but fun: a group of college students converge on Palm Springs for a weekend of romance and fun. Jerry Van Dyke, and Carole Cook give fun support. WB gave Ty Hardin a shot at stardom with other WB films such as Wall of Noise ( with another WB star Dorothy Provine), PT 109, and George Cukor's The Chapman Report.
Troy Donahue's real life best friend Greg Benedict, and best man at his wedding to Suzanne Pleshette has a small pivotal role in Palm Springs Weekend. This was WB's reply to smash hit MGM film Where The Boys Are that starred Jim Hutton, Paula Prentiss, George Hamilton, Yvette Mimieux, and Dolores Hart ( who would leave Hollywood and become a Nun). During this time Columbia also had a stock company of Stefanie Powers, Michael Callan, James Darren, Deborah Walley. I wish those days would return!
Troy'Donahue made 4 smash hits at WB with Delmer Daves: A Summer Place with Sandra Dee, Parrish with Diane McBain and Connie Stevens, and Susan Slade with Connie Stevens and Rome Adventure with Angie Dickinson and Suzanne Pleshette. Palm Springs Weekend was Donahue's first film at WB without the mark of Delmer Daves. Troy Donahue's hit streak at WB continued with this film directed by veteran Norman Taurog.
Trivia note that Troy Donahue at first refused the film but was enticed to star into it and sings the title song over the credits. Suzanne Pleshette was offered role that eventually was played by Stefanie Powers.
I loved this movie(Re-run TV) when I was a teenager. I tell my kids
about it all the time, all the while wishing that I could show it to my
kids. HOWEVER, it is not on DVD and THAT is a crying shame.
Teenagers turned loose on Palm Springs for the weekend. Everyone's, especially the police and parents, hands are full. I admire how filmmakers in those times touched upon sensitive social issues (such as premarital sex and being true to yourself) without pounding out the movie's entertainment value. "Palm Spring's Weekend" is a light-hearted, fun movie that I wish I could show my kids.
Please SOMEBODY OUT THERE, put it on DVD!!!
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