IMDb > Fireball 500 (1966)
Fireball 500
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Fireball 500 (1966) More at IMDbPro »

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Fireball 500 -- Melodrama about stock car racing has driver Frankie Avalon getting mixed up with moonshiners when he pauses in a southern town to do some racing.  Fabian is the local playboy who provides competition for Avalon on and off the track while Annette Funicello is the love interest.


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5.0/10   265 votes »
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Down 14% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
William Asher (written by) and
Leo Townsend (written by)
View company contact information for Fireball 500 on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 June 1966 (USA) See more »
They're Running Hot! See more »
Stock car racer Dave Owens plays into the hands of whiskey runners by agreeing to drive in a cross-country road race... See more » | Add synopsis »
(4 articles)
Annette Funicello obituary
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 10 April 2013, 2:18 AM, PDT)

Annette Funicello Dies at 70
 (From Variety - TV News. 8 April 2013, 10:14 AM, PDT)

Annette Funicello dies at 70
 (From Variety - Film News. 8 April 2013, 10:14 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Not one of the 1960's greatest achievements. See more (13 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Frankie Avalon ... Dave Owens

Annette Funicello ... Jane Harris

Fabian ... Sonny Leander

Chill Wills ... Big Jaw Harris

Harvey Lembeck ... Charlie Bigg
Julie Parrish ... Martha
Douglas Henderson ... Agent Hastings (as Doug Henderson)
Baynes Barron ... Agent Bronson
Sandy Reed ... The Announcer

Mary Hughes ... Leander Fan
Salli Sachse ... Leander Fan
Patti Chandler ... Leander Fan
Jo Collins ... Leander Fan
Karla Conway ... Leander Fan
Maria McBane ... Leander Fan (as Marie McBane)
Hedy Scott ... Leander Fan

Linda Bent ... Leander Fan

Len Lesser ... Man in Garage
Luree Holmes ... Race Girl
Renie Riano ... Marthy (as Renee Riano)
Sue Hamilton ... Farmer's Daughter
R.L. Armstrong ... Herman's Friend (as Tex Armstrong)
Jason Johnson ... Herman
Paul Napier

Michael Nader ... Joey (as Mike Nader)
Billy Beck ... Jobber
Ed Garner ... The Farmer
Carol Byron
Bill Putney

Vin Scully ... The Narrator (voice)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bobby Brack ... Race Driver (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
William Asher 
Writing credits
William Asher (written by) and
Leo Townsend (written by)

Produced by
Samuel Z. Arkoff .... producer
Gene McCabe .... associate producer
James H. Nicholson .... producer
Burt Topper .... co-producer
Original Music by
Les Baxter 
Cinematography by
Floyd Crosby (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Fred R. Feitshans Jr.  (as Fred Feitshans)
Eve Newman 
Art Direction by
Daniel Haller 
Set Decoration by
Harry Reif 
Costume Design by
Richard Bruno 
Makeup Department
Ted Coodley .... makeup artist
Ray Forman .... hair stylist (as Ray Foreman)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Dale Hutchinson .... assistant director
Art Department
Karl Brainard .... properties
Ross Hahn .... construction coordinator
Richard M. Rubin .... properties
Sound Department
Don Rush .... sound mixer
Gene Corso .... sound effects (uncredited)
James M. Falkinburg .... sound effects (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Frank DeMarco .... special effects
Ronnie Dayton .... stunts (uncredited)
Carey Loftin .... stunt driver (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Jacques R. Marquette .... process photographer (as Jacques Marquette)
Jack Beckett .... camera operator (uncredited)
Paul Jacobsen .... electrician (uncredited)
John Monte .... still photographer (uncredited)
Fred C. Pearce .... camera operator (uncredited)
Music Department
Guy Hemric .... additional songs
Milton Lustig .... music editor
Al Simms .... musical supervisor
Jerry Styner .... additional songs
Other crew
Samuel Z. Arkoff .... presenter
Jack W. Cash .... assistant to producer (as Jack Cash)
Charles Murray .... technical advisor
James H. Nicholson .... presenter
Christopher Riordan .... choreographer (as Ronnie Riordan)
George Barris .... car customizer (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
92 min
Color (Pathécolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Although backgrounds of many scenes include posters for various car races, portions of all ads are masked by black tape, probably to disguise fact that dates and/or locales of events didn't line up with when and where story was actually taking place.See more »
Revealing mistakes: When the 99 car goes over the guardrail at Daytona, two fireball explosions happen underneath the car shooting flames up into the air, one on the track side of the guardrail and one on the far side behind the guardrail. Neither explosion had any reason for being other than visual additions to the crash.See more »
Dave:You know it's funny. There you are, laying there like a loser but yet you've got all the chips in front of you. You busted the game Leander.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The Love Bug (1968)See more »
Country CarnivalSee more »


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0 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
Not one of the 1960's greatest achievements., 3 February 2006
Author: JonathanDP81

** of ***** Below Average

Pros: Some interesting footage of vintage cars and early NASCAR. Cons: Most everything else.

Viewed: 3 February 2006 Format: DVR recording from Showtime Extreme

It's interesting that my first Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello movie isn't one of their famous beach films but a racing flick, the other big teenage film fad of the early '60's. Since most of these films were mostly background for necking at drive-ins, plus the fact it produced by American International, I wasn't surprised to find this a lightweight piece of filmaking.

"Fireball 500" starts and ending with an interesting (but very, very short) piece of claymation made by Chokey Films ("Gumby") before we meet our hero, Dave Owens, winning the eponymous race of the film. He's driving Richard Petty's car, Number 43, which strikes a weird note but I'm guessing Petty wasn't yet nationally known, so the director used it to match with the stock footage.

About the stock footage: There's a LOT. And since the races in the film consist mostly of that and rear-projection shots, they really lack any tension at all. However, in the final race there's footage of a multi-car pileup that must be seen to be believed.

After winning and during the opening credits, Dave heads south (for no apparent reason) while singing the first of several banal songs and driving a far-out custom car that I doubt any real racer would be seen dead in. Once below the Mason-Dixon line, he starts dirt racing on the local track. Why, I don't know. He's going to Dayton soon and I would figure the prize money from the race at the start of the film would tide him over until then, so maybe it's just for kicks.

In short order he half-heartily romances Funicello (who appears so little in this film it's practically a walk-on), annoys the local racing big shot by beating him and is tricked to unknowingly moving a load of moonshine at night. Yes, really.

Most of plot involves a rather silly and threadbare mystery that I won't spoil. Of course in the end there's the Big Race!

Frankie Avalon was really not suited for the role of tough racing driver here. The lines really don't sound natural coming from him and the fact that seems a good half-foot shorter than any other male in the film doesn't help either. This makes the fight scenes look even faker than they probably would have.

The Bottom Line: Skip unless you're into these kinds of films.

Recommend to a friend?: No.

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