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Thunder Alley (1967)

Not Rated | | Action, Drama, Romance | 22 March 1967 (USA)
Stock car racer Tommy Callahan is forced to join Pete Madsen's thrill circus after his blackouts cause a fatal accident that gets him thrown off the circuit. He shows Pete's daughter ... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Francie Madsen
... Tommy Callahan
... Annie Blaine
... Eddie Sands
Jan Murray ... Pete Madsen
... Mac Lunsford
... Harry Wise
... Babe
... Dom
... Leroy Johnson
Sandy Reed ... Racing Announcer Sandy
Sammy Shore ... Turk
Michael Dugan
Ronnie Dayton


Stock car racer Tommy Callahan is forced to join Pete Madsen's thrill circus after his blackouts cause a fatal accident that gets him thrown off the circuit. He shows Pete's daughter Francie and her boyfriend Eddie Sands everything he knows about driving. Eddie takes up with Tommy's girl Annie Blaine after winning the first time out. They become fierce rivals by the next race, during which Tommy remembers driving over his brother with a go-kart and Eddie hits the wall. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


SCREAMING WHEELS - RECKLESS PLEASURES! (original ad - all caps) See more »


Action | Drama | Romance | Sport


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 March 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hell Drivers  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The car driven by Fabian is a 1967 Dodge Thunder Charger built by George Barris. See more »


When Pete goes to Turk's bar to get Tommy to come back and work for him, he turns to Turk and calls him Pete. See more »


Harry Wise: [walks over to Tommy Callahan] Hey, hey, hey, hey. Nobody told you you could hang around decent people, Callahan. Hey Turk, do you know who you just let in? He's the guy who killed ol' Jimmy John Jones. Didn't ya, killer?... I said, Didn't ya, killer?
Turk: This is one of my customers, Harry. Now, you leave him be.
Harry Wise: Aww... leave him be? You're putting me off! Hey, is there anybody here wanna let this man dirty up a nice clean place like Turk's?
Tommy Callahan: Are you drunk?
Harry Wise: [laughing] The killer wants to know if I'm ...
See more »


Referenced in The Efficiency Expert (1992) See more »


What's A Girl To Do
Music by Jerry Styner, Lyrics by Guy Hemric
Performed by Mike Curb Congregation
Sung by Annette Funicello (uncredited)
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User Reviews

Funicello's swan song at AIP
16 September 2002 | by See all my reviews

Thunder Alley was the last film Annette Funicello made for American International Pictures, and to some extent the reasons become clear during a viewing.

1967 was a transitional period at AIP. The Beach Party movies (1963-1966) had run out of steam, but the studio had not yet moved into the hippie/biker material (The Wild Angels, Wild in the Streets, etc.) that would characterize its late 60s production. In that context, the somewhat schizophrenic feel of Thunder Alley (Beach-party-ish romantic themes combined with comparatively risque orgies, drinking, etc.) isn't surprising. The producers knew that edgier trends were emerging, but were still working with stars (Fabian, Funicello) from the late 50s/early 60s greaser/beach era.

While Fabian comes across as hopelessly stuck in the past (his stiff, two-note approach to acting is high school drama club material, his range consists of pouting or getting angry), Funicello is clearly trying to evolve - it's almost as if she realizes that her "Dee-Dee at the beach" period is over, and that to survive she must grow into a more Nancy-Sinatra-ish, "groovy chick" mode.

Problem ws, Annette was far too much the lady to pull that off, so she seems almost blatantly out of place in this movie -- a decent, ladylike but straight talking woman surrounded by drunks, loudmouths, bimbos and opportunists. After this film (and to a large degree as a result of her "decency"), AIP had no more use for her, which was unfortunate: like Vincent Price, stars who had "slummed" at AIP were basically stuck there, so Funicello pretty much disappeared from the big screen after this film (save for one, small and somewhat self-depreciating cameo in the Monkee film "Head" a year later and her canned "nostalgia" appearance in 1987's "Back to the Beach."

One more note: several others who have commented on this film mentioned Annette perfoming the song "What's A Girl To Do" in the film. I have the MGM "Midnight Movie" video release of Thunder Alley and the original 1967 Sidewalk soundtrack album. While the LP contains "What's A Girl To Do," the version of the film on the video doesn't. Also, the "official" Annette collector web sites also comment that song -- while on the soundtrack album -- doesn't appear in the film.) Is it possible different versions of this film (perhaps a "longer" broadcast version containing the song, maybe the video realease is edited) are floating around?

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