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Video Rewind: Spring Break

Updated on April 6, 2015
Fun in the Florida sun
Fun in the Florida sun

Where the Boys (and Girls) Are

When I was going to school we never had a winter or spring break during the school year. The only "breaks" we had were Christmas and Easter vacations which lasted a week (maybe a couple of extra days at Christmas depending on when the holiday fell) but never longer than 10 days.

And since we never had those additional weeks of vacation I feel as though I may have missed something from my youth. Maybe spring breaks are one of those rites of passage, but I'll never know. It's a good thing Hollywood gave us fantasy spring breaks throughout the years.

In 1960, one of the most popular spring breaks took us to Fort Lauderdale when four northern college girls went Where the Boys Are. Based on the novel of the same name, the movie made a star out of Connie Francis with the memorable title song.

Going down south along with Francis (as Angie) were Dolores Hart (Merritt); Paula Prentiss (Tuggle) and Yvette Mimieux (Melanie) where they hope to meet boys.

Each character has their own storyline and problems to contend with while vacationing in sunny southern Florida thanks to the boys they meet. TV Thompson (Jim Hutton) catches the eye of Tuggle when she picks up the wayward hitchhiker; Ryder Smith (George Hamilton) woos Merritt away from her studies; Basil (Frank Gorshin) and Angie make wonderful music together, while Franklin (Rory Harrity) gets what he wants from the naïve Melanie.

It was ahead of its time while taking on some controversial issues. Watching it today isn't as shocking as it would have been at the time of its release.

And in today's market of remakes, this was remade in 1984 and starred Lisa Hartman, Lorna Luft, Wendy Schaal and Lynn-Holly Johnson.

Like any successful picture it wouldn't be long before copycats popped up and Palm Springs Weekend did just that in 1963. It has the same premise, but this time instead of a longer break, everything has to happen over the course of a weekend.

The fun and frivolity begin when members of a college basketball team (from Los Angeles) skip practice and head on down to "the springs" to meet girls. On the bus ride down they discover the coach (Jack Weston) is on board which thwarts the boys' good times.

Basketball hunk Jim Munroe (Troy Donahue) catches the eye of underage Connie Stevens (aka Gayle Lewis/Jane Hoover) and after a flirtatious few moments she catches the eye of Eric Dean (Robert Conrad) while the rich one drives his sports car next to the bus.

When the bus pulls over Connie continues her journey with Conrad (and a life sized Bugs Bunny- after all this is a Warner Bros. Pictures release) to the springs leaving potential boy toy Troy all alone at the bus stop.

Once in Palm Springs, the mayhem begins when Connie discovers she doesn't have enough money for her room so she agrees to become Boom Boom Yates' (Bill Mumy) babysitter for the weekend. She hands him over to her roommate for the weekend Amanda (Zeme North) who has a way of handling the precocious youth.

This distant cousin to Where the Boys Are basically has the same plot, but the story also includes residents (Stefanie Powers and Tina Cole) of Palm Springs who become involved with the visitors. Most of the cast ends up at Cole's parents house for a party and when unsupervised by an adult, you know what happens. It's kind of funny to think of twenty somethings in 1963 having chaperoned parties.

For fans of Robert Conrad you're in for a treat as he lets loose and cuts a rug with date Gayle/Jayne (the Twist no doubt). Don't let that moment of not being a tough guy let you down. He's back to his smug self when he catches Stretch Fortune (Ty Hardin) chatting it up with Gayle/Jayne.

If PSW were to be remade it would have came back as 1985's Fraternity Vacation starring Stephen Geoffreys, Sheree J. Wilson, Tim Robbins and Amanda Bearse.

Fraternity Vacation is the opposite of these films since it's the boys who are leaving their Iowa college for a weekend of fun in Palm Springs. Of course their objective here is to score with girls and see if they can get nerdy Wendell (Geoffreys) laid.

Once in Palm Springs, they're spotted by rival frat brothers (Leigh McCloskey and Matt McCoy) and the two of them set up a prank using two girls they know (Barbara Crampton and Kathleen Kinmont) to carry out their dastardly deed.

The girls come onto Robbins and fellow fratter Cameron Dye and once the jokes revealed a bet is made amongst the guys that neither Dye nor McCloskey can get Wilson into the sack by the end of the weekend. At stake is $1000.

Later that night our boys go to a local watering hole and give Wendell some advice on how to pick up girls. He meets local Nicole Ferret (Bearse) and the two of them eventually leave which leads to the secondary storyline of this weekend romance.

Throughout the movie the rivalry between the fraternities escalates as each try to outdo the other. The team of Robbins and Dye do have an advantage over the others since they're staying in the same condominium complex as Wilson and they're right across from her (which makes getting pictures of her nude easier).

As with the previous two movies, there's the entanglement with the local police chiefs and shenannigans associated with spring break.

Do I feel as though I missed something? Nope!

Spring Break Palms style!
Spring Break Palms style!

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