Annette Funicello and Tommy Kirk in Pajama Party (1964)


(director: Don Weis; screenwriter: Louis M. Heyward; cinematographer: Floyd Crosby; editor: Fred Feitshans/Eve Newman; music: Floyd Crosby; cast: Tommy Kirk (Go-Go aka George), Annette Funicello (Connie), Elsa Lanchester (Aunt Wendy), Harvey Lembeck (Eric Von Zipper), Jesse White (J. Sinister Hulk), Jody McCrea (Big Lunk), Buster Keaton (Chief Rotten Eagle), Dorothy Lamour (Head Saleslady), Bobbi Shaw (Helga), Don Rickles (Big Bang, The Martian), Frankie Avalon (Socum); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Samuel Z. Arkoff/James H. Nicholson; MGM; 1964)
“It’s the kind of wacky teen comedy where the less brains you have the better chance you have for getting what this film is all about.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An AIP cheapie produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson. They’re the same crass people who launched the formulaic beach party movies for teens, and Pajama Party is the follow-up to Bikini Beach. It stars two Disney Mouseketeer alums Annette Funicello and Tommy Kirk. Hack TV director and filmmaker Don Weis (“I Love Melvin”/”The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini”/”The Affairs Of Dobie Gillis”) and writer Louis M. Heyward keep the beach frolics going for the fun-loving teens and show off the gals dancing in their bikinis. Frankie Avalon and Don Rickles have cameos; while Buster Keaton and Dorothy Lamour are not as lucky, as they have bigger supporting parts that do not help their declining careers by appearing in this bomb. It’s the kind of wacky teen comedy where the less brains you have the better chance you have for getting what this film is all about.

A Martian invasion of Earth is planned and the Martian leader sends Go-Go (Tommy Kirk) as the advance man for the invasion because he’s the stupidest Martian recruit and therefore he won’t be able to tell the Earth people anything about his home planet or the invasion if he gets captured. Go-Go lands dressed in an usher’s uniform in the garden of Aunt Wendy (Elsa Lanchester), who inherited a fortune from her late hubby and runs a cool clothes store for teens. Go-Go befriends the daffy Aunt Wendy and meets Big Lunk (Jody McCrea), her muscular nephew, and his girlfriend Connie (Annette Funicello). Gossip has it that Aunt Wendy is hiding a fortune somewhere in her house, and Chief Rotten Eagle (Buster Keaton) and Helga (Bobbi Shaw), a sexy Swede who speaks no English but can somehow communicate with the Chief, are trying to pry information about the hidden loot from Big Lunk for Aunt Wendy’s sinister con artist neighbor (Jesse White, the first Maytag Repairman to appear on TV ads). The hired con artists end up crashing a teen pajama party given by Aunt Wendy, but Go-Go contacts his Martian buddies to help. Then there’s a motorcycle gang and their moronic tough guy leader Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) to be dealt with, who’s upset with the teens for getting footprints over the beach. In the meantime Go-Go has fallen in love with Connie and talks the Martians into calling off the invasion, and decides to settle down on Earth with his wholesome girlfriend.