Monday, November 28, 2011

For Those Who Think Young

For Those Who Think Young.

On one hand it was the slogan for Pepsi-Cola advertising in the 60's. It was so popular in fact that an entire movie was built around it: United Artists' 1964 beach party knock-off guessed it...For Those Who Think Young.  The producers figured it was a great way to not only cash in on the beach party craze sweeping the nation but to shamelessly plug Pepsi-Cola product along the way. James Darren stands in for Frankie Avalon and our lovely Miss Tiffin subs for Annette Funicello.

The plot is reed thin: Rich playboy "Ding" (yes, you read that right) Pruitt (Darren) falls and woos pretty college co-ed Sandy Palmer (Tiffin).  All the while his stodgy grandfather is scheming to close down the local college hang out where Sandy's uncles (Woody Woodbury and Paul Lynde) perform, a sultry stripper by the name of "Topaz McQueen" (Tina Louise) struts her stuff and where the gang hangs out to dance, laugh and drink their fair share of Pepsi-Cola. In between all this the viewer is subjected to the corny routines of Woody Woodbury.

Oh and James Darren warbles the title tune over the opening credits.

It's a rather brain-less affair and wastes the considerable talents of Pamela, James Darren, Bob Denver, Paul Lynde, Nancy Sinatra, Tina Louise and an up and coming actress named Ellen McRae, who would go on to greater fame as Ellen Burstyn.  The film is definitely a curiosity in the beach party movie genre but in my honest opinion it is not one of it's most shining examples.

Give me five straight viewing of Beach Blanket Bingo before having to endure this dog again.

I found it rather hard to sit through and to be honest the only reason I did was to see Pamela Tiffin at the height of her beauty.

In Tom Lisanti's excellent book, Fantasy Femmes of Sixties CinemaPamela is quoted as saying that she felt her co-star Tina Louise was one of the most beautiful women she had ever seen in her life and that her beauty was just a miracle of nature.

It takes one to know one.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Does she or doesn't she?

What a diff'rence 2 years make.

1964 brunettes Pamela Tiffin and Nancy Sinatra co-star in the teen beach flick, For Those Who Think Young.

Flash forward 1966: They both run for the dye bottle....

FYI: The title of this blog post comes from Miss Clairol's famous advertising slogan. But I trust you pop culture fanatics knew that.  :)

...And She's Only 19

An excerpt from a 1961 interview with Pamela Tiffin by Liza Wilson:

“It is shameless how many times I have seen One, Two Three. I keep finding new things to laugh at; I have only seen Summer and Smoke twice. The theme is too compelling emotionally. Earlier in life I used to want sturm and drang and excitement. Now I want some order and peace.”

And she’s only 19.

Marriage To Newsman Aids Pamela Tiffin's Press Relations

Another interesting interview with Ms. Tiffin, circa 1966:

Pamela Tiffin’s relations with the press have improved in the last three years. In 1962 the pretty young actress married, Clay Felker, a newspaperman.

            Pamela, currently starring with Paul Newman and Robert Wagner in “The Moving Target” at Warner Bros., admits that when she made her motion picture debut in “Summer and Smoke” she was ill at ease during interviews and bridled at the sound of the word “publicity”.

“At the time I pushed reticence,” she now confesses. “I felt that my personal thoughts and actions were my own and the concern of no one else. It wasn’t my idea to appear aloof, but I’m afraid that was the way I struck many people.”

            Her marriage to Felker, a working member of the Fourth Estate, changed all that.

            “But slowly,” admits Pamela, with a smile. “I found out from Clay that a certain part of an actress’ life belongs to the people who buy tickets to see her in the theatre. When I learned about ‘news’, what makes a ‘story’, I lost much of my self-consciousness. I still may not be the perfect interview but I really try to co-operate.

            Publicity, Pamela now feels, is an integral part of a player’s life.

            “Unless, of course, one is Garbo,” she adds with a smile. “But there are areas which I feel are closed as far as I am concerned. These include details of my home life. And, positively, no art for the play-play magazines for jaded males.

            When a screen role demands that Pamela wear brief attire, she goes along with it.
            “But the wardrobe – or lack of it – must be in context with the part I’m playing and the dramatic action,” she continued.

            In “The Moving Target” Pamela is seen as a wayward socialite, out to entrap the personable males she encounters.

            I go after Robert Wagner and Paul Newman while wearing a brief bikini. The girl is shameless,” Pamela admits. “To convey her character I could hardly play her in an outfit that would cover me from ankles to ears.”

Notes: "The Moving Target" was re-titled "Harper" for U.S. release. 

Pamela muses on Life, Love, Career, Dueling Personalities and the state of Teen-Agers.

An interview with Pamela Tiffin by syndicated columnist John Springer, circa 1966:

If someone in England asks you to tiffin, they are asking you to high tea. In America, however, Tiffin is a person – and a very personable person too. Born in Oklahoma, Pamela started modeling at 11 and has been in movies since she was 17 (“Summer and Smoke,” “One, Two, Three,” etc.). Married to magazine editor Clay Felker, living in New York, she starred on Broadway in “Dinner at Eight” – and, greeting anyone in her apartment, is inclined to flop down exhausted in a chair and say:

            “I want everything. I want to be a great actress. I want to be a good wife. I want to finish the book I’m reading. If you want a lot out of life, you have to put a lot in. So sometimes, you’re tired. That’s the price you pay. Take today. Usually I get up a 2:30 in the afternoon. Today I got  up at 12:30, but I could have slept until 8 tonight. The obligations of performing enervate you. You forget about yourself, which is very good for you. But you also get all charged up. I got charged up during the fight scene in ‘Dinner’ – like anybody would in a fight in real life. Yet we theater people always look like such bums of the working world. A photographer just called. “It’s only a picture’, he said. “It’ll only take a minute.” “Listen,” I told him, “my hair takes 45 minutes just to beat down.”

            “I was an only child, and I still am. I’m accustomed to being alone. I like a lot of solitude. It’s sort of incongruous wanting to be an actress. You have to put out so much. Not like in some of those stupid movies I did – those young girl parts. I mean in a part like in “Harper” or being Mastroianni’s wife in my new one, “Paranoia”.

            There are really two completely opposite me’s.  I grew up in Illinois – with all the Puritanical things that represents. My father’s parents were Slavs, but my mother is Anglo-Saxon, so that’s two people too. I was smart, I was in college at 16, and I wanted to be a teacher of Latin poetry, But the other half of me wanted to be a stripper at Minsky’s – so I collected calendar girls.

            “I’m different inside than out. That’s probably why my career is so crazy. In Harold Clurman’s class, I was doing Yelena in “Uncle Vanya”, and at the same time being the showgirl in “Dinner”. It’s hard to change from both and it’s hard to live with me. But I think reality is important too. It’s important to stop short from whatever snowball you’re on.

            “That fabled creature, the teen-ager, doesn’t really exist. People try to romanticize marriage, but they’re really just adults in miniature. The world needs grace and it needs beauty but it doesn’t need to romanticize untruths. Maybe romantic teen-agers existed before World War II and biology and paperbacks, but now they want to get in the water and mud, too. I was older and more sophisticated than I am now. Children are nice. Then that puberty comes and everything gets confused. When you get to be about 20, you have to unlearn everything. And you have to go back to being nice, too."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Oggi Domani e Dopodomani ~ Le Moglie Bionda

In 1965 Pamela Tiffin's career took a curious turn. She had just completed roles in two big Hollywood films: The Hallelujah Trail and Harper when she was tapped to replace Sue Lyon in an Italian film opposite Marcello Mastroianni.

That film was Oggi, Domani e Dopodomani. It was comprised of a trio of vignettes starring Mastroianni and a different leading lady. Catherine Spaak, Virna Lisi and Pamela Tiffin were his co-stars.

Pamela was Mastroianni's first American leading lady. She played his wife "Pepita" in the segment entitled La Moglie Bionda (The Blonde Wife). In this segment Mastroianni tries to sell his blonde wife (Tiffin) to a rich Arab sheik. Little does he know that his wife will ultimately flip the script on him...with hilarious results.

Pamela was asked to dye her hair blonde for this film and she was initially hesitant. She did it and wound up liking it (and the attention she got) so much that she kept her hair blonde and never looked back.

So here in it's entirety is the lovely Pamela Tiffin in her first Italian film and her very first as a blonde opposite Marcello Mastroianni in La Moglie Bionda from Oggi Domani e Dopodomani filmed in 1965.

The last two segments of the film were combined and released by MGM in 1968 under the title, Kiss The Other Sheik.

Fox Movie Channel airs "The Pleasure Seekers" in December

Fox Movie Channel (check local listings in your area) will be airing Pamela's 1964 film, The Pleasure Seekers. The film is a frothy comic-melodrama tracing the romantic adventures of three American girls in exotic Madrid.

Loosely based on the 1954 film, Three Coins in the Fountain both films were directed by Jean Negulesco.

This version puts the spotlight on four musical performances by Ann-Margret sprinkled throughout the picture.

Pamela gives a fine comic turn as the innocent "Susie Higgins" who falls for Spanish playboy "Emilio Lacayo" (Tony Franciosa), who has a way with the women until "Susie" comes along and flips the script on him.

The cast is rounded out by the always beautiful Carol Lynley, Gardner McKay, Andre Lawrence, Brian Keith and the legendary Gene Tierney in what turns out to be her last big screen role.

The Pleasure Seekers will be airing December 23 and 28 at 11:30 am EST on the Fox Movie Channel, uncut, widescreen and commercial free.

For more on The Pleasure Seekers, Pamela Tiffin and classic sixties cinema please visit my friend Tom Lisanti's web site Sixties Cinema

Model Behavior

Pamela (on the far right) in an early 60's fashion magazine spread. She was taking in $1,500 a week in modeling assignments.

"Summer and Smoke", Pamela Tiffin's Big Screen Debut Finally Available on DVD

Olive Films has released for the first time ever on DVD, Pamela Tiffin's big screen debut in Hal Wallis' production of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke

Pamela was only 19 years old when she won the role of "Nellie Ewell" a young innocent student of the spinsterish "Alma Winemiller" (Geraldine Page) who carries a torch for town lothario "John Buchanan, Jr." (Laurence Harvey).

The supporting cast is led by Una Merkel, Rita Moreno, John McIntire and Earl Holliman.

Geraldine Page and Una Merkel received Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominations respectively for their performances in the film. Pamela went on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer for this film and a Best Supporting Actress nod for her next film, One Two Three.

Glamour Shot To Fame

Pamela Tiffin on an early 1960s cover of GLAMOUR magazine.

Let's start at the very beginning...a very good place to start. Pamela Tiffin Wonso was born on October 13, 1942. The raven haired beauty was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma but was raised in Chicago. 

Pamela started modeling at the very young age of 14 and when she relocated with her family to New York City she continued modeling while studying at Hunter College.

It was while vacationing with her mother in Los Angeles and visiting a friend who worked at Paramount studios that Pamela was spotted by one of producer Hal Wallis' talent scouts. He asked her to audition for Wallis' new motion picture of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke. 

With relatively no acting experience under her belt, Pamela hesitantly auditioned and much to her surprise got the part! 

Concurrently legendary director Billy Wilder saw Pamela in a magazine lingerie ad and had his scouts track her down to audition for the role of the souther scatter brain "Scarlett Hazeltine" opposite James Stewart and Horst Buchholz in One, Two Three.

He eventually found her, Pamela auditioned and once again she got the part. 

The rest is history...