Pajama Party (1964) starring Annette Funicello, Don Rickles, Buster Keaton
In short, Pajama Party is an Annette Funicello beach party movie. But in addition to the gyrating young girls in bikinis,Pajama Party adds large amounts of clown-level zaniness as well. The basic story has 3 intertwining plots – a Martian invasion (led by a clean cut, inept Martian teenager and managed by Don Rickles), a beach party complete with teenage angst, and some inept crooks (including Buster Keaton as an American Indian, still wearing his traditional pork pie hat — with a feather in it). There’s a lot of humor in the movie, with slapstick that borders on the Looney Tunes. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it and hope you do as well.
Editorial review of Pajama Party, courtesy of Amazon.com
Gogo, a Martian teenager (Tommy Kirk), is sent to Earth to prepare the way for an invasion. The first Earthling he meets, one Aunt Wendy (Elsa Lanchester), is a rich widow who runs a dress shop catering to teenagers. Her nephew, Big Lunk, is a volleyball-loving guy with little interest in romance, which causes frustration for his girlfriend Connie (Annette Funicello). Naturally, Gogo meets Connie and they fall in love. Meanwhile, Aunt Wendy’s shady neighbor (Jesse White) and his gang (Buster Keaton as an American Indian — still wearing his traditional hat) concoct a scheme to part Aunt Wendy from her cash. Also meanwhile, the local motorcycle gang wants revenge on the volleyball players for… getting footprints on their beach. Somehow all the subplots come together at the pajama party.
Cast of characters
- Tommy Kirk (Village of the Giants) … Go Go. The soft-hearted Martian invader. He falls in love with:
- Annette Funicello (Babes in Toyland) … Connie. Sweet girl next door. She’s Big Lunk’s girlfriend. But he’s not very interested.
- Elsa Lanchester (Witness for the Prosecution) … Aunt Wendy. Wealthy, ditzy, owner of the dress shop.
- Harvey Lembeck (Stalag 17) … Eric Von Zipper. Leader of the biker gang. Comically inept, and very funny.
- Jesse White (Harvey) … J. Sinister Hulk. With a name like that, he has to be a villain.
- Jody McCrea … Big Lunk. Nice guy. Not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.
- Ben Lessy … Fleegle. Henchman.
- Donna Loren … Vikki
- Susan Hart (War-Gods of the Deep) … Jilda
- Bobbie Shaw Chance … Helga (as Bobbi Shaw)
- Cheryl Sweeten … Francine
- Luree Holmes … Perfume Girl
- Candy Johnson … Candy
- Buster Keaton (Sherlock Jr.) … Chief Rotten Eagle. Absolutely hilarious as one of the mob.
- Dorothy Lamour (Scared Stiff) … Head Saleslady. More of a cameo than anything.
Updated January 19, 2022