Pepsi, Please

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Beach movies were the rage in the sixties, of course, and they weren’t limited to Gidget or Frankie and Annette. Oh no, there was also 1964’s For Those Who Think Young, where shiny happy young people cavort around the poster surrounded by bubbles. Lots and lots of bubbles.

That title, though…

Although, people nowadays are probably more familiar with this version:

At the risk of being Captain Obvious, I’m not thinking young at this moment. I’m thinking For Those Who Think Young is all about product placement. Shamelessly overt product placement.

Gardner Pruit III (James Darren), or Ding-a-ling, as he’s more fondly known, really wants a date with Sandy Palmer (Pamela Tiffin), and he won’t take no for an answer. He’s so important he has his assistant and best friend, Kelp (Bob Denver) make the call for him on one of his two car phones. After she hangs up on him, Ding sneaks into Sandy’s sorority house, hiding behind his surfboard.

Sandy, who’s fully committed to playing hard to get, knows Ding’s a player with a souped-up Buick Riviera who lives to lure women back to his swanky beach apartment, and she’s going to make him work for what he wants. Well, that and she’s trying to get an education and grades matter, so she can’t be fooling around with Ding all the time.

Sandy’s uncle, Woody Woodbury (Playing himself) and his show biz partner, Sid (Paul Lynne) are part of the entertainment at the Silver Palms. Well, “entertainment” is incorrect. Woody and Sid are the guys who bore the audience while everyone waits to see the real star attraction, dancer Topaz (Tina Louise).

Silver Palms’ owner sees the writing on the wall and fires Woody and Sid, but then Woody grabs a bottle of Scotch, takes a mighty swig, and starts good-naturedly roasting the assembled patrons. Long story short, the Silver Palms is rebranded as Surf’s Up and becomes a college kid hotspot, with Woody slightly overshadowing Topaz.

Meanwhile, as Macauley Connor whimsically declared, the course of true love gathers no moss. Ding’s grandpa, Buford Sanford Cronin (Robert Middleton) wants Ding to drop Sandy because of her poor background, so he offers her a transfer with a scholarship to any Ivy League school she wants. He’s on the board of directors of Sandy’s school, so he does have a bit of clout.

Sandy doesn’t bite, so Cronin goes after Surf’s Up, hoping to prove they’re serving alcohol to minors, because if he ruins Sandy’s uncle he can send her packing by association. This backfires in a big way. Surf’s Up stamps all minors’ hands with black light ink, which the waitresses check before serving each table, and Dr. Pauline Swenson (Ellen Burstyn), the school board member who volunteers to spy on the place, asks for fruit juice and wakes up the next morning in Woody and Sid’s apartment with a mondo hangover.

It’s not Pauline’s last time at Surf’s Up, either. She not only likes the fruit juice, but there’s major sparkage between she and Woody. Plus the college students find a key bit of dirt about Herr Cronin that they will reveal when the time is right.

Sandy’s attitude toward Ding might be changing, too, and there’s not much doubt where this will go. Our heroine might get a new ring on her finger and Ding will have to settle down and become responsible.

Tiffin’s biographer called Youngpleasant; my view is somewhat less rosy. It’s nice seeing Bob Denver and Tina Louise in their pre-Gilligan days, and I do like Pamela Tiffin in the film. I wish her part had been written better; Sandy gives Ding the brush and then the come-hither and then the dewy-eyed newly-engaged in very short order. None of it feels earned. More like time served.

Ugh. In most ways Young is very average surfer fare aimed directly at college students, laced heavily with not-so-subtle ripoffs of the Frankie and Annette beach franchise, namely Beach Party, which came out the year before. Only Beach Party had decent music and decent acting. Young doesn’t seem to go much of anywhere, story-wise.

Well, I take that back. There’s one instance when Young doesn’t go anywhere good, and by that I mean this:

For those who haven’t seen this movie, what we’re looking at, dear friends, is Bob Denver’s inverted mouth rapping “Ho, Daddy! Surf’s Up!”

It’s awful. Truly awful. The filmmakers had enough confidence in the bit that the movie reprises the song at the end. I’ll be honest–I dragged my feet about writing this review because I didn’t want to look at that monstrosity again. Seeing it on a 4K TV was bad enough; I can’t imagine the horror of watching it on a cinema screen.

GIPHY

Moving on now, thank heaven, to the product placement, of which the movie has loads. Buick. Baskin Robbins. International House of Pancakes decades before it became IHOP.

And, of course, Pepsi, the real star of the movie. It’s not five minutes in before Sandy asks for one at the Silver Palms, and it’s all downhill from there. Seriously, it almost gets more screentime than she does, especially the giant bottle sitting on Woody’s piano.

In case anyone is interested, I took the liberty of counting how often we see Pepsi over the course of the movie, but keep in mind this is probably a conservative estimate. Enjoy:

  • Pepsi logos: 26
  • Pepsi product sightings: 45 (at least)

Yep, Pepsi is seen so often in For Those Who Think Young that it could be a drinking game, using Pepsi, of course. The whole deal was very lucrative for all the companies involved, who advertised the film in their ad campaigns in return for their goods appearing in the film.

It seems like the wall-to-wall product placement would have felt a little weird for Pamela Tiffin, who played a Coca-Cola executive’s daughter in her third film credit, One, Two, ThreeMost people don’t go to Hollywood to be the movies’ resident soda shill.

This was not the case, though. Tiffin didn’t care for making the film and didn’t want to see it after it was finished because she wasn’t a big fan of surfer movies. She got along pretty well with her costars and the crew, however, who all went away with fond memories of her and vice-versa.

For Those Who Think Young is a mixed bag probably best seen for the rampant product placement. It can be fun, but if I ever see it again I will be skipping over Bob Denver’s little rap breaks.

Got an actual Frankie and Annette movie for you all tomorrow. Thanks for reading, all, and I hope to see you then…


For Those Who Think Young is available on DVD, Blu-ray, or to stream on Prime.

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If you’re enjoying what you see on Taking Up Room, please look for additional content on Substack, where you’ll find both free and subscriber-only articles. I publish every Wednesday and Saturday.


Bibliography

Lisanti, Tom. Pamela Tiffin: Hollywood To Rome. Jefferson, North Carolina: MacFarland & Company, 2015.

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