The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini

Year Of Release: 1966
Running Time: 83 Minutes
DVD Released By: MGM
Directed By: Don Weis
Writing Credits: Louis M. Heyward (also story), Elwood Ullman
Filming Location: Unknown

Starring: Tommy Kirk ( Chuck Phillips), Deborah Walley (Lili Morton), Aron Kincaid (Bobby), Quinn O'Hara (Sinistra), Jesse White (J. Sinister Hulk), Harvey Lembeck (Eric Von Zipper), Nancy Sinatra (Vicki), Claudia Martin (Lulu), Francis X. Bushman (Malcolm), Benny Rubin (Chicken Feather), Bobbi Shaw (Princess Yolanda), George Barrows (Monstro), Basil Rathbone (Reginald Ripper), Patsy Kelly (Myrtle Forbush), Boris Karloff (The Corpse (Hiram Stokely), Susan Hart (The Ghost (Cecily), Piccola Pupa (Piccola), Luree Holmes (Luree), Ed Garner (Ed), Frank Alesia (Frank), Mary Hughes (Mary), Salli Sachse (Salli), Patti Chandler (Patti), Sue Hamilton (Sue), Alberta Nelson (Puss), Andy Romano (J.D.), Myrna Ross (Rat Pack member (Boots), Jerry Brutsche (Rat Pack member (Jerome), Bob Harvey (Rat Pack member (Bobby), John Macchia (Rat Pack member (Joey), Allen Fife (Rat Pack member (Beard)

Tagline #1: When a pretty ghoul trades in her bed sheet for a bikini!

Tagline #2: There's something blood-curdling for everyone!

Tagline #3: PEEK-A-BOO!

Tagline #4: There Are Grave Consequences to Gold Digging!

Alternate Titles: I was unable to locate any alternate titles for this film.

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
This was the last film in the "Beach Party" series. Originally Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon were supposed to star in this film, but Annette wanted to spend time with her family and Frankie wanted to try his hand at more serious roles. One of the original titles for this film was in fact Beach Party in a Haunted House, but as you can see, that title was summarily changed. Tommy Kirk makes his second and final appearance in a beach party movie, his first being his appearance as Go-Go in the 1964 film, Pajama Party. The incredibly beautiful Susan Hart also re-appears in this final beach party film. Oddly enough, this was Susan's second and final appearance in a beach party film as well, and like Tommy Kirk, her only other beach party outing was in the film, Pajama Party. It's not the only two times the pair ever worked together though. They also appeared together in 1965's Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine starring Vincent Price.

 

 




Cast Of Characters
The Ghost (Cecily): Ok, the ghost is played by Susan Hart who just happens to be one of the babest babes to ever grace the screen. Unfortunately, some idiot decided to put her in a huge helmet wig for this part. WHY??? She has gorgeous dark brown hair of her own. They didn't have to put this helmet on her head. She's pretty with or without it though, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much. Anyway, she's the ghost in this movie. She was a circus performer who had an amazing invisible bikini, but she died some 32 years ago. Now she's wandering around graveyards looking up old friends, like this next guy.

The Corpse (Hiram Stokely): This guy here is the lovable old corpse played by some nominally famous guy that you may have heard of at some point. Boris Karloff. Know why he looks so excited in this picture? Well, it seems that he and that pretty little ghost up there, Cecily, were an item while she was still alive, and now that he's dead, they can be together again...but there's a catch. He has 24 hours to do one good deed, with the only condition being that he can't leave the crypt. So anything he wants done, she has to do for him. If he succeeds, he not only gets to spend eternity with her in heaven, but they'll make him young again as well. That means he won't need the ol' viagra anymore! WOOHOO! Not that he would anyway with someone as hot as her. She could stiffen up boiled spaghetti. Anyway, he tells her that the good deed he wants to do is that he wants her to make sure that his estate goes to his rightful heirs instead of to his greedy lawyer. Yeah right. You'd have better luck turning lead into gold there buddy. I mean really, like a lawyer would give up money. He'd have had a better chance of winning the deal if he had asked her to track down someone who actually thinks that Whoopie Goldberg is hot. You know how lawyers are.

Reginald Ripper: And this sinister looking fellow is Hiram's at tourney. You may recognize him as well. It's Basil Rathbone of Sherlock Holmes fame. Yes he looks older here, but he hasn't lost one bit of his charm or talent. Anyway, his big plan is to get rid of the other three beneficiaries of the will so that he can score the cool million dollars in cash for himself. Fortunately, Hiram and Cecily put a stop to his shenanigans along with a little help from Chuck, Bobby, Lili and Aunt Myrtle.

Chuck Phillips: Well, for being a main character, he sure wasn't in the movie all that much. He kept popping in and out, but there would be long periods where you wouldn't see him or Lili at all. Oh wait, maybe that's a good thing. Anyway, neither he nor Lili were actually related to Stokely. They did discover though that both their fathers ran carnivals and both had been swindled by Stokely. So leaving them a cut of his estate is Stokely's way of making amends.

Lili Morton: Speaking of not hardly being in the movie, she was in it even less than Chuck. In fact, she was pretty much worthless throughout the whole thing, even when she was in it. So basically, I'm not going to waste any more time on her. Let's move on.

Myrtle Forbush: This is the third heir to the Stokely estate. All the groovy beach kids call her Aunt Myrtle, and she tries to act all hip and "with it" all the time. Naturally, I find it really annoying when old people try to act all young and hip in movies. Not that she has to act like a doddering old lady, but...jeez I dunno. It just annoys me. I don't know why she was an heir. They never said, and I don't think she was related to him. I think having her there was just an excuse to get all the beach kids there.

Bobby: This guy is one of the beach kids, and I think he's actually the head beach kid in this movie. Unlike the other beach kids, he calls Myrtle "Aunt Myrtle" because she actually is his aunt, and she invited him to bring himself and all his groovy beach kids to hang out at the estate while they were there for the will reading. Because he's her only living relative, he ends up being a target for Reginald Ripper's cronies. Fortunately for him though, his natural fear of pretty much everything makes him a much harder target.

Eric Von Zipper: Good ol' Harvey Lembeck. I think he's about 98 years old in this film. Fortunately it was the last of the Beach Party movies, so he was able to retire after this one. No, I'm only kidding. Actually, he was about the most entertaining character in this movie. Come to think of it, he was probably the most entertaining character in all of the Beach Party movies. Anyway, for those that aren't familiar with the character, he's the leader of a biker gang called the Rat Pack. He actually managed to find a group of people that were stupider than him, and became their leader. Basically they just go around getting into mischeif and doing bad stuff, usually to the beach kids. In this movie though, they're not really bad at all. They just involved in the search for the million dollars that's hidden somewhere around the estate. Other than that, they pretty much leave everyone else, including the beach kids, alone. He was probably afraid that if he talked to the beach kids, they'd make him their leader too, and really, who can take that kind of pressure?

J. Sinister Hulk: Good ol' Jesse White shows up again as Reginald Ripper's #1 henchman J. Sinister Hulk. To be honest, all three of these henchmen make Eric Von Zipper look smart, and despite all their lame attempts at getting rid of the unwanted heirs, they really never managed to achieve much of anything. My guess is, they ain't gettin' paid. Actually, since Reginald gets killed at the end in a rather cartoonish fashion, they ain't gettin' paid anyway. Maybe Eric Von Zipper could use a few extra thugs? They seem to operate at about the same mental speed as the rest of his gang.

Princess: This is the hot circus kinda chick that walked around in a harem girl outfit through the whole movie. Her and Chicken Feather travel together in a big truck along with their gorilla. Naturally the gorilla gets out of the cage by bending the bars and naturally he causes all kinds of mischief. In fact, the gorilla was a far more interesting character than she ever was. Basically, she wasn't much more than eye candy. She did have a nice cat fight with Aunt Myrtle at the end though. You even get to see a close up of her butt while they're rolling around the floor. Princess' butt I mean. Not Aunt Myrtle's...thank god.

Chicken Feather: Again, the requisite fake indian character that seems to keep popping up in these movies. The first time out, it was played by a very aged, but still funny Buster Keaton. This time around, it was played very comically by Benny Rubin. Basically he's nothing more than a dopey, slapstick indian character that was thrown in just for a few laughs. He actually was kinda funny, so that's at least one feather in his cap. Get it? Indian...feather? Nevermind...

Sinistra: This is Reginald Ripper's supposedly hot daughter that everyone was drooling over. There was one of the beach girls that was WAY hotter than her, and way hotter than Vicki as well, but for some reason she didn't get either one of those parts. Anyway, Sinistra's job is to get rid of Bobby, which she tries to do in various ways, but always manages to flub it up. See, she's got insane dog hearing, but without her inch thick glasses, she can't see squat. So every time she tries to kill Bobby, she's always got her glasses off and ends up trying to kill a suit of armor or a statue instead. She should have used Japanese teeth magic on him. You can't see it in this picture, but this girl had some big ol' teeth. Unfortunately, she probably never learned the art of Japanese teeth magic, so I think Bobby was probably gonna be safe no matter what. I dunno though, maybe she could try the bean gas of death on him. All she'd have to do is eat some extra spicy chili and then lock herself in a room with him. You can't escape from a death cloud like that. Believe me, I'm married. I know these things.

Vicki: This little singing chicky is Vicki. Hey that rhymes! Anyway, she was interested in Bobby and got jealous when Sinistra stepped onto the scene and started coming on to him. Basically, this part was played by Nancy Sinatra, and the only reason this part existed was so that they could get Nancy Sinatra into the movie to do a song. She really had no other reason for being there at all, and if they were going to have a character like this, they should have used that hot blonde I keep drooling over...er...I mean talking about.




Screen Shots

I'm tellin' ya right now, if Tor Johnson comes poppin' up outta one of these graves, I'm turnin' this movie off.

Four topless guys standing around a fifth topless guy, and they all got their mouths open in a rather suggestive way. I ain't gonna say no more. Actually, this was the beginning of pointless musical act #1. It's amazing how much faster a movie goes when you fast forward through all the stupid musical numbers.

Now there's a mouth I don't mind seeing open in a suggestive way. This shot gives us a fine example of this film's level of technical sophistication. A blue ghost that doesn't look even remotely like she's in the same space with the rest of the scene and she has a bikini you can see through. Ah, budgets...who needs 'em?

And here we have the Beach Party series staple of the hot blonde and the indian. As is to be expected, the blonde isn't really a blonde, and the indian isn't really an indian. Oddly enough, that truck they're supposedly in isn't really a truck either. As I look at them in this picture, all I can think is that she looks bored and he looks like he can't believe that at this point in his career he has to play an indian named Chicken Feather in a Beach Party movie.

"Oh my darling, I'd love to be with you and to spend the rest of my life with you...but alas I can't."

"But why my love? Is it something that haunts you from your past that stops us from being together?"

"If only that were so..."

"Then why my precious angel? Why can't we be together?"

"I can't be with you my love because, well...you've got sweaty pits."

Reviewer's Note: I didn't touch up that picture. She really did have sweaty pits.

Yes, I'd like a double helping of the blonde on the left please. God, what a buffet! That blonde on the left was super hot, and she's the one I kept talking about in the character section. Too bad they gave the better parts to girls that weren't even half as hot as her. Anyway, after like maybe 30 seconds into this scene, the cute little Italian chick standing behind Vicki jumped up on the bed and broke into yet another boring musical number that got fast forwarded through. God I'd love to shake the hand of the guy that invented the fast forward button.

"Ok here's the plan. I'm gonna stick this finger up each of your noses and feel around for some brains, and if I find any, you're outta the gang. I already checked myself, and I'm clean, so now it's you all's turn."

You know, it's funny how everyone always says that it's only your palms that'll get hairy. Pish posh and nonsense I say.




Best Quote

"Right trail? You couldn't find the right trail from a plate of beans to your big fat mouth! Now get in here and let me drive!"

 

- Princess bitching at Chicken Feather because he got them lost. - (Reviewer's Note: Oooh, she's not only hot, but she's bitchy and dominating as well. What a catch! I bet she has guys lined up around the corner wanting to be with her.)

 


 

Eric Von Zipper: "There she is. My princess. I love her."
J.D.: "But who are those three slobs boss?"
Eric Von Zipper: "I dunno, but one of them looks like Sherlock Holmes."

- The Rat Pack was spying on Princess, Reginald, J. Sinister, and Chicken Feather from the bushes. - (Reviewer's Note: I just love self aware humor. For those of you who've been hiding in an old shoe for the past 70 some odd years though, Basil Rathbone played Sherlock Holmes in a running series of films from the 1930's to the 1940's.)




Video Clip
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The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini
Eric Von Zipper meets The Gorilla. Hey! That'd make a great sequel!



Summary and Conclusion

I usually get really bored with the Beach Party movies, but to my surprise I actually found this one to be rather entertaining, in a mind numbing sort of way of course. The absence of Frankie and Annette in this, the last film of the series, really didn't detract from the film at all. What detracted from it, as was the case with all of the Beach Party movies, was the insane number of people that were running around all over the place. See, I'm of the opinion that I'd rather have a few quality characters that are well written and well acted than some twenty odd characters and tons of extras that are not only poorly written, but really add nothing of any value to the film.


The funny thing about this movie is that once I found out it was the last film of the series, I dreaded doing the review, and I actually put it off for a long time because frankly, the Beach Party movies have always kinda bored me. I usually have a hard time making it through them in one sitting. Now to be honest, I didn't make it through this one in one sitting either, but that's mostly because I get fidgety while I write reviews and I need to take breaks every now and then. So not being able to sit through this one is no reflection on this particular film or the quality thereof.


The general story here is that Hiram Stokely made a fortune by swindling people in the carnival business, and now that he's dead, he has 24 hours to do one good deed, and if he succeeds, then he not only gets to go to heaven where he can spend eternity with his gorgeous old flame Cecily, but they're going to make him young again as well. The only stipulation is that he's not allowed to leave the crypt. So he sends Cecily to make sure that Reginald Ripper and his cronies don't succeed in scaring off the rightful heirs and taking all the money for themselves.


There are three rightful heirs to his estate. The first is Chuck, played by Tommy Kirk. I don't know what he does, or what his background is because it's never explained in the story. Then there's Lili, played by Deborah Walley, who's basically got no real reason for being there other than giving Tommy Kirk someone to hang out with. Both their fathers were swindled by the late Hiram Stokely, so they've both been included in his will as a way to make amends for what he did. Then there's Aunt Myrtle, who's played by Patsy Kelly. She's an aging hipster who has no real connection to Hiram that I could see, but that doesn't matter, because her only real reason for being there was to give Reginald someone his own age on the good guy's side to interact with. None of these three are really anyone you would particularly care about, and their parts are so poorly written that basically they're relegated to being not much more than window dressing. The only one of the three that has a real part is Chuck, and it's more through action than it is through character development.


Then we have good ol' Eric Von Zipper and the Rat Pack, played by Harvey Lembeck and the usual gang of Rat Pack regulars. Harvey Lembeck always kinda reminds me of Lou Costello the way he plays the Von Zipper character. I've never been a huge fan of Abbott and Costello, but I do find myself liking Harvey Lembeck. Lembeck for me is more likeable and entertaining to watch than Lou Costello ever was. Basically, in this movie there's a bit of a difference with the role he and the Rat Pack play. Usually they're trying to thwart the beach kids at something or other, but this time they're just kinda out for themselves and not really actively trying to get in anyone's way. When they find out that Hiram's fortune is actually hidden somewhere in the house, they start looking for it on their own, and pretty much have very little contact with either the beach kids or the bad guys. Most of the scenes the Rat Pack are in usually involve just them and no one else. Maybe that's why I enjoyed those scenes more than the others. Because there wasn't some poorly written character in there messing things up. In contrast to the rest of the characters in this movie, the Rat Pack's characters were all pretty well written and definitely well acted.


The only other character in the film that was relatively well written and definitely well acted was that of Reginald Ripper. I've always been a HUGE Basil Rathbone fan, so I'd love watching him even if he was in a crappy little 30 second cat food commercial. He's always had an incredible presence on screen, and his ability to act without taking himself too seriously makes everything he does a joy to watch.


One thing that really disappointed me was that Jesse White wasn't better utilized. He's always great to watch on screen, and even though he's always saddled with the role of one of the baddies, or as someone who's kinda jerky, he always plays it perfectly and makes the characters fun to watch. Most people probably think of him as the Maytag repair man from the television commercials, but lovers of classic cinema will probably always remember him best for roles like these.


The fact that it had Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone and Susan Hart are all in this film added immeasurably to my enjoyment of it. Again though, as I've been speaking of wasted and poorly written characters, Susan Hart was almost completely wasted in this story. Her only real parts are at the beginning and at the end, and all the rest of the time she's relegated to being a two-dimensional ghost in an invisible bikini that doesn't really say all that much. She's so incredibly beautiful and so nice to watch on screen yet she's always given these stupid parts without much dialogue where she ends up being more window dressing than anything else. If you want to see her in a role where she's given more to work with, then you should see Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine. She stars with Vincent Price, Tommy Kirk, Frankie Avalon, and Dwayne Hickman in that one. It's got the same general feel of the Beach Movies, but it's got a far better story, better characters and it's a LOT more fun. She really gets to shine in that one compared to the roles she's usually handed. Hell, in one of the earlier Beach Party movies, she was just the "hot chick" that everyone drooled over and was given little to no dialogue. Such a waste of a beautiful actress. She's got a whole sex kitten vibe about her and a smile that could make even a gay man melt in his slippers. I found myself wondering as I watched this movie, what she looks like today. She's probably around 54 years old now, but I'll bet she's still really beautiful. I couldn't imagine her being any other way.


As Beach Party movies go, this is the one to see. It's got less annoying musical numbers than the others, the story, despite it's lack of character depth, is actually quite fun and entertaining, and the performances of Harvey Lembeck and Basil Rathbone will leave you with a smile on your face. The best part is, if you're not a fan of the musical bits, there's always the fast forward button. Not only will it get you past the musical numbers that really have nothing to do with the rest of what's going on in the film, but it'll make the film shorter as well. So it's a win / win situation. Although I probably sounded overly negative in my write-up of this film, I actually did have a good time watching it, and I'm giving it a good rating because of that. Naturally I had to knock some off for some of the poor character development and things of that nature, but I'm adding some for the self aware humor and the great performances. After taking everything into consideration, I'm happy to give The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini...

B-Movie Central's Rating: 3½ Bees

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