Get Yourself a College Girl
Monday June, 2 2014 at 04:30 AM
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A curious 1964 hybrid of teen movie musical with pre-feminist overtones as well as a parody of moralistic anti-rock message films, Get Yourself a College Girl (1964) is a must-see due to its strange guest-star cast, who help elevate the formula narrative into a near-surreal '60s happening. The basic plot follows Mary Ann Mobley's transition from songwriter (she pens a controversial song about sexually aware college girls) to a controversial figure in the music industry who's wooed by a song publisher (Chad Everett) and a politician seeking the youth vote.
Legendary MGM professionals, such as hair and makeup maestros Sydney Guilarofff and William Tuttle were out in full force, coiffing and smoothing the MetroColored heads of attractive young cast members Mary Ann Mobley, Chris Noel and Joan O'Brien - thus setting the picture's odd blend of old-time studio style and glamour with the groovy look of the "now" generation.
Mississippi-born Mobley, making her acting debut, was 1959's Miss America. Her brief career is known to '60s culture buffs for what didn't happen rather than celebrated achievements - having been promised then denied two of the decade's key pop TV roles: The Girl from U.N.C.L.E (1966-1967, going to Stephanie Powers) and Batgirl (Batman, 1967-68 seasons, snatched by Yvonne Craig). Married to actor Gary Collins, Mobley's daughter, Clancy, is currently a top-ranking MGM executive - a surefire guarantee that should Mom decide to return to the acting fold, she is not likely to be replaced a third time.
The subplot of B>Get Yourself a College Girl, with its Kinsey Report references, broke no new ground with male lead Chad Everett, who had appeared in George Cukor's 1962 The Chapman Report, entirely based on the scorching sex survey. Ironically, the theme of Mobley penning suggestive lyrics to lurid rock 'n' roll ditties came nowhere close to the superstardom third-billed Nancy Sinatra would receive when her classic, "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'," was recorded two years after this movie's release.
The choice of music guest stars is one of the most freakish conglomerations in any movie musical. Let's face it - any picture featuring rockers The Dave Clark 5 ("Thinking of You Baby," "Whenever You're Around"), The Animals ("Blue Feeling," "Around and Around"), and The Standells ("Bony Moronie," "The Swim") alongside the Jimmy Smith Trio ("The Sermon," "Comin' Home Johnny"), the extremely low-rent Freddie Bell and the Bellboys ("Talkin' About Love") plus jazz greats Stan Getz and velvet-throated vocalist Astrud Gilberto (doing their cornerstone of '60s cool, "The Girl from Ipanema") has got to be seen (and heard) to be believed.
As for the producer of Get Yourself a College Girl -the notorious Sam Katzman - what can one say about a man whose credit list encompasses Batman, Superman, The Eastside Kids, Bela Lugosi 3-D and Elvis Presley? His name synonymous with the exploitation film, Katzman's amazing output totalled nearly 250 feature films and serials from the 1930s right up until his death in 1973. Nicknamed "Jungle Sam" because of his close identification with Saturday afternoon fare, his claim to fame was speed, assembling a stock rogue's gallery of writers, directors and supporting players who could grab an exploitable trend like embryonic rock music (Don't Knock the Rock, 1956) or the latest dance craze (Don't Knock the Twist, 1962), quicksilver a script, and, presto- chango, have the finished product in theaters within a matter of weeks. College Girl not only glommed the hot topic of nationwide sex polls but cashed in on the West Coast's hottest new hangout, The Whiskey-A-Go-Go (here called simply, The Go-Go). Katzman's hook on the term "go-go" itself, then quickly becoming an integral part of American slang, almost made it into the title; during production, the movie was known as The Go-Go Set.
Leaving his mark at Monogram, Columbia and AIP, Jungle Sam's major coup was indeed his 1960s MGM contract, where, aside from Get Yourself a College Girl and an equally strangely pop hybrid, When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965) (Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, Louis Armstrong, Liberace!), the unstoppable huckster helped streamline the Elvis musical - doubling MGM's annual Presley product (Kissin' Cousins in 1964, Harum Scarum in 1965). Katzman then proceeded to tap the rock 'n' roll goldmine by signing teen attractions like Herman's Hermits (Hold On!, 1966) and rockabilly stars like Roy Orbison (The Fastest Guitar Alive, 1967) for outlandish vehicles that came off the assembly line in record time. His Hank Williams biopic, Your Cheatin' Heart (1964), actually garnered good reviews and strong word of mouth, enough to thoroughly confuse the astonished producer who immediately abandoned any future attempts at this kind of serious filmmaking. In Sam's eyes, critical approval meant poor box office.
Producer: Sam Katzman, Robert G. Stone
Director: Sidney Miller
Screenplay: Robert E. Kent
Cinematography: Fred Jackman, Jr.
Editing: Ben Lewis
Art Direction: George W. Davis, Addison Hehr
Music: Fred Karger, Sidney Miller
Cast: Mary Ann Mobley (Terry), Chad Everett (Gary), Nancy Sinatra (Lynne), Joan O'Brien (Marge), Chris Noel (Sue), Willard Waterman (Senator), Fabrizio Mioni (Armand), Hortense Petra (Donna), Donnie Brooks (Donnie).
by Mel Neuhaus
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