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In the ’65 camp classic How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, a bevy of beach beauties cavort across the sand and periodically break out into song and dance. Like other sun-soaked cinematic romps of that time, OG teen heart-throb and Beach Party all-star Frankie Avalon makes an appearance. He plays a somewhat paranoid loverboy in the naval reserves whose own shore-leave antics have him second-guessing his steady girlfriend’s commitment. To make sure she remains faithful while he’s away, he hires a witch doctor to conjure a hot babe in a wild bikini in order to distract the only hunk of a man who could possibly charm away his GF.
Aside from silly song lyrics like “Take a girl who’s ugly as can be/any girl will do as long as she’s 36-22-36/that’s how you stuff a wild bikini,” the film is a light-hearted rom-com meant to delight. Still, it’s fair to ask whether How to Stuff a Wild Bikini and others like it at the time perpetuated double standards for women, or were just hopping on the latest 2-piece trend.
Just in case you thought this was a one-off, Take the far-out film Dr. Goldfoot and His Bikini Machine. I know, I know. The name alone is reason enough to dismiss any serious considerations, but let’s take a look at a simple breakdown of the plot:
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Vincent Price plays mad scientist Dr. Goldfoot, who manufactures an army of bikini-clad femme-bots to seduce wealthy men for his personal gain. The doctor routinely trains the women through various techniques (mild brainwashing, for instance), and equips them with booby traps like high-voltage lipstick so they can fend off the competition.
Despite the image-driven double entendres and exploitative premise, the film presents a hearty dose of slapstick comedy and foolishness that makes the whole thing more amusing than annoying. But I can admit I felt an odd tinge of sympathy for Alpha-Bot Diane when she was tortured at the hands of Dr.Goldfoot for going rogue. I guess some robots just can’t stick to the program.
+ While these are just a couple of Beach Party-era flicks that chronicled our culture’s fascination with bikini fever, we want to know what you think: Are these films all in good fun, or are they sending a more serious message? Take the poll!