Guest Post: The Back to the Beach Book of Revelations by Jay Amabile

If Dr. Brown and Marty McFly could bring us on a trip Back to the Future, then why not let Frankie and Annette bring us Back to the Beach? In 1987, I hopped on my surfboard all the way to the movie theater to see it. I was too young and naive to realize that it was an attempt to resurrect a movie genre that was popular decades before I existed. Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, that squeaky clean couple who appeared in several of the '60s beach movies even produced and starred in this quirky, often neglected '80s comedy.

The action is based around the family of real life former teen idol turned stressed out used car salesman, Frankie Avalon. He spends so much time at the car dealership that he's been ignoring his adoring, peanut butter and jelly sandwich making wife, former Mouseketeer Annette Funiccello, their daughter Sandi (Lori Loughlin), who has managed to escape their madness, and their son Bobby who yearns to be bad and provides plenty of sarcasm and wicked one liners that are still funny today.

So anyway, the family decides to pack up their mundane existence in Ohio and embarks on a flight to Los Angeles to see their daughter Sandi. On their vacation they experience dancing (Jamaica Ska!), Pee Wee Herman singing "Surfin' Bird," leopard skin speedos, and cameos that range from the cast of Leave it to Beaver to Bob Denver from Gilligan's Island. Frankie, a.k.a The Big Kahuna, also manages to knock down a few surfboards on his old beach that triggers a surfing showdown with Zed, the new king of the beach.

In retrospect, Back to the Beach probably should have been a made for TV movie, but regardless it's so chock full of good stuff that it would be a disservice not to crack it open and loot it for all it's like a piƱata-esque wisdom. The following adages are all from what I like to call The Back to the Beach Book of Revelations, may you let them be a guide to your life.

Revelation 1:1
Flying in planes was way more awesome in the '80s. Who cares if there's snakes on a plane, when a spiral staircase on a plane is way more intriguing?
Revelation 1:2
Spend more time with your kids, since baby-sitting rates have skyrocketed since 1987.
Revelation 1:3
It's simple, if you want to look dangerous, wield a switch comb.
Revelation 1:4
Once past the infancy stage, your son's head will make an excellent battering ram.
Revelation 1:5
If you feel your existence is becoming a little too perfect, balance it out with some good old fashioned anarchy. Tell yourself "I'm president of the WRONG crowd!" and it will make you feel badass again.
Revelation 1:6
If a woman boasts to you: "Honey, I'm an amusement park" then by all means, hop onto her Tilt-a-Whirl immediately.
Revelations 1:7
Pass up that highly caloric bottle of wine, a Pajama Party WILL solve all womanly crises.
Revelation 1:8
The "Keith Richards Lives on These!" Hangover Drink Recipe (ingredients can be modified depending on severity of hangover)
  • 4 Alka Seltzers
  • 6 Tylenols
  • 1 Tablespoon of Folgers Instant Coffee
  • Fill glass up with Pepsi
Revelation 1:9
Don't piss off your bartender, he'll f-ck you up! Next time you think you're being clever by calling your bartender "little buddy," remember that it's derogatory and will bruise his ego. "Sir," or "Lord of the Drinks" will do just fine.
Revelation 1:10
Pee Wee Herman only leaves his Playhouse if there's a fancy bike to be reclaimed or if there's a beach party going on. Also, "Bitchin!" is the only expletive he will utter, but that's only if he has too many Conky Cocktails.

Special Guest Contributor

Jay Amabile
At his blog The Sexy Armpit, Jay Amabile wafts the fumes of New Jersey's pop culture. Jay is obsessed with comic books, movies, music, nostalgia, pro wrestling, and Twitter.


  1. Paxton said...:

    I loved this movie. Pee Wee singing Surfin' Bird is on my iPod. Jamaica Ska is AWESOME!

    Great trip back to a movie that is definitely wacky, quirky and overlooked. Very enjoyable.


  1. Anonymous said...:

    The bird is the word!

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    Jay really did a bang-up job on this one! When he first sent it, I admit that I didn't recognize the name, but after reading what he wrote and some internet snooping I rented it the very same night.

    Totally forgot how many great cameos and comedy this flick had. Pee-Wee even flies away on a jet-powered surfboard at the end of his song, how sweet is that?!

  1. Anonymous said...:

    "When people hit me with their's not funny, it HURTS!"-Bob Denver on "The Simpsons".

    I recall Frankie and Annette did show up on "Full House" when Joey had a pilot for a TV show he was filming with them. Very amusing episode. :)

    Of course, aside from the ridiculously long murder trial, this is the other thing I will remember OJ Simpson from, lampooning his classic Hertz commercials.

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    @LaDracul: Haha, your knowledge of TV sitcoms is both astounding and frightening, that's awesome!!

    I thought that the OJ cameo was a real gem as well. Say what you will, but the man's always had a sense of humor.

  1. Unknown said...:

    Ladracul - I originally had something about OJ in the article but I wound up cutting it...that scene was pretty funny and sort of stuck in the film for no reason. It was like a mix of his Hertz commercials and Nordberg from Naked Gun.

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