Friday, April 7, 2017

Castaways – "Liar, Liar" (1965)

Liar, liar, pants on fire
Your nose is longer than a telephone wire

(I didn’t realize that was what they were singing.  Did you?)

No one knows for sure when or where go-go dancing originated.

Some people say go-go dancing was invented at the famous Whiskey a Go Go club, the Sunset Strip nightspot that opened its doors in January 1964.

At the Whiskey a Go Go
But others say the Whiskey a Go Go took its name from go-go dancing, which was already popular when the club opened.  

Most go-go dancers wore minidresses and knee-high, high-heeled go-go boots – usually white in color:

Until recently, my favorite go-go dancer was Teri Garr.  Teri is best known today for her comic roles in movies like Young Frankenstein, Mr. Mom, and Tootsie:

Sooooo cute!
(Dustin Hoffman’s character in Tootsie actually preferred Jessica Lange to Teri.  Un-f*cking-believable.)

But she got her start as a dancer, appearing in no fewer than nine Elvis Presley movies, including Roustabout:

Teri Garr dances as Elvis sings
Later, she put on go-go boots and shook her moneymaker for the viewers of Shindig!, Hullabaloo, and the greatest of all rock ’n’ roll concert movies, The T.A.M.I. Show.  (Woodstock?  Fuhgeddaboutit!)

Teri Garr gyrates as the Supremes
perform in "The T.A.M.I. Show"
*     *     *     *     *

But then I saw It’s a Bikini World, the last of the beach party movies that were ubiquitous at the drive-ins the mid-1960s.  

The original title of that movie was The Girl in Daddy’s Bikini.  (One simply does not name a movie The Girl in Daddy’s Bikini.) 

It’s a Bikini World was directed by a woman and had a feminist plot line.  It featured musical performances by the Animals (who did “We Gotta Get out of This Place”), the Toys, the Gentrys, and the Castaways – a group from Minneapolis-St. Paul whose one and only hit is today’s featured song.

Tommy Kirk and beach-movie veteran Deborah Walley starred in the movie, which Kirk later described in language unbecoming a child actor who had appeared in Old Yeller, Swiss Family Robinson, The Absent-Minded Professor, and several other Disney films:

It was . . . one of the worst pieces of sh*t that I've ever been in in my life.  I can't believe that I could be so stupid.  Poor Deborah Walley, poor me.

*     *     *     *     *

“Liar, Liar” is one of the very best one-hit-wonder garage-band singles of the sixties.  (It’s right up there with “96 Tears,” “Nobody But Me,” and “Talk Talk.”)

Everything about it is perfect – from the organ intro to the falsetto singing to the fact that it clocks in at only 1:52 in length.

If “Liar, Liar” is sheer genius, “Liar, Liar” accompanied by a go-go dancer in It’s a Bikini World is sheer genius squared. 

No white go-go boots?  No problem!

I haven’t been able to find out the name of the dancer in that film clip, but she deserved the Best Go-Go Dancing Oscar for 1967, when the movie was finally released.  (It had been shot in 1965, so it looked and sounded a little dated when it finally hit the theaters.)

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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