Things I didn't know about Gidget until reading this morning's L.A. Times:
- She was based on a real person.
- Her father, who immortalized her in a novel that was spun off into an endless summer of movies and TV series, was a Czechoslovakia-raised Jew who moved to Germany to write screenplays and then fled in 1933 "after attending the Berlin opening of one of his movies, only to discover that Goebbels had ordered all Jewish credits removed from the film."
Says Deanne Stillman, who wrote the introduction to the new edition of the book:
Published in 1957, "Gidget" was a huge hit. It was compared to "Catcher in the Rye" and was described by this paper as "midsummer madness about beach bums, surfboards, Malibu."
But it also was about so much more: Gidget and those who surfed Malibu in the '50s were the rebels of their time, fleeing the world of clock-punchers and landlocked squares.
In the October 2004 reason, Sara Rimensnyder gave an ancient Hawaiian salute to surfing's "daring individualism and courage, rejection of social conformity, embrace of risk, eagerness to harness technology to go faster, farther, higher than the next guy."