Do You Hate Nazis, Little Surfer Girl?


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."


NEXT: Chump Change and Second-Rate Scandals

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  1. If you really want to know about it, I knew Gidget when I was going to Pencey Prep, before I got kicked out and all. Cute girl. We dated a few times. She preferred those big surfer guys, though. We fooled around once, but that was it. However, I think my roommate, Ward Stradlater, gave her the time in the back of Ed Stankey’s car. I kind of hated Stradlater, if you want to know the truth. Goddamn him.

  2. I’ve had the impression that the surfers were the first big group of youthful dope smokers back in those ‘dawn of history’ days, some years before it caught on with the rest of the crowd. Aside from them being in general practicing hedonists, it probably wasn’t too hard to conceal your dope smoking when you were hiding in some cove with the ocean roaring & the wind blowing every which way. A lot easier than hiding behind a tool shed or something.

  3. “Surf Nazi’s must Die!” has been described as one of Troma’s lesser efforts. From descriptions, I doubt it was as splendidly awful as the film it was lampooning…

    …I’ve never seen, “Surf Nazi’s must Die!”, but I’m almost certain it was a lampoon of a film from the ’60s I saw, but I can’t find the movie’s name (anywhere on the internet), and I’ve been looking for it since the ’80s.

    The movie was about this kid who came to Hollywood with a movie script he wrote. He falls in love with a teenage actress, and she brings him home. Her father is a movie producer who keeps trying to kill the hero so that he can steal the script. Meanwhile the actress’ mother keeps trying to get in the hero’s pants.

    …Amidst all this, the kid has to battle Surf Nazis, Hells Angels style bikers spiking his punch with LSD, preppy style surfers and the Hollywood system! …oh, and, he has to put in some hang ten time in Malibu and try to stay groovy too!

    Anyway, if anyone in Hit & Run land knows the name of that film, I’d really appreciate it. I read that one of the Troma founders claimed that all subsequent surf films were derived from Surf Nazis Must Die!, but I suspect his film was derived of this other film, and I can prove it…

    …If I can just find the name of the film.

    I saw it on late night TV back in the ’80s–it ended with this electric elevator that runs down the cliff to the beach collapsing on top of the evil Dad with the Surf Nazi Fuhrer on board. The second in command says, “The Fuhrer is dead, I’m the Fuhrer now.” …and the other Surf Nazis say, “Long live the Fuhrer!”

    P.S. Wouldn’t I feel silly if I was talkin’ about the same movie? I’m not though–I know Troma films and this wasn’t one of them.

  4. Ken —

    Isn’t that the plot of The English Patient?

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