Terror on the Beach

After catching up on my sleep, I ate some leftover turkey, then watched an episode of “Edward the King” called “Alix.”  The parents were the last to know the secret about their son.  I then watched “Terror on the Beach,” a TV movie from 1973.  I was curious to see how Susan Dey was in this role.  Her name was DeeDee, apparently not named after one of The Ramones, though.  She struggled  to get the bit of dialogue about hitting her head, and she wore a bikini.  The two key other people in the cast were Dennis Weaver and Estelle Parsons as the parents.  The movie combined elements of “Deliverance,” “Straw Dogs,” and “Duel,” although the low budget blunted whatever power the story was supposed to have.  The family was terrorized by a kind of Manson family on dune buggies.  The Weaver character didn’t display the common sense of get away from the situation after being run off the road, and then helping the teenagers move their vehicle when it wasn’t necessary.  There was an attempted class tension here, with the young have-nots resenting the successful family with the children in college.  Dennis Weaver transferred his person from “Duel” onto this picture.  I thought it was hard to picture Estelle Parsons away from “Bonnie and Clyde.”  I couldn’t help thinking of Angela Cartwright as I watched her.  Susan Dey and the rest of the family sang one of those campfire songs, leading me to think back on her Partridge Family work.  Even if she couldn’t play the piano with her left hand, she could have sung a few notes.  I wouldn’t call it terror on the beach exactly, but there were disturbing moments.  When you’re out there far from other people and some hoodlums steal your possessions, you’re in a bad situation.  I thought the situation was hopeless when the women were running around in the sand and they were dodging the dune buggies.  I did get sucked into the movie to a certain degree, even though there is a campy quality to this movie.  Mostly, it took me back to the 1970s, when watching these watered-down versions of violent movies in the movie theatres was a thrill.  It was originally shown on a Tuesday night at 9:30.  Susan had the same hairstyle she had in several episodes of the last Partridge Family season.  I couldn’t understand why she was billed as a Special Guest Star in the credits.  The movie was thoroughly average and forgettable.  The ending was rather flat.  Weaver turns it all into a one-on-one confrontation with the fists.  We don’t really get to see the bad guys get their just desserts.  I just thought it was good to see some of these actors again.  The 1970s were a time when my family was still healthy, and we took enjoyment in watching television together.  Those days won’t come back again.  I should have taken a walk around the neighborhood, but I just slept a lot and read my novel, getting up to eat some more food every now and then.  These days are precious, and I wasted one of them.  Some of the people who died on December 27 include Hoagy Carmichael (1981), Hal Ashby (1988), George Roy Hill (2002), and Alan Bates (2003).  Today is a birthday for Gerard Depardieu (66) and John Amos (75).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for December 27, “Show Boat” opened on Broadway in 1927.  In 1947, Howdy Doody made his debut on NBC.  In 1970, “Hello, Dolly!” closed after 2844 performances.  In 1991, “Fried Green Tomatoes” had its opening.

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