Gidget Goes Hawaiian

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Gidget Goes Hawaiian
Gidget Goes Hawaiian 1961 poster.jpg
1961 theatrical poster
Directed by Paul Wendkos
Produced by Jerry Bresler
Written by Ruth Brooks Flippen
Starring Deborah Walley
James Darren
Carl Reiner
Music by George Duning
Cinematography Robert J. Bronner
Edited by William A. Lyon
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • June 2, 1961 (1961-06-02)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $2.2 million (US rentals)[1]

Gidget Goes Hawaiian is a 1961 musical romantic comedy film starring Deborah Walley and James Darren. Released by Columbia Pictures, the film is a sequel to the 1959 Sandra Dee "beach movie" vehicle Gidget. Dee was under contract to Universal for the rival series film Tammy Tell Me True (1961) and wouldn't be released to Columbia to reprise her hit role.

The sequel expands the archetypal high school teen surfer girl's romance with her college sweetheart Moondoggie. The film is the second of three Gidget films directed by Paul Wendkos. The screenplay was written by Ruth Brooks Flippen based on characters created by Frederick Kohner who wrote a novelisation of the film in 1961. Actor James Darren reprised his 1959 role of "Moondoggie", and another veteran of the 1959 film, Joby Baker, makes an appearance. Gidget Goes to Rome follows the film sequentially. Gidget Goes Hawaiian has been released to VHS and DVD.


The film opens with Francie "Gidget" Lawrence (Deborah Walley) and Jeff "Moondoggie" Matthews (James Darren) getting pinned.

Gidget's father Russ (Carl Reiner) announces that they are going to vacation in Hawaii. Gidget refuses to go, and runs out the door. Gidget's mother Dorothy (Jean Donnell) explains to her husband that Jeff is all that matters to Gidget. Russ and Dorothy decide to cancel Gidget's room reservation and keep one just for the two of them, so they can have a second honeymoon and Gidget can stay with a relative and be with Jeff.

Meanwhile Gidget goes to the beach, and tells Moondoggie about going to Hawaii. Jeff thinks it's great and says she should go. She returns his pin and runs off, leaving an upset, confused and frustrated Moondoggie on the beach. She also decides to go to Hawaii to forget about Jeff.

So the Lawrence family packs up and flies to Hawaii. While on the plane Gidget meets Abby Stewart (Vicki Trickett). Gidget's parents and Abby's parents, Monty (Eddie Foy Jr.) and Mitzi (Peggy Cass), are talking. They both learn that Eddie Horner (Michael Callan) a popular dancer is performing at a theater–restaurant next to their hotel. They also meet three more men named Judge (Joby Baker), Larry (Don Edmonds), and Wally (Bart Patton). Abby enjoys the fact that they will all be at the same hotel but Gidget barely reacts. Abby figures out that Gidget has just broken up and asks her to tell the story. Gidget does, but in an overly dramatic way. She says it was love at first sight. She then goes on to say that she went overboard and "surrendered herself completely," which Abby interprets to mean that she went all the way.

When they reach Hawaii, Gidget's parents have to get a separate room for Gidget instead of a connecting one. Abby is toying with all the boys' emotions, but especially Eddie Horner's, as he is the one she likes best. He seems to like Abby too, but has also found an interest in Gidget. Gidget's father feels bad and decides to send a message to Jeff, telling him that it would make her feel better if he (Jeff) flew down there. He immediately accepts.

That night Abby visits Gidget, and invites her to dine with Eddie, Judge, Larry and Wally and Herself. Abby decided to go with all of them. Gidget declines and says she'd be happier if she stayed in her room. Once Abby leaves, Gidget's mom enters and says she feels bad but Gidget should enjoy her time there and have fun with Abby and the boys. Gidget agrees and says she'll be there soon.

While at the restaurant, Abby is annoyed that she can't be alone with Eddie, so she finds two other girls named Barbara Jo and DeeDee to accompany them. Once they are there Abby gets to talk to Eddie alone while Wally, Judge and Larry argue over Barbara Jo and DeeDee. Meanwhile Gidget's and Abby's parents are also at the restaurant and are talking when Russ receives a telegram that Jeff is taking the first plane out. Back at the other table Eddie asks Abby why her friend couldn't join them. Abby replies that she just wasn't interested. While she says this we see Gidget appear all dressed up to join them. All the guys including Eddie are now completely drawn to her. Finally they announce the time to dance where Eddie automatically grabs Gidget's hand, leaving Abby and Judge to dance. Later that night in Gidget's hotel room, Abby comes back in and explains how she was annoyed that Gidget just came in like that. Gidget replies that she was only doing her mom a favor.

The next day we see Gidget surfing, and again a very annoyed Abby looks on because Abby hates the water and refuses to go in. Gidget also neglected to tell Abby that she surfs. The guys watch in amazement as Gidget shows off her surfing moves. They then join Gidget, and Eddie asks her for surfing lessons. On his first attempt he wipes out. After that, Eddie and Gidget run back on shore, where they are alone and Eddie kisses her. Gidget pulls away at first, but goes back to kissing him. Right at that very moment, Jeff appears but then claims he mistook her for another girl. After he leaves, Eddie tries to go back and kiss Gidget, but she pushes him away and runs after Moondoggie. Gidget and Moondoggie get into a fight and decide to go their separate ways. That night they're all at dinner when Abby arrives with Jeff (although Abby has no idea that he is Gidget's boyfriend, as Gidget had only identified him as Moondoggie). Gidget tries to make Jeff jealous by flirting with Eddie. They also begin a conversation about things being tame and Judge tells Gidget that she should try water skiing (which at the time was really risky) and Gidget says she will.

The next day everyone is at the ski jump but only Gidget dares to attempt it. She seems to do well, but once she gets to the jump she lets go of the handle, and goes crashing into the water. Jeff and Judge get in a boat and save her. While in the boat going back to join the others, Gidget flirts with Judge and agrees to go with him that night to watch Eddie perform, all in the presence of Jeff.

The next day they are all on a boat and Gidget acts offended by a comment Abby makes about the water. So Gidget goes off to another part of the boat and Jeff follows her. He goes and tells her to cut it out, although Abby thinks Jeff now likes her. Abby decides to start a rumor about Gidget saying how she's slept with Eddie and other people, rationalizing that it is half true because Gidget had said that she gave herself "completely" to "that Moondoggie person". Abby tells her mom Mitzi who then goes and tells Gidget's mother Dorothy. Dorothy refuses to believe it and says that she thinks Abby started the rumor, and they get into an argument. Dorothy tells Russ and they both question Gidget; she denies even the thought of it. This leaves both her parents, especially her father, angry and frustrated. Dorothy and Russ get into a fight. Russ leaves and goes to the bar. Meanwhile Monty and Mitzi also get into a fight because Monty thinks Mitzi should have kept her mouth shut which results in Mitzi going down to the bar. While at the bar, Mitzi and Russ talk and realize they see eye to eye on things and have a drink. Meanwhile Monty and Dorothy talk in the hotel room and go downstairs to another bar in the hotel. After talking Russ and Mitzi decide to go to the Mauhana Room. Just as they leave, Dorothy and Monty also go to the Mauhana room, but by another route. This is all witnessed by the clerk at the desk.

Meanwhile at the Luau, Abby is the center of attention, and is happy, primarily because Gidget isn't there. Eddie goes off to take a walk and bumps into Gidget who tells him of the rumor that is going around and says she doesn't want to go because she doesn't know if anyone else has heard. Eddie then pulls her aside and tells Gidget he's fallen in love with her. Gidget tells him that she doesn't like him, and that she's sorry. They agree to be friends. Gidget goes for a walk on the beach. While on the beach, Gidget pictures herself promiscuous and pregnant.

Back at the Luau, Abby and Jeff are talking and Abby tells him about the rumor that Gidget sleeps around. Jeff can't believe it. Abby then admits it's a lie and she (Gidget) only had one affair. Jeff asks when Gidget told her that, and Abby replies that Gidget told her on the plane, but why any girl would fall for a guy called "Moondoggie" is beyond her. Jeff then realizes how much he cares about Gidget. He tells Abby that he likes her and to call him what everyone at home calls him, "Moondoggie." Jeff runs off leaving an upset Abby at the Luau. On the beach Moondoggie and Gidget reconnect and talk about what happened on their way back to the hotel. Gidget asks the clerk if her parents were in and the clerk says Abby's Dad and Gidget's Mom went one way while Gidget's Dad and Abby's Mom went the other way. This leaves Gidget very worried and she decides to wait for them in their suite and Moondoggie accompanies her.

We then see Monty, Mitzi, Russ, and Dorothy talking all together at a table. They discuss the situation, and Mitzi says she will punish Abby when they get back. Dorothy decides to call to see if Gidget is in her room, but gets no answer. When they get back to the hotel, they decide to wait for Gidget in her suite. Meanwhile Gidget is in her parents suite and is worried because she thinks her parents are cheating on each other. So she and Jeff make up a plan. In Gidget's suite, Dorothy calls all Gidget's friends asking if they saw her. The news then gets to Abby who feels horrible thinking that she caused all this. Eventually DeeDee, Abby, Abby's Parents, Eddie, Judge, Wally and Larry are all in Gidget's suite worrying about where she is. Finally Gidget's dad goes back to his suite to get something. Russ comes in to find Gidget and Moondoggie kissing on the couch. He cries out in relief, but Gidget tells him, that her Mom is asleep, but she fixed it so his bed looks slept in. But to get out of here and come back in the morning, so she won't suspect anything. Russ plays along and he and Jeff both go to Gidget's suite where Jeff sees that everyone is waiting. Russ tells Dorothy to go in and "get your half of what I got". She goes in and Gidget tells her the same thing but Dorothy goes into the bedroom and Gidget thinks her dad is not there and fears problems will arise. But to her surprise, her father is asleep in the bed. She taps him and he jumps up and yells "Boo!" Then everyone else comes in and is laughing at Gidget. Gidget laughs and kisses Jeff and tells Eddie sorry but he had no chance up against Jeff and explains to everyone what happened. All is well until Gidget realizes she has some unfinished business. The following day the gang drags Abby into the water. We see a wave come and a screaming Abby on Gidget's surfboard. Gidget just looks over to Jeff and laughs.

Cast and characters[edit]

Production notes[edit]

From over 150 actresses, Columbia chose Deborah Walley for her screen debut as the new Gidget. Agent Joyce Selznick discovered Walley performing in an off Broadway production of Chekhov's Three Sisters.[2] Director Paul Wendkos established Walley as the new Gidget with some scenes from the first film re-shot using the new cast as flashbacks.

The film was shot on location at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Deborah Walley was doubled in surfing by Linda Benson.[3]


  1. ^ Tom Lisanti, Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959-1969, McFarland 2005, p61
  2. ^ Lisanti, Tom Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959-1969 McFarland 2005
  3. ^

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