Boys Town

On several occasions throughout Ivy Style’s tenure we’ve referred to this post, which originally ran in 2009. It remains a valuable pop culture document of what Spring Break used to be like, when young gentlemen wore blazers and ladies wore dresses, when romantic encounters were at least nominally aimed at being long-term, and when avant-garde jazz served as beachside entertainment. 

* * *

As a follow-up to our post on George Hamilton, Ivy-Style looks at 1960’s “Where the Boys Are,” in which Hamilton plays a rich college boy on Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale at the dawn of the Sexual Revolution. As thousands of students arrive from around the country, husband-hunting coeds begin comparing the boys and their schools as if weighing the merits of designer handbags. Hamilton, who plays a yacht-sailing student from Brown, is deemed a catch:

Below, two ways to stand with your hands in your pockets. Can you tell by their posture the trust funder from the jazz hipster?

By 1960 the jazz-campus connection was already ripe for parody, and one of the film’s subplots involves a “dialectic jazz” quintet in buttondown collars. Discouraging applause in order to keep things “as cerebral as possible,” the band reveals even more than the should-we-or-shouldn’t-we sexual tension just how much things have changed since 1960. Then: avant-garde jazz and valiantly guarded chastity. Now: hip-hop and flavored condoms.

Of course, things weren’t really so simple, especially with revolution in the air. As we explored previously, soft shoulders and buttondown collars may confer respectability, but can often hide salacious intentions. In contrast to how it may seem today, “Where The Boys Are” is not an endorsement of unchivalrous male behavior, but a warning. — CC

9 Comments on "Boys Town"

  1. PaulaPrentissFanGirl | March 3, 2013 at 8:51 pm |

    If you choose to revisit this film in the future, you must include a still of Hamilton wearing a black–I’m pretty sure it’s black and not navy–polo shirt on the beach. He’s to die for.

  2. Great post – well before my time as a regular here. It reminds me of an article I recently read that covers the same topic from a less romantic perspective.

  3. Just saw this again a couple weeks ago during a sleepless night on some free movie channel. I know it’s corny, but enjoyed it just the same. Memorable line from Hamilton’s character: “Oh, I’ve told lots of girls that I love them, but never anyone that I liked them.” Well, it was fun, anyway, even with the overacted scene in the pool, and the enduring Hutton-Prentiss duo. I’ll do it again, too. Thanks for the stills.

  4. Vern Trotter | April 27, 2015 at 2:25 pm |

    Never thought this film would endure. Some decent actors too. George Hamilton, Dolores Hart, Yvette Mimieux, Jim Hutton, Paula Prentiss, Frank Gorshin and Connie Francis. Also Sean Flynn, son of Errol.

    Dolores Hart, shown above, was a knockout. Left the movie biz after this one and two Elvis movies to be a nun. Was the first girl to kiss Elvis on screen. Elvis was said to have seduced all of his leading ladies, save one, thought to be her. She is still in the nunnery in CT and made an acclaimed documentary a few years ago.

    A few scenes were filmed in the Elbo Room, still there, across from the beach in Ft. Lauderdale. I hear the rest rooms have not been cleaned since.

  5. Always enjoyed Paula Prentiss, her husband Richard Benjamin is in one of my favorite movies, “Goodbye, Columbus”

  6. I love this movie. But I’ve always wondered why they chose to make Hamilton (“Ryder Smith”), the perfect Ivy Leaguer, a student from Brown. Why Brown? Why not, say, Princeton or Yale? There must be a behind-the-scenes story there. Maybe one of the writers or producers went to Brown. Also, they chose to make the bad guy, the one who attacks Yvette, a Yalie!

  7. I never thought George Hamilton looked like a WASP. Handsome, according to my late aunt, but George has a Greek or Italian look.

    As far as Elvis co-stars, I always thought Donna Douglas (sweet Elly May Clampett) was the one Elvis never bedded down. I could see Elly getting Elvis into a headlock and beating him up. Rightfully so.


  8. Wriggles
    I actually danced with Donna Douglas in the mid-80s, she was the guess of Bob Dole at Kansas Day. She was strikingly beautiful and nothing like her character Elly May.

  9. @MAC
    You lucky guy! Dancing with Donna Douglas. WOW!

Comments are closed.