Frankie Avalon Part One
Here am I, doing Frankie Avalon Part One, of someone that I only learned of because of My Mom. However, I like what I heard, and bought his albums, from iTunes (I couldn’t find them on CD.), so here’s one of my many favorites, I hope he’s one of yours also.
Frankie Avalon (birthed Francis Thomas Avallone; September 18, 1940) is an American actor, singer, and former teen idol. Avalon had 31 charted U.S. Billboard singles from 1958 to late 1962, including the number one hits“Venus“ as well as “Why“ in 1959.
Publicity Photo, 1963
Francis Thomas Avallone
September 18, 1940 (age 79)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Kathryn Diebel (m. 1963).
Pop. Rock and Roll. Swing, Jazz.
Life And Career
Early Life And Music
Avalon was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA}, the son of Mary and also Nicholas Avallone.
In December 1952, Avalon made his American network TV debut playing the trumpet in the Honeymooners“ Christmas Party“ sketch on The Jackie Gleason Show. Two singles showcasing Avalon‘s trumpet playing were released on RCA Victor‘s “X“ sub label in 1954. His trumpet playing was also included on some of his LP songs also. As a teenager he played with Bobby Rydell in Rocco and the Saints.
In 1959, “Venus“ (5 weeks # 1) as well as “Why“ went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. “Why“ was the last # 1 of the 1950s.
Avalon had 31 charted U.S. Billboard singles from 1958 to late 1962, including “Just Ask Your Heart“ (U.S. # 7), “I‘ll Wait for You“ (U.S. # 15), “Bobby Sox to Stockings“ (U.S. # 8), and also “A Boy Without a Girl“ (U.S. # 10). He was less popular in the U.K.,however did still manage four chart hits with “Why“,“Ginger Bread“, “Venus“ and “Don’t Throw Away All Those Teardrops“. Most of his hits were written or produced or both by Bob Marcucci, head of Chancellor Records.
Film And TV Career
Avalon as well as Annette Funicello during the “Beach Party“ era
Avalon‘s first film was a brief appearance in Jamboree(1957), playing a trumpet and also singing “Teacher‘s Pet“.
In the late 1950s, teen idols were usually offered roles in films, supporting older male stars in order to attract a younger audience, such as Ricky Nelson in Rio Bravo (1959). Alan Ladd‘s daughter was a Frankie Avalon fan, that suggested he co-star with her dad in the Western Guns of the Timberland (1960). Avalon sings two songs, “The Faithful Kind“ and “Gee Whiz Whillikins Golly Gee“; both were released as singles.
Ladd announced he would certainly team up with Avalon as well as his daughter in Six Steps to Freedom however he film was never made.
Rushes for Timberland were seen by John Wayne, that was searching for a young actor to play the (fictitious) role of “Smitty“ in his passion project, The Alamo(1960). Avalon was cast in his second dramatic part. After making the film Wayne told the press “We‘re not cutting one bit of any scene in which Frankie appears. I believe he is the finest young talent I‘ve seen in a long time.“ “Mr Wayne said I was natural as far as acting goes,“ said Avalon. He added, “My ambition when I was ten years old was to have my own band like Harry James. I never expected anything like this … I ‘d like to be identified as a singer, dancer and actor. I don’t want to be just one thing.“
“ I like to appeal to teenagers and adults,“ he said in 1960. “Everybody“.
Avalon was now in sought after as an actor. He provided the singing voice for the protagonist in the English language version of a Japanese musical anime, Alakazam the Great (1960), which was done at the request of the US distributor, American International Pictures – the first in what would certainly be a long association with that company.
For Irwin Allen, Avalon had a bit part and also sang the title role in the sci-fi adventure film, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961), a solid hit. He had a support role in a comedy, Sail a Crooked Ship (1961).
Avalon was teamed with Ray Milland in the sci-fi film, Panic in Year Zero! (1962), written by Lou Rusoff. Samuel Z. Arkoff of American International Pictures (AIP) said Avalon and Milland were teamed together because “they both have particular types of followers and the combination adds up to an attraction.“
For AIP, Avalon made a war film with Tab Hunter, Operation Bikini (1963), singing a few songs in flashback. At MGM he played the lead in an adventure filmset in Africa, Drums of Africa (1963).
Of even more relevance for Avalon‘s career was a project originally written by Rusoff, Beach Party (1963). This joyful musical comedy starred Annette Funicello as well as was directed by William Asher; Arkoff stated AIP originally wanted Fabian to co-star with Funicello, however when he proved inaccessible they went with Avalon. It was a success and also resulted in several sequels.
Avalon received an offer to appear in a swashbuckler set in 10th century Spain regarding Fernán González of Castile, The Castilian (1963), after that was in the first Beach Party sequel, Muscle Beach Party (1963). It was popular; evenmore so was Bikini Beach (1964), where Avalon had a dual role. In August 1964 Avalon announced he signed to make ten films in five years for AIP.
Pajama Party (1964) was unofficially the fourth in the series; it was a sci-fi spoof, Avalon ceded leading man duties to Tommy Kirk, however he had a cameo. He was back as leading man in Beach Blanket Bingo (1965). Avalon later on recalled, “‘That‘s the picture of mine that I think people remember best, and it was just a lot of kids having a lot of fun— a picture about young romance and about the opposition of adults and old people … It was also fun because we got to learn how to fake skydive out of an airplane.“
Avalon appeared in nearly two dozen TV episodes, including ABC‘s The Bing Crosby Show and The Patty Duke Show, appearing frequently as himself. Later on, he became a national TV spokesperson for Sonic Drive-In. In 1965 he appeared in the Combat! episode “Brother, Brother“ as a childhood friend of Pfc. Kirby, played by Jack Hogan.
Avalon as well as Tuesday Weld supported Bob Hope in a comedy, I‘ll Take Sweden (1965) for Edward Small. For AIP he teamed with Dwayne Hickman in a rip off of Some Like It Hot (1959), Ski Party (1965). That studio offered him the lead in a service comedy, Sergeant Deadhead (1965), playing another dual role. All this activity implied he was reluctant to appear in another “beach party“ film, so he allow Hickman play the lead in How to Stuff a Wild Bikini ( 1965 ), although Avalon had a cameo.
The box office performance of these last few films were disappointing – particularly Sergeant Deadhead, for which sequels had actually been intended. More popular was Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965 ), a comedy with Vincent Price and also Hickman, for AIP. This resembled enough to justify a sequel, although Avalon did not appear, Fabian Forte taking over.
In January 1966, Avalon stated he no longer wanted to make beach films. “Even a seagull leaves the beach from time to time and I‘m getting a little sick of sand,“ he said.
AIP searched for a new formula for Avalon, and cast him as a stock car driver in Fireball 500 (1966), along with Fabian as well as Funicello, for director William Asher. It was a medium success, and also resulted in other AIP stock car films, though none with Avalon.
For Harry Alan Towers he played the lead in The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967 ), and had a great part in Skidoo(1968), a comedy from Otto Preminger. In England he was in The Haunted House of Horror (1968) for AIP.