One of a slew of ‘squeaky clean’ teen movies from the fifties and sixties aimed at teenage girls (if your 21st-century teen doesn’t find this too dated, she may also like some of the beach-set movies like 1963’s Beach Party and 1965’s Beach Blanket Bingo, both with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello). Gidget (played by Sandra Dee, who was, of course, immortalised in a song in Grease) is a bouncy young blonde who discovers surfing and then love after she befriends cool Moondoggie (Darren) during the summer in this fun if forgettable feature.
Based on a book by Frederick Kohner, this was a phenomenal hit, not only launching many imitation beach movies, but also a Gidget phenomenon – two more movies followed (Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961), Gidget Goes to Rome (1963), neither of which starred Dee), plus a handful of made-for-TV films, and even a spin-off TV series, which launched the career of Sally Field, who took on the role of Gidget (the name Gidget, incidentally, is an abbreviation of ‘girl midget’).
Is Gidget suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...