Kathryn Hedgepath wanted to stir up the surf in marking Myrtle Beach’s role in rolling out a movie.
Join the 50th anniversary of MGM’s debut of “Don’t Make Waves” at 1 p.m. Friday at the Myrtle Beach Base Recreation Center, 800 Gabreski Lane, between Pampas Drive and Emmens Avenue, near Farrow Parkway and The Market Common. Admission is free, and the milestone comes 50 years to the day since the movie’s world premiere at the former Rivoli Theatre in downtown Myrtle Beach.
This comedy was one of Sharon Tate’s first movies, in a bill shared with Tony Curtis and Claudia Cardinale. Knowing that Tate and another co-star, David Draper, Mr. Universe 1966, were on hand in Myrtle Beach for the premiere, Hedgepath wanted to highlight some other connections in local history.
She said Tate and Draper paid a visit that day in 1967 to the officers’ club on what was then the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, in what now houses the library and bookstore at the Horry-Georgetown Technical College Grand Strand Campus. That’s one block away from the Base Rec Center, where the movie will screen. More details at 843-918-2380.
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Also, Tate – who was killed at age 26 in 1969, a half-month from going full term with a child she and husband Roman Polanski were awaiting – grew up in a family that moved frequently across the United States and Europe because her father, Paul Tate, was a colonel in Army intelligence. That additional military point of relevance makes the celebration this week even more special.
Q: How did this special cinematic retrospective project arise?
A: I didn’t want this unique moment in Myrtle Beach history to pass unnoticed. I knew that the Base Recreation Center showed free movies on Fridays to adults and thought that that might be a fit. I presented my plan to the center’s director, Dustin Jordan, who was receptive to the idea and asked to review the film to see if it would be appropriate.
Although it was approved, the movie lineup for the month of June had already been announced. So, the staff suggested that we hold this screening two hours before their scheduled feature. I was thrilled that they were willing to make this accommodation and asked if it would be OK for attendees to bring their lunch and leave early if necessary, in case some people couldn’t stay for the entire movie. Not only did the staff agree; they will offer their $1 soft drink and popcorn concessions that they provide for the 3 p.m. showings each week.
Q: With the movie set in southern California, how in the world did Myrtle Beach land the premiere?
A: John Thorne, the chairman of the 1967 Sun Fun Festival, worked with MGM executives to hold the premiere here during Sun Fun week as the highlight of the festival. Beyond that, I don’t know how he did it. I heard that he was living in Columbia, but I don’t know how to reach him. My friend at the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce checked with the people there who would know and said that they no longer have the files from the 1967 festival.
Q: With The Byrds supplying the movie theme for “Don’t Make Waves,” what’s your favorite hit by that group, whose music really helped define and identify that decade?
A: I prefer this theme song to their other hits. “Don’t Make Waves” is much more upbeat. And, of course, I associate it with the movie that put Myrtle Beach in the limelight for a moment, a half-century ago.
Q: What tidbits about the movie might flow from local historians’ recounting the ties for which the Grand Strand claims a slight piece of ownership in its springboard to cinemas?
A: Once these plans were in place, I texted my friend who had been on hand for the festivities throughout the day on June 9, 1967. He was excited and said that he would be there. He and I will spend about five minutes describing the events surrounding the premiere as an introduction to the movie.
Q: Will any correspondence with David Draper, or memories he’s expressed for this golden occasion, be shared at the event this Friday?
A: I emailed Dave and asked if he wanted me to make any statement on his behalf. He wished me luck and hoped that everyone would enjoy the event.
Q: Might this anniversary celebration provide the impetus for a local museum or gallery summertime exhibit about the Myrtle Beach connection to the movie, with photos and other artifacts?
A: That would be wonderful, but not likely.
Q: When you think of Sharon Tate’s career spanning the 1960s – in the way that Cheryl Ladd, Jaclyn Smith and the late Donna Summer might be regarded among the most beautiful women in the 1970s – how fun is seeing a “Beverly Hillbillies” episode today on MeTV, where, under that dark wig, Tate played Janet Trego, the secretary for Mr. (Milburn) Drysdale (the late Raymond Bailey) in the series’ early years?
A: I love it!
Contact Steve Palisin at 843-444-1764.
If you go
WHAT: Screening of MGM’s “Don’t Make Waves,” marking 50th anniversary of its world premiere at the former Ravioli Theatre in Myrtle Beach, during 1967 Sun Fun Festival.
WHEN: 1 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Myrtle Beach Base Recreation Center, 800 Gabreski Lane, between Pampas Drive and Emmens Avenue, near Farrow Parkway and The Market Common.
HOW MUCH: Free.
FREE WEEKLY MOVIES: For adults, at 3 p.m. Fridays – “Fences” on June 9, “Masterminds” June 16, “Shut In” June 23, “Rules Don’t Apply” June 30, “Arrival” July 7, “Keeping Up with the Joneses” July 14, and “Inferno” July 21.