Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where are you Candy Johnson?

Candy Johnson

Where I first discovered Candy Johnson,
The Perpetual Motion Dancer

While a Statewide Power Emergency has been declared in the state of Texas and our electricity goes out for 15 minutes or more every couple of hours due to blizzard like conditions, my thoughts are not turning to spring time but to summer ... hot summers!

I feel like I need to ask for some patience as I indulge in a fantasy of my youthful days.  I have had the old beach party movies on my mind recently.  Beach Party (1965), How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, Muscle Beach Party (1964),  Beach Blanket Bingo and the list continues.  I loved these movies when I was in my pre-teen and teenage years.  I did not identify so much with Annette, she usually sat on the beach without a hair getting out of place and wore that boring one piece swimsuit.  I daydreamed of being one of those carefree girls with long blonde hair that surfed and danced on the beach all day.

In the 1960s, most people were not as concerned about skin damage from the sun.  A tan was considered healthy looking and QT or Quick Tan was introduced to give one an instant tan. ha!  Remember those orange ankles, knees and palms of hands? You had to have a tan to be "in" with this beach crowd!

To this day I love the smell of Coopertone products.
After making this photo, I had to open a bottle for a whiff of that summer scent.

Younger looking skin tomorrow?  I don't think so!

Also for my California surfer fantasy, there were products for lightening hair.  Who remembers products such as Sun In?  I would try every new product that came out.  They didn't show the brassy stage on brown hair in the ad.

Back to the beach movies of the 1960s, there were so many unforgettable characters such as Eric Von Zipper and I was always fond of Beach Blanket Bingo that involved a story about a mermaid named Lorelei.  Remember Eric Von Zipper, he was the leader of the motorcycle gang that wore black leather? :-)

Jerry Van Dyke was in Muscle Beach Party.  I had an unexpected surprise of seeing
Jerry make an appearance at the Clay Cooper Theatre in Branson,  November 2010,
when Clint and I were there.  He was promoting his appearance
in The Sunshine Boys.  Funny as ever!

As a teenager, I loved the water and the sun and daydreaming about
being on the California coast!

The most unforgetable character in the movies was Candy Johnson. I learned her name early on, I can remember sitting there until the credits stopped rolling so I could find out her name. Until recently, I had not been able to find out much about her. I did learn she was born on Febuary 8, 1944.  An early Happy Birthday greeting, Candy There was no way I could even begin to attempt to dance like her.  The closest I could come to being a go go dancer was being on a local teen dance show in 1967 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  It was called Disco Teen, hosted by Al Adams.  It was fun and made me feel like a "star".  For a few hours, anyway!

Love these fringed dresses, just like Candy wore! Every time I would
see a fringed dress like these above, I would be reminded of Candy.
No, I didn't wear such attire on the local dance program
but being there still made me feel like I was a real go go dancer!

Now ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Candy Johnson ...


While searching for information about Candy Johnson's whereabouts, I could not find much information.  I did find a website for a Candy Johnson that was "under construction".  There is one rumor about Candy being a choreographer in Branson, Missouri.  I feel this is truly only a rumor, no one could dance like Candy Johnson and one thing for sure, her style could not be taught!  You have it or you don't.

So much for my winter day fantasy of beach party movies and Candy Johnson.  Decades have passed and I  live far from the beach but in my little back "yard" I can still dream of being at the ocean with Annette, Frankie and friends ... having a ball dancing, surfing and watching Candy dance!


VMcreation-fashion-studio-atelier said...

OMG:-)*Dear,dear Cindy!
HOW beautiful is your post,so nostalgic...
You looks abasolutely gorgeous then and now too!!!
I like 60 years fshion and music too,it's classy,funny,happy and SOoooooo Lifely:-)))*

Thank you for share your story,
Love to you,

Clint said...

Cindy---please dance for me tonight like Candy does. I'll invite some friends over to help me watch.

Ken said...

Hi Cindy! Candy is alive and well and living in seclusion in southern California. She looks back fondly on her '60s movie/dance career.

Cheers to you!

p.s. That's my "under construction" website. Since AOL took away their user's filespace, I haven't found a good place to host the website yet. It'll be back up sometime soon, hopefully.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

I was wild about Candy Johnson from the moment I saw her explode on the screen in that magenta fringed outfit in Muscle Beach Party in 1964. From there I saw Beach Party which had come out a year or so earlier, and finally Bikini Beach which was the last time I saw her on screen in those wild fringed outfits. Something strange happened with the last party film I saw her in (Pajama Party) no more fringe and more Candy Johnson in any of the later American International films. I was crushed. They started letting other dancers perform during the end credits. It was just awful for the Candy fans. I have a book called Drive-In Dream Girls that has a section on Candy Johnson. A high school friend told me that she saw Candy back in the 60s at the "teen club" in Germany where her father was stationed. I once saw Frank Sinatra Jr. at the teen club in Bangkok in 1966. And I met Deborah Wally at a photo signing in Leavenworth, KS at a movie theater where one of the later beach movies was showing. She was quite beautiful, I remember, and very movie star looking! I also read that Candy had a club in New York City called the Candy Store where she danced nightly. Would love to know what she is up to. She has legions of fans.

weezyree71 said...

I am watching Beach Blanket Bingo as we speak and "surfing" the internet for Candy Johnson and found this site. Thank You so much for this blog! I WAS the skinny blonde who used Sun-In and Coppertone and really did hang out at the beach with surfer boys and surfer girls and this brings back such memories! We also saw Annette Funicello at a movie premiere for one of the Beach movies. What a great time to be a teenager! Please keep searching for Candy! I will!

Anonymous said...

Wow! These posts about my Aunt are truly remarkable. I of course thought she was a movie star growing up. I would sneek into her box of fringed dresses and pretend I was her. Thank you all for remembering her. kimme J

Cindy Ellison said...

Hi kimme J! It is such a sweet surprise to read your comment! Yes, I will never forget your aunt. Seeing her was the highlight of those old beach party movies and I have never forgotten her. I have never seen one of those fringed dresses without thinking of her. I sure hope she is doing well and when you see her next, please pass along how much she is appreciated. Every time I look at her dancing in the videos, I am smiling. Thank you so much, kimme J, for taking the time to comment.

Larry said...

I love Candy Johnson! Watching her dance is great fun, she just knocks your socks off! It would be great to see what she is up to today and hear her talk about doing the movies! Candy, where are youuuuuuu?!

drew said...

if you are not grinning from ear to ear after watching Candy dance my friend...something inside you is broken.

Dr.Tom said...

Candy lives in Corona, California. She's 67 now but still reads her fans' posts.

We love ya, Candy.

Dr.Tom said...

Here is a better video of Candy. It's my ringtone. Candy rocked my world.

Cindy Ellison said...

Hi Tom, thank you for sharing more information about Candy Johnson. I need to look into having that same ringtone, it would make me smile every time I heard my phone "ring". :-)

Merlin Foard said...

Wow, I had the honor to sit with Candy in a club in Germany, she explained that to dance with the energy she showed, she would eat as many as three steaks in a day as well as the other food everyone else ate, and she was a thin thing. She danced several sets in the club and danced everone under the table every set, I'm talking young fit Airmen in there prime. I also was wondering where Candy had gone and stumbled on your site. My daughter is an Artist and graduated from UT Knoxville with a Bachelors of Fine Art and is enrolled in Yale College of Art working on her Masters. The Knoxville area of TN is my favorite area

Cindy Ellison said...

Thank you for the very interesting story of meeting Candy Johnson! I can imagine she would have to eat as much as she said to be able to perform her special moves! That woman could move like no other. I am assuming you made no photos of her that evening, those would surely be treasured now. :-) Your daughter must be a fantastic artist, that would be quite an accomplishment to have a masters in art from Yale.

Yes, it is so beautiful here in east Tennessee, I am so happy to be back "home".

Thanks again,


Kene Jacques Rosa said...

Dear Cindy, Sorry to tell you that our dear Candy Johnson passed away peacefully on October 20, 2012. She and I have been friends for the last six or eight years and she was truly amazed at how many people had an interest in her work. She was a true original! It is a real crime that she does NOT have a star on the Walk of Fame! We are fortunate to have her films and two albums. She will dance in my heart forever! Best, Kene J. Rosa, Hollywood, California

Smitty Man said...

Watching Bikini Beach Don Rickles (art dealer) just told someone to 'Stop petting his bird' and Von Zipper says he don't like you'. CINDY, your the cat's pajamas, keep on surfing, singing, painting, and loving!