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Love in a Goldfish Bowl

Love in a Goldfish Bowl(1961)

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teaser Love in a Goldfish Bowl (1961)

Bright-eyed, wholesome and golden-haired teenagers Gordon Slide (Tommy Sands) and Blythe Holloway (Toby Michaels) decide the best way to contend with their upcoming Easter school holiday is to skip out on family obligations. In the sunny teen comedy Love in a Goldfish Bowl (1961), the kids decide to hole up instead at Gordon's mother's beach home where they can sail, sun and play without the presence of overbearing parents. While Gordon's Mom Sandra Slide (Jan Sterling) vacations in Hawaii, and Blythe's father Sen. Clyde Holloway (Edward Andrews) believes his daughter is using the vacation to catch up on her studies, the truant pair are actually playing house by the sea.

Yet everything is completely innocent. Gordon acts as the protective but bossy patriarch, instructing Blythe on the finer points of cooking and cleaning. When necessary, he babies Blythe, who suffers from nightmares and a fear of the dark. Blythe naturally develops a crush on the overbearing dreamboat. But complications ensue when Gordon and Blythe's sailing trip ends in disaster with fierce winds and a capsized boat. A team of sailors rescue the pair, and one sailor in particular, Guiseppi La Barba (Fabian), takes a shine to Blythe. He begins spending more and more time around Blythe, and by extension Gordon. But the traditionalist Guiseppi is troubled by the lack of any adult supervision. Though Blythe and Gordon claim his mother is living with them, Guiseppi has his doubts.

The comedy climaxes, as such teenage vacation stories are wont to do, with a wild party crashed by Guiseppi's sailor friends that devolves into a food-flinging, girl-fighting, heavy-petting orgy. When Sandra Slide and Senator Holloway come home to discover both the chaos and their two teenagers living together, they are forced to reappraise what unobservant and disengaged parents they have been.

The Robert Pattinson or Justin Bieber of his day, Fabian was a teenage heartthrob with a voice like velvet and a pompadour like no other. A repeat performer on American Bandstand, Fabian was a Billboard chart climber. His superstar trajectory began when fellow Philadelphia boy Frankie Avalon suggested Fabian (born Fabiano Anthony Forte) to some Chancellor Records producers. Fabian went on to sign a contract with 20th Century Fox and make over 30 pictures, most of which capitalized on his teen idol persona.

Fabian actually has some competition in Love in a Goldfish Bowl in the yellow-haired lad Tommy Sands, a ladies man crooner in his own right, though one who never achieved the cult status of Fabian. Given a guitar at age seven by his mother, Sands taught himself to play. In 1952 Sands was signed to RCA Records by Colonel Tom Parker, the managerial mastermind behind Elvis Presley. Sands went on to have some pop hits like "Teen-Age Crush" which went to number three on the Billboard chart. In 1957 Sands sang the Academy Award-nominated song "Friendly Persuasion" at the awards ceremony.

Sands' good looks also garnered him a film contract and appearances in the films Mardi Gras (1958), Babes in Toyland (1961) and The Longest Day (1962). In 1960 Sands married Nancy Sinatra but the couple divorced in 1965, and by the Seventies, Sands had largely faded from the public eye.

Director: Jack Sher
Screenplay: Irene Kamp (story), Jack Sher
Cinematography: Loyal Griggs
Art Direction: Roland Anderson, Hal Pereira
Music: Jimmie Haskell
Film Editing: Terry O. Morse
Cast: Tommy Sands (Gordon Slide), Fabian (Guiseppi La Barba), Jan Sterling (Sandra Slide), Toby Michaels (Blythe Holloway), Edward Andrews (Sen. Clyde Holloway), John McGiver (Dr. Frowley), Majel Barrett (Alice), Shirley O'Hara (Clara Dumont), Robert Patten (Lt. (j.g.) Marchon), Phillip Baird (Gregory).

by Felicia Feaster

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