Troy Donahue and Connie Stevens in Palm Springs Weekend (1963)

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Norman Taurog Directs Palm Springs Weekend

Earl Hamner Jr. – best known as the creator of TV’s The Waltons (1972-81) – wrote the screenplay for Warner Bros. Norman Taurog (Blue Hawaii, Spinout, Speedway) directed and Frank Perkins created the swinging music score.

Troy Donahue (Jim Munroe) and Connie Stevens (Gayle Lewis/Jane Hoover) head the mod cast. Other players include Ty Hardin (Doug “Stretch” Fortune), Stefanie Powers (Bunny Dixon), Robert Conrad (Eric Dean), Andrew Duggan (Police Chief Dixon), Jack Weston (Coach Fred Campbell), Carole Cook (Naomi Yates), Jerry Van Dyke (Biff Roberts), Zeme North (Amanda North), Billy Mumy (“Boom Boom” Yates) and Tina Cole (Ruth Stewart).

Palm Springs Weekend Filmed in California

Palm Springs Weekend was filmed – where else? – in Palm Springs, California. Several of the film’s stars didn’t have to journey far, as they had worked on various Warner Bros. TV productions. Troy Donahue had starred as Sandy Winfield II on Surfside 6 (1960-62), Ty Hardin had the title role in Bronco (1958-62) and Connie Stevens and Robert Conrad had been regulars on Hawaiian Eye (1959-63).

Palm Springs Weekend Movie Review

Palm Springs, California, is invaded by hordes of college students over spring break. Among the fun-seekers are medical student Jim Munroe and Hollywood High School senior Gayle Lewis, who poses as wealthy coed Jane Hoover. Romantic sparks and flying fists ensue, as the kids pursue a sun-filled respite in one of the Golden State’s most beautiful resort cities.

Anytime you have characters named “Bunny,” “Biff” and “Stretch,” break out the Brylcreem (as in “a little dab’ll do ya”) and the Breck because it’s the early 1960s. The gang’s all here in Palm Springs Weekend, “that swingin’ vacation weekend when American youth descends on America’s swankiest playground!”

Palm Springs Weekend was Warner Bros’. answer to the highly successful Where the Boys Are (1960). It’s not as slick or as funny as the latter, but it does have its moments. Blond movie/TV/recording idol Troy Donahue – who entered this world as Merle Johnson Jr. – is at his heartthrob best, romancing fresh-faced record shop salesgirl Stefanie Powers. Connie Stevens, who with Edd Byrnes scored the 1959 novelty hit “Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)”, purrs quite nicely as one of the film’s youthful sex kittens.

But it’s macho Robert Conrad, piloting his flashy 1963 Ford Thunderbird about town, who makes one of the movie’s biggest impressions. As a young, hard-drinking playboy whose millionaire father has just wed wife #6, Conrad flashes both his resentment and his fists, later duking it out with Ty “Bronco” Hardin. Also, look for a 20-year-old Tina Cole, who later played Don Grady’s wife Katie on TV’s My Three Sons, as the hostess of a party that gets out of hand.

Palm Springs Weekend Release, Reviews, DVD

  • Release date: November 5, 1963.
  • “This light romantic comedy filmed on location in Palm Springs finds couples engaging in a kissing frenzy of puppy love,” reports Dan Pavlides, All Movie Guide.
  • Palm Springs Weekend can be found on the Warner Bros. Romance Classics Collection DVD (2009). The other films include Susan Slade (1961), Parrish (1961) and Rome Adventure (1962).

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