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The Show

Beach Girls and the Monster

A spectacular, bug-eyed fish-man stalks wayward beach-goers in the film "The Beach Girls and the Monster" (1964/1965). Between appearances of this hilarious—I mean, terrifying—creature, viewers are treated to Waikiki-twitching teens in bathing suits and some tawdry melodrama involving a workaholic oceanographer named Otto Lindsay, his adulterous second wife Vicky, and Richard, the son who wants to give up studying science to surf and hang out with his girlfriend. Good times!

Films like "The Beach Girls and the Monster" celebrate the surf subculture of the mid-20th Century, offering up an idealized version of a carefree, youth-oriented lifestyle and the pursuit of an "endless summer." The conflict between the film's father and son was one enacted in countless homes across the United States as the gap between generations widened, leaving many parents and their adult children with vastly different values, goals and perspectives on how life should be lived.

While the film was directed by Jon Hall (who also plays Otto Lindsay), it simply wouldn't be the same without genuine surf footage provided by Dale Davis, the man said to have filmed the largest wave ever ridden for "Inside Out" (1966). During the mid-20th Century, a handful of filmmakers used 16 mm cameras to shoot surf footage to show at ad hoc venues around the country. The filmmakers themselves would present the movies, offering commentary and cultivating the next generation of surf enthusiasts. According to the Surfing Collectibles Guide, John Severson, "Going My Wave" (1962), and Bruce Brown, "The Endless Summer" (1964), helped these films evolve into the commercial surf movie in which a flimsy plot laced with comedy would be offered as an excuse for reel after reel of radical waves and killer tubes.

The Science

Meredith Metzger

emptyProfessor Meredith Metzger of Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Utah discusses how ocean waves can be used to generate electricity and how she engages students in learning complex subjects.

 

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