The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini
1966, 82 minutes, color

 

The title character is Cecily, the ghost of a circus star who was killed in a fall 30 years ago. As can be seen in the photo above, not only is the ghost's bikini invisible, but so is the body beneath the bikini. The story begins shortly after the death of Cecily's former partner Hiram Stokely. Hiram loved his life by cheating and stealing from others, so now, Cecily tells him, if he wants to go to heaven he must mastermind one good deed within 24 hours, but without leaving his crypt. Hiram decides that his good deed will be to make sure that his rightful heirs get the money he has hidden in his mansion, and to prevent his unscrupulous attorney Reggie Ripper (Rathbone) from getting it.

Hiram asks Cecily to watch over his heirs, who are gathering at the house for the reading of the will.  Two of the heirs are Lily and Chuck, who are not related, but whose fathers were both carnival operators swindled by Stokely. Putting them in his will was Stokely's way of making restitution. Also named in the will is Myrtle Forbush, a relative. These three arrive at Stokely's mansion along with Stokely's attorney Reggie Ripper and his sidekick J. Sinister Hulk. As Stokely feared, Ripper plans to do away with the other heirs, so that he can inherit all the money.

Reggie Ripper with daughter SinistraDuring a sce to contact Hiram, a bus full of bikini-clad young people, including Myrtle's nephew Bobby, pulls up to the house. The young people immediately break out the drums and dance while Nancy Sinatra sings "Geronimo." Looking at all the bikinis Reggie Ripper remarks, "Good heavens! Young people today are a nervous lot--all squiggling in unison!"

Ripper was not aware that Myrtle had any living relatives, so now he has one more person he needs to eliminate. The heirs must either be killed or frightened away, because any who are not present at the reading of the will, forfeit their shares. Ripper enlists the help of his daughter Sinistra.

More people are on their way to the mansion. An Indian ("Chicken Feather"), a blonde ("Princess Yolanda") and a gorilla ("Monstro") are coming to help Hulk eliminate the heirs. Also, a gang of motorcycle enthusiasts are following the blonde because their leader (von Zipper) is in love with her.

Sinistra bungles the job of killing Bobby because she is nearly blind without her glasses. (Her father told her to remove her glasses.) Cecily interferes to prevent other attempts to kill the heirs from succeeding. Ripper is frustrated because all are still alive. Hulk thinks the house is haunted.

When a sudden thunderstorm breaks, all the young folks in bikinis run screaming past Ripper, who shouts:  "Yah! Yah! Yeah! Revolting little pipsqueaks!"

At midnight the heirs gather together and read Hiram's will. Cecily causes a skeleton hand to appear with a note to Reggie Ripper. It's a Codicil to the will that says Stokely's money is hidden somewhere in the house. The only clue is "Look to the Prince of Love."


Ripper, reading the will to heirs Myrtle and Lili.

Cecily's trick frightens Reggie.

Ripper suggests that they go to sleep and get a fresh start in the morning hunting for the money.  After Myrtle, Chuck and Lili leave, Ripper berates Hulk, Chicken Feather and Yolanda because the heirs are still alive. Hulk and his cohorts bungle several further attempts to get rid of Chuck and Bobby. Monstro the gorilla escapes from his cage and climbs into the house. He frightens all the girls and carries off Lili.

Bobby sees Reggie Ripper pull a gun on Chicken Feather and Hulk and threaten them. Bobby gets Chuck and Myrtle and they follow Ripper. 

All of the main characters end up in Hiram Stokely's "Chamber of Horrors," where they discover Lili has been placed on a buzz saw track, and is about to lose her life. A melee breaks out. Chuck gets to the buzz saw in time to save Lili, and pulls a lever sending her away from the blade. While the fight continues, Ripper gets to the lever and sends her back the other way. With Cecily's aid, the good guys gain the upper hand, Lili is saved, and the treasure is found. Ripper tries to steal it, and ghost Cecily plugs the barrel of his gun with her finger, causing an explosion, sending Ripper to his reward.


Ripper, Hulk, Chicken Feather and Princess Yolanda prepare to do away with Lili

Cecily reports to Hiram: "Your wicked lawyer has gone to collect his just desserts, and your rightful heirs now have the money. Congratulations, Hiram, on doing your good deed. Now you are on your way to heaven." Cecily had promised that Hiram would be made young again, and he was--he was turned into a young boy!

With the danger over, it's time for more dancing as the credits roll.

This film can be entertaining if one doesn't take it seriously. It's certainly not scary, but intends to be funny. While not a great comedy, the film does have some funny bits and good slapstick. The plot is ridiculous, and the great actors--Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, even Susan Hart and Jesse White--are wasted in this film. In spite of the weak plot, Rathbone does well with his character, injecting humor into his performance without hamming it up.Reggie Ripper

Von Zipper and his motorcycle gang added nothing of value to the plot, just more characters to run around, adding to the confusion. Von Zipper did, however, contribute an amusing remark upon seeing Reggie Ripper. In homage to Basil Rathbone's most famous role, von Zipper said: "He looks like Sherlock Holmes."

Obviously one shouldn't take this film very seriously at all if one plans on enjoying it in the slightest. If you can loosen up quite a bit, this film does have some fun silly bits. And Stokely's mansion, with its many secret passageways and Chamber of Horrors, makes a perfect setting for a ghost story."

Although "The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini" (originally titled "Beach Party in a Haunted House") had the largest budget of the "beach party" pictures, it was a box-office failure, and American International produced no more beach party films.

There are several musical numbers in this film, all accompanied by girls in bikinis and boys in swim trunks dancing:

  • Nancy Sinatra sings "Geronimo." 

  • Sexy Quinn O'Hara ("Sinistra") sings "Don't Try to Fight It Baby" as she attempts to seduce Bobby. 

  • Italian "exchange student" Piccolo Pupa advises Vicki to "Stand Up and Fight."

  • The Bobby Fuller Four perform "Swing-a-ma-Thing" and "Make the Music Pretty."

Go to Page Two to see more pictures from "The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini."

Cast

 

Credits

 
Basil Rathbone............... Reginald Ripper Production Co. .............. American International
Tommy Kirk ................... Chuck Phillips   Producers ...................... Samuel Z. Arkoff
Deborah Walley ........... Lili Morton     James H. Nicholson
Aron Kincaid ................. Bobby   Director........................... Don Weis
Quinn O'Hara ................. .Sinistra  

Assistant Director .......

Clark Paylow
Jesse White ................... J. Sinister Hulk   Co-Producer Anthony Carras
Harvey Lembeck .......... Eric Von Zipper   Prod. supervisor Jack Bohrer
Patsy Kelly .................... Myrtle Forbush   Cinematographer.......... Stanley Cortez
Boris Karloff ................. Hiram Stokely (the corpse)   Film Editing ................... Fred R. Feitshans, Jr.,
Eve Newman
Susan Hart .................... Cecily (the Ghost)  

Screenplay...................... 

 Louis Heyward,
Francis X Bushman ..... Malcolm (the butler)     Elwood Ullman
Benny Rubin ................. Chicken Feather   Art Director .................. Daniel Haller
Bobbi Shaw ................... Princess Yolanda   Set Decorator ............... Clarence Steenson
George Barrows ............ Monstro   Musical score .............. Les Baxter
Claudia Martin ............. Lulu   Words and music (songs) by ...............
Nancy Sinatra  .............. Vicki

Guy Hemric and

. Jerry Styner
Piccolo Pupa ................ Piccola   Music Supervisor ........ Al Simms
Luree Holmes ............ Luree   Music performed by .... The Bobby Fuller Four
Ed Garner ...................... Ed   Choreographer .. Jack Baker
Frank Alesia ................. Frank   Orchestrator ... Albert Harris
Salli Sachse .................. Salli   production asst. Jack Cask
Mary Hughes ............... Mary   Costumes....................... Richard Bruno
Patti Chandler ............... Patti   Makeup ......................... Ted Coodley
Sue Hamilton ............... Sue   Hair stylist ..................... Ray Foreman
Alberta Nelson ............. Puss   Special Effects .............. Robert George
Andy Romano .............. J.D.   Titles and photographic special effects .............

Members of  Motor

cycle gang "RATZ":     Butler-Glouner
Myrna Ross .................. Boots   Ghost sequences produced by ............................
Jerry Brutsche .............. Jerome  

Ronald .

and Carol Sinclair
Bob Harvey .................. Bobby   Sound Effects Nelson-Corso
John Macchia .............. Joey      
Allen Fife ...................... Beard      
         
Herb Andress .............. Statue      
Elena Andreas ............. Statue      
         

 Images on this page and page two are from the film "The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini," produced by American International Pictures. 

 

 

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All original content is Marcia Jessen, 2007