Pop Focus: Beach Party Movies!

In the days before music went psychedelic and men started sprouting beards, beach movies were a fixture of 1960s movie screens.

The genre was hatched by Sandra Dee's "Gidget" in 1959 and 1960's "Where the Boys Are," but really took off with American International Pictures' "Beach Party" in 1963, the first movie to pair the genre's synonymous couple: Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon.

The formula was bone simple: Boys, girls, music, bikinis. Plots and dialogue were ridiculous and superfluous - this was all just daydream fuel for landlocked, lovelorn teens. Music was mostly forgettable, too, although every once in a while someone cool like the Beach Boys or Dick Dale would show up.

AIP's "Beach" series went on to include "Muscle Beach Party," "Bikini Beach,"  "Pajama Party," "Beach Blanket Bingo," "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini," and the "The Ghost and the Invisible Bikini." As you can see, things got sillier and weirder as the 60s went on, just like everything else during that decade.

Below we celebrate summer, and summer's past, with a selection of pics and a few videos from the day.