SUMMER OF '66
If you were a teenager during the mid 1960's, the music in Summer of
'66 will bring back smiles and fond memories.
But if you were one of the thousands of teenagers or young adults that
visited the Myrtle Beach Pavilion during it's heyday of bringing in the
big acts, you'll float back into time and goose bumps will peak on your
arms during "Mr. Postman," "Under the Boardwalk," "Hang on Sloopy," or
many of the other hits sung during the show.
"Summer of '66" is an extremely unique show for the Grand Strand.
The play is the true story of how Jim Owens formed a band named the
Villagers and persuaded Mr. Earl Husted at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion to
hire the group.
The stage backdrop is a scene of the outside of the Pavilion.
One of the best pieces of scenery is a beach house showing everything
that is going on; but that comes later in the show.
There are small tidbits in the play that only baby boomers will relate
to, like the huge rollers that the girls romped around the beach house
wearing in their hair.
(Girls, remember searching for the worlds largest hair rollers at places
like Roses Department Store).
And take a peak at the boys' loafers with no socks.
All of the voices were good, pleasant to hear and came across as
professional. The girls were my favorites though.
Jennifer Slate played Ruthie and I enjoyed her songs as well as Denise
Bradley's, who played Linda. Ah heck, I liked Lolly's, Victoria's, Erin
and Nikki's too.
The boys all had personality and represented the "clean cut All American
boy during the 1960's.
Steve Chizmadia played the part of Jim Owens and he was sincere in his
He was a "straight-up" kind of guy who made the group walk the chalk
line to success.
I can't imagine the pressure he was under with the real Jim Owens, a
legend in the music industry and legendary television producer, sitting
in the audience watching his every move.
Mr. Husted was seen mostly in scenes that showed the Pavilion office,
where the deal was made to finally make the Villagers the headliner for
Labor Day weekend.
That belief he had in Jim Owens and the Villagers from Mr. Husted was
the firecracker to their success.
One of the most touching scenes was when Husted told Owens how proud he
was of him.
Unless I'm totally fooled, that scene really happened and the real Jim
Owens remembers and appreciates it to this day.
But the most revealing part of the entire play is not included in the
story line; it's the final story, where the characters in the play stand
behind a silhouetted curtain and the actor Jim Owens tells what happened
to the "real person" in "real life."
There is a sad note of a life lost to cancer recently, plus divorce
among the couples; but there are happy and successful stories too.
It felt like running the movie camera up 40-years in no time flat.
Overall, the play was very entertaining, delightful, and meaningful to
me, a baby boomer.
The musical play may not grab a senior citizen as hard; but it got me.
I did remember "Mr. Postman," and waiting for a letter from the boy I
met at the beach.
I do remember getting kissed, "Under the Boardwalk," (I'm nearly 50 but
please don't tell my Mama just yet) and I do remember sitting at home
near Shelby, N.C. singing "I love Beach Music," and not being able to
wait until I was old enough to drive to the beach anytime I wanted to
"Summer of '66" is remembering being young, foolish and happy.
Fantasy Harbour Theaters have had a tough time finding a good
combination for the locals and tourists.
The Gatlin Brothers were a blessing to the theaters as well as the
Steve Gatlin is the master of ceremonies in "Summer of '66" and sings a
number of songs and everybody has to love to hear Steve Gatlin sing.
"Summer of '66" is a true story, unique to the Myrtle Beach area and for
anybody that grew up within the baby boomer era, it's a must; so "Summer
of '66" is a "keeper."
Congratulations Jim Owens. What a touching story.
The Summer of '66 Original Soundtrack CD
Contact Jim Owens Productions
The Villagers Reunion -
May 2,1999 at "The Summer of '66" Stage Play
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The Villagers and Jim Owens with
the Summer of '66 Cast
Premiere Night of Summer of '66, May
2, 1999, created a special opportunity for
some of the cast to meet their original Villagers counterparts
Steve, Wayne, Jeanne, Jim Owens,
Linda, Dana, Wesley and Ruthee
Wayne, Jeanne and