56 I CHRONICLESnPOP CULTUREnSummer of thenSnakenby Gary S. VasilashnIn “Life-Line,” a story by Robert A.nHeinlein, a scientist describes a mannin the present as a “space-time event.”nHe explains, “Imagine this space-timenevent which we call Rogers as a longnpink worm, continuous through thenyears, one end at his mother’s womb,nthe other at the grave. It stretches pastnus here and the cross-section we seenappears as a single discrete body. Butnthat is an illusion.”nFor those of us who made it throughnthe summer of 1987, things may havenseemed to be an illusion. The spacetimencoordinates were out of sync. Thenfeeling was that of reeling back alongnthe “long pink worm,” as we snakednback to earlier times on the screen andnthrough the airwaves. One thing isncertain: People are longing for a timenthat is not the present.nConsider what Hollywood offered.nThere were the two big TV remakes.nThe Untouchables and Dragnet, bothnoffering an old-fashioned concern withnmaintaining order. Dan Aykroyd’s JoenFriday is something of a buffoon, butnhe gets the girl. And as for The Untouchables,nthe main comment mustnbe about its star and new heartthrob,nKevin Costner. His quick smile andnnormal good looks (the new Gary Cooper?)ndo not recall Robert Stack sonmuch as Spin and Marty on “ThenMickey Mouse Club.” It’s the samenperiod of history, just a differentnchannel.nDisney, of course, is very muchnwith us, and not simply through then”adult” Touchstone Pictures subsidiary.nIt brought back Snow White andnthe Seven Dwarfs for a 50th anniversarynrun. This time around, the filmnbought publicity at the new culturalncenters that have replaced movie theaters.nMcDonald’s had movie postersnavailable, and the Today Show rannseveral special segments on it. Still,nthe innocence that we associate withnour past was there, and no one wouldnadmit that the film has a dated feelnabout it, even though it does.nAnd there was that daughter of Dis­nney, Annette Funicello. This timenaround she was not on TV pushingnpeanut butter but with Frankie Avalonnin Back to the Beach. This is not thenfirst contemporary remake of a beachnmovie. As you may have tried hard tonforget, there was an updated Where thenBoys Are several years ago. What improvementsnthere were in evidence laynnot so much in the acting as in thenstrategy and structural design of bikiniwearing.nBut while Where the Boys Arenwas largely panned, there was a tacitnacceptance o^ Back to the Beach.nOne requirement of beach movies isnthat they include a geek, bozo, nerd,nor otherwise uncool person. Pee WeenHerman fills that role, in part, in Backnto the Beach. Of course, the quintessentialnoutcasts of the 50’s and 60’snwere the Three Stooges. While theynnever made it into a beach movien(though they did do a science fictionnpiece), their influence on the summernof ’87 was clear. Disorderlies, starringna trio of rap singers collectively andnaccurately known as the Fat Boys,npays contemporary homage — longnoverdue—to Moe, Larry, and Curly.nBefore leaving the beach, we shouldnpay tribute to North Shore, a combinationnoiRide the Wild Surf with Fabiannand Tab Hunter (1964) and The EndlessnSummer (1966), with the KaratenKid thrown in for good measure.nAlthough the very fact that TimothynDalton replaced Roger Moore in thenrole of James Bond was enough tonmake The Living Daylights noticeablenin itself, another item loomed nearlynas large: 1987 is the 25th anniversarynyear of Bond on the screen. It is worthnnoting that with the restraint and respectntoward women shown by the newnBond, it’s not inconceivable that SnownWhite could be the next Bond girl.nThe biggest musical hit of the summernwas La Bamba, the unforgettablenstory of Ritchie Valens. (Who?) LanBamba’s success is not a result of thenmusic—Valens was a marginal performernin a minor league—and therencould hardly be less to his life story,nreal or fictionalized. The film reallynstrikes a chord in those of us who grewnup reading Highlights for Children, thenongoing saga of Goofus and Gallant,nto be more specific. Ritchie (Gallant)nand his half-brother Bob (Goofus) playnthat story out to the hilt. And we reallyncan’t be surprised when Gallantnnnflies away and becomes an angel, fornhe was just too darn good for the restnof us.nThe summer of ’87 was the 20thnanniversary of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’snLonely Hearts Club Band, thenalbum that effectively marks the breaknwith hard-edged rock ‘n’ roll and ushersnin the lush orchestration of popnmusic. Ignore the psychedelic referents,nand you can discover the roots ofntechno-schmaltz.nThe Beatles were very much innevidence this summer. There was thenrelease of their early albums on compactndisc so that upscale recordingnbuyers can preserve crackling blacknvinyl memories via digital technology.nThen there was the lawsuit againstnNike for using “Revolution” to sellnsneakers. (Remember the chain ofn”Running Dog Shoe Stores” in ThenBig Chill, a perfect movie for thisnsummer of love 20 years later?)nThe use of The Byrds’ “Turn, Turn,nTurn” on TV commercials to sell Timenmagazine subscriptions is almost asngood as “Revolution” and runningnshoes: Imagine Roger McGuinn lookingnat the free quartz travel alarm clocknthrough his granny glasses and DavidnCrosby stuffing god-knows-what in thenTime parachute nylon luggage. Mr.nMcGuinn, you will be happy to learn,nhas become an evangelical Christiannand continues his career under somewhatndifferent auspices.nThe biggest reprise of the summernwas the 10th anniversary of Elvis’ndeath. One fan said that while shenneeded surgery, she didn’t want tonhave it scheduled to get in the way ofnAugust 14; a pair of married fansnboasted that they were planning tonmake sure that the birth of their childndidn’t interfere with the yearly pilgrimagento Graceland.nThe Grateful Dead—who had theirnbiggest summer ever, including theirnfirst MTV video—made the best observationnon this “retro worm” summer:n”What a long, strange trip it’snbeen.”nGary Vasilash is not awaiting the reunionnof Crosby, Stills, Nash andnYoung.n