Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ginger Grant: Drive-In Movie Queen by Dave Goode


 Let me start off by saying that I'm a Mary Ann guy*. And yes I prefer Betty to Veronica too. I never thought Ginger was prettier than Mary Ann. Dawn Welles who played Mary Ann Summers, the sweet Winfield Kansas farm girl had been a Miss Nevada winner and a contestant in the 1960 Miss America contest for gosh sakes. Ginger was just more glamorous. But then she was a movie star.
 I always imagined Ginger Grant as a B-Movie actress. A drive-in movie queen. Someone who was the damsel in distress in sci-fi flicks, jungle adventures and horror movies. She was the sultry saloon singer in westerns. The captive slave-girl in peplum movies. And the other woman in potboilers. A graduate of Hollywood High, Ginger got her first job in show business upon graduation working as a magician's assistant.
 From there she began to get modelling work appearing on the covers of "true romance" magazines. Discovered by a movie producer while working as a nightclub singer she was soon seen in a number of low-budget crime dramas as eye candy in bit parts.
    From 1960 to 1964 she was co-starring opposite stars like Vince Everett,Troy McClure,Dash Riprock and Deke Rivers in THE HULA GIRL AND THE FULLBACK, BELLY DANCERS FROM BALI BALI, THE RAIN DANCERS FROM RANGO RANGO and THE BIRD PEOPLE MEET THE CHICKEN-PLUCKERS.

 After her mysterious disappearance in 1964 along 5 other passengers and the crew of the S.S. Minnow tour ship her movies became cult classics. There was a biography written by Richard Welle that became an instant best-seller.
  Three years after the book's publication there would be a documentary made about her life, rise to stardom and mysterious disappearance. Her disappearance and those of the other people, who were on the Minnow when it set sail on a three hour tour in fall 1964, remains a mystery to this very day to anyone who doesn't own a television set.*

*Editor's notes
  • I'm a "Tina Louise - Ginger" guy. 
  • In 1978, Rescue from Gilligan's Island, the castaways made it home...only to be lost once again on Gilligan's Island. (Judith Baldwin as Ginger)
  • In 1979, The Castaways on Gilligan's Island, the castaways are found. Mr. Howell turns the island into a resort. A sequel was made in 1981, The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island. (Constance Forslund as Ginger)
  • The show was revived in animated form in The New Adventures of Gilligan in the '74-'75 tv season with Jane Webb as Mary Ann and Ginger. In the '82-'83 tv season, Gilligan's Planet launched the castaways into outer space with Dawn Wells as both Mary Ann and Ginger.
Retro book covers (and Ginger fan) Vance Capley


  1. My favorite Ginger Grant movie is Mohawk over the Moon. The story of the first Indian astronaut. Also her singing voice is clearly featured in the all girl group the Honeybees. She is such a lady and team player Ginger stepped back and let Mrs. Howell take center stage.

  2. Mohawk over the Moon.You got to love it.I was watching the peplum flick Siege of Syracuse the other day and imagined it as a Troy McClure/Ginger Grant flick.

  3. Gilligan's Island season 1 episode 31, Diogenes, Won't You Please Go Home?, has a great sequence with Ginger claiming to be a secret agent then performing judo!

  4. With Viti Scotti as a cliched Japanese soldier who had no idea WW II was over.Scotti also played a Japanese on an episode of THE RIFLEMAN where he used ju jitsu.