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FDL Movie Night Preview “Accidental Icon: The Real Gidget”

“Gidget” a girl midget,  is what the surfers at Malibu’s Surfrider Beach called Kathy Kohner when she showed up to surf in the summer of 1956. As she learned to ride the waves, she also saw another side of society, a crew of guys who lived to surf, who had practically signed a blood oath to drop out of society. Her diaries became the source material for her father’s bestselling novel Gidget, The Little Girl with Big Ideas. Translated into Spanish, French, Yiddish and Japanese, the book was bought by Columbia Pictures, and became the basis for the Gidget films, a TV series starring Sally Field in her debut role, as well as subsequent TV shows.

The character of Gidget–her innocent yet bold, fearless personality; her willingness to break with convention–struck a chord, forever changing the face of surfing and youth culture. By 1960, the Beach Boys had released their first album, foam boards were introduced; surfer competitions popped up. The beaches, once a place for family getaways, grew packed with teenagers exploring their freedom. Surfing became a major sport and a commercial industry.

As well as popularizing surfing and changing the face of Southern California, the character of Gidget became an inspiration for women surfers and an accidental icon of feminism and female empowerment.

This Monday on  Movie Night we discuss Accidental Icon: The Real Gidget with director Brian Gillogly.


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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.

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