Friday, July 28, 2017

Review: 'Pop Sixties: Shindig!, Dick Clark, Beach Party, and Photographs from the Donna Loren Archives'

Donna Loren’s resume isn’t super substantial but it does swing. She was a regular on Shindig!, did guest appearances on the sixties’ too coolest series—Batman and The Monkees—, sang fun surf pop tunes, shimmied in goofy beach flicks, and shilled for delicious Dr. Pepper. Her new book Pop Sixties: Shindig!, Dick Clark, Beach Party, and Photographs from the Donna Loren Archives is similarly slight and groovy. She contributes some quotations and photo captions, but her biggest text load is a skimpy eight-page memoir. However, it is a juicy one as she explains how her parents essentially forced her into show business, forced her to get a nose job to look less “ethnic” (ugh), and wouldn’t allow her out of the house without makeup. Loren discusses such semi-dark material with the kind of cheerful you’d expect from a Pepper, though she clearly realizes her upbringing was messed up. She did make the most of it though, and the proof of that is in an abundance of fab B&W and color photos that find her rubbing elbows with The Supremes, Teri Garr, Davy Jones, Adam West, Burt Ward, The Dixie Cups, Brenda Holloway, La La Brooks, Dick Dale, Tina Turner, The Righteous Brothers, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and a bunch of other people cooler than anyone you or I will ever meet. Loren is groovy and photogenic enough on her own to carry the book when she isn’t flanked by her fellow pop stars. I can’t say this skinny 148-page volume exactly justifies its heavy $34.95 cover price, especially since both her Batman and Monkees stints are represented by mere two-page spreads, but it’s definitely fun to flip through. Bobby Sherman contributes the foreword and ace Sunset Strip historian Domenic Priore assists with the history and captions.
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