Catalina Caper, also known as Never Steal Anything Wet, is a 1967 comedy musical mystery film starring Tommy Kirk. It blends the beach party format with a standard crime-caper comedy. It was shot on and around Santa Catalina Island, California.
|Directed by||Lee Sholem|
|Produced by||Jack Bartlett|
|Screenplay by||Clyde Ware|
|Story by||Sam Pierce|
|Music by||Jerry Long|
|Cinematography||Ted V. Mikels|
|Edited by||Herman Freedman|
Executive Pictures Corporation
|Distributed by||Crown International Pictures|
An ancient Chinese scroll is stolen from a museum in Los Angeles. The thief and teenage Don Pringle (Tommy Kirk) arrive on Catalina Island on the same boat. Approximately half of the film involves swimsuit-clad adolescents dancing on yachts in various montages set to the singing of Little Richard, Carol Connors, and The Cascades. When they are not dancing, Pringle and his friends investigate the scroll's theft and discover that the parents of one of the boys are responsible. They also attempt to woo a mysteriously depressed young woman, Katrina Corelli (Ulla Strömstedt), from her vaguely threatening fiancé Angelo (Lyle Waggoner). After wrestling the scroll away from Angelo and his cohorts, bent on more dangerous results (in an underwater scuba diving action scene), the boys secretly return the scroll to the museum to the relief of the repentant parents.
- Don Pringle is a friend of Charlie Moss' from college. Don is used to living in a desert environment in Phoenix and has never seen the Pacific Ocean. He develops a crush on Katrina.
- Charlie Moss is a friend of Don's, whom he met in college. A resident of Catalina, Charlie happily takes Don to have fun. Charlie is also a popular ladies' man, and has a group of three young women fawning over him the moment he returns to the island.
- Tina Moss is Charlie's sister. Assigned to show Don a good time, she takes him scuba-diving, and develops a crush on Don. She grows jealous about his affections toward Katrina.
- Katrina Corelli visits Catalina to be with her boyfriend, Angelo. Don meets her on the boat ride over. Something about her also makes her appealing to a number of guys on the island.
- Angelo is Katrina's boyfriend who is on Catalina under the employ of Borman and Lakopolous. He has a quick temper, and is willing to kill to get the scroll for his employer.
- Arthur Duval vacations on Catalina with his wife and son. He plans to pass a fake scroll off to Lakopolous.
- Anne Duval is Arthur's wife. She plans to duplicate the stolen scroll.
- Tad Duval is Arthur and Anne's son. He suspects that his parents are on Catalina as part of a shady scheme, even though his parents deny it.
- Larry is the Duvals' henchman, who steals the scroll that Arthur and Anne plan to create a duplicate of.
- Bob Draper is a member of the Catalina Island Harbor Patrol who is caught up in the scheme of the Duval's. He works with Don and Tad to hatch a plan.
- Fingers O'Toole is a pratfalling agent who tails Larry to Catalina Island, hoping to catch Arthur Duval red-handed with the stolen scroll.
- Lakopolous is a wealthy foreign man with a thick accent, who is known to collect rare antiquities. He comes to Catalina to retrieve the scroll from Arthur Duval.
- Borman is Lakopolous' assistant. He tries to steal the scroll from Duval.
Both Never Steal Anything Wet and Scuba Party were titles planned for the film, before the makers decided on Catalina Caper.
The movie was made by Executive Pictures Corporation, which had been formed by Bond Blackman and Jack Barlett. It started filming in September 1965, on Catalina Island. Tommy Kirk was signed to a four-picture contract, of which this was to be the first. Kirk was announced for Scuba Party in August 1965, but he did not wind up making any of the other films.
Kirk did appear in four other films in the beach party genre: Village of the Giants (1965); two AIP features, Pajama Party (1965) and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966); and It's a Bikini World (1967). Sue Casey was seen earlier as one of the female leads in another beach party film, 1965's The Beach Girls and the Monster.
Ted Mikels shot the movie. He recalled "I loved shooting that... Little Richard did whatever I suggested. I didn’t direct him though. He was very pleasant to work with. He was just another performer.” 
The composer for Catalina Caper, Jerry Long, also wrote the music for another beach party film, Wild Wild Winter. The two films are his only onscreen credits. Long also wrote two songs for the film, "Never Steal Anything Wet," heard over the opening/closing credits and performed by Mary Wells; and "Scuba Party," performed onscreen by Little Richard, who is also credited as a co-writer on the song.
In popular cultureEdit
- The MST3K version of the film, which was accompanied by the uncut version as a bonus feature, was released by Rhino Home Video as part of the Collection, Volume 1 DVD set, which is out-of-print as of January 2010. The set was reissued by Shout! Factory with additional features (but without the uncut version of the film) in September 2015.
- The Boatniks (1970)
- Martin, Betty (August 10, 1965). "Movie Call Sheet: Miss York in 'Doctor' Role". Los Angeles Times. p. C11.
- Martin, Betty (August 18, 1965) "Movie Call Sheet: Shaw Rejoins Film Colony" Los Angeles Times p.D10
- Martin, Betty (August 20, 1965) "Movie Call Sheet: Glenn Ford Set for 'El Mal'" Los Angeles Times p.D10
- Martin, Better (August 10, 1965) "Movie Call Sheet: Miss York in 'Doctor' Role" Los Angeles Times p.C11
- Martin, Betty (December 18, 1965) "Franciosa Set for 'Swinger'" Los Angeles Times p.A12
- Vagg, Stephen (September 9, 2019). "The Cinema of Tommy Kirk". Diabolique Magazine.
- Ashmun, Dale (2000). "Ted V Mikels". Psychotronic Video. No. 32. pp. 41–42.
- Shales, Tom (November 27, 1991). "'MST3K' Means Fine Television". The Washington Post. p. B1.