Cast & Crew
As Hollywood's Sunset Strip becomes the favorite hangout for the restless younger generation, many of whom wear hippie garb and carry protest placards, police detective Walt Lorimer is torn between two duties: his obligation to property owners and the right of the young people to lawful assembly. For the past 4 years Lorimer has been separated from his alcoholic wife and his teenage daughter, Andy. When they move back to the city, Andy becomes involved in a brawl on the Strip and is brought to police headquarters for routine identification. Following the incident, Lorimer is told by the wife of a fellow officer that his daughter is headed for trouble and needs guidance. Although Andy at first resolves to stay away from the Strip, her life at home with her drunken mother soon drives her back. Joining her friends at a club, she meets Herby, the son of a movie star. Bored with the "nowhere" action at the club, Herby persuades the group to break into an unoccupied house for a party. And, as the search for kicks continues, drinking leads to marijuana and eventually to LSD. Because Andy refuses to join in, Herby serves her a doctored drink and then coerces her into accompanying him and several others into the bedroom. Ultimately the noise of the brawl arouses the neighbors who call in the police, including Lorimer. When Andy requires hospitalization, the enraged Lorimer violates his own code of nonviolence by seeking out Herby and his friends and all but killing them with his bare fists. With cries of "police brutality" echoing in his ears, Lorimer is forced to somehow cope with what may well be the worst riot on Sunset Strip.
George E. Carey
The Chocolate Watch Band
George W. Davis
Orville H. Hampton
Jerome F. Katzman
Donald C. Klune
Paul C. Vogel
Riot on Sunset Strip
Advertised at the time as "The Most Shocking Film of Our Generation!", the 1967 cult classic Riot on Sunset Strip depicts the clashing of generations between counterculture teenaged "longhairs" and the adult establishment in 1960s Los Angeles. Inspired by the real-life curfew riots that erupted along the Sunset Strip on November 12, 1966, the film's action centers on a group of restless teenagers who simply want to hang out at their favorite club, Pandora's Box, listen to music and party without being harassed by local law enforcement. Good girl Andy (Mimsy Farmer) is the new kid on the block at her high school and the product of a broken home. Estranged from her police lieutenant father (Aldo Ray) and caretaker to her alcoholic mother (Hortense Petra), she falls in with a fast crowd at school and begins a rapid descent down the wrong path. As conflicts mount between local Sunset Strip business owners, the Los Angeles Police Department and the local youth, the tension comes to a head one night when the teenagers take to the streets in protest.
Veteran producer Sam Katzman, nicknamed the "King of the Quickies" due to his lighting fast production schedules, had spent decades in Hollywood working in multiple genres and learning the film business from the bottom up. He produced westerns, science fiction, and action pictures as well as the Jungle Jim film series starring Johnny Weissmuller, the 1948 Superman serial and even a couple of Elvis Presley vehicles (Kissin' Cousins  and Harum Scarum ).
Katzman's specialty, however, was teenagers. Possessing a unique talent for always having his finger firmly on the pulse of youth culture, he made a series of financially successful low budget exploitation films such as Rock Around the Clock (1956) and Hot Rods to Hell (1967) that cashed in on various youth trends at the time. When the Los Angeles curfew riots took place in 1966, Katzman immediately rushed Riot on Sunset Strip into production in order to capitalize.
True to his "King of the Quickies" nickname, producer Katzman had the film ready for theatrical release through American International Pictures (AIP) in a matter of weeks with the help of the film's director Arthur Dreifuss. As expected, young audiences gobbled up the teen exploitation that spoke to their generation, making the low budget film quickly turn a healthy profit.
Just as quickly, Riot on Sunset Strip achieved cult status not only for its over-the-top tone of teenagers run amuck, but also for the vibrant musical acts that perform on stage at Pandora's Box throughout the film. Popular garage rock bands of the time The Standells and The Chocolate Watchband perform two songs each, while the lesser known group The Enemies perform once.
An entertaining time capsule of its era, Riot on Sunset Strip takes an amusing look back at the 1960s counterculture during which, according to the film's opening Dragnet-like voice over, "irresponsible, wild beat protest youth with nowhere to go, nothing to do, no goal in life [were] just searching for one thing they've demanded throughout the ages: the right of self-expression and recognition."
Look for screen legend Mickey Rooney's late son Tim Rooney in a small part as Grady, one of the youth crowd, as well as Hortense Petra (aka Mrs. Sam Katzman) as Andy's alcoholic pink-haired mother.
By Andrea Passafiume