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Catalina Caper (also known as Never Steal Anything Wet) is a campy 1967 musical comedy mystery film from Crown International Pictures starring Tommy Kirk. This is one of the last (if not the last) in the beach party film genre originally created by American International Pictures (AIP) from 1963 to 1966. This entry blends the beach format with a standard crime-caper comedy.
Tommy Kirk's other beach films include It's a Bikini World (1967), and two AIP features, Pajama Party (1965) and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966).
This film was shot on location on and around Santa Catalina Island, California.
An ancient scroll is stolen from a museum and teenage Don Pringle (Kirk) arrives on Catalina Island at the same time. Although approximately half the film involves bathing suit-clad teenagers dancing on yachts (once while being serenaded by Little Richard) in several different dance montages, Pringle and his teen friends investigate the scroll's theft and discover the parents of one of the boys is responsible for the theft ? also while attempting to woo a mysteriously depressed young woman Katrina Corelli (Ulla Strömstedt) from her vaguely threatening boyfriend Angelo (a young 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 shame the guilty parents into giving it back to the museum.
- Don Pringle (Tommy Kirk) -- A friend of Charlie Moss' from college. Don is used to living in a desert environment, and Charlie's decision to bring him to Catalina Island is the first time he's seen the Pacific Ocean.
- Charlie Moss (Brian Cutler) -- A friend to Don Pringle, whom he met in college. A resident of Catalina Island, Charlie happily takes Don to have fun. Charlie is also a rather popular lady's man, and usually has a group of 3 girls fawning over him the moment he returns to the island.
- Katrina Corelli (Ulla Strömstedt) -- Going to visit Catalina Island to be with her boyfriend, Don Pringle meets her on the boat ride over. Something about her also makes her appealing to a number of guys on the island. (Better known as the "Creepy Girl".)
- Tina Moss (Venita Wolf) -- Charlie's sister. Assigned to show Don a good time, she takes him scuba-diving, and develops a crush on Don. Grows jealous at his affecions to Katrina.
- Arthur Duval (Del Moore) -- Would-be Gentleman Thief and con artist "vacationing" on Catalina Island with his wife and son. Plans to pass a fake scroll off to a wealthy foreigner named Lakopolous.
- Anne Duval (Sue Casey) -- Arthur's wife. Plans to use her art skills to duplicate the stolen scroll.
- Tad Duval (Peter Duryea) -- Arthur and Anne's son. Suspects that his parents are on Catalina as part of a shady scheme, even though his parents deny it.
- Larry (Jim Begg) -- The Duval's henchman. A baseball fanatic who steals an ancient Chinese scroll that Arthur and Anne plan to create a duplicate of.
- Bob Draper (Mike Blodgett) -- A member of the Catalina Island Harbor Patrol who is caught up in the scheme of the Duval's. Works with Don and Tad to hatch a plan.
- Fingers O'Toole (Robert Donner) -- An agent who tails Larry to Catalina Island, hoping to catch Arthur Duval red-handed with the stolen scroll.
- Lakopolous (Lee Deane) -- A foreign man with a thick accent, who is known to collect plenty of rare antiquities. Come to Catalina to retrieve the scroll from Arthur Duval.
- Borman (Peter Mamakos) -- Lakopolous' assistant. Tries to obtain the scroll from Duval without taking payment.
- Angelo (Lyle Waggoner) -- Katrina's boyfriend who is on Catalina under the employ of Borman and Lakopolous. Has a quick temper, and is willing to kill to get the scroll for his employer.
- Little Richard.....Himself
- The Cascades.....Themselves
- Carol Connors.....Herself
This film provides examples of:
- And Starring: Introducing Venita Wolf as 'Tina' ("Who's afraid of Venita Wolf, anyway?") and Brian Cutler as 'Charlie' ("Charlie, they cut off my thumbs!").
- Impossible Hourglass Figure: The mermaid in the credits sequence.
- Betty and Veronica: Tina and "Creepy Girl" Katrina.
- The Caper: Natch.
- Defective Detective: Fingers suffers from terrible luck.
- Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Larry
- Informed Attractiveness: Katrina's pretty, but somehow she manages to attract every single guy on the beach.
- Loveable Rogue: Theoretically, Arthur Duval and Larry.
- MacGuffin: The scroll
- Nice Hat: Larry has a remarkable hat going for him.
- Romantic False Lead: Angelo
- Sexy Man, Instant Harem: Charlie
- Thematic Theme Tune: "Never Steal Anything Wet", upgraded to Title Theme Tune in some re-releases.