I never, ever liked Neil Sedaka’s song Calendar Girl — until I saw this.
I love-ah, love-ah, love-ah everything about this fun, kitschy, and sexy music video! It’s from 1966, five years after Calendar Girl was on the charts. The 16mm Technicolor film was made to be played on Scopitone machines. You’ll find some background on the short-lived Scopitone video jukeboxes at this link.
With 1966 belonging to the youth market, this film was obviously intended for an older audience — specifically, drunk men in bars! If I’d been one of them, I would have gone through a roll of quarters for this one selection. It’s both a throwback and very much of its time. The pinup girl calendar paintings by Gil Elvgren and other great artists were on the way out by then, and Playboy had taken over. Calendar Girl shows both influences.
The virtues of the song are, at last, apparent to me, thanks to the way the film complements the recording. Sedaka is enjoying himself, and he’s suitably goofy compared to the charming girls. There are Sixties mod dresses, Vegas showgirl costumes, and bikinis. Every step and gesture is choreographed, the set is simple yet quite clever, and I like the way the girls are framed as they make each of their entrances. Note how everything changes to keep up visual interest, even the color of the piano. For such a limited production it’s a work of art. Most important of all, of course, are the four lovely ladies.
The Scopitone company went bankrupt only a few years later, so the chance there might be documents to be found somewhere is probably next to zilch. Debbie Reynolds lost money investing in Scopitone, and she reportedly doesn’t like to discuss the project. Neil Sedaka would probably be the best source for information, but if anybody has interviewed him about his Scopitone appearance I haven’t found it.
Follow-up: NPR did a feature on Scopitone five years ago.