The Beatniks

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Eddy Crane (Tony Travis) is a down-on-his-luck kid in the late 50s/early 60s who, along with his Five-Bad Band pack of hoodlums -- Mooney (Peter Breck), Red, Dark Chick Iris and Satellite Character Chuck -- lives only to rob convenience stores for petty cash and then lounge around. That is, until one day when talent scout Harry Bayliss happens upon Eddy singing ("You call that singin'? That was nothin'!" You can say that again...) and quickly tries to sign him to a big record deal. Eddy is at first bitter and reluctant but eventually agrees, on the stipulation that his hoodlum gang can stay with him.

Off to downtown L.A. where Eddy meets the Helen, Bayliss' secretary, setting up the inevitable Love Triangle. As Helen begins grooming the rather rough (or so we're told) Eddy into a straight-laced star, he begins to see the futility of his Beatnik ways. His Poisonous Friends, on the other hand, are bound and determined not to let him leave them behind in his rise to the top, and continue to create mischief and mayhem -- which culminates when Ax Crazy Mooney shoots a barkeeper dead during an altercation, thus jeopardizing not only Eddy's career, but his entire future.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

Tropes used in The Beatniks include:
  • Ax Crazy: Mooney.
  • Betty and Veronica: Helen and Iris.
  • Did Not Do the Research: The film was apparently made by people who had no idea what a beatnik actually was, and thought the term just referred to general criminals.
  • Downer Ending: Eddy sacrifices his career to atone for his past crimes.
  • Drunken Montage: After Eddy (briefly) drops out of show business and breaks up with Helen, he takes a Noir Walk through Los Angeles. As it turns out, though, he's not actually drunk (that we know of).
  • Drives Like Crazy: Iris invokes this deliberately, just for kicks.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: After Red gets shot, it's a toss-up between him and Mooney as to who's better at making their own gravy and splashing it up on film.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Mooney's threat to the hotel manager: "I'm gonna MOOOOOOON YOU!!"
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Peter Breck as Mooney.
    • Written and directed by ... Paul Frees? Yes, that Paul Frees.
  • Informed Ability: Eddy's prozaic stage presence somehow sends teenage girls (and guys too) into screaming fits of Beatle-esque hysteria.

Eddy: You call that singin'? That was nothin'!