"The Endless Summer"
History by R. Paul Allen, Asst.,Cinematographer and Director of Promotion & Marketing As you know your Bonjour Cafe address (24629 Del Prado, Dana point, California) is where Bruce Brown and I produced and marketed The Endless Summer movie together. This was the birthplace of the movie. I was the Assistant Cinematographer, and Director of Promotion and Marketing which included scheduling, setting up and showing the movie throughout the United States. That was 1964 and 1965 when the movie was still in it's original 16mm version and Bruce Brown personally narrated all the showings that I scheduled, set up and promoted.
In mid 1964, Bruce Brown Films was renting that space (now The Bonjour Cafe) from the original owner/builder of the existing building, which was built in early 1964. His name was Wally Terrell. I purchased the building from Mr. Terrell that same year, and became Bruce's landlord. We laughed about that, but I don't think Bruce liked it, so a couple of years later he built his own building down the street where the post office is now located.
The editing room where we put the movie together, was located where your cooking stove is currently located. I remember many hours in this smoke filled room editing the movie (Bruce smokes and it was very difficult at the time to be in the same room). Pat (his wife) and I probably shortened our lives from all the smoke we inhaled during those editing sessions. We didn't know about second hand smoke dangers.
We also handled all the rentals of Bruce's earlier movies from this address. During breaks from the intense editing, Bruce and I would relax by chasing each other around the office shooting these toy guns that fired plastic bullets...and they hurt when they nailed you in the butt, leg, arm or head. Like smoking, this was another one of those things that isn't allowed today, and for good reason. We are lucky to still have eyes, as one of those plastic bullets would have easily put them out, but it was fun and a great way to unwind.
After incredible success with the movie (repeat sell-out crowds wherever we showed), we tried to sell the distribution rights to some major distributor, as I didn't think I could handle the task and costs of national distribution. I was turned down by all of them with a statement like, "nice movie kid, but it will never go more than ten minutes from the ocean."
So I decided to determine if the movie would be successful on a national basis, and personally took the movie to Wichita Kansas for a test run. Using my same promotion and marketing, I opened and sold out for two weeks during the worst snowstorm in Wichita's history. There were icicles hanging off the theater's marquee with the title "The Endless Summer" and people were lined up around the block in two feet of snow to see the movie they had never heard about until I came to town. The response to the movie was sensational, and not one person was a surfer...or had ever been to the ocean. In fact most of the audience was middle aged folk.
This sparked our enthusiasm to distribute the movie nationally. In early 1966 we enlarged "The Endless Summer" to 35mm for theatrical release. I rented the Kips Bay Theater in New York City and in the summer of 1966 opened the movie using my same promotion and marketing that had worked so well. It received rave reviews from the major newspaper and magazine critics, and played for over a year at the Kips Bay Theater in New York. This lengthy run was absolutely amazing to everyone, except for those who kept coming back with their friends in tow, to see the movie again and again. A small distribution company, Cinema V, purchased the distribution rights and insisted as part of the deal, that I would personally be in charge of the promotion and opening of the movie in most of the major cities in the U.S. and Canada for the next year of showings. Bruce Brown and I were totally in agreement on this and were happy that Cinema V wanted to handle the movie this way.
The rest is history...and the movie (and poster) still endures in it's popularity today. Amazing but true.