The Fat Spy
Comedy, Fantasy, Musical | 80 Mins | Released: 1966
Director: Joseph Cates
Starring: Phyllis Diller, Jack E. Leonard, Brian Donlevy, Johnny Tillotson, Jayne Mansfield, Lauree Burger, Jordan Christopher
Our Rating: 4
A mostly-deserted island, which is believed to be the home to the fountain of youth, is off the coast of Florida. The island gets some visitors in the form of a teenage boy band, “the Wild Ones” led by Jordan Christopher, and their gang of swimsuit-clad young people, who head there in a crowded powerboat ostensibly for a scavenger hunt. However, they spend about half their screen time crooning to each other, or dancing on the beach.
The island’s wealthy owner, Wellington (Brian Donlevy) recruits his blonde bombshell daughter, Junior (Jayne Mansfield), to remove the teenagers from the island. Junior is eager to see her love interest (and the island’s only resident), rotund toupee-wearing botanist Irving (Jack E. Leonard). However, Irving is more interested in flowers and his bicycle than in the amorous Junior. Wellington asks Irving to spy on the teenagers, which he does by donning a sweatshirt that reads “Fink University”, and “getting their trust” by joining them in dancing the Turtle. Meanwhile, Irving’s twin brother Herman (also Jack E. Leonard, without a toupee), Wellington’s trusted employee, plots with his love interest, the scheming harridan Camille Salamander (Phyllis Diller) to find the fountain of youth first.
The Fat Spy is a 1966 Z movie that attempts to parody teenage beach party films.
It was filmed at Cape Coral, Florida. It is featured in the 2004 documentary The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made.
Briefly released to theaters in 1966, it was rarely seen until the 1990s, when it was released to the public domain. Since then it has been widely released on DVD and VHS in various editions sold mainly at dollar stores.
The film was shot on location in Cape Coral, Florida, according to the book “Images of America: Cape Coral” (Arcadia Publishing, 2009) written by members of the Cape Coral Historical Society.
Featured in the film is Cape Coral Gardens, a popular public rose garden during the early 1960s, which was known for a series of quaint, interconnected foot bridges. The tourist attraction no longer exists.