Tag Archives: Beach Boys

Does Endless Summer Have Two Rs?

“Let’s go surfin’ now, everybody’s learning how, come on on safari with me.” Surfin’ Safari, music and lyrics by Brian Wilson

Surfing has strangely been on my mind lately. I’ve been reading the book Barbarian Days, A Surfing Life by William Finnegan. In it, Mr. Finnegan chronicles his early fascination with the sport, sparked not only by his family’s proximity to surfing meccas in Southern California and Hawaii, but also by the surf culture of the early-to-mid sixties, indelibly captured by the guitar driven surf music of Dick Dale and The Ventures and in films such as Beach Blanket Bingo, Gidget, and Ride the Wild Surf. I grew up during in those days, only an hour or so drive “down” the Jersey Shore. And though my sporting interests were rooted in terra firma, I recall my family’s first visit to Long Beach Island, a sliver of a barrier island north of Atlantic City. After a day in the sun, the five of us sat on logs around a small fire and listened to a local cover band tear through a credible version of the ultimate surf instrumental, Wipeout. I fell asleep that evening with visions of taking drum lessons and then mesmerizing my classmates with a virtuoso performance of Wipeout’s iconic drum solo. But when school rolled around that September, I was given a Bundy clarinet, began free lessons, and was forever consigned to the woodwind section, several strata below the rarefied cool of brass and percussion.

Around that time, in 1966, a bunch of us kids walked downtown to see a film called The Endless Summer. Produced and directed by Bruce Brown, the movie followed two surfers on a surfing trip around the world in search of “the perfect wave.” Again, I was a city kid who had as much contact with surfing and surf culture as I had with bullfighting. Yet the film’s exotic locations and thrilling action photography captivated me like no movie before or since.

So, with surfing and The Endless Summer on my mind, I was surprised by the odd coincidence of seeing The Endless Summer in today’s intellectual property news. According to IP 360, “The filmmaker behind “The Endless Summer” is suing Nike and Foot Locker for trademark infringement, alleging that an ad campaign that ran last year used the movie’s title and graphics from its poster to sell shoes and other apparel.” In the Complaint filed in, where else, Los Angeles, the filmmaker’s company alleges not only that The Endless Summer is “considered to be one of the most influential films to depict surfing and the surfing lifestyle,” but also that “The Endless Summer and the images emblematic of the Endless Summer film poster have become famous and distinctive brands.” The Complaint goes on to allege that the Foot Locker/Nike “Endless Summer” ads confused consumers into thinking that the filmmakers had approved the campaign. The question posed by the case is this: Does The Endless Summer have to Rs–the “r” in summer and the “Circle R”–the registered trademark symbol? And, yes, the filmmakers do own a federal registration for THE ENDLESS SUMMER. The case is Bruce Brown Films LLC v. Foot Locker Inc. et al., case number 2:20-cv-02553, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The Endless Summer has been on my mind for another reason. In 2003, Bruce Brown’s son put out a sequel to The Endless Summer called Step Into Liquid. Naturally, I had to see it. And I did–during the aftermath of a massive storm that knocked-out power in D.C. for nearly a week, leaving us unmoored and insecure. I’d been thinking about that small disruption during our current, more dire, national public health crisis. And reading William Finnegan’s surf memoir has been transporting me back to The Endless Summer of 1966 and to that film’s classic poster: the faceless silhouettes of three male surfers against an eye-popping Day-Glo background dominated by a giant yellow sun.

Today, during the first week in what likely will be a long and challenging test of our collective resolve, compassion, and ingenuity, when my age demographic appears to be at greatest risk, it’s strangely comforting to see that something so intertwined with my generation’s collective cultural consciousness–a film about a challenging journey, about risks, about courage and about the danger and beauty of the natural world–remains as vital and relevant today as it did over 50 years ago. Let “the perfect wave” be a metaphor; never stop searching.

Quote of the day: ““You can go right or left, but you can’t very well do both at once.” The Endless Summer


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All You Need Is Love? Beach Boy “Boss” Fires Band’s Heart and Soul

“God only knows what I’d be without you” God Only Knows, The Beach Boys

As every Gen X hipster with a turntable and vinyl collection knows, Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys is one of Rock and Roll’s seminal recordings. And it’s equally gospel that the genius behind Pet Sounds and the entire Beach Boys oeuvre was and remains Brian Wilson. Brian, along with brothers Dennis and Carl, their cousin Mike Love, and pal Al Jardeen, were the surfer dudes in the red and white striped shirts that wowed us on Ed Sullivan and on A.M. radio with hits such as “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “I Get Around,” Help Me Rhonda,” “Good Vibrations,” and other legendary tunes celebrating sports cars, racing, surfing, and adolescence.

But after sailing through the ‘6o’s on their golden harmonies, the “Boys” hit some shoals. Brian Wilson battled demons and retreated to his room, eventually inspiring the Barenaked Ladies song “Lying In Bed Like Brian Wilson Did.” Brian’s breakdown was followed by the tragic and untimely deaths of brothers Dennis and Carl. With Brian on “injured reserve” and two other Wilson Boys gone to Rock and Roll Heaven, Mike Love was left to carry the Beach Boys mantel. That he did for several decades, leading makeshift or ramshackle assortments of journeymen in incarnations that were mere shadows of Beach Boy glory. (I once saw the Love- led Beach Boys performing as the opening act for a pro soccer game in D.C back in 1982–it wasn’t a pretty sight.) Also not pretty were the legal wranglings and machinations that accompanied the Brian Wilson/Mike Love schism. After years of internecine infighting, Love apparently wrested control of the “Beach Boys” trademark. The question then loomed: Would Mike share the love and be a benign and beneficient steward of the Beach Boys legacy?

This summer, five decades after the Beach Boys caught their first wave of hits, the answer seemed to be yes. Since last spring, Love, Brian Wilson, and Al Jardeen, launched the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary tour. With all the surviving members on hand and in fine form, and backed by a tour de force collection of singers and players (even including one of the Cowsills), the Beach Boys anniversary show transcended nostalgia and kitsch. It featured robust, muscular, and pitch perfect versions of virtually every Beach Boy classic, as well as a number of credible songs from their new album “That’s Why God Made The Radio.”

All was well in Beach Boy land, or so it seemed until yesterday. In a press release either intentionally or unwittingly timed to coincide with Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, Mike Love revealed that his reign as keeper of the Beach Boy name would be benign no longer. He announced the firing of Brian Wilson and Al Jardeen from the band. See the full report at:


What this move portends for the Beach Boys remains to be seen. Will the newly reduced ensemble return to playing Vegas lounges and state fairs? Will the shadows return over the Beach Boys legacy?

One thing is certain. After such a glorious restoration of the Beach Boys to their much-deserved glory this past summer, and after rekindling so much of the goodwill attached to the Beach Boys name, this jaw-dropping and demoralizing move by Love will give him and his management team enough to atone for on subsequent Yom Kippurs for years to come.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.” John le Carre


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Skechey Claims–Sneakers That Make You Fit Legit?

“Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true.”  Wouldn’t It Be Nice?, The Beach Boys

Wouldn’t it be nice to ditch the long runs, the grueling spin classes, the brutal abs workouts and shape up just by walking around?  Skechers, a maker of athletic footwear, promised just that with several lines of sneaks guaranteed to tone muscle and shed pounds.  Sounds too good to be true. But Skechers backed it claims up with scientific studies.  Conducted by medical professionals!  And the pubic, spurred on by celebrity endorsements,  snapped at the chance to get svelte by doing little more  than bending over to tie their shoelaces.  Sales of Skechers and similar excershoes exploded, reaching more than $1 billion last year.

Trouble was, as Skechers’ coffers grew fat, waistlines and butts didn’t recede as advertised.  And when the FTC reviewed the situation, it found gaping holes in the shoemaker’s science.  As reported by CBS news, : http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57436508-10391704/skechers-shape-ups-why-the-ftc-called-companys-studies-deceiving/, one study involved a lone subject, another had no comparison with ordinary shoes, and a third was filled with errors and sketchy analysis.

So the FTC sued to stop Skechers from claiming that its shoes deliver no-sweat fitness.  Wishing to side-step a protracted legal battle, Skechers has settled with the FTC to the tune of $40 million.  So now, consumers who shelled out upwards of $100 for the dream of effortless fitness can now apply for a sliver of the settlement money.

And Skechers?  The company marches on.  Announcing the settlement in an official statement, it said: “The Company fully stands behind its toning shoe products and technology and is permitted under the settlement to continue to advertise that wearing rocker-bottom shoes like Shape-ups can lead to increased leg muscle activation, increased calorie burn, improved posture and reduced back pain.”

So once again, its Couch Potato emptor.


“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Charles Spurgeon

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