There’s great period value in this movie: kiss-curled Haley and his great line-up (including Rudy Pompilli on sax) playing numbers like Hook, Line and Sinker, and the fabulous Little Richard at his peak performing Long Tall Sally and Tutti Frutti.
Arnie Haines (Alan Dale), a rock ‘n’ roll celebrity, returns to Hometown USA only to find Mayor Tom Everett (George Cisar) waiting at the railway station to condemn the rock sound as corrupting the moral fabric of young America.
Reports of a Bill Haley rock jamboree that ended in a melee increase the tension, and Mayor Everett (and most of the townspeople) think a ban is a great idea.
Dale decides to demonstrate to the myopic folk that rock and roll is a harmless outlet for the town’s youth. Haines has an ulterior motive – he’s attracted to Francine MacLaine (Patricia Hardy).
The plot is a compilation of contemporary issues including the downfall of DJ Alan Freed (playing himself in this movie) and it lacks the innocence of its predecessor. But it still has value as a pre-Presley document of the times, despite an air of having been thrown together in a hurry.
It was remade – appallingly – six years later as Don’t Knock the Twist (1962).
Mayor George Bagley
Mayor Tom Everett
Fred F Sears