[Updated 24 Sept. 2009]

I was floored by Skaterdater when I saw it in about 1970 as a short before a feature film (possibly the Beatles’ Let It Be). I never even knew the title of it until just this evening when it suddenly flashed in my mind and I did one of those shot-in-the-dark Google searches like “old skateboard movie.”

The movie has no dialogue, just a beach-music soundtrack. It’s a coming-of-age movie about a California skateboard gang. One member disgraces himself by taking up with a (gasp!) girl. The movie ends with a skateboard duel between the traitor and his former buddy. The two face off doing slaloms down a steep hill.

Wikipedia has an article on Skaterdater here.

I almost hate to link to this low-res version of Skaterdater on Google Video — it might be posted without permission. Sadly, however, the movie does not appear to be available commercially (otherwise I would buy copies for children, grandchildren, and some kids I know!)

[Update 24 Sept. 2009:] Since I posted the Skaterdater entry, I have heard from Bill McKaig, one of the cast from the film — see his comment below.

My friend Paul Girolamo (with whom I originally saw the movie, although sadly he doesn’t remember that) is a video professional — after watching the movie recently, he commented:

I took a film class once where the perfect film was defined as a story told with pictures and no dialogue or captions. I think Skater Dater is pretty close to the ideal. What a gem.

It’s pretty sophisticated technically too. Those close-ups following the feet on the board would be tricky today. In 1965 the camera team really had to know what they were doing.

AB — 2 April 2009

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