Yes, it’s that time of year when students get some time off to unwind. And we, though long past our collegiate years, look upon this Spring Break unwinding with some interest.

One big reason in our book is that the rites associated with this time of year remind us of one of the classic schlocky MGM movies of the early Sixties era, Where The Boys Are. Refined schlock this picture may be but it has had a stubborn history of NOT being forgotten in the decades since it was made in 1960.

The plot is straightforward enough. Four Midwestern female collegians  make the trip to Fort Lauderdale (where much of the movie was actually filmed) during spring break because — that’s where the boys are. The times were simpler then.  Where The Boys Are has no wet T-short contests, nudity and other sexual hijinks.  Just whacky encounters between the winsome protagonists and the goofy male collegians they encounter (George Hamilton, Jim Hutton, Frank Gorshin).

So did you recognize the beauties pictured above who starred in the best SPRING BREAK movie of them all? (That’s Connie Francis to the left, then Dolores Hart, Yvette Mimieux, one of the loveliest female stars of the period, and Paula Prentiss.) Of this quartet, Francis may be the most interesting.

Born in 1938 in Newark, N.J. into a solidly Italian family (at birth she was Conceta Rosa Maria Franconero), she had a minuscule movie career — just six films — but was huge as a singer. It was her rendition of the Where The Boys Are title song that sticks in the mind, perhaps more than Francis’ many other hits.

Since she appeared on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts show at age 11, there was no stopping her.  She spiced up a singing act by playing the accordion. She went on to log an extraordinarily large and successful body of hit tunes — just a few are Whose Sorry Now, Lipstick On Your Collar, Stupid Cupid, If I Didn’t Care and Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool.

MGM loved her records and decided she could be a movie star too.  Francis received top billing nine years after her film career started (in 1956) in Follow The Boys, a sequel of sort to Where The Boys Are, about the pursuit of American sailors stationed on the French and Italian riviera.

Francis’ offscreen life has been hardly placid.  She was raped in a Howard Johnson motel in 1974, she’s been married four times and her brother was killed in 1981 in what is believed to have been a mob hit. But she has survived.

Francis now has her own website, is publishing another book of her memoirs (Among My Souvenirs) and has her own radio show on a number of media platforms. “The Queen of Song” is indeed very much with us — reminding us quite pleasantly that the Spring Break phenomenon and Where The Boys remain inseparable.

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