Posted by: Jerry Garrett | May 28, 2010

Paradise Cove Safe Again for Beach Blanket Bingo

Malibu's Paradise Cove: See the beach blankets? Bingo! (Courtesy Destination So. Calif.)

Paradise Cove, the iconic Malibu beach where dozens of movies and hundreds of television shows have been filmed, is once again a safe place to go in the water.

Movies filmed at Paradise Cove include the “Big Five” of “Beach Party” movies: Beach Party (1963), Muscle Beach Party (1964), Bikini Beach (1964), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965). In the 1960s, the beach where Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello and friends romped carefree was comparatively undiscovered. (A sixth Avalon-Funicello Beach Party movie, Back to the Beach, in 1987, is perhaps best forgotten.) The movies helped end its anonymity.

Collectors item! (Courtesy

Decades of overuse, neglect, ignorance and unchecked pollution followed. Targeted years ago as one of the foulest beaches in all of California, much less generally grungy Los Angeles County, the beach has finally had its act cleaned up.

An environmental activist group, Heal the Bay, released its annual report card on California’s beaches this week (May 26), and for the first time, Paradise Cove made the honor roll.

“Paradise Cove improved from an F grade (in 2008) to a B grade this year,” the report noted. “This improvement in water quality corresponds with the long overdue completion of wastewater treatment
facilities and sewers at the Paradise Cove Mobilehome Park.”

Ironically, the trailer park is one of the area’s claims to fame. Remember “The Rockford Files” and Jim’s mobile home on the beach? Yep, that was Paradise Cove.

Even more improvement is on the way. “Installation of a new dry weather runoff treatment facility at the bottom of the watershed will be completed by Memorial Day 2010,” the report noted.

Yep, that's Paradise Cove too (Courtesy Beach Boys)

“After all the work that has gone into improving water quality at Paradise Cove, we certainly hope to see A grades at this beach well into the future.”

Heal the Bay’s mission statement is that it is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to making Southern California coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean.”

The organization’s next big target is the beach at Avalon on Catalina Island, which is served by what Heal the Bay says is an inadequate sewage treatment facility. “The massive sewer infrastructure replacement project that is so sorely needed in Avalon,” the report said, “is nowhere on the horizon.” For the foreseeable future, California’s most polluted beach will be in Avalon. Frankie must be bummed.

Jerry Garrett

May 27, 2010


  1. Where was Gidget filmed?

    • The original movie’s beach scenes were done at Leo Carrillo State Beach. Her “house” was in Santa Monica. The TV show used Paradise Cove for the most part (and sets in the studio).

      • Thank you very much for your reply! I’ve been researching that area of Malibu & all of it’s Parks & Beaches, trying to learn more about them.
        I contacted the local Indianapolis AAA office to see if they might have a detailed map of that area. But, what is available here, though helpful, is not nearly as detailed as what would be available in the actual area, it sounds like.
        On one of my searches, i saw there was actually a map of the Beaches & Parks in the area, showing where various Movies & Television Shows were filmed.
        I don’t know where I would find one, especially here in Indianapolis, but, I’ve been searching.
        Thank you again!

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