The second of three albums released by Disney's Buena Vista Records division based on American-International "beach party" movies has just become available as an mp3 download on (Annette's Beach Party is available on iTunes; the third, Annette at Bikini Beach is not yet released on CD or download, though it was a title in the short-lived Wonderland Music system in the Theme Parks).

Muscle Beach Party was the second film in the wildly successful low-budget series directed by William Asher, who also directed most episodes of Bewitched. Asher's then-wife Elizabeth Montgomery made a cameo in Beach Blanket Bingo, which is considered by afficionados as the Citizen Kane of the beach party series (but Annette did not do an album from it -- that was left to Donna Loren on Capitol Records).

And yes, that is Peter Lupus of TV's Mission: Impossible on the right. Don Rickles co-starred in Muscle Beach Party as a fitness coach. Neither Lupus nor Rickles appears on the album, of course. The album is actually a re-creation of the movie songs, including "A Girl Needs a Boy" and "Surfer's Holiday," with additional songs that include the theme from the Disney comedy Annette made with Tommy Kirk, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones. Kirk himself is heard on the very last track, "The Scrambled Egghead," one of Kirk's few appearances on Disney records.

The music was produced by Disney Legend Tutti Camarata at his renowned Sunset Sound studios, a Hollywood landmark that is still very much an active entity under the direction of Tutti's son, Paul Camarata. Sunset Sound hosted many music giants from Herb Alpert to The Doors -- in fact it is the actual studio that Jim Morrison trashed with a fire extinguisher (the setting you may have seen in The Doors movie was a studio re-creation).

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