[Posted June 3, 2016] For more than four decades, the female side of the Southern California surf culture was epitomized in the story of “Gidget.” In fact, the story of Gidget – in print and on the silver screen – is all about Uni!
Gidget, a teenage girl who loves to surf, was written about Kathy Kohner ‘58, first in the 1957 novel, Gidget, The Little Girl With Big Ideas. The author was none other than her father, well-known screenwriter Frederick Kohner, who went on to write eight “Gidget” novels in all.
The character was enormously popular, not only in books, but was made into a motion picture for the first time in 1959, starring another Uni alum, Sandra Dee (1942-2005; class of ‘59?).
In fact, the Gidget character has been one of the most durable surf icons ever, appearing in feature films in 1959, 1961 and 1963, television series in 1965-66 (starring Sally Field) and 1986-88 and made-for-television moves in 1969, 1972 and 1975.
And there have been recent stage plays written from the original works, in 2000 and 2007. Pretty good for a youngster who said, “All I did was surf a little and tell my story.”