Film and Television

What Is a Western? Gidget (1959)

Part of the series What is a Western? Film Series

Saturday, August 6, 2022, 1:30 p.m.

The Autry: Wells Fargo Theater

Appropriate For: 
Free for Autry Members | Museum Admission Included With Ticket
Reservations Recommended | Space Is Limited
Reserve Now

About the Event

Considered to be the first of the “beach party” movies, this coming-of-age tale is based on the true story of Kathy Kohner and her experiences as a young woman in the then-niche and masculine sport of surfing. Widely credited with the mainstreaming of surfing culture in the United States, it also inspired many films and televisions series featuring the character of Gidget.

Introduced by Rosanne Welch, executive director, Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting.

SPECIAL GUEST! Screening followed by a conversation with Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, the original real-life Gidget.

Directed by Paul Wendkos | Starring Sandra Dee, James Darren, and Cliff Robertson

Screenplay by Gabrielle Upton | Based on a novel by Frederick Kohner





The What is a Western? Film Series explores the wide range of movies that can be considered Westerns, and the ways in which they shape our understanding of the American West. Each screening includes a guest lecturer who will introduce the film and explain its significance in the genre.