The Rebel Next Door

Surfing bred some genuine rebelliousness, but mostly it produced a lot of rebel posing. Even with their bleached-blond hair, moldy fur coats, and spray-painted rattletrap cars, America's teenage surfers as a rule remained contented sons of suburbia.

Maybe it was his writer’s instincts, or just plain good luck, but Frederick Kohner’s Gidget dropped into a culture that had to an unprecedented degree become fascinated with its teenagers. Very shortly, there were going to be a lot more of them, as the first wave of Baby Boomers matriculated through junior high school. But it wasn’t just the bulging demographic that caught everyone’s attention. It...

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