Santa Paula Times

‘Shake, Rattle & Roll!’ costume options for Moonlight at the Ranch

August 10, 2011
Santa Paula News

“Of course I’m coming to Moonlight at the Ranch silly, but my goodness - what should I wear?”

You’ll doo-wop till you drop at Moonlight at the Ranch V: “Shake, Rattle & Roll!” on Saturday, September 17, from 5:30 to 11 p.m. at Limoneira Ranch. This fundraiser to support the Santa Paula Police & Fire Foundation and Chamber of Commerce will have you “cruisin’ thru the 50s” for the nostalgic road trip of a lifetime!

Iconic entertainer Frankie Avalon is the honorary chairman of Ventura County’s signature celebration, where each year many guests dress for success in reflecting the theme. The 1950’s wasn’t an era particularly remembered for fashion, but there was beauty in the simplicity of most women’s clothing, the solid man of the house look for males, and a touch of the wild and out of this world in film and television costumes.

From Joan Crawford’s mannish but still hot blooded Western wear in the hit film “Johnny Guitar” and television’s Davy Crockett’s coonskin cap that created a craze among kids (and some adults) to gorgeous blonde Marilyn Monroe and zaftig brunette Jane Russell’s glamour garb in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” to TV’s kid show host Engineer Bill, there’s plenty you can wear to pay homage to the 1950s.

Of course a poodle skirt, bobby socks and ponytail are grand (especially on you gals!) and the brooding James Dean look of leather jacket, jeans and snarl never goes out of fashion, but Moonlight at the Ranch V wants you to also “Shake, Rattle & Roll!” out your wildest wardrobe picks.

Miss Kitty cozying up to Marshal Dillon; “I Love Lucy” with that Ball gal as a grape-stomper, chocolate dipper or just her red-haired zany self; a somber “Father Knows Best” suit; housedress with pearls and pumps (ladies, you can leave the vacuum cleaner home); Mickey Mouse Club ears; cartoon characters; even Robby the Robot from “Forbidden Planet” offer perfect fashion choices to go “cruisin’ thru the 50s!”

From good girls in sailor blouses and their boyfriends’ lettermen sweaters to bad girls with big hair and saucy cropped pants hanging out with handsome hound dogs with cigarette packs rolled up in their T-shirt sleeves, there are literally thousands of real and imaginary characters you will be perfect as. 

Need more ideas?

Be the “Queen of Outer Space” in an evening gown and blonde flip hairdo ala Zsa Zsa Gabor or, better yet, how about a green chiffon number with red sequined gloves - really! - worn by Joi Lansing, a blonde Earth siren, offering tearful kisses as she bids her astronaut adieu.  

(On a local note, the glamorous Miss Lansing died after battling cancer on August 7, 1972... she was only 43 and is buried at Santa Paula Cemetery. A “Queen of Outer Space” co-star the late Eric Fleming was a city native born here July 4, 1925. He was 41 when he drowned while filming a movie in Peru.)

Anything elegant worn by Grace Kelly is always welcome, as is fruit-hatted Carmen Miranda, heck even Uncle Milton Berle as Carmen Miranda! Or come as any of “The Honeymooners” - Ralph and Alice (of “To the moon Alice, to the moon” fame) Kramden, Ed and Trixie Norton.

Wrap yourself up in black, extra large plastic garbage bags and come as “The Blob!” Or how about you appearing in a 45-RPM record costume and your date as a jukebox?

Speaking of music, come as our Honorary Chairman Frankie Avalon’s famous song “Venus,” goddess of love that you are? Puff out those cheeks, make the most of drawn on craters, grab some wild theatrical makeup and come as “Blue Moon”! You can even wear stripped pajamas for “Jailhouse Rock” or a leash and color for “You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog”! Or just dress as yourself, but don’t show emotion for that “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” persona.

Either way, costume or not, fun accessory worn or left home, one thing you don’t have to plan for or worry about is that you’re going to have a great time at Moonlight at the Ranch V: “Shake, Rattle & Roll!” Please note: this party will be held outside on bare ground, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes, blue suede or otherwise!

The mid-century was famous for the evolution of popular music, the introduction of the new media television and the film emergence of teenagers as real people. From “Davy Crockett” to Ricky Ricardo noting his bride Lucy had some “splainin’ to do!” television, that flickering box with grainy black and white images, helped define (and baby sit!) a generation. 

From 45 rpm records and transistor radios came the sounds of “Shake, Rattle & Roll!” a cultural phenomenon creating a Sock Hop atmosphere of poodle-skirts, Chevrolets, and men’s duck-a-- er -tail haircuts. And like “Venus,” the title of his most famous 1950’s hit, the brightest of the brightest stars was Frankie Avalon, the kid from Philly whose career took off in the 1950s and is still flying high. 

Fine restaurants will offer generous samples of their finest cuisine to “Shake, Rattle & Roll!” your taste buds, no-host bars fine spirits, and a raffle fun prizes. There’ll be a whole lot of shakin’ going on to the music of the renowned Men on the Moon, and a series of fascinating displays highlighting the “Happy Days” of the nation. 

Moonlight guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite real or fictional character from the 1950s, or of course plan to “Rock Around the Clock” in whatever they are most comfortable in.

Tickets to this blast to the past are available at the Santa Paula Times (944 E. Main St., MC and VISA accepted), Chamber of Commerce (200 N. 10th St., cash and checks only please!) and Best of VC Marketplace, 108 N. 10th Street. Charge by phone (MC & VISA) Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 805-525-1890.

“Go-Daddy-Go” to the September 17 Moonlight at the Ranch V: “Shake, Rattle & Roll!” Each year the Moonlight celebration - Ventura County’s signature event! - is a sell out!

For information on “Cruisin’ thru the 50’s!” visit our Facebook page, or, or call 805-525-1890 or 805-525-5561.