California Dreaming (1979 film)

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California Dreaming
Directed byJohn D. Hancock
Produced byChristian Whittaker
Written byNed Wynn
StarringGlynnis O'Connor
Dennis Christopher
Seymour Cassel
Tanya Roberts
Music byFred Karlin
CinematographyBobby Byrne
Edited byHerb Dow
Roy Peterson
Distributed byAmerican International Pictures
Release date
  • March 16, 1979 (1979-03-16)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2 million (US rentals)[1]

California Dreaming is a 1979 American comedy-drama film starring Glynnis O'Connor, Dennis Christopher, Seymour Cassel and Tanya Roberts and directed by John D. Hancock.[2][3]


A young man named T.T. moves from Chicago to California for the summer. He quickly becomes adapted to the new pace of beach life, learning several lessons along the way.


California Dreaming, a production of American International Pictures (AIP), could be considered a latterday exemplar of the beach party film genre which AIP pioneered in the 1960s: however the movie's producer Lou Arkoff – son of AIP founder Samuel Z. Arkoff - stated a desire to "move [AIP] toward more serious, insightful and creative projects" (as opposed to the exploitation films favored by Arkoff père), saying specifically of California Dreaming: "My concern is that this doesn't become 'Beach Blanket Bingo'."[4]

Filming on California Dreaming began 17 October 1977 in Santa Monica State Beach the movie's purported setting: however most of the movie's footage would be shot at Pismo Beach with Avila Beach also serving as a locale.

The script as written by Ned Wynn was entitled State Beach which was the film's working title (with Golden State mentioned as a possible alternative): director John D. Hancock wanted to change the title to California Dreaming [5] which was indeed confirmed as the title in December 1977, permission having been obtained from the copyright holders of the song "California Dreamin'" (the movie's storyline has no immediate parallels with the song's lyrics: the eventual movie poster for California Dreaming would feature the slogan "A state somewhere between fantasy and reality" under the movie title).[4]

The filming of California Dreaming was completed by in December 1978; the movie's budget was given as $2 million.[6]


The original projected July 1978 release of California Dreaming was postponed due to a perceived glut of similarly-themed movies being then set for release in the summer of 1978 (most prominently Big Wednesday): a projected October 1978 release for California Dreaming was also canceled[7] with the movie's initial "release" occurring with a one-off 27 December 1978 - 1 January 1979 engagement at a Yuma AZ theatre, it being to AIP's taxational advantage for California Dreaming to technically be released within the year 1978.[8]

Otherwise California Dreaming was finally given limited release 16 March 1979, expanding in the following two months: factoring into the movie's release was the agreement made by AIP in February 1979 for the California Dreaming soundtrack – completed in the last months of 1978 – to be distributed by Casablanca Records which company had recently managed to bolster the modest success of the film Thank God It's Friday through a hit soundtrack album and the recording of "California Dreamin'" by America which played under the closing credits of California Dreaming was issued as a single at the time of the movie's March release: however the single attracted only peripheral interest and failed to significantly boost the movie's paltry box office take.[9]



  1. ^ THE BIG THUDS OF 1979--FILMS THAT FLOPPED, BADLY Epstein, Andrew. Los Angeles Times 27 Apr 1980: o6.
  2. ^ "California Dreaming". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "California Dreaming". TV Guide.
  4. ^ a b Los Angeles Times "Riding the Waves of California Dreaming" 11 December 1977 p. 66
  5. ^ Pittsburgh Post Gazetter 6 April 1978 "Hancock's 'California Dreaming' After Playhouse & Jaws 2" by George Anderson p.12
  6. ^
  7. ^ San Bernardino County Sun 20 February 1979 p. 20
  8. ^ Tax Court Memorandum Decisions, Vol 53 p. 951
  9. ^

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