Monday, August 27, 2012

Terry "Tubesteak" Tracy, the model for...

...the Big Kahuna in the Gidget stories, died at age 77.

When I first saw his obit in the Times this morning I thought to myself, Tracy, huh? No relation. But after reading it, I'm not so sure (my emphasis):

Terry Tracy, who as an easygoing, fun-loving surfer inspired the "Gidget" movies and television series and helped make surfing an international sport — in the process becoming the embodiment of the cool alternative lifestyle of sunglass-wearing beach bums.

Uninterested in a 9-to-5 routine, Mr. Tracy quit his job at his family’s savings and loan in the mid-1950s and built himself a shack on Malibu Beach. He used discarded lumber for the frame and palm fronds for the walls and furnished it with a couch without legs. For two summers the shack became the hub for a small tribe of young men who loved surfing — and beach parties — as much as he did. They called themselves the “pit crew.”

Mr. Tracy himself came to represent an idealized time when the beach and its denizens were untamed. He amplified that persona over the years by writing about the wild beach parties of his era. In an interview, Ms. Kohner, now Katherine Zuckerman, said Mr. Tracy “personified the Big Kahuna’s mellow style and his love of the ocean.”

Sound familiar?

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