Ventura County's Support-Local Program

The Accidental Surf Icon

Yes, there really was a Gidget! Ventura Film Society presents a special showing of the documentary Accidental Icon: The Real Gidget Story on July 16th.

Yes, there really was a Gidget

beach-boysIn the summer of 1956, a Los Angeles teenager named Kathy Kohner became enchanted with the beach, boys and surfing. Kathy, a young teenager at the time, wrote it all down in her diary. She showed her diary to her father, screenwriter Frederick Kohner, who saw the material as a potential goldmine, given its colorful stories about characters like Moondoggie, Tubesteak and Kahuna. Kohner, seeing the huge opportunity, turned the diary into a bestselling novel woven around Gidget (an amalgam of ‘girl’ and ‘midget’), a fictional character based on Kathy. Several sequels followed, as well as movies, two television series (one of which helped launch the career of Sally Field), a meteoric rise in the popularity of surfing and much more.

The documentary about the real Gidget

gidget-bookThe documentary Accidental Icon: The Real Gidget Story explores the largely untold story of the real “Gidget,” Kathy Kohner Zuckerman. Narrated by Jorja Fox (of CSI fame) and produced by Brian L. Gillogly and Robert Masters, it features surf legends and present-day “surfer girls” who helped to set the stage and take the Gidget story full circle. Prominent actors and directors, many of whom brought Gidget to the big and small screen, provide a little behind-the-scenes perspective. They include: Sally Field, Cliff Robertson, James Darren, Gregory Harrison, Caryn Richardson and Paul Wendkos.

See the documentary in Ventura

Ventura Film Society presents a special showing of the brand new, major re-cut of director Brian L. Gillogly’s documentary Accidental Icon: The Real Gidget Story on July 16th at 7:00 pm at the Crowne Plaza Beach Hotel, 450 E Harbor Blvd, Ventura, CA 93001. The showing will take place in the Bay View Room with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. There will be a no host bar. The evening will also feature special guests Kathy Kohner Zuckerman (the real Gidget), director Brian L. Gillogly, Mary Osborne, music by musical artist Mabby and several other surf stars.

Check out the film’s trailier:


The Ventura Film Society is Ventura’s only year-round source for quality alternative cinema. Since 2008 they have shown over 200 films at their festivals, screening series and special programs to growing public enthusiasm. This support strengthens the role of the VFS as a vital and lasting part of Ventura’s arts and culture landscape.

To find out more about the Ventura Film Society go to; Phone: (805) 628-2299; E-mail:

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Learn more about author Kat Merrick

Kat Merrick

About the author

Kat Merrick made her mark in the apparel world as an innovative leader and founder of Surf Chick Inc. With over 25 years of extensive experience managing worldwide capacity apparel facilities, companies and product, her superior leadership skills, practiced in directing cross-functional global teams to design, brand, source develop and marketing, won her world-wide recognition and awards. She is considered an expert in the areas of trend studies, brand building and marketing. At 23 years old she opened her first successful retail business in Ventura County, Since then, Kat has owned and operated several very successful retail and wholesale operations and assisted numerous multi-category small businesses to achieve success. Highly respected by many local small business owners, growers, artists and locals, she has been tagged as "the Shop Local girl". Kat's extensive travels, strong business knowledge and desire to make a positive impact locally helped inspire her to create Totally Local VC. A Ventura County resident since 1978, single mother of two and long-standing advocate for support of local small business and all that is Ventura, founder and developer of Totally Local VC, Kat brings her passion for our community to all she does. Her writings, posts and blog reflect her love of family, friends and community and desire to help.


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