A first edition of Gidget signed by Kathy Kohner, the real Gidget
Kohner, Fredrick. Gidget: The Little Girl with Big Ideas. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1957.
Original blue cloth, pictorial dust jacket.
Provenance: Santa Barbara Surfing Museum.
FIRST EDITION, SIGNED AND INSCRIBED ON THE FRONT FREE ENDPAPER BY KATHY KOHNER ZUCKERMAN: "To the Santa Barbara Surfing Museum / with all good wishes / and to my 50-50 man Jim—who helped change my middle years. / Love / Kathy Kohner Zuckerman / Gidget / 'The Surf Queen' / August 25, 1995."
Kathy Kohner is the real-life inspiration for her father Frederick Kohner's 1957 novel, Gidget, the story of a 16-year-old girl who falls in love with surfing and surfers at Malibu. The elder Kohner, a successful playwright and screenwriter, was inspired by his daughter's nightly phone calls to her friends and her own journals about the Malibu scene.
The book was an instant bestseller and was adapted into a film starring Sandra Dee in 1959. The success of that film led to two other Gidget features: Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961) starring Deborah Walley and Gidget Goes to Rome (1963) starring Cindy Carol. In 1965 the character was adapted for a television series starring Sally Field. Gidget only ran for one season but has a devoted cult following today. The surfing community points to the publication of Gidget as the moment surfing transitioned from a regional activity to a national sport.