Q&A: Connie Francis shares the backstory of her most famous film

Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero is best known as Connie Francis, whose signature hit, “Where the Boys Are,” was the movie theme song that launched her movie career. As the film and song approach 60 years, we talk to the 81-year-old icon.

Q: So exactly how did you end up “Where the Boys Are?”

A: Joe Pasternak, the producer who discovered Judy Garland and Jane Powell. He came to my office in New York with the script and said, “I want you for my film.” My father saw the script and said it was a dirty movie. He didn’t like the scene near the end where two teenagers are in a hotel room. “What do you think they are doing, sharing an egg cream?” he said to me. “You can’t do it.” So because he was so against me doing it, I signed the contract and did it.

Q: How much of you was in your character, that crazy Angie?

A: I was the outgoing, popular one in high school. I played the accordion and sang and that was a turn-on for the boys. I was on the TV then, too, once a week. I wasn’t the prettiest teenager, but I was funny and always had a great sense of humor. And in that way, I was a lot like Angie.

Q: Did you ever imagine the movie would become such a classic and at the same jumpstart a whole city?

A: I mean, who could have ever foreseen the movie being such a hit? In many ways it was a trailblazing movie because it addressed some subjects like date rape and female empowerment. Things that weren’t talked about then. While my father wasn’t so subtle about it, I realized after reading the script we were going to address subjects that needed to be addressed in a time when they weren’t.

Q: Did you ever go back? I mean and have fun!

A: I live in Florida now and years ago did come back often. I loved leaving New York to go stay at The Diplomat resort which was new then in the Fort Lauderdale area. I used to go to Miami a lot, too. I did a lot of hanging out on Las Olas as it developed and if I had been smarter, would have bought a lot more real estate there.