Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Release Date: September 15, 1981
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 253


  • You can read Cameron’s introduction to the book here.
  • You can also read an excerpt from the book (first published in the September, 1981 issue of Playboyhere.
  • At 22, Cameron talked then-principal William Burrows into letting him enroll at Clairmont High for the school year 1978-79. Cameron reflects, “The principal was skeptical and asked me what I had written. When I told him my last article had been on Kris Kristofferson, . . . his eyes lit up. It turned out he loved the guy. “I told him some stories about Kristofferson, and afterwards, he agreed to let me attend his school,” he said.
  • Cameron enrolled at the high school using the alias Dave Cameron or was it Harry Johnson?
  • Crowe kept mental notes of events he saw, and talked into a small tape recorder as soon as he was alone.
  • “I told Linda Barrett who I was and what I was doing three months before graduation,” said Crowe, who did not date any of his classmates. “She loved the idea and thought it would be exciting to see her experiences in print.”
  • After completing his year on campus, Crowe visited the principal characters in his book, all of whose identities and names have been changed, along with the name of the school, to confess his duplicity.
  • Not a single student, even the popular group with which he became most involved, detected the fact that he was a spy.
  • The original title of the book was Stairway to Heaven: A Year in High School, as the kids were all waiting for Led Zeppelin to come to town. The tour was cancelled due to drummer, John Bonham’s death.
  • The cover photo was taken by Sigrid Estrada and the model’s name is Kelly Chapman.
  • Here’s pics of the various editions and the uncorrected proof: