Wednesday, January 11, 2012
1978: Why don't they understand?
While we're on a musical tip, and thanks to Drakeygirl for jogging a memory, let's talk about Grease.
Forget punk. Was there ever anything bigger in 1978 than Grease? Saturday Night Fever was so last year. Grease was the word.
I was 13, my brother was 10 and whatever the certificate as on that film was probably low, an A perhaps, as we went to see it en famille. By the time we went we already knew the songs, or most of them, with You're The One That I Want and Summer Nights and Hopelessly Devoted To You already hits and implanted in our brains for all time.
But as to the story. Well, it took me a long time to work out that Sandy and Danny had had a summer fling, which explained why he was so cool with her when she rocked up at high school that autumn (sort of). I totally missed the references to Rizzo's unwanted pregnancy, not getting any of the meaning behind There Are Worse Things I Could Do, and as for the Sandra Dee number, I thought it was so risque as to be unbelievable it could even be shown. I was so naive. I remember my mum saying afterwards to my dad that most of it went over our heads and she was right. It was only when I was given a little book that went frame by frame through the film with speech bubbles that it all clanked into place. (Do you remember those picture novelisations of films? They were all the rage back then).
The Grease phenom lasted the whole year, and for Christmas we got the soundtrack. But really by that time it was coming to a natural end and the hits were drying up. But on my wall now was Olivia, so breathtakingly hot when she morphed from geek to chic at the film's end, with her bad girl leather jacket, satin trousers (see entries passim) and - gasp! - a fag. She was my first proper pin, replacing Charlie's Angels and pre-dating Debbie Harry by a matter of months. I still have a soft spot for her and hasn't she worn well?
As has the film. I saw a bit of it the other day, and it's still enormous fun. I love the Summer Lovin' sequence. Musicals leave me cold on the whole, but I'll go the extra mile for this. I even went on a work trip in about 1993 to see it on the London stage, starring Craig McLachlan and Debbie Gibson, with Shane Richie as Kenickie. Not sequenced like the film, but fun nonetheless.
And yes I did want a leather jacket like Danny's, however someone in my school had one and the day he got it his mum was putting her car away in the garage with the exhaust running, banged her head on the garage door and died. At least, that was the story at the time. So I went off the idea.
Anyway, I have to say I tired of most of the songs long ago, but I still like this, especially when coupled with these opening credits: