Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Summer Night in '78

My redneck father dragged my brother and I, kicking and screaming, to see our first movie musical on the big screen.

It's a choice I'm sure he regrets to this very day.

Since my brother and I are both gay and we have no other siblings ("Hey Dad, you're batting 1,000. You should have another kid and try to go 3 for 3!"), I'm sure my father would cut off his left testicle to drive a Delorean 88 miles per hour back to 1978 and stop his former self from purchasing tickets for the family to see...



He really wanted to see GREASE. I guess my father, the Baby Boomer who always told me that Senior Year of High School was the BEST year of his life, had heard all the buzz about this musical that celebrated the 50's and he wanted to spend a couple of hours reminiscing about duck-tailed hair and peg-legged jeans.

Yeah, I imagine it was nostalgia that pushed him to see it...

...well, that and the idea of seeing Olivia Newton-John in skin-tight leather pants with bleach blond hair jacked to Jesus didn't hurt either.

So, during our annual one-week of vacation in Daytona Beach, Florida, we left the Maverick Hotel...




...this is an actual picture of the Maverick Hotel's swimming pool that I just found online...I guess the internet ISN'T just for porn, after all...




...had dinner at Piasan's Italian Restaurant, walked into The Magic Shop to see what new magic tricks we could bring back to Tennessee that year, bought a new t-shirt at The Rat's Hole with our names airbrushed on it...




...and took in a game of Putt-Putt Golf on a course featuring a giant, plastic replica of the shark from JAWS hanging over one of the holes and a sign at the exit that read, "Don't feel bad if you came in last place - - you got to hit the ball more than anyone else!"...

...I know all of these details so specifically because we always did the same thing every year when we went on vacation - - we stayed at the same hotel, ate at the same restaurants and visited the same places - - my habitual nature is hard-wired...

But in 1978, on one of those su-u-mmer ni-ights (to be read a la John Travolta's singing style in the movie) after Putt-Putt, my father was pushing for our family to see this movie musical called GREASE and my brother and I were having none of it.

We probably wanted to go back to the hotel and swim in the pool. Or maybe we wanted to go back to the room and practise the new cheap-o magic tricks we bought.

Whatever it was, we of course did not get what we wanted. But as the saying goes, "Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers," because that is the night I was introduced to musical theatre.

And nothing has ever been the same since!

My brother and I left the theatre singing as much of WE GO TOGETHER LIKE RAMA- LAMA- LAMA GA- DIGGITY- DING- DEE- DONG as we could remember after just hearing the song one time. And we were dancing and singing it LOUDLY!

For a man who told me to "stop walking like a damn girl," having his young sons singing showtunes while shee-bopping down the Daytona Beach Strip was not something my father enjoyed in the least.

But his worst nightmares were yet to come.

My brother and I somehow gathered together what little power we had and made my father take us back to see GREASE, not once, but TWICE - - during our one-week vacation!

Then, when we returned to Knoxville, we saw the movie SIX MORE TIMES in the theatre. Yep, I saw GREASE NINE TIMES in it's original run.

Of course, we had to have the album and my brother and I played LOOK AT ME, I'M SANDRA DEE and THE HAND JIVE so many times that we literally wore the grooves out of that 33 1/3rd. My father begrudgingly bought us another copy of the GREASE soundtrack.

And if that wasn't enough...

...and my brother will deny this but it happened nonetheless...

...my brother and I would take my father's extra-large white t-shirts and stretch out the neck holes so that we could pull them down to just beneath our shoulders...

...then, we would put the needle on the record to play YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT...

...and we would BOTH be Sandy.

My father's dreams of either one of us playing high school football were going up in flames right before his eyes...

...and I do mean flames.

So you see, I really wish that I could be watching the probable train wreck that is NBC's GREASE: YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT - - the reality show where we, the people will pick the new Danny and Sandy for the upcoming Broadway revival of the show a la AMERICAN IDOL.

But it airs opposite DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES and I'm not giving up the girls on Wisteria Lane for some two-bit Great White Way wannabees, ok?

But I love reading all the articles and blog entries that are being written about this show.

Check out my friend Brooke's blog entry for the most hilarious commentary on this show you will ever read.

And read through Seth Rudetsky's commentary on playbill.com. My favorite part of Seth's article is the last paragraph which reads...

"My friend Tim is hoping that this show will become a hit and the FIDDLER ON THE ROOF reality show will be seen next season: AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MOTEL."

Yeah... that's damn brilliant.

If anyone happens to know Seth Rudetsky's friend Tim, please let him know that A) that is one of the funniest things I have ever heard and therefore B) I owe him one blow job for his cleverness.

4 comments:

Chris said...

Your blog is SOOO funny! Does your family read it? I know now why we had so much fun in comedy class.... yes, we need to keep up with that. maybe go find our favorite Kelly Clarkson look a like straight girl and et back in it.

By the way, if you didn't know, I looked through your wish list... you're sooooo gay... :)

Stephen Rader said...

Chris - Thank the Lord that A) there are people actually READING my blog and B) that one of those people - - I'm talking about you here - - thinks that I am "SOOO funny!" I may end up being the Eve Harringon to Carrot Top's Margot Channing after all!!!

Yes, my wish list is gay... what did you expect?... my wish list to be Haitian? :)

Congratulations on starting your blog and call me so we can find a time to get together and catch up. I miss your cute face!!

PunkAndy said...

Just an FYI Stephen, "Grease-you're the one that i want" airs on NBC Sunday's at 7pm and "Desperate Housewives" airs on ABC Sunday's at 8pm.

Stephen Rader said...

Well, I stand corrected! My ex-boyfriend TiVo (yeah... we're still friends... or at least we're trying to be... it's weird...) just confirmed that the GREASE train wreck is a one-hour long program starting at 7pm and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVE..

...or as I like to call it, "I want to be a Bree but I'm really a Lynette"...

...starts at 8pm.

But I'm certain that the first episode of YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT was an hour and a half long, which is why it was passed over so easily in favor of "DH: Another Day in the Death of Mary Alice."

As Dolly Parton sings in THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, "Nobody messes with my girls!"