Thursday, May 19, 2011

'Grease' is the word

In honor of Jeff "Kenickie" Conaway, let's talk "Grease."
It's the word, it's the word, that you heard...and it was also a huge dominant pop-culture landmark from our childhoods. Olivia Newton-John went from shy to slutty! John Travolta branched out beyond Barbarino! We learned what pinks were, yearned for a car we could name Greased Lightning, learned the "brusha brusha brusha" jingle from Ipana toothpaste even though it wasn't sold in the U.S. anymore. But we never figured out why Rizzo was late. Late for what?

Man, it was an awesome movie. Every song rocked. We wanted to have a slumber party, drop out of beauty school, get caught in the rain on prom night and end up stranded at the drive-in, look at someone who was Sandra Dee. Life at Rydell High, and teenagerhood in general, looked a little bit terrifying from the vantage point of us grade schoolers watching, but it also looked kind of crazy-wonderful. I got chills! They're multiplying!

I remember my friend Gretchen somehow got two copies of the "Grease" record, and she gave me one, but she also made sure to give me the one that did not include the interior sleeve (man, remember record sleeves?), which was pretty cool because it was based on a yearbook design with the characters' signatures and doodles, or at least that's how I remember it. Darn you, Gretchen!

And I still think "Summer Nights" is the best karaoke song ever. Wella wella wella UH! Tell me more, tell me more, like does he have a car?

Was "Grease" a part of your childhood? Do you still find yourself humming along to the songs? Did you feel sorry for Rizzo or Frenchie, or were you Sandy all the way?


briank said...

Recently, we took our almost-10-year-old daughter to a sing-along screening of "Grease" at a local theater. Even though I had seen the movie a number of times many years ago on HBO, I probably had not seen it in well over 25 years and had forgotten whole swaths of it. The 1950s might as well be the 1850s as far as today's kids go, so my daughter didn't really get the nostalgia appeal of the movie, and she's not quite old enough to get all the juvenile sex-talk that permeates the dialogue. Sadly, I enjoyed the experience much more than she did.

I also had forgotten how OLD Olivia Newton-John and Stockard Channing were when this movie was made. ONJ was 30 and Channing was 34!

Pace, Jeff Conaway.

Brian said...

Several years ago, a friend of mine hosted a program on a local radio station... and this was at a time when "Grease" was enjoying something of a revival. He had been asked to play some songs from the movie, and had to scrub some of the words from "Greased Lightning." I remember the movie as a kid, but the very risque lyrics had gone over my head (and apparently a lot of people's heads) until recently!

ElizabethB said...

I ended up with a knock off satin jacket (not pink, unfortunately) and a perm that made me look like Little Orphan Annie, not Sandy after she had her makeover... Oh well, I still love Grease even after all that! :)