Thursday, March 1, 2012

'Grease' the film had another Aussie associated to it besides Olivia Newton-John

"Good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love over the summer. But when they unexpectedly discover they're now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance?" That's the brief description of the infamous film Grease

It was the summer of 1978 when I saw this movie in the cinema, with my parents, brother, and a family from church (the Sljivars). We laughed, sang, and eventually even danced our way out of the movie theatre to 'We Go Together'. 

Grease had such a huge impact on me! I dreamed of becoming an actress and being in a film some day myself. I wanted to be as pretty as Sandy (Olivia Newton-John), in both the goody-two-shoe and the vampy personalities she interpreted... and I hated the fact that my mother always had to put a damper on everything, even something as happy as this movie. Her walking out comment to me was: "You see how friends can be such a bad influence on a person? Sandy was such a good girl, and now she's a slut!" Way to look at the bright side of life mom... it's JUST a movie for the love of God! A musical at that! 

But I digress... I won't bore you with my childhood hang ups.

So, why bring up this classic? What does it have to do with 'Livin' la vida Australia' anyway?

My eldest daughter is auditioning for the role of Sandy at her school' production of Grease. She has been practicing 'Hopelessly Devoted to You' over, and over again. To the point that I find myself humming it everywhere, from the kitchen to driving to the market. I've heard it a little too much, actually. But I sacrifice my ears for the happiness of my daughter, gosh darn it! Break a leg my dear, and here's hoping you become famous some day. 


This evening we watched Grease as a family, here in Olivia Newton-John's hometown of Melbourne (sans my mother); all comfy on our sofas an chowing down on burritos. It was like finding some old pictures in a shoe box and reminiscing about the time we lived the moments and immortalised them in photos. My eldest is now 12 years old too, just like I was when I first experienced the movie. I wondered if she found John Travolta to be as unattractive as did I at her age? Isn't it interesting how our tastes change as we age? I see him now, and think "OMG, he was drop dead gorgeous!"

The lovely Miss Olivia Newton-John and the yummy John Travolta

As a side note, my daughters think that George Clooney is ugly... sigh... I have assured them that sometime later in life they'll think differently.
The equally yummy Mr. Clooney
When the film's opening credits began flashing before us, I found out the Aussie connection to the film... which is less obvious than the Olivia Newton-John link.

Barry Gibb - of the famed 70s disco group Bee Gees - composed the music and wrote the lyrics of such songs as 'Grease is the Word' and yes, the song which now permanently lives in my brain, 'Hopelessly Devoted to You', among others.

Barry Gibb was born in the UK, but at the age of 12 (there goes that number again) his family moved to Brisbane, Australia, which is where he began his musical career. And there you go! Mr. Gibb is the other Australian link in Grease.

I like it when puzzle pieces from the past fall into place. It's like hearing a joke you learned in your youth, and finally getting the punchline, because it was too mature to understand at the wet-behind-your-ears ripe age of 12.

There were many 'punchlines' in this film which I only got tonight, but they whizzed past my daughters' heads, keeping this movie very appropriate for them to watch, just like it was for me back then. I didn't give the lecture at the end of the film, by-the-way, my youngest saw to that, commenting that Sandy shouldn't have started smoking just to look cool.

Maybe some day, when my daughters have daughters, and they are 12, they'll screen Grease for them. It should be interesting. Who knows where they will be, and what link they'll find to the film.