This morning I was glancing at the news (and avoiding anything remotely bullying, filled with hate or political) when I glanced at a little thumbnail photo of 'Sandy and Danny' at the bottom of a page - but it looked a little 'off'. This caught my attention, and I looked at the headline that accompanied it and I saw it WAS Danny and Sandy... just 40 years older.
When I clicked on the story (because... of course I did! It's Danny and Sandy!) I saw the article was about a big People magazine edition to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the movie GREASE.
Let's pause a moment here.
"More than 40 years after Grease‘s release, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are back as Danny and Sandy.Travolta, 65, and Newton-John, 71, reunited and dressed up as the iconic lovebirds during the Meet n’ Grease sing-along event at the Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, Florida on Friday.
In a backstage photo shared by Newton-John, the actress can be seen wearing a yellow cardigan and matching skirt similar to the outfit her character wore in the 1978 film, while her former costar rocks an all-black ensemble complete with a leather jacket."
Grease holds a special place in my heart so many reasons.
The first of which, is because it is the first movie I was allowed to go to by myself, with a friend, with no parents and not as a school field trip. I believe I was about 9 years old. My neighbor Jeanne and I were allowed to go, I think, mostly because neither of our parents were the least bit interested in sitting through a teenage musical.
I remember arriving at the movie theater vividly. The whole front of the movie theater is glass. When we arrived the front entrance where you buy tickets and goodies was completely packed with teenagers, all lined up for tickets and food. Bodies were pressed up against the glass, although not yet out the glass doors. We walked in front of the glass walls and I saw all the 'older teenagers' and I was instantly scared to death! I was so intimidated by all these 'big kids' that were so cool, so perfect.
I was wearing a denim jean jacket and my hands were in my pockets. As we walked to the front of the theater and I saw the crowds, I instantly stopped, and spun on my heel, turned around and walked about 4 feet back the way I came, so I wasn't in front of the glass anymore. Basically I was hiding next to the brick wall before the glass started!
I know I screwed up my courage to enter the theater, and obviously we found our way to the end of the line and bought tickets... but I don't remember that part. The next part of my memory is watching the movie play on the screen before me from our seats. Bits and pieces of it, like Sandy in her nightgown outside the house during the slumber party, singing Hopelessly Devoted To You.
I went home that night walking on air!
I was so overwhelmed and in love with that movie! With the songs! With the cast! With the costumes! I wanted to BE Sandy.
So did every other girl in America.
Grease was not just a movie. It was... I don't even have words for it. In a way, it was almost life changing. It was a movie and soundtrack that caused millions of teens to completely immerse themselves into the characters, the movie, the songs... for the next few years.
Grease was unbelievably huge.
I believe I was in 3rd grade, so I wasn't even the target audience.
I had a tiny little battery operated radio that I soon was carrying everywhere with me, constantly flipping the dial to see if any station was playing songs from Grease. It was so hugely popular at the time, they often were. The Grease theme song and Hopelessly Devoted to You were the two I recall because played the most and I recall sitting on our gold and ivory swirled fabric couch, with a radio to my ear, listening to scratchy static to hear the song and singing my heart out with it.
At school the girls all waited impatiently for recess, as those of us who knew the songs would gather on the playground to sing songs from Grease over and over, and those who didn't know the songs would try to join in, mumbling they parts they didn't know and belting out loudly the chorus they did.
After school playdates with friends became reenactments and dressing up like the movie characters. I was lucky and had blonde hair and blue-green eyes so I always called dibs on being Sandy. My best friend Bridget, with dark hair and blue eyes had to play the part of Danny and Rizzo.
Everything in America became GREASE for the next year or two. It wasn't like movies today where they are popular and then gone, as back then there weren't as many released, the theaters in most small cities and small towns only showed one movie at a time. There were only 3 channels available on television and obviously no mobile phone of any sort yet, no internet, no computers and no social media.
When something 'big' hit, it lasted! Not a flash in the pan, gone overnight sensation.
Grease was so iconic, so important, so absolutely huge that it didn't fade for years and years... and even then, it never really did.
People still today know the movie (my KIDS know the movie and the songs!). The songs still play on the radio stations. People dress as the character for Halloween. High schools and colleges still put on the play GREASE in their drama departments. There was a LIVE version of Grease televised recently (that did a FABULOUS job... I was scared to watch it as I feared they would ruin it and change it, but for the most part it stayed true to the original except for a stupid song they added just to make one celebrity stand out a little more I guess, but it was a good show! And I'll link to it at the bottom of this post).
Later, Grease 2 came out and I was a young teen at that time, and while I thought it would follow the story of the original, it didn't. Still, I grew to love this version as well and yes, to this day I know all those songs too! Not nearly as good as the first... it was goofy and kind of stupid and the characters all looked like they were 30 year olds playing teens... but I still wanted to be Stephanie, and would act my little heart out in the privacy of my own bedroom to sing the songs and pretend I was her.
Basically... my walk down memory lane as my coffee grew cold is that Grease was... huge.
For awhile in America it was everything.
And thinking of all these memories has been awesome... but also, sobering! 40 years.
Ahhh. Don't mind my rambling and reminiscing... it's just the coffee talking again.
You might also be interested in these products related to Grease... available through Amazon;
Grease (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)