On my couch at the end of the year watching some pretty horrible films (like Land of the Lost, sorry Will Ferrell!) I decided I was going to become acquainted with more classic films I haven't seen far too many of.
Retro Matinee Double Feature or Feature Showing will be a regular installment, as I look to our rich American cinematic history. I hope you'll enjoy it! They don't all have to be Gone with the Wind or Wizard of Oz-level classics. For now, I'll be looking at the 1970s and backward, or more current films on classic figures.
Bye Bye Birdie mocked the very hysteria of the teen idol, about the mass hysteria caused when a Birdie is drafted and Ann-Margret wins a contest to give him a farewell kiss on Ed Sullivan. Yes, I watched it because I saw it on Mad Men.
Consider this from Wikipidia,
"The teen idol is primarily a phenomenon of 20th century mass communication. Its first manifestation (often referred to as matinee idol) may have been Rudolph Valentino, whose good looks and winning way with women featured heavily in such silent films as The Sheik. Valentino was so popular with young women, many of them went into mass hysteria after he died at the age of 31 in 1926. Judy Garland's pin-ups adorned many a high school male's locker after her sudden rise to fame. But it was probably Frank Sinatra, whose early career is often linked to his appeal to bobby soxers, who is generally regarded as being the first true 'teen idol'."
Who were your teen idols? I fully admit to once bringing a picture of Tiffany to a hair dresser for a body wave (it was the 80s, don't judge me!) In 1989, I was planning on being Mrs. Jonathan Knight of New Kids on the Block fame (you know, You've Got the Right Stuff, I'll Be Loving You Forever, Hanging Tough!) I wasted hard earned Shop-Rite bagging money on Bop and Tiger Beat, asked for t-shirts and button sets for my birthday and Christmas (I think I even had a velour jacket, eesh!) and had their photos even on my ceiling (at 35 years of age, my Dad will still not let me forget that!) But it's also a testament to the consumerism now attached to teen idols.
If you watch Mad Men, you'll also know there was a show where all the women were in hysterics over the death of Marilyn Monroe. Even though Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall had equal billing and screen time in How to Marry A Millionaire, Marilyn made the cover.
While there's always another teen act in the making, I don't know if we have any real icons today like Marilyn. Can you think of any? I scratch my head at the people who are famous today. Kim Kardashian? For what? As Dancing with Stars came on after Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution one night, I asked my sister, "Where are the stars?" Not sarcastically - I meant it. Stars? It seems no talent at all is required today.
What do you think? Will we ever see another Marilyn again? Do you have any favorite films from her? I favor Some Like it Hot and The Seven Year Itch, and want to see Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.