The time of my life
I was 12-years-old when Dirty Dancing came out on the big screen. It was perfect timing due to the fact that I had recently announced to my family that I was going to either dance on Broadway or be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader when I grew up. I was infatuated with MGM musicals, going to the theater and the Mickey Mouse Club on the Disney Channel.
Clearly, my Mom saw the word “dirty” in the title of this movie I HAD TO SEE and decided it was not fit for a young girl.
Annoyingly, my older sister saw the movie about 58 times and would come home and tell me about the music, the moves and the beauty of Patrick Swayze.
Oh how we loved Patrick Swayze.
Those of you who are movie savvy probably figure my sister and I fell in love with Patrick in the Outsiders or Red Dawn. (Mother totally let me watch a movie about the dawn of World War III as kids in Mid-Western America band together to fight for their town, their country and their freedom.) Although Patrick did bring lots of eye candy to the silver screen, I was much more interested in C. Thomas Howell and the dude who played Ponyboy (who was also the Karate Kid) at that time in my life.
No, no. Patrick entered the House of Ray on one faithful night I shall never forget.
The year was 1985. My Mom is in her bedroom watching a mini-series about the Civil War. My sister and I wander in and settle ourselves on the bed. Within the first 10 minutes we are all three hooked and mesmerized by Orry Main.
WHAT THE WHAT??? When did Swayze turn into a hotter than crap actor?
Needless to say, North & South sucked us in for the next six days only to TORTURE us with part two of the mini-series concluding SIX MONTHS LATER! I’m quite sure this had never been done in the history of television.
Fast forward to 1987. Jamie is still going on and on and on about how awesome Dirty Dancing is and that it’s so sad I never saw it. Especially on the big screen. Little did she know that Tiffany Tutt’s birthday party was that weekend and we watched the entire thing four times on BETA.
I have to tell you reader…I was hooked. It was a pivotal movie for me. Sure, sure…there was a ton of sexual related stuff, but I only saw the dancing and heard the music and wished I was Baby in Johnny Castle’s arms. I would try to figure out ways to sit in a corner, longing for a tall, handsome fella in a leather bomber jacket to come and proclaim that nobody puts me in a corner.
Seriously. Who didn’t do that?
I remember rewinding and hitting play, rewinding and hitting play during the scene when Robby the Waiter tells Johnny, “You think you got that Johnny? What you can and can’t do?”
For years…I mean YEARS…my sister and I couldn’t figure out how Johnny answered him. It was awful, because we had the dialog from the entire movie memorized except for that part. I think it wasn’t until the Internet took over our lives that we were able to Ask Jeeves (before Google) what he said. And it was a glorious day when we found out:
“You just put your pickle on everybody’s plate college boy and leave the hard stuff to me.”
I loved when Penny and Johnny danced. I loved when Johnny bit his lower lip and gave Baby the “come here” gesture with his finger when they first met after she carried a watermelon. Then he proceeds to lovingly teach her how to dirty dance. I love the entire Hungry Eyes montage.
So much going on in that scene! Her hand on his heart. (awwww!) “LOOK! SPAGHETTI ARMS! This is my dance space, this is yours.” Johnny sweaty. Johnny shirtless. Johnny’s back around the 2:53 mark.
I’m just sayin’.
I owned two VHS tapes of the movie. I own the DVD. I own the soundtracks, including, More Dirty Dancing. I performed the move that Johnny executes down the center aisle with the other instructors in a high school pep rally number. I fell in love with the mambo. And I saw the 20th anniversary screening two years ago.
My sister was right. There’s nothing like Johnny Castle 22 feet up in the air.
I received several texts, emails and phone calls that Patrick Swayze had passed away yesterday after battling cancer. He was an amazing entertainer, but more importantly, he appeared to be completely normal even though he was affiliated with the Hollywood scene. He will be missed.
Now it’s your turn. Feel free to share your favorite Swayze moments or one-liners in the comments section. I’m sure some of you are shouting at your screens, “What about Ghost you crazy person?!?”
What? I can’t hear you. “Unchained Melody” is playing on iTunes right now.
In the meantime,
RIP Patrick Swayze. 1987 was a good year for me. I truly had the time of my life.