Monday, June 06, 2005

Frankie, Baby!

On occasion, TinyTuna loves to ask about the olden days, also known as the days when GreenTuna was a little girl. Either she has a pretty convoluted sense of time, or she likes messing with me, because based on her questions, she has me placed chronologically somewhere between Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Cro-Magnons.

Did you have BUTTONS? (yes)
Did you have CURTAINS? (yes)
Did you have DOORKNOBS? (yes)
Did you have FOOD? (yes)
Did you have ELECTRICITY? (eventually)

It wasn't surprising then, when last night she had several questions for me yet again. GramTuna and I had taken TinyTuna to see a touring Broadway performance of Grease at TunaU, and there were several things she didn't understand.

When we reached the song, Stranded at the Drive-In, I had to explain what a drive in was. It seemed a little sad that she hadn't had that experience. It's such a unique piece of popular culture that has been all but lost.

If that didn't make me feel like Methuselah's babysitter, later I had to explain a rotary-dial phone. Yes indeed, put your finger in the hole, travel around the circle until your finger hits the metal stopper then let go. Voila! One number down, six more to go! Sure, it's not the most efficient way to win a telephone call-in contest, but in the olden days, we had to make do with what we had (Besides, we were too busy crafting household items out of sticks and stones).

The final stumper came at the end of the show. After the company curtain call a real piece of Americana nostalgia hit the stage and the blue-haired polyester crowd went WILD!

(caps lock and bold, but never leaned over)

Yes indeed. Frankie was here to reprise his role from the movie. I guess nobody told him that Beauty School Dropout was the worst part of the film, and his five minutes of screentime was notorious as a mid-movie concession stand rush of gigantic proportions.

But that didn't stop Frankie. He made his way through the show -- dry ice and all -- and they let him have the final bow, even though he was onstage the least amount of time. But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was when some one gave him a microphone. And then there was no stopping him.

It was The Frankie Avalon Show!! Frankie told jokes (one was actually funny). Frankie sang songs. Frankie sang a lot of songs. Thankfully, Frankie didn't hawk his Arthritis Remedy Cream or his Twilight Tan-Self Tanning Instant Bronzer With Applicator (I don't want to know) but I swear that was coming next.

Song after song went on and on and on. Finally TinyTuna looked at me and whispered, "What is he DOING?? I thought the show was OVER!!!" I started laughing and whispered back, "What he's doing is SINGING, and WHY he's doing it is because HE has the microphone and he knows that WE are a captive audience ... and he's not going to stop until somebody pries it out of his hand or gets the HOOK!"

Exasperated, TinyTuna sighed her extra dramticalicious sigh, and buried her head in my shoulder. All I could do was chuckle. Maybe the olden days before electricity weren't so bad after all.


Tracie said...

Sorry, but now I have to get nostalgic in your comments...

Drive in movies- reminds me of being barefoot, playing at the playground that was right under the screen. Hot summer nights. Cotton Candy and A&W Root Beer in the bottles.

Rotary Phones-you ever try to dial that thing while being quiet, lest you be caught 'on the phone' after your deadline for the night? Awful. Now? I'm on the hunt for one. I want one. A red one, or black one. Rotary Dial- old school style.

I have searched the flea market, and countless garage sales. There is a grandma somewhere out there with a rotary phone. So help me, I'm going to find one.


Sarah said...

Oh, yeah, poodle skirt, suede shoes, page boy bob and all!

MissMeliss said...

Oh, wow, Grease...I remember using deflated twisting balloons to duplicate the leather leggings Olivia Newton John wore in the carnival scene in the movie.

And my (Italian) grandmother freaking over a certain lyric in "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee"...we actually saw the movie at a drive-in, lying in the back of someone's mom's station wagon, and eating red-vines.

My grandmother used to always keep a pencil to dial her rotary phone with, so she'd never risk breaking a manicured fingernail.

Such memories...

MissMeliss said...

(Um, the balloon leggins were on Barbie dolls, not humans. Just saying.)

gemmak said...

I always wanted to go to a 'drive in' but we never had them here in the UK :o(