Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell

on Grease

Aug 05, 2010 Issue #32 - Summer 2010 - Wasted on the Youth Bookmark and Share


I think Grease was the first film I actually was taken to the cinema to see, which seems kind of bizarre to me because I must have been about three or four years old. I don't understand why my parents would have taken me to see it; maybe they couldn't get a babysitter or something. I don't really remember watching it in the cinema at that age, but I remember it being very busy outside in the street. People were very excited. I vaguely remember watching it on TV when I was a child. Then when the video recorders came along, I used to go to my father's every fortnight to stay with him, and I used to always ask him to rent the film for me. So I used to see it every fortnight. I was maybe 9 or 10.

I haven't seen it for ages, actually, but I think even up into my early 20s, I loved it. For lots of sentimental reasons and stuff, but as a kid and a teenager, it was one of my favorite movies. It's utterly ridiculous to me now, when I look at it, because John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John were like 40 years old [editor's note: Travolta was 24, Newton-John was 30], playing 17 year olds or something. It's pretty daft. I guess it must have been one of my first times being exposed to that American aesthetic, and I've always liked that. Leather jackets and diners and drive-ins and that kind of café culture, with the jukebox and all that, have always been kind of cool to me, and I was sort of fascinated with it. It's very different from British café culture I think.

Everything seemed very colorful and exciting. Obviously I wasn't around in the '50s, thankfully, so I don't really know what it was like, but when I imagine the '50s in the U.K., I imagine it to be very gray and dirty. Obviously we had some kind of café culture, in the '50s and '60s, kids hanging about in coffee houses and probably starting to listen to rock and roll music and American music. I imagine it was the same in the '50s in the States, the burst of rock and roll and pre-sexual revolution and all that.

I liked Rizzo [Stockard Channing's character] when I was a teenager, because I thought she was cool. But I suppose when I was younger, I probably loved Danny, John Travolta's character. I loved him. I thought when I grew up I was going to find some guy wearing a white T-shirt with a crap classic hairdo. And actually the strange thing is that my boyfriend actually does wear white T-shirts and is into sort of festive Americana, so maybe Grease has got a lot more to answer for than I give credit. 

It's a favorite of mine for almost sentimental reasons. It seems that it was such a big part of my childhood. People at school would sing the songs. Maybe they did because of me, that I was some little Grease freak. I don't know.

(As told to Frank Valish. Portions of Tracyanne Campbell's conversation have been abridged and edited for structure and flow.)



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Patrick
May 18th 2011
6:37pm

I love her.