Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | November 25, 2007

80s Music Video Sunday #45

Boys, consider yourselves warned. This week’s entry is for the girls…

Ok, ladies, please raise your hands if you didn’t fantasize about replacing Jennifer Grey in the movie Dirty Dancing, especially during those scenes when Patrick Swayze was teaching her how to dance. Just as I expected. I don’t see any hands raised. Not a one. Well, obviously. We all wanted to be the one who “carried a watermelon”. We all wanted Patrick Swayze to teach us that leap in the water. Admittedly, I don’t know anyone who actually wanted to be called “Baby”, though I do have one friend “attended Mount Holyoke in the fall”, after the movie was released.

I loved this movie, not only for the obvious bits mentioned above, but also because I was a child of the Catskills, where the movie took place (though it was actually filmed in North Carolina and Virginia). While we didn’t go there for summers, a lifetime of Passovers was spent at various hotels in the area, and aside from the fact that the wait-staff that had once been comprised of smiling, young college kids was now mostly comprised of native Spanish and Portuguese speakers from Latin America, our experiences there could have come straight from the script of Dirty Dancing, from the plethora of activities (I still have half a backscratcher from the Fallsview, which I won playing Bingo), to the evening shows, to the copious amounts of food served at every meal. The schedule of activities was printed up on a daily basis and available at the front desk, and we would pore over it every morning, seeking out the activities that caught our fancy (miniature golf competitions with prizes), groaning when they conflicted other desirable activities (trivia contests for prizes). There were dance lessons, fashion shows, and endless rounds of Simon Says (more often than not led by the gentlemen described in this article). There was the arcade (“can I have more quarters, Grandma/Grampa/Mom/Dad?”), the swimming pool and the ice skating rink, and one hotel even had a bowling alley. We were busy from the moment we woke in the morning until we fell into bed at night, which was probably a good thing, given how much food we were packing in at each meal.

When my mother, in her youth, would go away to the Catskills with her entire extended family, they were encouraged to fraternize with the aforementioned wait-staff, who were, as I mentioned, young college kids, and most of them, I believe, were Jewish (as were many of the guests). Friendly relationships were welcomed, and waiters and daughters were introduced. By the time we were going to the Catskills, the situation had changed. You’d have been hard-pressed to find a young, Jewish college student among them, and it wasn’t much easier to find a native English speaker. Relationships were no longer encouraged, but me being me, I was fascinated by the young, shy Spanish speakers, and while I carried no watermelons and went to no parties, I did manage to make a few friends along the way.

Between my mother’s stories and my own annual pilgrimages, I truly felt that the Catskill experience was my own, and needless to say, Dirty Dancing resonated with me in a way that other movies did not. Whenever I see it, old, long-forgotten memories are dredged up, exciting, childhood memories from a more innocent time.

And of course, those dance scenes were really hot… Check out the dance sequences threaded into Eric Carmen’s video for “Hungry Eyes”, and you’ll see what I mean.

Hungry Eyes
Eric Carmen

I’ve been meaning to tell you
I’ve got this feelin’ that won’t subside
I look at you and I fantasize
You are mine tonight
Now I’ve got you in my sights

With these hungry eyes
One look at you and I can’t disguise
I’ve got hungry eyes
I feel the magic between you and I

I want to hold you so hear me out
I want to show you what love’s all about
Darlin’ tonight
Now I’ve got you in my sights

With these hungry eyes
One look at you and I can’t disguise
I’ve got hungry eyes
I feel the magic between you
And I’ve got hungry eyes
Now I’ve got you in my sights
With these hungry eyes
Now did I take you by surprise

I need you to see
This love was meant to be

I’ve got hungry eyes
One look at you and I can’t disguise
I’ve got hungry eyes
I feel the magic between you
And I’ve got hungry eyes
Now I’ve got you in my sights
With those hungry eyes
Did I take you by surprise

With my hungry eyes

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Responses

  1. I actually screamed outloud the theater when Dr. Houseman said, “Baby’s starting Mt. Holyoke in the fall”. This was two weeks before labor day!!!

  2. I’m trying to remember how many times a bunch of us went to see this movie in the theater. 2? 3? Yes, we all swooned for Johnny Castle…even when he utters one of the most asinine lines of dialogue EVER written: “No one puts Baby in a corner!


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