I was too young to go see Grease when it was originally in theatres in 1978. I had to wait a few years until it aired on television. (We didn’t get our Betamax until around 1980.) While the story is simple, the dialogue can at times be downright filthy – at least for a kid – and it still surprises me to this day that my parents let me watch it at such a young age. Of course, the television censors had their way with it, so I was probably pretty safe.
My sister, on the other hand, was considered JUST old enough to see it in theatres – and she fell in love with it (although I daresay, she likely didn’t get a lot of the dirty jokes at the time). But as soon as we got VCR technology, it was one of the first movies we recorded from the telly – and she and I must have watched it a dozen times a year.
So, while it’s been a few years since I’ve seen it, I know the dialogue pretty well by heart. And I know the songs right down to the last inflection. It’s just that, in most cases, my fellow viewers don’t want me to sing while they’re trying to enjoy the film.
Well, Saturday was a whole other ballgame. Our local rep theatre was screening Sing-along Grease – and we rounded up a party of about 10 people to take part. Boy was it fun. We didn’t dress in costume, but lots of people did. People were encouraged to heckle our Mr. Travolta. To cheers and boo certain characters. They even gave us props to wave and toss around! What a blast! I nearly lost my voice.
Whoever put it together did a great job. I don’t need subtitles to sing along – like I said, a childhood spent listening to the soundtrack has left the words stamped on my brain – but the subtitles were almost as fun as the movie itself. They only appeared during the songs, but they included lots of playful animation (like devil horns on Rizzo, or using a walking hotdog and bun instead of a bouncing ball during the song “Sandy”) and they substituted some fun images for dirty words – like a black cat instead of the word that fills in the blank of “You know that I ain’t braggin’, she’s a real ____ wagon!”
The hip flasks we decided to carry along with us didn’t hurt our festive spirit. And the atmosphere in the theatre was jubilant. While far from a packed house, everyone there was a fan. Makes me want to try sing-along Sound of Music, if it ever comes back. Not only do I know it even better than Grease (if that’s possible) but I think I might actually dress up for that one!