The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on March 30, 1998 · Page 5
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 5

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Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Monday, March 30, 1998
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Page 5
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T THE SALINA JOURNAL ENTERTAINMENT AS 'Grease' fire The hit musical By RON KAMPEAS The Associated Prp.w NEW YORK — Sara Wolensky has no idea who Sandra Dee is. But she and her best buddy, Amanda Philips, know all the lines — and moves — to the song lampooning the 1950s Princess of Prude. In fact, the two teen-agers have memorized all of "Grease," the paean to hormonal longing that predates their births and ritualizes a time of Eisenhower innocence. And they're not alone. Across the land, if revival, video, album sales are to be believed, there are millions of others who've got the same chills, and they're multiplying. Twenty years after it first appeared on screens, "Grease" truly is the "The Word." Paramount Pictures, hopeful the faithful will still come, has released a digitally remastered version. Visiting New York from Peters Township, Pa., to replay the ritual at a restaurant that has given itself over to "Grease" karaoke, Wolensky and Philips are ready. After hundreds of times viewing bad girl Rizzo (Stockard Channing) saying, "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee," they know exactly when to roll their eyes — bemoaning the state of "lousy with virginity" — and cross their legs, chiding Troy Donahue for saying, "What you wanna do?" When they launch into the complex "hand jive" on screen, a coven of true believers in the audience, from as far afield as Texas and Sweden, join in the Gospel of Grease, hand-jiving with the actors. "It's so carefree, so easy," 15- year-old Wolensky explained. "Music today is so full of problems," she said. "Everyone I know is into 'Grease.' " "It's up. It's bubbly," Philips, 17, chimed in. Carefree, easy, up and bubbly. So is "The Sound of Mu- is back, and audiences say it's the one they want PT \ / File photo Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta star in the 1978 film "Grease," which has been re-released for its 20th anniversary. The movie remains popular with movie fans young and old. sic." But efforts to revive that triumph of treacle have largely failed. And who, for that matter, knows all the penguin moves to "Jolly Holiday" from "Mary Poppins"? Why has "Grease," no less of a cartoon stocked with stereotypes, become such a cult? It continues to top video sales charts, reemerged on Billboard's album lists five years ago, and a recent Broadway revival enjoyed a long run with a bevy of celebrities rotating the roles of Rizzo, Sandy and Danny. Even Randall Kleiser, the film's director, is nonplused by the phenomenon. "I recently went to a midnight show with Olivia Newton- John and Didi Conn," two of the movies' stars, he recalled. "It was like 'Rocky Horror,' the audience was in '50s outfits, repeating dialogue, singing along, hand-jiving in their seats." "Grease," at least to the nonbeliever, seems like a relic of the nostalgia obsession of the 1970s that inspired TV shows like "Happy Days" and "The Waltons." Costumed pretties spout bland homilies anachronistically interpolated with 1970s hallmarks (in "Grease's" case, leather pants and disco backbeats). "I never imagined it would have done this business," says the movie's producer, Alan Carr, echoing just about every other participant in the production. Since its debut in 1978, "Grease" has grossed more than $340 million. With hindsight, they attribute the success to a combination of the catchy (some might say ingratiating) score by Barry Gibb, based on the original musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, and the universality of the high school experience it conveys. Conn, who played Frenchy, explained that the cast, which starred John Travolta as Danny, Newton-John as Sandy and Frankie Avalon as Teen Angel, immersed themselves in the high school Zeitgeist for the 57- day shoot by speaking to each other only in character when the cameras were on and off. Even the nonspeaking dancers were assigned names and characteristics, Conn said. MOVIES A little 'Grease' can't sink the good movie 'Titanic' By The Associated Press LOS ANGELES — "Titanic" was No. 1 for a record 15th week as "Grease" failed to slide the box office behemoth out of the top spot, according to industry estimates Sunday. "Titanic" earned $16 million to boost its North American tally to $516 million — it passed the $500 million mark Thursday. "Grease," another Paramount product, opened with $13 million in receipts, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. The musical starring Olivia Newton John and John Travolta was digitally remastered for its 20th anniversary re-release during the weekend. "The exit polls are great. People are singing and clapping and applauding. It's all ages and demographics," studio spokesman Blaise Noto said. Travolta also starred in the third-place film "Primary Colors," which grossed $7.3 million in its second week of release. "Titanic" star Leonardo Di- Caprio also was in the No. 4 movie, "The Man in the Iron Mask," which grossed $6.6 million in its third week. "Titanic" had a mere 7 percent drop in business. Its record-tying 11 Academy Awards simply continued the movie's momentum rather than contributing to a surge, Noto said. THEATRES For MOVIE Selections and SHOWTIMES Call: 825-91O5 We've gone world wide web! www.dickinsontheatres.com <> Parties * & Events • Arches • Balloon Bouquets • Columns 827-8448 921 Shalimar Dr behind Southgate Dairy Queen BILLS BILLS BILLS CONSOLIDATE $10,000-$110/mo. to $50,000 - $550/mo. NO EQUITY REQUIRED 1-800-819-7010 HOMEOWNERS ONLY NATIONWIDE LENDING CORP. Hours: 8:00 am-8:00 pm LOANS SHOWN Based on 11.99% 20 Year Term at 12.39% APR. ORE LIC #01019697 (AD016) MISSING Since Tues. March 24, 1998 8:40 p.m. Minneapolis, KS. Tabitha Ann Marie Hanchett (Tabby) Age: Height: Weight: Hair: Eyes: 17 5'4" 119 pounds Brown Brown Last seen wearing dark sweats, T-shirt, and sandals. 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