Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An Early Adolescent (Movie) Crush, Part I

Almost two years ago (April 28, 2012) I was posting here about my long, long fascination with the movies. (Link to that post.) And I ... mentioned ... that when I was a boy I had a crush on a movie star, Mona Freeman, whose definitive performance in The Lady from Texas, 1951, had stolen my seven-year-old heart. (Or six-year-old heart. I didn't turn seven until mid-November). Here she is, adorning the cover of Coronet magazine in May 1944, six months before I was born. So, yes, she was an "older woman." I didn't care. My seven-year-old heart started going pitter-patter when I saw her in Lady, and, at the time, I didn't know what that feeling even was. But I found out.

I just checked: Mona Freeman, born in 1926, is still alive! She is only seven years younger than my mom (there's that number seven again!), a datum that would probably have destroyed me in 1951--a datum that kind of destroys me right now, if I'm being honest.

Anyway, I saw a few more Mona Freeman movies back in the day, but then she drifted off my radar to be replaced, as I said in that 2012 post, by ... Tinker Bell.  Yes, I fell for a cartoon character. But be understanding: I was only nine (or eight, depending on when I saw that 1953 film). I hadn't yet fully comprehended the notion that cartoon characters weren't, you know, actual. They seemed real enough to me--Bugs and Woody Woodpecker and the D. Ducks (Daffy and Donald), et al. And Tinker Bell.

I watched the old Disney cartoon again recently, and Tink is ... hot. Sorry. Sounds a bit sick, I know. But I still think she was hot HOT HOT!  It was not just the skimpy costume. She was ... well ...  This is getting embarrassing. She was also ... saucy. Passionate. And as a kid I just didn't see a lot of those qualities in my classmates, none of whom, I imagine, wanted to grow up to be Tinker Bell. And I don't imagine any of them did,either.

Anyway, as the years rolled along--upper elementary, junior high--I found myself staring more and more at the actresses and worrying less and less about which cowboys got shot.

And then ... one junior high school night ... my younger brother, Dave, and I watched a late movie called Jubal, 1956, a Western starring Glenn Ford. And Ernest Borgnine. And Rod Steiger.

And ...

... Valerie French. (Look closely at the poster: Her name's toward the bottom.)

And I was smitten!

TO BE CONTINUED ... BTW: I wrote about Valerie French and this obsession, a little bit ... okay, a whole chapter ... in my memoir Turning Pages: A Memoir of Books, Libraries, and Loss (Kindle Direct). But I'm now going to give you the Full Meal Deal in the next few weeks. (Link to that Kindle book.) You won't believe ...

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