Most of you probably know about Hairspray from the 2007 film starring John Travolta, Queen Latifah, Nikki Blonsky, Michelle Pfeiffer, and others, or previously from the Tony Award-winning hit Broadway musical of the same name that ran from 2002 to 2009. Well, the scene above is not from either of those two productions, but from the original 1988 John Waters' camp classic, and it's one of my favorite movies of all time!
For those of you completely in the dark, the story takes place in Baltimore, Maryland in 1962 and it centers around a 'pleasantly plump' teenager named Tracy Turnblatt and her unlikely struggle towards integration after she earns a spot on a local American Bandstand-type dance show.
The original features a veritable who's who of B-List stars, including Ricky Lake as Tracy, Jerry Stiller and Divine as her parents, Sonny Bono and Deborah Harry as the Von Tussles, parents of Tracy's arch-rival on 'The Corny Collins Show,' Amber Von Tussle, Ruth Brown as radio hostess Motormouth Maybelle, and a host of other cameos and cool extras.
Amber, Velma, Edna and Tracy
John Waters' Hairspray makes me smile straight through from the opening to the closing credits. The music and the dancing is authentically vintage 60's, and it's so much fun to watch (the music's very toe-tapping, too!). Just check out this cool clip of one of my favorite dance sequences, where our Ms. Tracy first gets noticed by Corny Collins. It's one of a few such sequences in the film, and they all just add to its charm.
Music and dancing aren't the only things great about the original Hairspray. John Waters is the king of camp and if you like that type of movie, then you'll love this one. There are so many one liners and little things going on, you have to watch it a few times to catch them all. From the names of the characters to comical interactions and happenstances among them, this film adds comedic, surreal genius to a great setting. Here are some of my favorite one-liners from Hairspray:
Penny Pingleton, you know you are punished. From now on you're wearing a giant P on your blouse EVERY DAY to school so that the whole world knows that Penny Pingleton is permanently, positively, punished.
Prudence Pingleton, mother of Penny Pingleton, Tracy's best friend
Geometry Teacher: Tracy Turnblad, once again your ratted hair is preventing another student's geometry education.
Tracy Turnblad: It's feathered, not ratted.
Geometry Teacher: Whatever you call it, it's a hair-don't.
Edna Turnblad: It's the times. They are a-changin'. Something's blowing in the wind. Fetch me my diet pills, would you, Hon?
Velma Von Tussle: And you HAD to pick a colored song, didn't you? You got something against Connie Francis? Shelley Fabares? I LOVE Shelley Fabares!
Amber Von Tussle: Mother, Shake a Tail Feather has a wild song. It's got a good beat and you can dance to it.
When I'm high, I AM Odetta. Let's get naked and smoke.
Beatnik Chick,played by Pia Zadora
Oh, there are so many things about this movie I love, and from writing this post I think I may just have to watch it real soon. Yeah, the musical and the 2007 movie were entertaining, no doubt, but the original is still the best!