September 14, 2009

I Had The Time Of My Life

I can't think of any other film star in recent memory who truly made a name for himself instantly with 5 minutes of screen time. But that's exactly what Patrick Swayze did when he took his Baby for a spin in the ludicrous but utterly fantastic finale of "Dirty Dancing" (which I'd encourage you to watch on YouTube). Today, on hearing the news of his passing, I look back fondly on Patrick's star making moment.

I still remember quite vividly the day I saw that film (August 27, 1987), the place (White Flint Mall, Theater 1) and who I was with (both my parents, who I thought might enjoy the 60's angle....for the record they didn't). I also remember how, a week later when I returned to school in Boston, I went to Tower Records and asked if they had the soundtrack. Unbelievably, they didn't. The movie was such a surprise sleeper of a hit that the soundtrack didn't come out until October. I know this because I went to every record store in Boston for five weekends in a row looking for it. When it was finally released, it went to #1 on Billboard and stayed there for 18 weeks, going platinum 11 times over and selling more than 42 million copies.

Though Swayze had many roles in nearly 50 films and TV shows, with wonderful turns in "Ghost", "The Outsiders" and the mini-series "North & South", he will always be remembered for those 5 minutes and hey, there's nothing wrong with that. He walked onto that stage at Kellerman's just another cute, muscly aspiring Hollywood hunk and left it an icon. Not bad for few minutes work. Not bad at all...

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