Thursday, February 10, 2005

Teenage Crush? I Didn't Have...Oh. Maybe I Did

Weekend Assignment #47: Reveal Your Teenage Celebrity Crush! Oh, come on. We all had one. Share yours, and tell us why that particularly celebrity tripped your teenage trigger.

Extra Credit: Tell us: Do you still have a little teeny bit of a crush on that celebrity? Yes? No? Maybe so?

When I first saw this assignment this afternoon, I honestly couldn't think of a celebrity on whom I had a crush as a teenager.  Oh, I "loved" Davy Jones of the Monkees at one point, but I was only nine or ten years old at the time. 

By high school, I was into Star Trek and the Beatles. My interest in the Beatles had everything to do with the music and lyrics (I even did a project on their music for Social Studies), and virtually nothing to do with whether Paul McCartney was cute. What mattered was that he wrote or cowrote great songs. As for John Lennon, well, have you seen what he looked like in the late 1960s and early 1970s?  Talented, absolutely. Interesting and charismatic, you bet.  Cute?  Not so much.  And George and Ringo were also-rans.  As I say, my interest was in songwriting ability. John and Paul battled each other to a photo finish in that department, leaving everyone else far behind. (By the way--and that wasn't meant to be a pun--this is where John Scalzi went wrong with his Super Bowl rule last week. They could cancel everything but the halftime, as far as I'm concerned. Paul McCartney's brief concert was the only part of the broadcast that I watched.  I enjoyed it very much.) 

My Star Trek fandom ran along similar lines. Kirk, Bones and Spock were great characters, and Chekov and Sulu were kind of cute, but I had absolutely no romantic thoughts about any of the actors who played them (or Scotty for that matter). As with the Beatles, my interest was in the writing.  I admired the (admittedly spotty) work of Gene Roddenberry, the great episode ("The Trouble with Tribbles") and two Star Trek books by David Gerrold, and the extraordinary episode "City on the Edge of Forever" by  Harlan--

Harlan Ellison flyer, Syracuse University, 1976Oh.

I did have a crush on a celebrity in high school.  He wasn't an actor, at least, not primarily.  He wasn't a rock star.  He was--still is--a writer.

Harlan Ellison is a screenwriter and short story writer who prefers the term "fantasist" to "science fiction writer," at least as applied to his own work.  He wrote for the old Outer Limits and the 1980s version of The New Twilight Zone, and was creative consultant to JMS on Babylon 5.  His short stories have won a slew of Hugo and Nebula awards, and he's edited three groundbreaking sf anthologies under the title Dangerous Visions, the third of which has been in the works for several decades. He wrote two books of television criticism, and he's even hosted his own radio show. Beyond all that, he writes marvelous introductions to his work, is a great raconteur, and is entertainingly (some would say infuriatingly) opinionated on a wide range of subjects.

I spent eleventh and twelfth grades buying paperbacks by Harlan Ellison, as avidly as I bought Beatles LPs.  I wrote to him twice, and got replies.  I had dinner with him, along with then-boyfriend Bob and then-roommate Evelyn, when he came to Syracuse during my sophomore year in college. I don't think I'll tell you about my later visit to his house, in the rain. I've already written at length about his contribution to my getting together with my husband, so I'll just post the link in case you missed it, plus the link to my favorite authors page, and leave it at that.

Extra Credit:  Do I still think Harlan's cute?  You mean now?  Not having seen him in a few decades, I have no strong opinion on the subject, but chances are good that he's no longer as visually attractive as he once was.  It doesn't matter, because that was never the source of my interest, and I've long since moved on.  I seldom think about Harlan any more, unless something reminds me of him, such as a discussion of Clarion, Babylon 5, lawsuits, or the best episodes of Star Trek (TOS).  But it's safe to say that I'm still fond of Harlan, as an interesting guy who mattered a lot to me a very long time ago.  I no longer want or need anything from him, aside from his books and the memories I have; but I wish him well.


Right: A flyer advertising Harlan's appearance at Syracuse University, December 11, 1976 The artist's name appears to be Jeff something.


justcherie said...

Cool choice!  And although I never knew it when I lived there, according to Internet Movie Database, he was born in my home town!  I'm STILL trying to remember a serious crush from my teen years, I'm afraid I'm going to have to skip this week or else settle for Elton John or Robbie Benson  :)

shellys555 said...

My first celebrity crushes came early. Ed "Kookie" Burns was first, followed by David McCallum when I was 11. I still get a thrill watching him. I've seen him on stage 3 times over the years. And I get to watch him weekly on NCIS now. :)

My favorite Monkee was Mickey and I've gotten to see him and Davy Jones perform in the past year, at different times. And Mickey is now waking me up on weekday mornings. He's the new morning DJ on my oldies station. I love hearing that voice 5 days a week.

By the time I was in my teens, my celebrity crushes were large in number, and included Peter Noone, Gerry Marsden, Mike Smith of Dave Clark 5, and nearly every young actor on TV. Well, okay, not just young ones. I had a thing back then for Leonard "Mr. Spock" Nimoy, too.

sakishler said...

Paul being cute, however, is some delicious icing on the cake of great music.

ondinemonet said...

Hey Karen

Yeah, we are about the same age. LOL. I was extremely jealous of Marcia Brady in that one episode of The Brady Bunch. LOL. Now I have that song in my head..."Girl...look what you've done to me". LOL. Also the theme to one of my favorite Neil Simon adaptations. "The Star Spangled Girl."

Always, Carly :)

ryanagi said...

I dug Davey Jones too...but I thought Mikey Dolenz was cuter. LOL Oh my...this would have been a perfect weekend assignment for me. I had soooo many celebrity crushes. I even joined the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew fan club. *blush* John Schneider in the Dukes of Hazzard...yum! He is still hot as Clark Kent's dad on Smallville. I've mentioned a few of my celebrity crushes in the past. LOL