On June 16, 1978, the iconic movie-musical “Grease” burst onto the silver screen. This June marks 40 years since the world was introduced to the Pink Ladies and T-Birds, endlessly cool in their satin, pink bombers and leather jackets.
The film’s plot, ridden with relatable teen-angst, underage drinking and thrusting men in tight pants, plus a memorable cast of characters, like sunny Sandy, slick Danny, tough Rizzo and bubble-gum-haired Frenchy, have secured it as one of the most beloved movies of all time.
In a nod to “Grease’s” 40th anniversary, the Levoy Theatre (126-130 N. High St. Millville) will host a sing-along screening of the film 8 p.m. Friday, June 8. Tickets are $10, and can be purchased at Levoy.net. Come ready to belt out of your favorite songs.
“Aside from the iconic songs, lovable characters and unforgettable soundtrack, ‘Grease’ is a throwback to a simpler time,” says education director for the Levoy Theatre Tyler Daddario of the enduring nature of the film they’ll pay tribute to on Friday. “‘Grease’ celebrates what it means to have friends and make lifelong (if not crazy) memories with them. In a sometimes troubling world, it’s nice to remember that with a ‘shooby doo-wop she-bop,’ we really all can ‘go together.’”
Inspired by the Levoy’s sing-along and in honor of the songs we’ve been humming for 40 years now, here are some ways to celebrate the anniversary in the true spirit of “Grease.”
Any T-Birds looking for a hot rod to admire should head to Smithville this weekend. On Friday, June 8, the historic village will host one of its classic car cruises from 5 to 8 p.m. The parking lot of the Village Greene is sure to be full of shined-up cars ready to be gawked at. If that’s not enough, a second GM auto show will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 9. This show will only include GM-powered cars and is hosted by the AC Corvette Club. Located at 615 E. Moss Mill Road, Galloway. Go to HistoricSmithville.com.
‘We Go Together’
That carnival scene at the end of “Grease” begs a couple of questions: how did the school have enough money to mount a carnival of that size? Where did Sandy and Danny get that red car? Why is it flying?
We don’t have answers for these questions, but we do have a place that looks just as much fun as that carnival. Grab your best high school chums and head to the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, where there are such appropriately “Grease” named rides as “Rock and Roll” and “Twist and Shout.” Your car may not take flight, but you’ll sure have a good time. Located at 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City. Go to SteelPier.com.
‘Grease is the Word’
“Grease” director Randal Kleiser actually didn’t like the opening song, which bears the same name as the film, because he claimed it had too much of a ‘70s beat to it, making it an outlier to the ‘50s style of the rest of the songs. But, nevertheless it was left in the movie, and one of the catchiest songs ever penned was born.
Written by disco legend Barry Gibb, “Grease” was sung by Frankie Valli, with Gibb on backing vocals and Peter Frampton on guitar. There’s a chance you can hear the tune live when Valli comes to the soon-to-be opened Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. You’ll have to wait until July 27 for the concert, but you can get your tickets to the show now at Ticketmaster.com. Hard Rock is located at 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City. Go to HardRockHotelAtlanticCity.com for info.
‘Shoo-bop, sha wadda wadda’
Wildwood is a dream town for lovers of all-things 1950s, thanks to its Doo Wop Museum. A product of the Doo Wop Preservation League, it has a huge array of memorabilia, including signs, vintage diner chairs, art, furniture and more from the ‘50s. If you’re interested in a walk down memory lane, don’t wait, as the Doo Wop museum is only open on weekends until June 21. Located at 4500 Ocean Ave., Wildwood. Call 609-523-1958 for information and summer hours.
‘Beauty School Dropout’
One of the most memorable scenes in “Grease” is when a pink-haired Frenchy is visited by her “Teen Angel” after revealing that she just dropped out (read: flunked out) of beauty school. The Teen Angel, played by South Philly-born Frankie Avalon, doesn’t mince words. He tells her, via the song “Beauty School Dropout,” to “turn in her teasin’ comb and go back to high school.” Frenchy, wisely, heeds his advice and returns to school (at least in “Grease 2”).
You can catch Avalon, along with two other singin’ Philly dudes — Fabian and Bobby Rydell (for whom Rydell High was named after) — when these 1950s icons perform in Dick Fox’s Golden Boys 9 p.m., July 7, at The Grand at Golden Nugget. Tickets are $55 and $65. Go to GoldenNugget.com.
‘Peachy keen, jelly bean’
Of course, the amazing Stockard Channing will always be remembered for playing Betty Rizzo, the hard on the outside but soft in the middle leader of the Pink Ladies, in the movie. But did you know that Brooke Shields played Rizzo on Broadway in the mid-90s?
This week, you can catch this acclaimed actress, model and author as the keynote speaker at the 25th Women’s Forum benefiting the Greater Atlantic City Charities on Thursday, June 7, at Golden Nugget Atlantic City. Doors open with a reception and silent auction at 10 a.m. The luncheon, which will feature an Athleta fashion show begins at 11:45 a.m. and will be followed by speaker Shields, who, aside from her modeling/acting career, has written two memoirs about her struggles with postpartum depression and her relationship with her alcoholic mother, and is presently on the board of WIN, an organization dedicated to providing housing, services and programs to homeless women and children in New York City. Tickets are $125 per person. Located at 600 Huron Ave., Atlantic City. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 609-645-7100, ext. 125.
‘Stranded at the drive in’
After getting angry at Danny for trying to cop a feel on her at the drive in, Sandy storms off leaving Danny all alone (and apparently in the mood to sing a little ditty about it).
While not many drive-in theaters are left in America, we are lucky enough to have one right in Vineland — the Delsea Drive-In. We suggest you head down with your sweetheart to catch whatever flicks might be playing. Just don’t try any slick moves with your date, as they seem to be cause for big drama/ring throwing incidents. Located at 2203 S. Delsea Drive in Vineland. DelseaDrive-in.com.
The malt shop
It seems like every movie that references the ‘50s has to have a scene that takes place in a malt shop. “Grease” follows suit with this policy, with a classic scene that involves Kenickie getting doused with a shake via Rizzo.
Though we certainly don’t advocate engaging in that type of behavior, we do suggest that anyone looking to take a trip back in time should head to Cool Scoops, a 1950s themed malt shop/soda shop/ice cream parlor in North Wildwood that boasts an absolutely mind-blowing collection of pop culture artifacts from years gone by. A lot of ice cream parlors attempt to go for this vibe, but Cool Scoops blows them all away. With an array of classic cars that have been re-purposed as booths, antique barber chairs, jukeboxes, phone booths and an endless collection of toys and magazines — it needs to be seen to be believed. The attention to detail and sheer amount of memorabilia inside is utterly stunning. And the ice cream ain’t half bad either. Located at 1111 New Jersey Ave. in North Wildwood. CoolScoops.com.
Early in the film, Danny and Sandy duet from afar on the track “Summer Nights,” which details their summer romance that “happened so fast” prior to the school year starting. To truly recreate this concept would, of course, require you to engage in a summer fling (something that may be frowned upon by your spouse). So instead, perhaps booking a night or two at Summer Nites bed and breakfast in North Wildwood might make for a more suitable option.
From the outside the space looks like any normal seaside beach house, but in truth this spot makes for a perfect place to get your “Grease” on, as the entire bed and breakfast is themed in the style of the 1950s. Art deco furniture pieces and retro wall art, along with neon lights, vintage pin ball games and an on-site 1950s diner all help to create the right ambiance for your own Summer Nights. In addition, the guest rooms are all themed — there is an “Elvis Suite,” a “Marilyn Suite,” a “50s TV Suite” and more. Located at 2110 Atlantic Ave. in North Wildwood. SummerNites.com.