NUMBER EIGHT OF FIFTY COOL THINGS
If you were born somewhere in the 90’s or later, you might not be aware of a time where everyday people attached “works of art encased in metal” to the front of their belts and passed it off as fashion. (I’m talking about “everyday people” as it relates to myself in the suburbs of Southern California where belt buckles are not the norm.)
Anyhow, the latest “cool thing” in my collection as it relates to my work is:
8. MY “GREASE” BELT BUCKLE
I freely admit that I am a lover of musicals. Even in Junior High and High School, when it was odd for a guy to love “The Sound Of Music”, I lived my life like a Broadway trope, singing wherever I could and dancing to the inner beats in my head. It’s the reason I joined the church choir and the local community show-pop-jazz group, “The Steinbeck Singers Unlimited” (which is a whole other post in and of itself).
In fact, when I first moved down to Los Angeles, I made it a point to visit two distinct “Grease” sets: the drive-in theater (where I sang “Sandy” while swinging on the swing set) and Venice High School where the majority of the exteriors were filmed.
“Tell me more, tell me more… Where’d you get those fluorescent shorts?”
Now if you’re wondering how much “Grease” influenced Johnny Bravo, you need look no further than these two pictures:
Johnny definitely carried the Danny Zuko torch with his stereotypical macho personality which overshadows the fact that, at their core, they’re both loyal and good natured.
As you might imagine, it was an ongoing goal of mine to figure out how to do an homage to “Grease” in our show. It took a while but, by the time we got to our fifth season, I finally figured out how to accomplish this goal.
My big idea was to have Little Suzy find Johnny’s old yearbook and discover that Johnny was “a ninety-eight pound weakling” in high school. From there, the episode would be about how Johnny became buffed to win the hand of his high school crush through a flashback story set to 80’s music (not 50’s music because we didn’t want to make him that old!). I had to do a number of rewrites to the outline because the network was worried that the episode was going to be too serious. After all, the show was about high school heartbreak and unrequited love. What’s not funny about that?
In the end, we got “Vince (Depeche Mode, Yaz, Erasure) Clarke” to compose the music, Richard (Psychedelic Furs) Butler to perform a short song for the transformation montage, and we even named Johnny’s crush, Sandy, who was played by Cat Cavadini.
FUN FACT: The Doo Wop Singers for the episode were Cat Cavadini, Tara Strong, and Lea Salonga. Yes! That’s right! The Filipino Tony Award winning actress, Lea Salonga! She did an amazing job harmonizing with Blossom and Bubbles as sort of the fourth “unofficial” Powerpuff Girl. Did I mention that Tom (Biff Tanner) Wilson was also there? (What?! Mic drop!) It truly was a pleasure to be at this record. If you scroll back to my “Number 3 Cool Thing” you can see the cast photo.
So for all you folks whose names are signed “Boogedy boogedy boogedy boogedy Shooby doo-wop she-bop,” enjoy this cruise down memory lane.
And for those who know nothing about the subliminal “John Travolta” repeated over and over in the “Grease” soundtrack, ask me about it the next time you see me and we’ll talk…Read More