Sunday, May 19, 2019

A tale of two blondes

This past week, we lost Doris Day. I have always adored her. In her way, she was as natural and affecting onscreen as Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift strived to be. She was also important as a pre-feminist feminist. She spoke her mind, she was spirited and always, always true to herself. When critics joke about her being the poster girl for virginity, they miss the point completely. The Doris Day heroine wasn't constitutionally opposed to giving up her cherry; she hated being lied to. It's isn't sex that she objects to, it's being maneuvered or tricked into bed.

Watch her again, with fresh eyes. Admire the ambition, independence and honesty in her performances. She was the quintessential All-American Girl, and her screen persona will make you feel good, and feel proud.

Peggy Lipton also died this week at 72. I grew up on her, too. Or, rather, Julie Barnes of The Mod Squad. That show was the center of my grade school Tuesday nights. Three kids ("one black, one white, one blonde") went undercover and fought crime.

I had handsome Pete's picture in my locker. He was the rich kid rebel, misunderstood by his Beverly Hills family. But Julie was the influential one in my group. The way she wore her hair. Her sweaters and fringe-trimmed purses. Her backstory was also important. She was a runaway. Something bad (sexual abuse?) was going on at home, so Julie did what it took to save herself and she ran. While she appeared vulnerable, and the boys were always very protective of her, we girls never doubted Julie could take care of herself. We just knew no one could take Julie Barnes down.

Also, her relationships with Pete and Linc were fascinating to us. Obviously, she couldn't have an affair with Linc. I mean, it was  primetime TV in the 1960s and interracial romance was simply not on the table. But what about handsome Pete? Julie had platonic friendships with men. This was a big deal at the time. It was liberating. You could relate to men without romance or the scary idea of sex seeping in to it. You go, girl!

Speaking of sex, Peggy had an on/off affair with Himself, Sir Paul McCartney, between 1964 and 1968. Meaning he called her whenever he was in Los Angeles and she came running. By all accounts, including his own, he treated her rather badly during their relationship and dumped her unceremoniously when he fell for Linda. I didn't know any of this at the time, since the Beatles had quite the squeaky-clean image in real time, but I admit it adds to her aura. She had her heart broken by The Cute One!

RIP, Girlfriend.





3 comments:

  1. I didn't hear about Peggy Lipton--how sad. And Doris Day--what a legend!

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  2. Josh and I watched a Doris Day movie last night.

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  3. I loved the Mod Squad, too, though my recall of it is poor. I wonder how it would hold up if I watched if I watched it now.

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