Tony Curtis: The Original Heartthrob

Tony Curtis

Tony Curtis wasn’t just good-looking.  He was ridiculously good-looking.

The jet-black, spit-curled hair.  The piercing blue eyes.  The tight, athletic body.  The brilliant smile.  The Bronx bravado and machismo.  They were all there.  He wasn’t just a matinee idol.  He was a great actor in a beautiful shell.

I remember the first time I saw Tony Curtis in a film.  The film was “Houdini,” and it was one of the many films featured as “Family Classics,” presented by WGN TV in Chicago by the legendary Frazier Thomas.  I spent many Sundays  with my family, watching classic movies like “Old Yeller,” “When Worlds Collide,” and “My Friend Flicka.”  “Houdini” was one of my favorites though, mostly because of the story of Harry Houdini, but especially because of the impossible-to-resist Tony Curtis in the lead role.

Cover of
Cover of Houdini

I was a pretty clever kid back in the day.  I paid attention to details, like actors’ names and directions to my relative’s homes.  It’s a trait that has stuck with me to this very day.  I knew the name “Tony Curtis,” and as I grew older, I would seek out films featuring stars I had seen that I had liked.   Tony Curtis was one of those stars.  Sure, I knew he was much older than me, but I didn’t care– I knew that he was good-looking and a good actor.  That’s all that mattered to me.

One of my favorite films was “Trapeze.”  It featured Curtis and Burt Lancaster, with the sultry Gina Lollobrigida in her first American movie role.  It was a tense, sexy movie that featured Curtis and Lancaster in all forms of skimpy attire.  My young gay self could hardly stand it.

Tony CurtisIt would be years before I finally caught all of the incredibly funny “Some Like It Hot,” with Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe in the hilarious cross-dressing camp classic.  It quickly became one of my all-time favorite films– featuring someone I had admired for years, even though I never really had the chance to know how good he was at comedy as well as drama.

I could go on about his later years:  the crummy movie choices, the multiple wives, and the bouts with drugs and recovery– but I really prefer to remember Tony Curtis for the man he was at the top of his game.  I wanted to be him.  I wanted hair like his, lips like his, eyes like his.  He was the man every woman (and many men) wanted, and the man every man wanted to be.  He was, for me, my original heartthrob.

Sex and the City? Sex IN the City? How about just SEX?

Sex and the City castEver since Sarah Jessica Parker first strode upon our screens in her mile-high stilettos and poufy, crazy outfits, I’ve trying to figure out why everyone is so crazy about Sex and the City.  

I have friends who have seen every episode.  Twice.  Some have seen it even more than that.  They quote lines and recite scenarios as if it happened to them just yesterday.  They rave about the fashions and the sex and the boyfriends and the dialogue. I honestly think they believe they are living the lives of these four women at times; and certainly if they aren’t living their lives, they WANT to live their lives.

So when the Sex and the City movie was released this past weekend, it was as if the second coming had occurred.  All over Chicago, “Cosmo Parties” were being held in celebration of the event.  Women are said to arrive at the theaters showing the movie in stiletto heels and wearing bright pink.  It’s as if the red carpet were rolled out across the land and Kim Cattrall were stepping out of a limo.  

And today I was with some friends who had seen it and they were gushing– literally GUSHING– about the fashions, the hairstyles, and the shoes.  They talked of crying more than once during the film.  

Crying. Really? 

Folks, I don’t really get it.  I mean, it’s a cute show, and I’m sure it really is a good movie.  I’ve always enjoyed it, but it was never required viewing for me.  When it first started (when I lived with roommates) I watched it fairly regularly, but after I moved into my current apartment I went for about 3 years without HBO or any sort of cable, so I fell out of practice with all cable shows.  As everyone started buying the DVD sets, I stuck to good old fashioned TV.  

It’s not that I don’t relate with these four horny ladies.  I mean, I like sex as much as the next guy or girl.  I like it a lot.  But watching someone else get laid on a semi-regular basis when I’m going through a dry spell is not my idea of fun.  It just makes me bitter, and honestly, I’m tired of the bitter scene.  

So I’m on the fence about whether I want to see the Sex and the City movie.  I suppose I’d better make up my mind quickly or else I’m going to have to shut myself off from the rest of the gay world for a while.  Either that or I’m gonna have to get myself laid, and soon.  

Or maybe I should see what all the fuss is about and actually start watching the show.   Hmm…