Aug 23, 2012

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

If Bye, Bye, Birdie got it completely wrong, I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) got it right.  Set on the evening of the Beatles' American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964, it follows the adventures of four girls trying to meet the Fab Four in person -- for various reasons.
1. To convince Paul McCartney to marry her.
2. To get a photo scoop.
3. To protest the Beatles' terrible music.
4. To have a fun evening with friends.

There are also 4 boys, there for various reasons.

1. The cute but nerdy Larry (Marc McClure, Jimmy Olsen in the 1978 Superman movie) lends them his car because he wants to fit it.

2. The sullen bad boy Tony (Bobby DiCicco) hates the Beatles and wants to protest.

3.  Ringo (Eddie Deezen) wants to make a lot of money by stealing a personal item from their hotel room.

4. Peter (Christian Juttner) is a big fan.

This is itself a big improvement, an acknowledgement that the Beatles appealed to both boys and girls.  But there is more.

Peter's interest in the Beatles marks him as gender-transgressive to his peers and parents.  His father especially hates his Beatles mop top -- "It makes you look like a girl," and refuses to let him go to the performance until he gets a haircut.  So he sneaks out, determined to stay true to both his devotion to the Beatles and his "girly" fashion sense.

Christian Juttner, then 14, specialized in male-bonding vehicles.  Unfortunately, his career ended with his adolescence, shortly after The Ghosts of Buxley Hall (1980).

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