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Grease: High School Fun in the ‘50s

Ms. Charito is a Filipino based in Manila. She has worked as an executive assistant and a journalist. She is a widow with a grown-up son.


“Summer loving had me a blast / summer loving happened so fast. These lyrics come to my mind the minute I think of the movie Grease. I was in high school in the late ‘70s when this film hit Manila’s theaters. Back then, some months earlier, Saturday Night Fever had created a stir among the Filipino youngsters.

Since I enjoyed watching John Travolta’s energetic dancing in Saturday Night Fever, I just had to watch Grease, as I was excited to see how the team-up of Travolta (who plays Danny Zuko) and singer Olivia Newton-John (who plays Sandy Olsson) would be. I wasn’t disappointed. It turned out that I liked the movie more than Saturday Night Fever!

Grease is one of those wholesome movies which I would recommend to today’s young people. It’s educational in a way, since it gives us a clear picture of high school life in the ‘50s. Life seemed so simple and carefree back then; perhaps people were still cherishing their victory in the Second World War.

Hopelessly devoted to each other: young lovers Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) and Danny Zuko (John Travolta)

Hopelessly devoted to each other: young lovers Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) and Danny Zuko (John Travolta)

Based on the 1971 Broadway musical of the same name – which underwent some changes in the revivals – the story centers on Danny and Sandy trying to keep their love burning while struggling to please their friends (the greaser gang T-Birds and their female counterpart, the Pink Ladies).

Since I am fond of musicals, I like most of the numbers, my favorites being Grease, Summer Nights, Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee, Greased Lightnin’, Beauty School Dropout and We Go Together. Whenever I’m in parties or social functions held at karaoke bars, I still croon Hopelessly Devoted to You.

"Summer Nights" with Danny Zuko (John Travolta), Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John), the T-Birds, the Pink Ladies and the Rydell gang

"Greased Lightnin'" with Danny and the T-Birds

I’m rather appalled, though, at seeing high school kids of the ‘50s smoking, making out, and having gang rivalries. (I found the character Cha-Cha (played by Annette Charles) too wild!) I can believe this more if they were in college.

For that matter, I find the Rydell principal McGee (played by Eve Arden) weak in disciplining her “wholesome students”. But I still like her because she is funny especially in the scene where she reprimands the “mooners” ("We have pictures of you so-called 'mooners'. Just because the pictures aren’t of your faces, doesn’t mean we can’t identify you.").

It is marvelous, too, to see familiar actors like Sid Caesar (who plays Coach Calhoun), Ellen Travolta (who plays a waitress), and Lorenzo Lamas (who plays the nice guy Tom interested in Sandy).

And I admit that instead of listening to Danny sing Sandy, I am more entertained by the billboard ad in the background showing a cartoon of a hotdog jumping into the bun.


The inspiration for “Greased Lightnin’”: a sleek 1956 Ford Thunderbird

The inspiration for “Greased Lightnin’”: a sleek 1956 Ford Thunderbird

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Likewise, watching Grease gives me a glimpse of how life was in Manila. My late parents used to talk to me about cheap grocery items, low utility bills, peace and order in the society. I also remember, as I was growing up, riding the sleek Thunderbird car that we kept in our garage. How good it felt to live back then!

For those of us who want to unwind from today’s pressures and demands caused by endless global crises, Grease is the film to watch. It’s therapeutic, indeed, and will surely ease the mind.

“Grease is the word...”

We go together

Remembered forever

That’s the way

It should be.

We’re one of a kind.

Our names are signed.

We’ll always be like one.

When we go out at night

And stars are shining bright

Up in the skies above

Or at a high school dance

Where you can find romance

Baby, it might be love.

We’re for each other.

Just like my brother

We’ll always be together.

— The Rydell gang

"We Go Together"

Here are other great John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John films!

Hi! Tell us what you liked about "Grease" :

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on November 18, 2015:

Thanks for stopping by, Glenn! I appreciate it.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on November 16, 2015:

I remember going to see Greece when it first came out in the late 70's. I still enjoy catching it on cable. Your hub brought back a lot of memories of those times. And you discussed things about the interactions that I didn't even catch at the time. Well done.

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on July 20, 2015:

I perfectly agree!

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 20, 2015:

I loved how ONJ went from good girl to the the rockin lady in the black suit, although I sure hoped the John Travolta character was just a fun fling for her. She was too good for him and had too bright a future.

Namsak on July 11, 2014:

I'm not quite sure this is quite such a 'wholesome' movie. If you really listen to the lyrics of 'Greased Lightnin' you will find some are quite suggestive. Other than that it is a great movie all round.

Mary from Chicago area on June 29, 2014:

We had this soundtrack memorized as kids. So much fun.

Anna from chichester on June 25, 2014:

I ADORE this film! It never gets old and John Travolta is amazing!

asereht1970 from Philippines on June 21, 2014:

I love all the songs in Grease. John Travolta is really awesome.

Rhonda Lytle from Deep in the heart of Dixie on June 20, 2014:

I remember standing in line at the theater to see this as a kid. It was so awesome on the big screen. I still love it on DVD now.

MartieG aka 'survivoryea' from Jersey Shore on June 19, 2014:

My children and I love this film-good choice! :>)

queenofduvetcover on June 10, 2014:

One of my favorite films growing up. Great review.

Amine from Doha, Qatar on June 07, 2014:

John travolta, has been awesome through the years, specially in grease, how love is between two seniors, you better run you better leave while you can,

good job

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on May 30, 2014:

@Scott A McCray: Thanks! Glad to hear from you.

Scott A McCray on May 30, 2014:

Still a favorite - takes me back! Great review with wonderful personal insights - that's what being a lensmaster is all about. Kudos.

Lou Cannon from British Columbia, Canada on May 19, 2014:

This is still one of my favorite shows! So happy that other still enjoy it!

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on April 28, 2014:

The music, of course, it's everything about the music. The music of my youth!

Bob Schroeder on April 26, 2014:

Love the music in this movie. It is my daughter's favorite movie.

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on April 18, 2014:

@biorra2: It really is!

biorra2 on April 18, 2014:

Great Movie, timeless.

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on April 08, 2014:

@bpratt lm: Thanks!

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on April 08, 2014:

@tazzytamar: Glad you enjoyed the movie!

Anna from chichester on April 07, 2014:

Great review - Grease never gets old!! John Travolta is just fantastic in every film I've seen him in

bpratt lm on April 02, 2014:

I absolutely love this movie/musical! Your review is fantastic :D

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on February 28, 2014:

I get to see this more now than when it first came out. They play it quite often at Mom's memory care residence. They do love the music! Fun review.

KLGanny on February 26, 2014:

This is one of my favorite musicals of all time. :)

River_Rose on February 22, 2014:

I liked the stars who played in the movie! Great music also! Thanks for sharing!

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on February 22, 2014:

There is no telling how many times I have watched Grease and each time I enjoy it.

WriterJanis2 on February 20, 2014:

This movie does have some really fun music.

Lynn Klobuchar on February 15, 2014:

There is nothing more fun than singing along to "You're the One That I Want" -- in the car, of course, or if I somehow have the TV to myself. Also love the Saturday Night Fever stuff. Regularly remind my kids that if they are going to "strut" they have to be up to John Travolta's specs. Alas, they would rather watch "Pulp Fiction." Shiver.

Danny Gibson from Northampton on February 15, 2014:

To this day I still get an impish thrill from emphasizing out loud the couple of swear words in the 'Greased Lightnin' song whenever the film is on :-)

Tanya Jones from Texas USA on February 14, 2014:

You know, I've never seen Grease. I really ought to do so, especially after your great review above.

Ruthi on February 14, 2014:

I loved Grease in film on stage, and reruns on television! Definitely a musical love story worth watching again and again.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on February 14, 2014:

Stopping back by today to let you know that this article has been featured today on Review This! by the Forever Hopeless Romantic Contributor on Squidoo.

Thank you for this awesome Romantic Movie Review. Happy Valentine's Day!

missmary1960 on February 06, 2014:

One of my all time favs! I LOVE the music :)

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on February 03, 2014:

I do love the movie Grease and I very much remember the first time I saw it.

AJ from Australia on February 01, 2014:

A timeless movie that can be enjoyed over and over again.

Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on January 31, 2014:

I remember this movie being one of my favorites.

dwelburn on January 27, 2014:

I was in high school too. This is a great film, and was the first I ever went to see in the cinema. Went with my mum and sister.

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on January 21, 2014:

@carlyflames: Glad you liked "Grease"! Go and watch it again..ha, ha!

Carla Marie from Philippines on January 21, 2014:

I loved reading your lens.. I totally enjoyed watching this movie! Okay. So I can't claim to have been alive to watch it in the cinemas back then but it's still an AMAZING movie that anyone can enjoy. <3 Now I have to watch it again. HAHA

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on January 13, 2014:

@Zeross4: Hello! Nice meeting you, too!

Renee Dixon from Kentucky on January 13, 2014:

Grease is a great movie, all time classic. Thanks for stopping by, nice to meet you!

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on January 07, 2014:

@corinnephillips1: Enjoy!

corinnephillips1 on January 07, 2014:

I love the movie grease and Im going to see the musical this year

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on January 04, 2014:

@norma-holt: Thanks! Nice meeting you.

norma-holt on January 03, 2014:

Grease was a good movie and you have done well to bring it up. Nice refresher.

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on January 02, 2014:

@acmmelchor: I agree!

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on December 29, 2013:

@Minoru10: Sigh...wish we could bring back the '50s!

Michael Yoshinaka from Honolulu, Hawaii on December 28, 2013:

It was so much fun back then like you said. I miss these kind of movies.

: D

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on December 26, 2013:

@Faye Rutledge: Glad you do! Regards.

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on December 26, 2013:

Love this movie! :)

Charito Maranan-Montecillo (author) from Manila, Philippines on December 21, 2013:

@artbyrodriguez: Glad you also like the movie! Regards.

Beverly Rodriguez from Albany New York on December 21, 2013:

Grease is my favorite movie. I was a teen in the 1950s, and it has some reality of the times to it.

acmmelchor on December 04, 2013:

Even until now, Grease still has one of the best movie soundtracks!

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