The 3 Hot Chix of My Childhood

Arriving to this life at the tail end of the Baby Boom I was of course part of the first generation to watch way too much TV; to be baby sat by Captain Kangaroo and Kukla Fran & Ollie and Bugs Bunny and Jed Clampett.

I considered those hours misspent in front of the tube to be a disaster in the development of my social skills, so much so that in the last 2 to 3 decades I’ve largely avoided television viewing and rather view the TV from afar in disgust as an outside observer.

But I still smile and get warm and fuzzy feelings inside whenever I think about or see pictures of Marlo Thomas, Elizabeth Montgomery and Diana Rigg.

marlo-66-jpgcropmore.jpg

These ideal TV women formed my own ideal of the perfect woman when I was just a tyke. Whenever their shows came on (“That Girl,” “Bewitched,” or “The Avengers”) I sat agog in awe of their Barbie-like perfection. They churned up mysterious feelings inside me that at that young age I could not identify or interpret. Back then, in the 60s, it was still possible for a child to go blissfully through life without sex being mentioned. And, if it was mentioned, we really didn’t want to know about it. Back then, “The Talk” about the “birds and the bees” was something we dreaded. No carefree kid, especially brought up Catholic, wants to fidget through their parent’s embarassed, fumbling explanations of uber-serious taboo matters.

They want to learn it on the street.

Oh yeah, there was also Barbara Feldon from “Get Smart” (it was that Jean-Arthur-like buttery voice that gave her an edge). Make that 4 Hot Chix from my childhood. But then I think of Ann-Margret, and Tuesday Weld and Joey Hetherton and Goldie Hawn and Dawn Wells (I was absolutely a “Mary Ann guy”, no contest), well, the list gets a bit unwieldy. (Oddly, Barbara Eden in “I Dream of Jeannie” was probably the hottest of them all, but at the time her excessive makeup on that show made me neutral about her.)

Marlo, Elizabeth and Diana. All thin and pretty and perfect. Their fleeting cathode-ray presence made me know of my heteorosexuality before I knew what the hell that was. I wanted them, but I wasn’t quite sure in what way.

elizabeth-mont-bw-crop.jpg

While I was innocently ogling these idealized unattainable TV women, I was completely and stupidly ignoring the attentions of two cute girls in the neighborhood who were practically at war over me, a brunette gal named Terry and a blonde named Judy. Judy wanted me to play doctor with her for Chissake (the whole magilla: “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine”) and I said no. It was that damned Catholic guilt drummed into me. TV and Catholic guilt kept me boringly pure, and afraid of real life.

There are two things I regret: not playing doctor with Judy, and not buying Microsoft stock in the mid-’70s.

Anyway, I don’t intend to wax rhapsodic in any detail about my perfect TV fantasy women of that era. What hasn’t already been written by pathetic fanboys about Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel? We all know the pull of her rapier wit, her chic confidence, her knowing sly smirk, her tight leathers and kung-fu deadliness. Marlo and Elizabeth were Mrs. Perfect-Hair Domestics, with boring guys in tow who made me jealous. Marlo adorable doing double takes and pouting; Elizabeth irresistable when quizzical. Maybe I saw them more as perfect potential mothers than as potential lovers.

“Bewitched” now strikes me as absurd in the way it expects a woman of power to sublimate all those powers to her husband’s will. The metaphors are obvious and feminists can justly have a field day in the analogizing.

I won’t psychologize either about the damaging socializing effects of being weaned on too-perfect media ideals of womanhood, and what that might do to one’s expectations and interpersonal relations in real life.

Anyway, maybe the following pix can convey some of the appeal of these retro sweeties, and maybe it will help me put these lingering subconscious infatuations to rest:

MARLO:

marlo-pub-cover-66-70per.jpg

marlo-that-girl-color-crop.JPG

marlo-that-girl-tv-pshop.jpg

marlo-tv-guide-66-crop.JPG

marlo-town-mag-80-perc.JPG

ELIZABETH:

elizabethmontgomery-50per.jpg

eliz-jewelry_samantha-80.jpg

elizabeth-mont-007-80per.jpg

DIANA:

diana-rigg-crop.jpg

diana-rigg-poster-90perc.jpg

diana-peel_suit-90perc.jpg

diana-peel_emma8a-90per.jpg

Ah, how can you not be wistful?

-Evan

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3 Responses to The 3 Hot Chix of My Childhood

  1. Barry says:

    Hey! Whilst you are calling us ‘fanboys’ and ‘pathetic’ when talking about about Diana Rigg please get the name of one of the most famous TV characters right – it’s Mrs Emma Peel (not Miss) and also, just for future reference she is known as Dame Diana rather Dame Rigg and her surname is Rigg not Riggs – for some reason people on the other side of the pond manage to get these three simple things wrong 85% of the time.
    I know you got her surname right but I wouldn’t be surprised if you were to mention her title you would say Dame Rigg – sorry ‘pathetic’ and ‘fanboy’ just got to me on this dull Saturday morning here in London!

    A pathetic fanboy – of a certain age now 🙂

  2. gravybread says:

    Thanks for reading and for taking the time to delineate various subtleties. Her name is Diana Rigg regardless of some royal courtesy title. When I ogled her in the 60s, she was Diana Rigg. This is a retrospective piece, so being anachronistic about it is senseless. Wherein in my piece do I call her RIGGS anyway? I re-read it and can’t find that. We still call Judi Dench, Judi Dench and Laurence Oliver Laurence Olivier, not “the late Lord Laurence Olivier.” Calling a person by their actual name is not incorrect. There’ a hint of sarcasm and knowing hypocrisy in my use of ‘fanboy’ that eluded you. So, in a nutshell I erred on the Mrs. Emma Peel vs. the Miss. I haven’t watched the show in years, and like I said, it was written from the recollection of childhood, not as someone who is a member of the Avengers fan club or an Avengers trivia master. Thanks for the smiley 😉
    -Evan

  3. masetudo says:

    NATURAL BEUTHTFUL WOMEN

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