The time of my life

I was 12-years-old when Dirty Dancing came out on the big screen.  It was perfect timing due to the fact that I had recently announced to my family that I was going to either dance on Broadway or be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader when I grew up.  I was infatuated with MGM musicals, going to the theater and the Mickey Mouse Club on the Disney Channel.

Clearly, my Mom saw the word “dirty” in the title of this movie I HAD TO SEE and decided it was not fit for a young girl. 

Annoyingly, my older sister saw the movie about 58 times and would come home and tell me about the music, the moves and the beauty of Patrick Swayze.

Oh how we loved Patrick Swayze.

Those of you who are movie savvy probably figure my sister and I fell in love with Patrick in the Outsiders or Red Dawn.  (Mother totally let me watch a movie about the dawn of World War III as kids in Mid-Western America band together to fight for their town, their country and their freedom.)  Although Patrick did bring lots of eye candy to the silver screen, I was much more interested in C. Thomas Howell and the dude who played Ponyboy (who was also the Karate Kid) at that time in my life.

No, no.  Patrick entered the House of Ray on one faithful night I shall never forget.

The year was 1985.  My Mom is in her bedroom watching a mini-series about the Civil War.  My sister and I wander in and settle ourselves on the bed.  Within the first 10 minutes we are all three hooked and mesmerized by Orry Main.


WHAT THE WHAT???  When did Swayze turn into a hotter than crap actor?

Needless to say, North & South sucked us in for the next six days only to TORTURE us with part two of the mini-series concluding SIX MONTHS LATER!  I’m quite sure this had never been done in the history of television. 

Fast forward to 1987.  Jamie is still going on and on and on about how awesome Dirty Dancing is and that it’s so sad I never saw it.  Especially on the big screen.  Little did she know that Tiffany Tutt’s birthday party was that weekend and we watched the entire thing four times on BETA. 

I have to tell you reader…I was hooked.  It was a pivotal movie for me.  Sure, sure…there was a ton of sexual related stuff, but I only saw the dancing and heard the music and wished I was Baby in Johnny Castle’s arms.  I would try to figure out ways to sit in a corner, longing for a tall, handsome fella in a leather bomber jacket to come and proclaim that nobody puts me in a corner.

Seriously.  Who didn’t do that?

I remember rewinding and hitting play, rewinding and hitting play during the scene when Robby the Waiter tells Johnny, “You think you got that Johnny?  What you can and can’t do?”

For years…I mean YEARS…my sister and I couldn’t figure out how Johnny answered him.  It was awful, because we had the dialog from the entire movie memorized except for that part.  I think it wasn’t until the Internet took over our lives that we were able to Ask Jeeves (before Google) what he said.  And it was a glorious day when we found out:

“You just put your pickle on everybody’s plate college boy and leave the hard stuff to me.”


I loved when Penny and Johnny danced.  I loved when Johnny bit his lower lip and gave Baby the “come here” gesture with his finger when they first met after she carried a watermelon.  Then he proceeds to lovingly teach her how to dirty dance.  I love the entire Hungry Eyes montage. 

So much going on in that scene!  Her hand on his heart. (awwww!)  “LOOK!  SPAGHETTI ARMS!  This is my dance space, this is yours.”  Johnny sweaty.  Johnny shirtless.  Johnny’s back around the 2:53 mark. 

I’m just sayin’.  

I owned two VHS tapes of the movie.  I own the DVD.  I own the soundtracks, including, More Dirty Dancing.  I performed the move that Johnny executes down the center aisle with the other instructors in a high school pep rally number.  I fell in love with the mambo.  And I saw the 20th anniversary screening two years ago. 

My sister was right.  There’s nothing like Johnny Castle 22 feet up in the air.

I received several texts, emails and phone calls that Patrick Swayze had passed away yesterday after battling cancer.  He was an amazing entertainer, but more importantly, he appeared to be completely normal even though he was affiliated with the Hollywood scene.  He will be missed.

Now it’s your turn.  Feel free to share your favorite Swayze moments or one-liners in the comments section.  I’m sure some of you are shouting at your screens, “What about Ghost you crazy person?!?” 

What?  I can’t hear you.  “Unchained Melody” is playing on iTunes right now.

In the meantime,

RIP Patrick Swayze.  1987 was a good year for me.  I truly had the time of my life.


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September 15, 2009 11:21 am

Lincee, thanks for the Patrick Swayze stroll down memory lane. I first fell for him (and C Thomas Howell) in 1983’s movie version of The Outsiders. First of all, he was a Texan, so how could he not remain normal? 🙂 Most TX actors in Hollyweird seem to stay pretty decent (Patrick Swayze, Angie Harmon, Tommy Lee Jones). How could you not mention “To Wong Foo…” PS in drag. Hysterical. Also, to anyone who hasn’t seen it, Patrick auditioning for Chippendale’s on SNL. It’s pee your pants funny.

We miss you Patrick Swayze. You were a ladies’ man and a man’s man. You will be missed.

September 15, 2009 11:25 am

Sorry guys here is the original, I picked up a remix from YouTube.

September 15, 2009 11:56 am

I was 4 when Dirty Dancing came out. I’ve never seen it on the big screen, which is quite sad, now that I think about it. I believe I started watching it when I was aroun 6 or 8. I would watch it through til the end, not getting the sexual inuendos, because I was still a kid. After I watched the last dance scene, I would rewind and watch, rewind and watch, until my brother kicked me out of the living room so he could watch TV. I love Roadhouse and Ghost, but my heart is still true to Dirty Dancing. I even bought the work out video earlier this year…it teaches some of the moves from the movie. I will defnitely be downloading She’s Like the Wind when I get home tonight…

September 15, 2009 12:21 pm


C. Thomas Howell played Ponyboy in The Outsiders. Ralph Macchio, who played the Karate Kid, played (ironically) Johnny in The Outsiders. But he was no Johnny Castle! Patrick Swayze played the tough byt loving oldest brother, Darry. He was so good in that part. Just had to clarify – can’t have people stepping on my 1983!! (I was in 7th grade. The Outsiders was my world.)

Dirty Dancing came out my senior year of high school and is inextricably linked with graduation, moving away to college, growing up. We all thought we were just like Baby!

September 15, 2009 12:35 pm

I remember seeing Dirty Dancing for the first time at a birthday party sleepover. I felt guiilty the whole time because I knew my mom didn’t want me to watch that movie (like you said, Lincee, ‘cuz it must be “dirty”). I didn’t watch it again until years later, but have since seen it several times. BTW, Swayze was hotter than crap in that North & South photo…too bad I missed that one.

Donna L
September 15, 2009 12:42 pm

The Outsiders, Red Dawn, Dirty Dancing, Ghost…oh my goodness. He will be missed.

SGT Cole
SGT Cole
September 15, 2009 1:02 pm

A great actor, an even greater man. He was a total class act until the very end. Besides, who else could rescue “Point Break” from Keanu Reeves?

This adreneline junkie will miss him.

September 15, 2009 1:09 pm

I got a little teary eyed when I heard “She’s Like the Wind” this morning. How can you not love the man that uttered the totally iconic line “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” I’ll always be crazy for Swayze.

September 15, 2009 2:07 pm

I’ve been thinking about him over the past several weeks and had a feeling it was close. It definitely brought a few tears yesterday when it hit the news. I don’t even know how many times I’ve watched Dirty Dancing and yes rewound that last dance scene over and over and over again…. I loved North and South as well and may just have to buy the DVD series of that now as well. He will be missed!

September 15, 2009 2:49 pm

I love North & South. Even reading the book, they totally nailed casting Patrick Swayze. He was Orry Main.

September 15, 2009 3:18 pm

I got goosebumps reading this Lincee! Dirty Dancing was a classic, a wonderful one at that, but I am totally a Ghost girl. I used to watch the end (where he says goodbye to Molly) over and over and CRY! I remember thinking all I would ever need in my life was a man who would love me as deeply and passionately as Sam loved Molly. Plus, one of my top 5 SNL skits is the Chippendale skit. Love it! So sad that he had to go when he still had a long road ahead of him. (Are you kidding me that he was nearly 60? He looked nowhere near that!) RIP Patrick Swayze!

September 15, 2009 3:25 pm

I remember in dance class, junior high-ish I think, when I leared to do a knee spin on the floor for a recital routine. I was SO excited to be able to do that thing Johnny did in the Time of My Life dance…. right before he does a little head-bang with his sweaty-head self. Love it. Could’ve done an Ask Jodi about that pickle line in the movie because it is one of my FAVES. My friend Alicia and I watched this movie together growing up countless times. We were not allowed to watch any of the “dirty” parts, so we knew which scenes to fast forward through. Right after Baby “carries a watermelon”, when she is headed down for “charades in the west lobby”, and a few others. Not sure why we were so good and obedient for SO LONG, but it was probably 5 years or so of doing that before we watched it all the way through, feeling like such rebels. Anyways, I could ramble lots more than I already have, but I looooooooooooooved that movie. Loved him. I remember him on Oprah one time with this girl who did the exact dance as her first dance with her hubby at their wedding. Oprah surprised her by bringing him out and letting her dance it with the real Johnny. He was so cute and classy about it…. sigh. He’ll be missed.

September 15, 2009 3:46 pm

never saw DD on the big screen, either. but my bff & i (who hooked me onto your blog & bachelorette) used to watch it on laserdisc. much easier to rewind and rewind and rewind and rewind….that “come hither” move you already described.

fantastic movie!
ghost was also good, but not nearly as sexy.

i totally skipped the point break (and julie numar…..)

oh, and yes. liked him in the outsiders as well.

when i found out he had pancreatic cancer, i was very sad. b/c i know that’s pretty much the deadliest one to have……..

patrick swayze was VERY refreshing b/c he didn’t swim in the limelight like the rest of hollywood…..
come to think of it, neither did that whole cast! (aaah, miss jerry orbach as well!)

nice post!

September 15, 2009 3:59 pm


I first saw Dirty Dancing at a friend’s slumber party, too… My parents wouldn’t let me see it, but by gosh, it was a scandalous night when I went to that birthday party. I think it was VHS, but beta is definitely in the realm of possibility…i wasn’t paying attention because we were too busy rewinding one scene over and over again to see if you could see Johnny Castle’s bare rear-end after getting out of bed with Baby one morning. 🙂

He also seemed refreshingly normal in all the Hollywood hoopla, and never let it go to his head. The fact that he was married to his wife, Lisa, for more than 30 years might be the most awesome thing of all. It was clear that they had a wonderful and loving relationship…and that’s sexy! 🙂

Rest in peace, Patrick Swayze.

September 15, 2009 6:02 pm

I was totally shocked when I heard the news yesterday. So sad he’s gone, but at least he’s not in pain anymore.
Dirty Dancing is one of my top 10 favorite movies. I’m pretty sure I own it on VHS, two dvd copies, and I bought it from itunes so I can watch it on my Ipod. I think I’m starting to see a common theme on these blog comments. I was also not allowed to go see it in the thearter eihter because of the title, so the first time I saw it was at my friend’s slumber party in junior high. I have a clear memory of all of us girls sitting in the living room with the lights off watching dirty dancing. I’m surprised that we didn’t break the tape from rewinding it so much. I remember our favorite part was at the end when Johnny and Baby were dancing and he mouthed that last couple of words to “Time of My Life”. 9 junior high girls swooned at once.

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