When I was a kid, I fell totally in love with the movie musical Oliver! My girlfriend Karen and I spent many a weekend in the movie theater, watching this film and singing along to the score. This was before VCRs or DVDs so seeing a movie in the theater over 7 times constituted an obsession. We loved all the characters, could quote practically the whole script and acted out scenes in her basement. Her parents were so patient- they watched our reenactment over and over without a complaint.
This was also the first time Karen and I had boy-crushes on the actors. Karen loved Oliver, played by Mark Lester and I loved Dodger, played by Jack Wild. Like most impressionable kids, we copied their English accents and pretended to be from the UK whenever we were out together in public. We both also had a girl-crush on Nancy, played by Shani Wallace. We would stand on a big rock and take turns belting out “As Long as He Needs Me” in our most emotionally tortured voices. We longed to be part of Fagan’s band of pick pocketing boys and knew all the choreography to “Be Back Soon”.
Oliver! Is a very sweet childhood memory for me. Once in a while they’ll show the movie on TMC and no matter what I’m doing I’ll just stop, pause and watch some of it, remembering that whole episode in my life… and smile.