Okay, folks…here comes another diary about West Side Story, although somewhat different. As somebody who tends to like films and stories that are about various emotions that revolve around lots of action and conflict just generally, West Side Story appealed to me from the start. It was in the summer of 1962, prior to my entering the sixth grade, while attending day camp out west (Arizona, to be exact). A girl in my group had just received a copy of the LP album of the original Broadway stage production of West Side Story for her birthday, brought it to camp, and played it for the group. I immediately fell in love with the music, with all the exuberance, tension and sadness that went with it. West Side Story-mania was in the air that summer, when kids would sing all the songs on the bus to and from camp, and would also snap their fingers and sing the songs while walking around in the hallways. The movie version of WSS, was rather fresh and new, having come out that past October, shortly before my family and I would arrive home from a six-month trip to India. Yet, I would not get to see the movie until several years after it came out, when my high school years were drawing to a close.
Fast forward to Christmastime, 1968, when there was a national re-release of the film West Side Story. I was then a high school Senior, and I saw it for the first time at a now-defunct cinema about an hour north of Boston, loved it, and yet secretly wondered why the dream ballet that had been in the Broadway stage show had been cut out of it. Afew more years passed, and I put West Side Story on the back burner of my mind, as other movies came out which I saw and liked a great deal.
Roughly four years later, during an evening Jewelry-making class that I was taking that spring, one student in the class had brought in a small black-and-white TV in because West Side Story was being aired on TV that evening for the first time, and we all gathered around to watch it.
It was while I was on a six-week trip to Europe that summer, however, that my love for West Side Story was re-awakened. Somebody in the group I was with had brought along a cassette copy of the West Side Story movie soundtrack, which was played almost every evening, during free time. Once more, I fell in love with the music, wishing that I could see the movie once again. Shortly after my arrival home from Europe, when my dad and I were sitting down to dinner, I brought up the subject. Our conversation about WSS, though brief, went like this:
Me: Gee, I wish the film West Side Story would come back again.
Dad: You never forgot it, did you?
That fall, two days before Thanksgiving, when WSS came on TV once again, I stayed home from my evening class and watched it on my parents’ small black-and-white TV, and fell in love with this great classic….again. Need I add that I’ve been hooked on it since? (lol)