Excerpts from the Saturday Night Fever trading card set which accompanied
the iconic 1977 film. The music, style and aura of this cultural behemoth was
practically inescapable throughout my childhood despite the fact that I was only
four years old (and way too young to watch this film) when it was first released.
By the time I was a 1980s teen, whenever it was rerun on television
(in a highly edited form) it seemed like a campy and out of date museum
piece of wide lapels, bell bottoms and polyester. It gave me a bit of a smirk:
toe tapping entertainment for a moment or two, but nothing substantial to a kid
immersed in the current flow of eighties sounds: new wave and alt-pop from the UK.
One evening in the mid-1990s, I revisited the film in its unedited form and was
amazed at the layered themes: social climbing, economic strife and racial divides.
I had recently watched a cable broadcast of the 1961 masterpiece West Side Story
and was struck by how similar they were. Both films delivered popular musical
styles of their respective decades with innovative dance sequences on a platter of
provincial "New Yawk-ness" that was very easy for me to identify with. As a result,
Saturday Night Fever has remained a rediscovered favorite of mine ever since.