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Queens Chronicle

Camp classic musical to be screened at MoMI

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Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2019 10:30 am

John Waters’ 1988 camp classic “Hairspray” begins with teenagers preparing to appear on “The Corny Collins Show,” a local program featuring dancing youth. For those who haven’t seen the movie, think of teenagers dancing as Dick Clark would count down the hits, though the movie was based on the “Buddy Deane Show,” a real dance show in Baltimore. Deane even appears in the movie quickly as a newsman.

The story centers around “pleasantly plump” Tracy Turnblad, played by Ricki Lake before her talk show host days, who becomes a regular dancer on the show. She becomes the envy of Amber Von Tussle, who feels upstaged by Turnblad, while also attempting to integrate the show, which takes place in 1962 Baltimore, beyond the “blacks only” theme night playing once a week.

As Turnblad says, “Oh mother, you’re so fifties.”

“Hairspray” received a PG rating which was a change of pace for Waters, who often directed X-rated films. It was the only PG-rated movie for Waters, who also appears in the movie as a racist psychiatrist.

The movie, set to play in 35 mm at the Museum of the Moving Image this Saturday, also features a number of notable names in supporting roles.

Turnblad’s parents are played by Jerry Stiller and Divine, the famous drag queen who often appeared in Waters’ films. Divine, who died shortly after the movie was released, also plays a TV station owner opposing racial integration for his studio. Stiller would have a small role in the 2007 remake of “Hairspray.”

Von Tussle’s parents are played by Sonny Bono and Debbie Harry, of Blondie, the latter saying, “Detroit sound? What’s that, the cries of people being mugged?”

There are also beatniks played by Ric Ocasek of The Cars and Pia Zadora in cameos.

The movie features classic songs including “You’ll Lose a Good Thing,” by Barbara Lynn, “Duke of Earl” by Gene Chandler and “Let’s Twist Again” by Chubby Checker among many others.

All the dancing in the movie used real dance moves of the early ’60s.

“Hairspray” was a success at the box office and also found a new audience after being released on home video.

‘Hairspray’
When: Sat., June 29, 12 p.m.
Where: Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Ave., Astoria
Tickets: $15; $11 seniors, students; $9 kids 3-17; includes museum admission. (718) 777-6888,

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