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Screen Crush - Rowdy, Heathcliff and Robert

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Screen Crush  -  Rowdy, Heathcliff and Robert

I recently watched the 1940 film, ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ on TV. It’s dark, disturbing and honest of the time, but falls short of John Steinbeck’s excellent book in typical Hollywood style of failing to follow stories to the end. Anyway, what struck me this time – I’ve seen it before – is how good-looking Henry Fonda was. I wouldn’t call him a screen crush, not for me, but he had perfect jaw alignment which gave him a fabulous smile. This gene was inherited by his son, Peter and daughter Jane. All have been screen idols for many fans.

For me, having a screen crush started when I was about five years old. I could stay up on a Friday evening to watch ‘Rawhide’ and fall in love with Rowdy Yates aka Clint Eastwood. It was good to see all the episodes again when the TV channel TCM did a complete run on them. I hadn’t remembered any of the stories but they did take me back in my mind to our cosy sitting-room over the pub, coal fire and a tiny black and white TV screen. This was family time, c.1959/60, priceless.Clint Eastwood has continued to be one of my favourites, but not my one and only.

Screen Crush  -  Rowdy, Heathcliff and Robert

My head was turned by another. His name was Heathcliff.  Again, we had Hollywood spoiling a good book by telling only half a tale, as I discovered in later years when I read, re-read and studied Wuthering Heights, but I was only eleven when I was first smitten. We were in the living-room of the quiet house we had for a while when my mom wasn’t well enough to help run the pub. We still had a tiny black and white TV. I might have missed the very beginning of the film, but I was soon drawn in and as the character Heathcliff emerged, I was star struck.  My mom told me the actor was Laurence Olivier. I’ve seen all of his films over and over. Max de Winter in ‘Rebecca’ was another Heathcliff moment. I owe him everything I’ve been able to get to grips with by Shakespeare. His life and his work have been of great interest to me. Returning to ‘Wuthering Heights’, I have seen many TV productions but for me, Laurence Olivier is the definitive Heathcliff. 
Screen Crush  -  Rowdy, Heathcliff and Robert

If you know me, you’ll understand that I couldn’t miss out a certain person who has entertained me on the small screen in recent years. I refer to him as my mid-life crush, my toy-boy fantasy in an innocent way. Robert Peston. I can nearly hear the ‘who, what, why?’ Well, I don’t know why. I can’t explain it. He’s a journalist and writer, currently the political editor for ITV and has his own politics show for ITV on Wednesday nights. It’s been a slow burn over a few years. I used to find him irritating in his TV journalist delivery. One day, driving through Ayrshire, I was listening to him in conversation on the Jeremy Vine radio show. Robert’s wife had died. He was talking about how they met, married, her illness, his feelings, then, he’d had a burglary at their home and jewellery, including his late wife’s wedding ring had been taken. I was upset by everything he’d gone through and began to see him as less irritating and more of a person I’d like to hug and reassure. More recently, he’s been fortunate in 
finding love again and I wish him every happiness.

My haiku,
Friday night Rawhide
With my heart throb, Rowdy Yates,
When I was five – ish.
Clint Eastwood, so cool,
And he’s still a handsome man
In his mature years.
Then there was Heathcliff
Who swept me clean off my feet,
Rugged Yorkshire Moors.
I didn’t look back,
Yes, Laurence Olivier,
Screen love of my life.
Wednesday nights I am
Beguiled by Robert Peston,
Late night politics.
I’m not listening,
Not properly, anyway.
Just fascinated.
Thanks for reading, Pam x

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