Now it can be told. Tony Curtis was my first love. Sure, I was only seven years old. But in my estimation, I was old enough to have a major all-out crush. And Tony Curtis was the one. For the first time I found myself wondering if a grown man like Tony Curtis could wait for me until I was, say 17?
The movie that did it for me wasn’t “Spartacus,” “Operation Petticoat” or even the much acclaimed “Some Like it Hot.” Nope, the one that made me swoon for Tony Curtis was a little known film called “40 Pounds of Trouble,” which came out around the time that I myself weighed 40 pounds, give or take. And how I wished I was the one referred to in the title!
“40 Pounds of Trouble” is the story of a little girl (like me!) and a guy and a sexy gal (played frothily by Suzanne Pleshette) who are on the run in Disneyland. Filmed on location, it was this seven year old’s fantasy and dream all rolled into one. To be on the lam with Tony Curtis—and in Disneyland, no less? What could be better? Somebody pinch me, please!
Of course the press wasn’t as kind. The New York Times said of the film, “The trouble with ‘40 Pounds of Trouble’ is that it is just too hackneyed and dull.” Perhaps in retrospect, they were right. But at the time, I ranked this film one of the 10 best of the decade (and this from a little girl who hadn’t yet lived 10 years). But Tony, with his swarthy good looks, heavy New York accent, eyes as blue as the Caribbean waters, and flair for comedy, melted my heart instantly.
I was a faithful fan all through my childhood, waiting breathlessly for each new release of a Tony Curtis movie—“Captain Newman, M.D.,” “Goodbye Charlie,” “Sex and the Single Girl,” and of course, one of my all-time favorites, “Boeing Boeing.” In this one, Tony is a playboy living in France and juggling three different girlfriends, a typical sixties view of the American male. Filled with sexual innuendo and lots of sexism as well, I was too young to care. Seeing Tony Curtis in full cinemascope was enough to make this star-struck kid a bonafide fool for love.
Ah, Tony Curtis. I will miss you always. Thank you for lighting up my life, and filling my dreams. If only for a little while.