My exhibition of childhood crushes continues…
And here’s where it gets weird. In the aftermath of my heartbreak over Shaun Cassidy’s nuptials, I sought solace in cartoons. And I became obsessed with one cartoon in particular. It was called “Battle of the Planets,” and it featured five teenagers with superhuman powers who policed the universe in a spaceship called the Phoenix. It was a cross between Star Wars and “Power Rangers,” only animated. I later learned that the show was an adaptation of an anime series called “Gatchaman”; an American production company edited and dubbed the Japanese footage to make it accessible to kids in the U.S. I’d never seen anime before, and I was immediately hooked.
Of the five super-teens, there was only one girl (shocker!); her name was Princess, and she wore a pink mini-dress, white thigh-high boots, a white cape, and a white helmet shaped like a bird’s head. This was already my fantasy of how I wanted to dress every day. And she rode a motorcycle, which seemed pretty badass.
While I wanted to BE Princess, my heart belonged to Mark, the team’s commander. He was handsome and serious (a dangerous combination, I would learn, later in life), and heroic. Plus, he also dressed like a bird, but without the pink dress and thigh-high boots. Thankfully, there was a little bit of romantic tension between Princess and Mark, which added some heart-fluttering drama to the whole saving-the-world-from-space-villains storyline.
I obsessed over Mark and his avian hotness in solitude; no one at school watched the show, and it didn’t air very long on our local TV station, WPIX. But it turns out I wasn’t alone; I recently googled “Battle of the Planets” and found a legion of admirers. If only the internet had been available when I was in third grade. Then again, maybe I was better off.
Did it feel wrong to give my heart to a cartoon? Not at the time. But a few years later, I realized that the character of Mark had been voiced by none other than Casey Kasem. Whenever I hear him counting down the Top 40 now, I feel a little funny.
Next time…I reveal my crush on an outsider.
Two reminders: The deadline is TODAY for this contest for teachers and librarians! And check out this contest for everyone! (And not to give anything away, but at this point, if you enter, you have a REALLY good chance of winning. Ahem.)