(first published in 2004 at popcultureaddict.com)
Dear Yvonne Craig,
Yesterday morning I woke up to a very dank and dark day. The rain was pouring in and as I looked out the window I couldn’t muster up any motivation except to haul myself out to the living room and find something rather light and harmless to watch on the television. I was rather amused to find that one of your old films, “Ski Party”, was on television. Now I have to admit that I have a real soft spot for the sixties teen comedies of Frankie Avalon so “Ski Party” was just the remedy that the doctor ordered for a dreary morning. Now “Ski Party” is no “Battleship Potemkin”. Hell, it’s not even “Beach Blanket Bingo” for that matter, but for that hour and a half that I sat watching it I felt it was the best thing in the world. However,as I watched the cross-dressing antics of stars Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman as they skied, frolicked and ran across my screen – the real star of the film for me was you. It had been a long time since I had seen anything with you in it and I suddenly remembered why I was so in love with you when I was a boy. All morning I just sat and thought to myself about how Dwayne Hickman was one lucky guy.
My mind slipped to a Sunday afternoon in Toronto about five years ago. Julie Newmar was doing an autograph session and I was standing in line with a large group of middle aged men all holding 8×10 glossy photos of the Catwoman ready to get signed by her. I was the youngest in the line by about twenty five to thirty years. The men were going on and on about how they were all in love with Julie Newmar when they were boys and just how unbelievably sexy she was. I listened for a while before I spoke up and said “Julie Newmar was beautiful but I always liked Yvonne Craig a lot better. That’s who I fell in love with as a kid.” Perhaps it was the wrong afternoon or the wrong lineup to say it. Half the men responded with glowing responses about you while the other half were devoted to Julie Newmar. Batgirl or Catwoman? Man. That’s a debate that continues to this day! It’s probably no surprise to you that I always preferred Batgirl!
Now I am sure you’ve received many letters from fans confessing their love for you over the years but when I discovered you it was a different era than the one that you were making films in. I was a child of the eighties. Now I am sure that my childhood wasn’t unlike a lot of people. I was kind of the odd, awkward kid out who wasn’t good at sports or with girls and spent far more time drawing and reading comic books than anything else. However, besides art and comics, my other outlet as a kid was classic television. I loved sixties television! I mean who wanted to watch the Keatons and the Huxtables when they could spend a half an hour with the Addams or the Munsters! Seven stranded castaways and housewives that were witches and gorgeous genies in bottles and millionaire hillbillies and identical cousins were far more interesting than everything else on TV. So during an age when I was just discovering girls I again became kind of peculiar. While most boys had pictures of Alyssa Milano and Christina Applegate in their lockers I had pictures of Susan Dey, Eve Plumb, the Bradley Sisters, Nancy Sinatra, Peggy Lipton, Diana Rigg and you. Well, two pictures of you in fact, which I photocopied from a book in the library. One of you with your natural dark hair and another one of you dressed up as Batgirl.
As a kid obsessed with comic books it was an event everyday after school to come home and watch Batman. I mean it was campy and completely ridiculous but as a boy I took it incredibly seriously. I remember some nights actually staying awake all night wondering just how Batman and Robin were going to get out of those traps. However when they introduced Batgirl to the show I was floored. My first reaction was that you didn’t make sense because Batgirl didn’t wear a red wig in the comic books. Heh. The eternal comic nerd in me I guess. But then there were those dark cat like eyes of yours. Man oh man! Who cares if Batgirl wears a wig or not! Anyways, I’ve always liked brunettes better than red heads! And then there were those moments where you would be drop-kicking the colourful henchmen of the Joker and the Penguin and the Riddler and such. Those long leggy kicks and that sparkly tight leather outfit made damn sure that I would develop a bit of a Batgirl fetish for the rest of my life. I mean, who the hell wanted to watch Adam West and Burt Ward when you were out there flipping bad guys Emma Peel style? It was more than a goofy little fan boy could take. The greatest thing was the fact that you looked like you were having so much fun. You were always smiling and laughing in those fight scenes and when you’d throw your head back in obvious bliss it would melt me. I mean absolutely melt me! You were the most beautiful girl in the world but back in the school yard I was still the only kid who knew who you were. It wasn’t deemed “cool” to be at home watching “Batman”. Anyways, what did the other kids know? They didn’t get it but I sure did. Who cared if they didn’t know who Yvonne Craig was? I felt like I was the only kid in the world that had you drop-kicking your way through my dreams at night.
Somehow acquiring a list of films you made, I spent many late nights and got up for many early mornings just to watch your films. I mean, I bet I was the only twelve year old getting up at six am so he could watch “Kissing Cousins” or sneaking downstairs quietly in the middle of the night so that his parents couldn’t hear him so he could watch “Mars Needs Women” on the More Late Great Movies just so I could get a glimpse of you. I remember being so jealous of Elvis Presley and James Coburn and Tommy Kirk and even Don Knotts (!) who got to make time with a girl like you. I mean why couldn’t I meet a girl like Yvonne Craig? They just didn’t exist I guess. There was only one Yvonne Craig. Kind of irrational thinking, but then, I was only twelve. How rational is a twelve year old? Well I was smart enough to know that I adored you I guess! Thank god we had such great movie stations back then! Now even back then I realized that these movies weren’t usually all that brilliant but what ended up happening was that I ended up acquiring a real love for kitchy sixties films. It was the start of an obsession that has followed me the rest of my life – prompting me to collect, study and write about these long forgotten gems. You were a part of a special period of film making! They just don’t make pictures like that anymore, do they?
So the other day as I watched you frolic on the slopes in “Ski Party” I realized that you couldn’t take the goofy kid out of the man. I guess what I’m trying to say in far too many words is that I still adore you Yvonne Craig! I still think you’re beautiful and I still get it! I mean every time I hear somebody make a crack about fan boys adoring Captain Kirk’s green-skinned girl I still smile and think to myself, “Oh course they do! I mean, who seriously could ever resist Yvonne Craig?” God knows I never will be able to.
Lots of love to you Yvonne Craig,