A Look-Back

After 30 years, Baby and Johnny had the time of their lives but “Dirty Dancing” kept its popularity after it was released on August 21, 1987. Truth be told, It’s more popular even more when the remake of it was aired May 24 this year. Immediately after the release of the remake, the fans registered anger or disappointment on different social media platforms. It only shows the immortalized movie can never be replaced.

The 1987 version of “Dirty Dancing” was one hell of a surprise. The budget for this film was only $6 million but it earned a whopping $213 million at the box office. From then, the movie had a long booming later life in videos and spinoffs.

The Movie

The Creation of the Vestron movie that was written by Eleanor Bergstein and was directed by Emily Ardolino, was filmed in two locations: Lake Lure in N.C., and the Mountain LakeLodge in Giles County, Virginia. The Mountain Lake was the one responsible for many exterior shots. The Lodge, on the other hand, built in 1930, had a perfect scenery to re-create Kellerman’s “Catskills in 1963.”

During the time the representatives signed on, the main concern was the filming would interfere with the activities of the guests. Their attorneys included a clause that Mountain Lake could remove its name from the film if they didn’t like what they saw.

The staff of the resort thought that the movie’s title was just “Dancing.” The general manager of the resort during those time was J.W. McMillin and the Variety in 1987 that the staff and the locals were horrified when they heard the title was changed into “Dirty Dancing.” He said, “When the name ‘Dirty Dancing’ came out, we thought, ‘Uh oh, what have we been a part of?’”

Thereafter, a local chamber of commerce meeting was held. Two hotel representatives were sent to New York to see a rough cut of the movie in 1987. The representatives were sent because of their decision to be made if they were going to exercise their contractual rights. Both returned to Virginia with two thumbs up.

The biggest vote of approval came about when the film opened at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg.

“Everyone in town loved it. It’s one of the greatest things that ever happened here. I think everybody in the county has seen the film at least six times,” he said four months after the film opened.

Business flourished in the resort. If the execs received a poster, McMillin reported that they decided, By golly, we’ll just go right ahead and put it up” in the lobby.

Lake Lure, the other location, was a former boy’s camp. It has a few activities from tourists, the easier they filmed. Even though the two sites were miles apart, Hollywood magic made them seem like they were in one spot.

Vestron took an ad in Variety on February 8, six months after the release. That was in 1988, and he bragged that the soundtrack sold more than 5 million units and spawned a sequel album, “More Dirty Dancin.” The movie also sold an amazing 375,00 video units and easily hit no.1 on the Billboard rental charts.

The TV Series

There were also a 1988 TV series starring Melora Hardin, Patrick Cassidy, and Paul Feig, two semi-sequels (“Havana Nights” and “Capoeira Nights”), a concert tour, stage adaptation, books, calendars, clothes, mugs, workout videos, books, endless spoofs, plus routines on “Dancing With the Stars.” And, of course, the TV remake.

Despite all these incarnations, there is no substitute for the original Baby and Johnny: Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. Three years after “Dirty Dancing,” Swayze had even greater success with the 1990 “Ghost,” co-starring Whoopi Goldberg and Demi Moore, which hauled in a mammoth $505 million.

When Swayze died in 2009, Grey fondly recalled working with him and “doing this tiny little movie we thought no one would ever see.” Some films earn big box office when they open, but then fade from memory. “Dirty Dancing” is part of a rare group of films that maintains fondness and devotion from fans that’s just as strong 30 years later.

Enjoy a short video of one of my favorite songs here from the movie.