New Feature! Pop History Princess!

Love Story (1970 film)

So you may or may not be aware that I am *cough* in my fifties *cough* and some of you aren’t quite as ancient.  So, I grew up in the swinging sixties and seventies.  I think we who did like to think of the time as pivotal in our culture, especially pop culture.  And, since I was but a babe in the 1960s my recollections might be skewed from the child’s POV.
We have a lot of references we use that people who weren’t born yet, might not get.  For Sixties and Seventies kids they’re part of our world, our psyches, our language.

So, what should I call this new feature “Pop History Princess” or “Slip Stream?” Are you interested in something like this? Have any questions?

Cover of the book LOVE STORY by Erich Segal

Here’s one of those seventies phrases I must at least think once a month when someone apologizes:


Do you get the reference? Raise your hand if you did.

This is a line from a book and movie: Love Story, written by Erich Segal. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie in ages.  I don’t really have to to tell you about it. This is probably the only line the vast majority of people remember from the movie.  But, if you hadn’t seen the film or read the book is it part of your lexicon? Or, does it have the same force for you that my parents phrases had for me.


LOVE STORY is a 1970 romantic drama film written by Erich Segal, who also authored the best-selling novel of the same name. It was directed by Arthur Hiller and starred Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw.

A tragedy, the film is considered one of the most romantic of all time by the American Film Institute (#9 on the list). It was followed by a sequel, Oliver’s Story (1978), starring O’Neal with Candice Bergen.

Love Story also features John Marley and Ray Milland. It included the film debut of Tommy Lee Jones in a minor role.

Here’s something I may have heard but ignored as ridiculous.  Apparently, former Vice President, Al Gore, claims that this story was based on his life at Harvard.  Here’s what it says on Wikipedia:

Al Gore has often stated that the plot is based on his life at Harvard; in 1997 Segal explained that “only the emotional family baggage of the romantic hero…was inspired by a young Al Gore. But it was Gore’s Harvard roommate, Tommy Lee Jones who inspired the half of the character that was a sensitive stud, a macho athlete with the heart of a poet”. Erich Segal had met both Mr. Jones and Mr. Gore at Harvard in 1968, when he was there on sabbatical. Wikipedia

It is interesting to note that Segal first wrote the story as a screenplay and sold it to the studio, Paramount.  At the Studio’s insistence Segal wrote the book as pre-publicity for the film.   At the time of it’s release it was the sixth highest grossing film of all time.  Since then it has fallen in the standings but remains with in the top 40 highest grossing movies.

Why was this such a popular movie?  Like in TWILIGHT  the couple was young and beautiful, they both had bright futures. It was about societal position, the meaning of love and independence and family at a time when that was being questioned.  I don’t think if you didn;t live through it you can grasp the cultural changes society was undergoing then. The only thing I could relate it to is the way the internet has changed our lives so many factors in the sixties and seventies changed society.

Birth control, the women’s movement, the war, an increase in scientific knowledge that threatened to blow the doors off our understanding of the universe, and a much more powerful youth culture, all these things were big changes. This story slotted into all of that and had the right amount of pathos to make you cry like a baby.

There was also a song tie in.  The song became very popular and like “My Heart Will Go On” from TITANIC  or “Time of my Life” for DIRTY DANCING surely helped to tie the whole thing up with a bow for the public.  You can hear Andy WIlliam’s popular version HERE, or, find Nana Mouskouri’s version HERE. Yes, this was once pop-music.

There’s a pretty good article about the book and the film and its impact here: THE POP HISTORY DIG.




Oliver Barrett IV, a wealthy jock from a stuffy WASP family on his way to a Harvard degree and a career in law . . . Jenny Cavilleri, a sharp-tongued, working-class beauty studying music at Radcliffe . . .

Opposites in nearly every way, Oliver and Jenny are kindred spirits from vastly different worlds. Falling deeply and powerfully, their attraction to one another defies everything they have ever believed—as they share a passion far greater than anything they dreamed possible . . . and explore the wonder of a love that must end too soon.

One of the most adored novels of our time, this is the book that defined a generation—a story of uncompromising devotion, of life as it really is . . . and love that changes everything.