This past weekend, we took the kids to see Rise of the Guardians. It’s fun movie. Not really a Christmas movie, more of a mash up for holiday characters–Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman and the Toothfairy–all working together as the guardians of childhood innocence. The story involves them recruiting a new guardian–Jack Frost. His main issue in the movie is that most kids don’t believe in Jack Frost or even know who he is anymore, so no one can see him. In fact, it’s been several hundred years since anyone saw him and he’s pretty damn lonely. “No one cares about Jack Frost!” was one of the lines earlier on in the movie.
I nearly jumped out of my seat yelling and waving, “I do! I love Jack Frost!”
See I remember Jack Frost from the 1979 TV special. Anyone else remember it? It was sort of a reverse little mermaid story. In it, a lovely young woman in a village in Russia makes the comment one crisp fall day that she loves Jack Frost. He takes her at her word and becomes human so he can be with her, only to find out she really loves her childhood sweetheart. In the end, he helps the childhood sweetheart win the girl and he goes back to being the impish Jack Frost. It is charming and romantic, and more than a little sad. I was always heart broken when she picked her human love over Jack. I felt like if she had known, really understood what he’d given up to be with her, she would have had the good sense to love him.
I realize now that Jack was my first crush. One of the first boys I fell in love with. (Along with Peter from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. And then later Prince Caspian.)
It’s funny how those early crushes affect the kinds of characters we love later on. I like my heroes to be charming swashbucklers. But all the light and humor hides an inner darkness. A loss. A fear that he will always be an outsider, as well as a desire to protect the women he loves, no matter what the cost.
So who was your first childhood crush?