One of the more influential movies from my childhood has to be Wayne’s World. I know how strange that sounds, but from the day I convinced my grandmother to take me to see it in the theaters back in 1992, that movie and those characters have been ingrained in my psyche. I got the movie on tape and can still recite good chunks of it to this day. I wasn’t the only one. I had friends in high school who dressed up as Wayne and Garth for Halloween and could quote the movie as well as I could. My all time favorite scenes from the movie is still the guys singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the car with even their drunk friend fill getting in on the action.
There’s the scene if you’re not familiar with it. Anyway, I’m sure I knew the song before seeing the movie–my dad has always been a big fan of rock music which he shared with me growing up–but it was this movie and it’s soundtrack which I still own that really hammered the lyrics and solos into my head. By the age of 9 or 10, I had the whole thing down, just like Wayne, Garth and their friends. Fast forward to about 1998 or 1999, I’m in high school, I’ve listened to a lot more music and still love “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I also have gotten into my high school’s yearly musical. I’m a sophomore and we’re doing Wizard Of Oz. I only tried out because I wanted to be a flying monkey and got the part (we rollerbladed instead of flew, but it was still pretty cool). At some point during the long process of practicing for the show, a few friends and I decided to start playing “Bohemian Rhapsody” to get ourselves psyched. I don’t remember if this started the week the show actually premiered or before that, but it wound up being a nightly thing in the guys’ dressing room. We’d put the Wayne’s World soundtrack in a little boom box, blast it and sing at the top of our lungs. Soon enough, some of the girls came in and it became even more of a thing. I stuck around and did the musicals my Junior and Senior year and we kept singing the song before each show. At one point the director–an intense fellow who seemed to think we were on Broadway at times instead of the St. Francis production of Oklahoma–told us to stop because we were going to kill our voices. I don’t remember if we skipped a night or just turned it down, but the show must go on in a lot of ways. I figured it was something that might continue on for a few more years with the younger kids, the ones who would be seniors in a few years and then die out. Then a year or two ago, I joined a Facebook group that I can’t seem to find now that consisted of SFS musical alums. There were a lot of people on there I didn’t know, but one of the kids who were still in school at the time told me they still sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” before shows. I got a kick out of that. Everyone wants to leave some kind of legacy and I definitely never thought mine would involve a song to get musical kids to get psyched before going on stage, but that’s pretty cool. And we all owe it to Wayne and Garth. I still get pretty pumped when I hear the song, remembering those days and also because it’s an asskicking song front to back.