Thursday, 5 December 2013

KRISTA ERRICKSON IN 'LITTLE DARLINGS'



 


When everyone was going gaga over Kristy McNichol and Matt Dillon’s imminent coupling in the 1980 teen comedy LITTLE DARLINGS, I, on the other hand, was obsessing over Krista Errickson who portrayed the evil witch Cinder. If you recall, she’s the one who initiates the bet as to who, among her fellow campers, will lose her virginity first. She handpicks scruffy McNichol and prudish Tatum O’Neal while the Supertramp classic "School" plays in the background. And when the tune finally picks up speed, showing next a montage of the girls having a ball during camp activities, you know right then and there that you’ll be in for a treat too. Unless the film suddenly switches gears and becomes one of those slasher flicks so highly coveted back in the day. But fortunately it does not, though I got to admit I wouldn’t have  minded much since I’ve always craved horror as well.
 


I first set eyes on Krista Errickson during her stint in the low-rated sitcom HELLO, LARRY on NBC. The show was in its second season, and execs were in a desperate need of making it a hit. Big changes were made, including the replacement of actress Donna Wilkes who played the title character’s eldest daughter. Rumor has it that she’d been unprofessional. So in came Errickson, who took over the role, portraying demure, smart Diane whose only rebellious streak was to run off with John Travolta’s little brother Joey in  a highly enjoyable two parter. An unlikely choice for romance if you ask me, but that’s a different blog entry in itself.
 


As any gay man, I’ve always enjoyed beauty—male or female (and God knows I have seen my share)—and to me, Errickson was the definition of it back then. Her Brooke Shield-like appeal, not to mention her impressive rack (case in point: her mouse costume in LITTLE DARLINGS) made her a favorite in my book. I remember the many time I spent going through rags after rags, such as 16 or Tiger Beat, for any mere mention of her, and it eventually did pay off. That’s how I came to know of her participation in LITTLE DARLINGS. So on that winter morning of 1980, after scanning the Montreal newspaper for the film showings, I took my courage in both hands and went way downtown for a matinee.
 

 

I was far from being disappointed with my attendance, let me tell you. Not only was she in many scenes but the film was overall very effective. Of the two leads, I’d say Kristy McNichol did a better job. Tatum O’Neal, like her character, was more restraint. As for Krista, well, what can I say? I could have watched her play that snotty little beotch all day. In fact, I went back to see her in action on several occasions (remember, this was before video players or Internet), bringing my friends along. I even purchased the  film’s novelization with the lurid pink cover which I still possess today.

 

 

Whatever happened to her after this film? Well, she did make a few movies and some TV appearances (HELLO, LARRY was canceled after that second season). Suffice to say, I have seen my share of them throughout the years, but yes my obsession with her had definitely waned by then. Still, like all of my favorites, I like to keep an eye on their careers. And it seems that she’s made a turnabout in hers, becoming a respected documentary filmmaker. She even has a Twitter account now, to which I’m subscribed. I hope her memories of being a "child star" are as great as mine marveling at her. Because, at times, for this then struggling gay teen, her onscreen presence was all he needed to hold onto—until it got better.



 
 
Until next post—Martin


 


3 comments:

Jon in Chicago said...

Hi, Martin -- I’m arriving a few years late to the party, but I was still excited to find your tribute to Krista Errickson! Considering how popular “Little Darlings” was back in 1980, it doesn’t seem to be widely remembered today, so it’s nice to see the movie get some recognition – especially Krista, who was such a venomous delight as Cinder.

Cinder was the original mean girl, emerging on the scene way before Heather Chandler or Regina George. I fully expected her to go on to a great career, but (disappointingly) none of her subsequent roles was really worthy of her talent.

(I don’t know why it took me so long to discover your hugely entertaining blog … I’m having so much fun browsing through it. Lots of terrific memories!)

Authorfan said...

Hey Jon, welcome aboard. You're right about Cinder being the original mean girl. She was such a bitch. :) Yes, it kind of suck that Krista never became better known in the years that followed Litlle Darlings. She does follow me on Twitter, though, which is super, but has been quiet for a couple of years now. Anyway, thx for your comment and don't be a stranger.

Jon in Chicago said...

Thanks, Martin! I keep hoping that one day Krista might turn up at one of the movie conventions around the country ... I met Kristy McNichol at one in Chicago a few years ago, and had her sign my "Little Darlings" poster. I tried to chat with her about the movie, but she didn't seem too excited to be there. Oh well.