Krista Errickson in LITTLE DARLINGS wasn’t the only one who stroked my fancy during my quest for beauty when I was a teen. Lori Loughlin (currently in WHEN CALLS THE HEART on the Hallmark channel) quickly came into the picture as well. I think the first time I ever saw her was on the now-defunct daytime soap THE EDGE OF NIGHT which, if I remember correctly, was always struggling in the ratings back in the early ‘80s. But how gorgeous was she even then?! That face, that hair. She truly was the epitome of the perfect girl—in my eyes anyway. I’m sure if you talked to her in those days she’d humbly say how incorrect I was. But boy, what a looker she was. Anyway, after that soap went off the air, nothing major in her court until she was cast in the campy 1983 horror AMITYVILLE 3-D, playing the first girl who gets it. I was kind of bummed by her quick demise but at least I got to see her in something else and in 3-D no less. But a better role came her way two years later in the lovable teen comedy SECRET ADMIRER. It featured a bunch of talented actors, some seasoned, some younger, but starred C. Thomas Howell who was a big thing to female teens (and to some males, I’m sure) back then.
In it Loughlin plays Toni, the girl next door type who has a secret crush on Howell. Her anonymous love letter to him sets off a chain of events that make SECRET ADMIRER a fun if totally fluffy experience. What I liked most about this film, besides connecting with the plot, is the staying power of Loughlin. She isn’t tossed aside after her triggered mishap, which could have been easily made by director David Greenwalt (who subsequently ended up on GRIMM’s doorstep on ABC). No, the script calls for her to embark even further into this comedy of errors and the result is quite engaging, I’m telling you. That is, if you can put aside the silly teen male bonding subplot. How tiresome is that. But, hey, this type of flicks were a dime a dozen in those days, not to mention specifically aimed at adolescent males with a high dose of libido. Some were truly effective (FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, CAN’T BUY ME LOVE, JUST ONE OF THE GUYS…) and some not so much (FRATERNITY VACATION, WEEKEND PASS, JOYSTICKS…). And like its well-made predecessors, SECRET ADMIRER understood quite well its purpose: to be funny without going too far on the joke.
Loughlin went on to make all kind of features, from big to small screens, but she truly found her niche when she joined the cast of FULL HOUSE on ABC in 1988. Sadly, I never watched it. There’s a limit to my following the careers on my fave stars. I mean, FULL HOUSE is just too goodie goodie for my taste. But I’ve heard that she was quite remarkable in it. I’m not surprised. Hadn’t she proved her comedic flair in SECRET ADMIRER already? One show I did follow for a while was SUMMERLAND which she starred and co-produced 15 years later. I know, this one had kids in it as well, BUT it also featured pre-TRUE BLOOD Ryan Kwanten who of course was shirtless most of the times. So here’s to you, Lori Loughlin, may your beautiful and talented self still be a permanent fixture on our screens for many years to come, just as long as you bring other hotties with you. And from the way things are looking up (Hallmark has just renewed WHEN CALLS THE HEART for a second season) I wouldn’t be surprised.
Until next post—Martin