Secret preteen crush confessions. No, not Chachi.

Tonight, the kids begged me to stay up an extra few minutes to watch a little of Happy Days. Why a 3 and 5 year-old might be interested, I have no idea. Now maybe it has something to do with me singing the theme song to them as babies in the middle of the night when I couldn’t think of anything else besides Eye of the Tiger.

Or maybe it’s somehow genetic. I was a Happy Days addict as a kid. It made every Tuesday a happy day.

(Ha! See how I just did that?)

Friday was also special by the way, thanks to my weekly sleepovers with Tamar, the company of her excellent comic book collection, a well-stocked junk food drawer, and the musical stylings of Donny and Marie. But Tuesday? Most special school night hands down.

So I cuddled up with Thalia and Sage, watching the opening credits roll for the first time in forever, and ready for a little nostalgic Fonzie and Richie action. The first thing that struck me: the theme song was off. Why was it off? Did The Hub reedit the theme song? Lord no–it turned out to be the final season of Happy Days; the dreaded Ted McGinley Season. This was a season so far beyond jumping the shark that I had tuned out myself by then. Even 15 year-olds have their limits.

But the next thing that triggered a visceral reaction that totally surprised me, was Anson Williams popping onto the screen.

Potsie made my heart race.

I was not your average pre-teen hormonal gal in the 70s. I mean sure I liked Chachi–it was the law in 1978. But deep down, really deep down, I harbored deeper affections for Potsie Weber. He was cute, he was witty, and he was totally non-threatening in those little v-neck sweater vests. Plus, as I recall, he could sing. Like, acoustic guitar, serenade a gal, melt-your-heart sing. Even if the songs were heinous. Pump Your Blood anyone? Glee’s got nothing on this scene.

While I was far too insecure to confess my secret love then, I feel fairly justified in doing it now. Especially with more kindred spirits in my Twitter stream when I first announced it, than I would have imagined.

image: Obey Giant

Who was your secret pre-teen crush? I promise not to tell anyone.


51 thoughts on “Secret preteen crush confessions. No, not Chachi.”

  1. Mac Davis. I was five and he sang to Miss Piggy on the Muppet Show. Swooneriffic.

    Also, the dreamy Tanner Boyle from The Bad News Bears.

    And Epstein from Welcome Back Kotter.

  2. Shaun Cassidy! He was the hottest teenager that ever lived. I never missed an episode of the Hardy Boys.

  3. My secret pre-teen crush was Valerie Bertinelli. You and I are the same age, Liz, so I have no problem confessing. Ha!

    P.S. Remind me to tell you about the time that I smoked pot with Ralph Malph.

  4. I totally remember Pumps Your Blood but I still thought Potsie was a dork. I was into the typical pre-teen crushes: Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, Fonzie, Luke Skywalker. Wow. None of those are that embarrassing. I did like Sean Astin in the Goonies.

  5. My earliest tv crush was Randolph Mantooth on “Emergency”. I still have a thing for firemen to this day 😉

  6. Leif Garrett (before he paralyzed his friend and became a junkie, of course). He oozed sex appeal before I even knew what sex was.

    Oh and Robby Benson made my heart go pitter patter with his blue eyes.

    Most embarrassing crush -> When I was reallly little, I had it bad for Johnboy from The Waltons (SHUT UP!)

  7. These are so awesome everyone!

    Except oh Fadra, don't you know you're failing the Cool Women Were Geeks as Kids test?

  8. Ricky Schroder. Kyle still teases me about the Ricker. Oy.

    (word verification is “weedish” – Blogger wants to know Pierre's story too, I guess.)

  9. Ooh, I totally had a crush on Jack Tripper. And Bo Duke. I was all over the place.

  10. Andy Gibb. So tragic. He was the cute Bee Gee that went his own, feather-haired way. And like you, I was also in the Potsy camp! Had totally forgotten all about that until reading your post just now! And… with a close friend of mine, I spent many an afternoon writing fan letters to Donny Osmond. Of course that was before I learned about the whole Mormon thing and thought he was just a really cute guy with a megawatt smile who could sing and was nice to his sister! How I went from liking those guys to being into the bad boys must've been part of some hormonal twist of fate. Sigh.

  11. Eh, mere boys, all of them.

    I cannot believe no one has mentioned Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H! He was/is the only TV man for me.

    Can there be a sexier combo than a Hawaiian shirt and cowboy hat? Plus he could do an emergency tracheotomy with a penknife and Jeep parts, and the man had a gin still in his tent.


  12. Kirk Cameron. I was nine years old, and I made him a birthday card out of felt and sent it to his fan club. I also had a big life-size poster of a young Michael Jackson around the same time. Oh my, oh my.

  13. I was in love with Albert from Little House on the Prairie. He was such a lost, damaged soul and I just wanted to take him home and nurture him. He was cute, he stole things, he was a drug addict and kind of a mess. He was like the prairie version of Kurt Cobain. Rawr.

    Also, the sensitive, brooding piano player from Fame. What was his name? I loved him.

  14. @Kristin – you're talking about Bruno…and he was HOT!

    My personal teenage crush was on Wil Wheaton. My husband still teases me about loving him to this day and when he was on the Big Bang Theory, hubby was insufferable! Like many others, I wrote him a fan letter and he wrote me back a VERY personal letter (typed on canary yellow paper and probably re-photocopied a couple of hundred times)…I just know it was personal though, because he totally signed it “Love Wil”.

  15. My sister, Elaine, was crazy about “Potsie” too–though her favorite of all was “Starsky” from “Starsky and Hutch”. But her crushes weren't secret.

    Most of mine were–because I always had the biggest crushes on older women. The only girl in “Happy Days” to whom I was attracted was the mother, “Marion” (played by Marion Ross)–God, that woman turned me on!

    I was always like that, starting with “Bewitched” which began airing before I was born–Elizabeth Montgomery, and especially Kasey Rogers (“Mrs. Tate”)!

    But I didn't feel ashamed of this, until one time when I saw Barbara Walters on TV, and enthusiastically said how pretty she was–and my mom replied, “She's an old lady, Scott!”

    From then on, I thought there was something wrong with me. I mean even real women–I was attracted to some of the other girls in elementary, middle, high school, and college–but not nearly as much as most of my female teachers!

    And there are so many I would ask out, if I could go back in time–at least after I'd turned 18! But the only one I ever asked out was a college instructor who turned me down and whom (I later found out) really was a lesbian!

    Nowadays, though, since I'm as old as those older women I wanted as a kid–my interest has shifted more to younger women! But I have no luck with either older or younger women in this town!

  16. I second Scott Bakula and Sean Astin in Goonies. Also (and I can't believe I'm actually putting this on the record) there was a brief moment when I had a thing for the Nelson twins.

    I just googled them, and now I feel a little sick.

  17. Christian Slater (Gleaming the Cube and Pump Up the Volume)*dreamy sigh*

    Ohhhh…and Johnny Depp during his 21 Jump Street years. *swoon*

  18. It's nice that you see them as “kindred spirits” and not “competition.”

    I loved Leif Garrett. And Matt Dillon. I still sort of love Matt Dillon, so bad news for Leif.

  19. Before I dedicated my heart to Simon LeBon at 13, I totally had the hots for C. Thomas Howell (and pretty much the entire cast of The Outsiders).

    In the 70's I was totally Team Potsie, thought Gopher had it going on and even had a Leif Garrett pillowcase.

    Oh I can't forget Robby Benson in Ice Castles..swoon..

    My mother has informed me that my first crush was on Bob from Sesame Street. I told her I was going to marry him. She must have been so proud.

    Reading this, I am so glad I only have boys!

  20. Love this post!
    I was in lurve w Albert from Little House! I always go for the ones who needed a little tlc.

  21. Also, when On Golden Pond came out, I had it bad for the kid in that movie. I was about 14 and I just couldn't see how my life could go on if it wasn't with him.

  22. I grew up with no tv (hippie parents and all), so it was all Simon LeBon spotted in illicit after-school video hours at a friends house. Sadly, a decade or so ago when I saw DD in concert, well, I had to come home and tell Misterpie that he had totally won, because he was now cuter than Simon LeBon. The man has not aged well. *sigh*

  23. Matthew Broderick in “LadyHawke.”

    I suppose it's possible to get dorkier than that, but you'd have to try really hard.

    I have to admit, I was fond of Potsie's “Splish-splash.”

  24. Jason Priestley…which might not sound so bad, except that I was 10 when that show started. I adored him from the very first episode.

    Also Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller. So hot.

    Oh sheesh, I have one more. Michael J. Fox. In Family Ties and Back to the Future.

    All of those are funny too me now, as none of them are my type at all.

  25. Rob Lowe and OMG did you see the cover of Vanity Fair? He looks as amazing as ever!!!!

  26. I fell hard for Gene Wilder in “Young Frankenstein.” I was eight. I wrote him a fan letter in which I described myself as having “shaggy blonde hair,” in case the being eight part wasn't enough of an enticement. He sent me an autographed headshot but surprisingly, the relationship didn't progress any further.

  27. Jack Lord from the original Hawaii 5-O. I was the only kindergartener who had the lunchbox. Sad but true.

  28. Luke Duke!

    And the guy from Grease 2, whose name I don't even know but MAN! Was I ever in love with that guy.

  29. These are great.

    My first great tv crush was… wait for it… Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie. Nevermind the spindly arms, he was smart. I'm now married to a physicist, so there you go.

  30. Keanu Reeves, in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure & Point Break! Also, Ricky Schroeder, on Silver Spoons:)

  31. Earliest crush and first concert at state fair — Donny Osmond. Dreamy. I was all a-flutter to be breathing the same air. Also loved Chachi — being from Milwaukee originally, I attended the Happy Days reunion parade. I know you are jealous. 🙂

  32. I'm with chimom all the way – donny osmond was the bomb for me, especially with the super cool purple socks

  33. C. Thomas Howell and Bo Duke. I had covers from Tiger Beat with their pictures all over my bedroom. Oh, and Rick Springfield,of course!

  34. I loved John Stamos ala Full House. Posters. In my room. Mullet and all. 😀

    And yeah, Potsie could TOTALLY sing!

  35. Mine was Erik Estrada from 'Chips'. I loved his white, dazzling smile and his dark handsome looks. I think I had a poster of him hanging in my room!

  36. Oh, this was such an enjoyable walk down memory lane….

    My bedroom was plastered with pictures of Kirk Cameron, Tom Cruise, Ricky Shroeder and Jon Bon Jovi.

    I just got an email saying that Top Gun is 25 yrs old. That's just impossible and wrong.

  37. late to the game, but my first TV crush was Michael Landon on Little House on the prarie. I was a little confused, though. Since my first name is Laura, I identified with and wanted to be the Laura in the show, but also wanted to be married to Charles. Freud might enjoy figuring that one out.

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