Retro Round Table: Who Did We Crush On?

Carolyne Heldman

Carolyne Heldman

Biggest crush? If we’re talking junior high, might have to say, Mary Lou Retton. I fell head over heels for that little spitfire during the ’84 Olympic games. She may very well be what lit the spark that is now my undying love for the Olympics. Overall, though, I’d have to say my biggest crush from the ’80s was MTV’s Carolyne Heldman. She was on from 1986-88 and was part of the second wave of VJ’s to hit the air. She was typically on in the mid-afternoon just about I was getting out of school. I even remember the first video I saw her intro. It was Kyrie by Mr. Mister. BAM…I was smitten. I don’t know if it was the big hair or the fact that she resembled my high school crush but I would sit through video after video just to catch her in between. Carolyne Heldman, ladies and gentlemen:

– Eric Vardeman



Bridgette Wilson

Bridgette Wilson

I had no shortage of celebrity crushes growing up, but I think it’s only fair that I focus on the pretty face who became my waking obsession as I entered puberty. It was around 1995 that I was allowed to go to the movies unchaperoned and it was at a screening of Adam’s Sandler’s back to school comedy Billy Madison that I first laid eyes on the lovely Bridgette Wilson. I was definitely “hot for teacher” when this blonde goddess graced the screen as Miss Vaughn and I saw the film multiple times as a result. I was so enamored that I clipped ads for the movie out of newspapers and even brought a camera to take pictures of her on the big screen (crazy, but true). You can imagine my excitement when that same summer she re-appeared at the cinema kicking butt as Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat. Comedy and video game-inspired action? It’s really no surprise she won my 13-year-old heart. Eventually, I realized I had actually seen her previously playing Arnold Schwarzenneger’s judo-chopping daughter in Last Action Hero as well as the ditzy, Ginger during the last season of Saved By The Bell (you know, the weird episodes with Tori?). Given that (ahem) body of work, it’s no wonder that Bridgette Wilson is my Retro Crush this Valentine’s Day.

– Hoju Koolander


Elizabeth Shue

Elizabeth Shue

One of the earliest crushes I remember is Elisabeth Shue in The Karate Kid. I’ve always liked the classic story of the girl who is with the popular guy and finally comes to her senses to leave him to be with the new guy in town. It’s probably the most often used trope in movies but somehow it works for me. I was always jealous of Daniel when they are on their date at the arcade and mini amusement park. Shue would later woo me in my teenage years through Adventures in Babysitting and then as the new Jennifer in the Back to the Future sequels.

My childhood crush has lasted beyond the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Shue is one of the reasons why I’ve always enjoyed the 1997 movie “The Saint” even though I’m a sucker for spy movies. She is also why I circled back to the tv show “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” for a while after I quit watching when William Peterson left the show. But I’ll always remember her as Daniel’s love interest in The Karate Kid and cheering for him at the All Valley Tournament. I never wooed a girl away from the popular guy but was lucky enough to have a girl cheering for me on the sidelines in high school when I played basketball. I think having that experience is probably why I hold The Karate Kid as one of my favorite ‘80s movies and still have that childhood crush on Elisabeth Shue.

– Jason Gross


Fred Savage

As a kid, I cycled through crushes just like everyone. The first one I remember was Kip from Bosom Buddies, which kicked off a crush on Tom Hanks that’s still going strong. I went through a Michael J. Fox phase, mainly because of Alex P. Keaton. I also had a giant crush on Rex Smith, whom you might remember as a host on Solid Gold, the prince from the Faerie Tale Theatre version of Snow White, or one of the stars of the theatrical version of The Pirates of Penzance. And like most girls my age, I harbored a huge crush on Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block.
But the crush that I remember being the strongest was on Fred Savage. I loved him on The Wonder Years. His character seemed like a kid I wanted to be friends with, and I was regularly jealous of Winnie Cooper. Little Monsters was one of my favorite movies because of him, not to mention The Princess Bride. He was cute, he was sarcastic, and he had an adorable smile. What more could a preteen girl want?
Stacey Rader

Daisy Duke

Daisy Duke

My retro crush wasn’t so much on the person as it was the character she played.  Catherine Bach is one attractive lady for sure, but when she put on those short shorts, and tied up that shirt, turned on the southern drawl and became Daisy Duke is when she really did it for me.  She was the epitome of what I find attractive in a woman even today.  The charm, the flirtatiousness, and the good looks.  As a kid when the Dukes of Hazzard was on the air, I would tell everyone who would listen that Daisy Duke was my girlfriend.  I had her poster on my wall at a time when my Mom didn’t go for that kind of thing.  She was such a big deal to me, that after much pleading and begging, my Mom relented and let me put a poster up.  As I’ve gotten older, my taste in women hasn’t changed, and I STILL crush hard on Daisy Duke.

– Mickey Yarber


Miss Elizabeth

It should not have been so difficult to think of some childhood crushes that weren’t animated. So others don’t feel like they’re alone, honorable mentions to Zaranna from GI Joe and Nightshade from COPS.

After Saturday morning cartoons, it was time for wrestling. In current day there is the Women’s Evolution of professional wrestling and every company has a deep and varied roster of women’s wrestlers. No matter your taste or style, there is a woman wrestler that you will find beautiful. Back in the 1980s in New York while TBS wasn’t carried for about ten years (or else Missy Hyatt might sneak in here) there was only one option. The lovely Miss Elizabeth.

Longtime manager to the Macho Man Randy Savage. Real-life wife, although we didn’t know this at the time. Married in front of all of us on pay per view. Then stories came later of the divorce and she resurfaced in full forty and still stunning glory in WCW during the Monday Night Wars. While many remember her sexiest moment as the itsy bitsy red bikini, I’m not included in that. Sure, I remember the build-up. Miss Elizabeth’s body was to be the secret weapon as the Mega Powers of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage faced the Mega Bucks of Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant. Looking back, I wonder if this was the first attempt at playing to a grown-up audience. The boys who worshiped Hulk Hogan were now becoming teenagers that wanted to stare at a different bleached blonde with an enhanced chest. During the culmination of the match, Miss Elizabeth removed the bottom of her dress and showed…

… a lackluster full coverage flat red bathing suit bottom. Kept the top on. Is it a bikini if only half of it ever shows? Most likely this was a compromise with her controlling and obsessed husband. Rumors still fly to this day that Randy Savage would lock her in a private changing room at wrestling shows. Only letting her out to walk her to ringside. For fear of other wrestlers or promoters taking advantage of her. Ridiculous! Who would do such a thing! How did an 18-year-old Sunny end up on TV in Smokey Mountain? Anyways…

No, it wasn’t the bikini that did it for me. It was the lesser-known poster. Back then WWF magazine had a merchandise catalog inside every issue. The quarterly updates were coveted because in this pre-internet time it was the best and only way to know what might be available. T-shirts, the ice cream bars, and also posters. Hang up anyone you want – Hogan, the Hart Foundation, Outback Jack. They all have posters. Even Miss Elizabeth.

She had a briefly released work out poster. Looking back, this is nothing. People wear less clothes to work now. At the time though with Olivia Newton-John, aerobics, leotards, that terrible John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis movie, this look was the peak of sexy. And the first lady of wrestling is embracing that look.

I missed it in the magazine and didn’t attend a live show until long after her era. No, I was at someone’s house one day. One of those random kids from childhood that you hung out with the brief time they lived in the neighborhood. Looking back, you remember the house but not even the first letter of their name. This kid had the poster up in his room. I coveted it like nothing before. I asked to trade something for it. Wondered if there was some way to take it. Debated asking my mom to buy me one. None of these ideas were going to pan out. I was destined to be Elizabeth-less.

It also recently sold for $57 thus present me is unlikely to have it as well.

Kevin Decent


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About Mickey Yarber 240 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Sometimes referred to as the Retro Rambler...I was born in the '70s, grew up in the '80s, and came of age in the '90s. I love to share all the fun stuff from those years via my Retro Ramblings column.

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