Drew Payne’s Website
Boxing Day 1975
We were all gathered around the TV, that evening, as we always did on Boxing Day, to watch the holiday film. Mum sitting and knitting in her armchair, dad with his unread newspaper across his lap in his armchair, my older brother Gary slouched at one end of the sofa and me sat at the other end. That year the film was One Million Years B.C., the nineteen-sixties dinosaur fantasy with Raquel Welch in a fur bikini. Even to my seven year old eyes the film was rubbish, the story thinner then Raquel’s costume. Gary, at fifteen, was loving every minute of it, and dad was watching it intently too.
“Look at the knockers on that,” Gary said, his eyes on Raquel.
“Don’t be crude,” mum replied, not even looking up from her knitting.
“But that Raquel Welch has a great set of melons,” Gary protested.
“And that’s all this film has got, its complete rubbish,” mum said.
“They’ve got it quite realistic,” dad said, shifting in his chair.
“For God’s sake! Dinosaurs and people never lived at the same time. I’ve helped our sons with their homework enough times to know that,” mum said, putting her knitting down.
“It’s a harmless bit of fun,” dad said.
“No, it’s rubbish. There’s no story to it. You lot only want to watch it for that Raquel Welch,” mum snapped.
“Yeah, and she’s a bit of all right,” Gary said.
“You shouldn’t be thinking like that at fifteen,” mum said.
“I’m sixteen next month,” Gary protested.
“And don’t I know it,” mum said.
“The lad’s only showing a natural interest,” dad added.
“You three are all the same,” mum cast one of her “looks” over all of us.
But we weren’t the same; I didn’t see the point of Raquel Welch either. She may have been pretty but she didn’t interest me. John Richardson, the actor playing her caveman boyfriend, was of far more interest to me.
He was ruggedly handsome, even under the thick beard and animal skin costume, and his costume showed off only slightly less flesh then Raquel Welch’s bikini. He radiated a strong masculinity, strutting around the screen with his spear and fighting the dinosaurs. I couldn’t take eyes off him, rapidly losing interest in the film when he wasn’t on screen. When he did appear I wanted to be the one he had to rescue from those dinosaurs, the one that he held in his arms.
It was the first time I had noticed how attractive a man could be and how uninterested physically in women I was. At the same moment I also knew that this realisation wouldn’t be welcome by those around me. I couldn’t see Gary or dad or even mum being happy to hear this news. Boys were supposed to be interested in Raquel Welch and not John Richardson, it was there all around me. I knew to keep quiet.
“I should change the channel from this nonsense,” mum said to the whole room.
“No mum,” Gary protested. “It’s a really good film… Isn’t it?” He directed his last comment to me.
“It’s boring,” I replied. John Richardson hadn’t been on screen for nearly five minutes and my attention was rapidly slipping.
“What do you know, sissy!” Gary snapped and punched me on the arm.
“Hey,” I shouted back as I looked at mum for support, but she’d returned to her knitting.