The other night, with an evening to myself as B. was giving final exams, I found a treasure on TV — Encore was broadcasting the first night of a 4-part viewing of The Thorn Birds. The classic miniseries first aired in 1983, and I’ve never gotten to see it in its entirety.
Actually, I’ve never seen much beyond the first installment, and by that I mean that I’ve never seen the love scenes between Father Ralph de Bricassart (the at-that-time gorgeous Richard Chamberlain) and Meggie Cleaver (a smoldering Rachel Ward). A forbidden love (he’s a Catholic priest) stoked by the wild Australian heat … well you get the picture. Add to that cast Christopher Plummer playing the archbishop (I fell in love with Mr. Plummer when he played Baron Von Trapp in The Sound of Music and have never fallen out of love) and the craggy Bryan Brown (as Meggie’s husband) and you’ve got four evenings of romance, intrigue, romance, plotting, romance, scandal, and generally being transported to another time and place (along with some very good-looking people).
It should be noted that I first fell for Chamberlain aka Ralph de Bricassart three years earlier when he played the dashing (do people still use that word?) John Blackthorne in another mini series, Shogun. In that role Chamberlain looked exactly like my Russian lit professor (I was taking the class at the time), and I cannot to this day see the titles Anna Karenina or War and Peace without blushing.
Mr. Chamberlain broke hearts (figuratively, not literally) as the handsome Dr. Kildare in the early 1960s and continues to do terrific work (he was wonderful as Jonathan in Brothers & Sisters). But he’ll always have a mini piece of my heart for his role as Ralph de Bricassart — at least for the next few evenings.
I guess those Lakers games will just have to wait.
© 2012 Claudia Grossman