There is a moment in every little girl’s life when she starts paying attention. Instead of looking at her Barbie dolls, she stares into the eyes of some distant actor in a movie and thinks, “Oh, yes.” Her hormones kick in… well, as much as they can for a little girl who doesn’t have hormones yet. So, let’s find out who Charity’s first actor four crushes were, eh?

(That’s a silly question… they’re all up there in the picture. But each deserves recognition, so here goes.)

Crush #1: Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music

I have no idea how old I was when I first saw this film, but I do remember watching it obsessively, singing to it, and wanting to be a nun. Shame we were Protestants, but you can’t have everything. When I decided not to be a nun, I was crushed when my mother told me the odds of getting married in front of a Pope were slim. But that didn’t really matter. I loved Captain Von Trapp. Forget that drippy Ralph – here was a man with striking blue eyes, dark hair, a uniform, and piles of money. (What? Even as a little girl, I was still practical.)

On a side note, I think the singing while snogging in the gazebo scene is stupid. Did then, do now. Way to ruin a wonderful moment! I’m surprised they didn’t burst out laughing while singing it. Oh, wait… they did! My bad. Still, it’s a terrific film. And Captain Von Trapp, or as I like to call him, Captain Cranky-Pants, is terrific too.

I told my mother he was my first crush. She grinned and said, “Mine too.”

Ahh, Christopher. Your greatness transcends generations. If I ever have a daughter, I hope she likes you as Captain Von Trapp. Because if she doesn’t, there will be consequences.

Crush #2: Frank Langella, The Mark of Zorro

I do remember how old I was when I first “met” Langella: seven. We were channel flipping and caught a flash of him on the Disney Channel and turned back, lickety-split. Granted, he does not photograph well. Over the years, this has become apparent to me. But he films well. Few actors have as much charisma as he does, even if he did choose some of the crappiest movies to star in known to man. Langella, you let me down by wasting the pretty. He’s no longer pretty, but he still has the acting chops and the sexy voice.

He was Don Diego in the Zorro film made for television. It’s actually a great little movie, almost line by line a rip-off of the original from the 1930’s or whenever they loved black and white. I loved him in it. He was foppish. So foppish he could give Sir Percy a run for his money (there’s another crush, but alas, he doesn’t make the list this time). So charming he could win over a cynical little heart. (I’m not sure at this point if I’m talking about his love interest or me.) And he really did have a lovely declaration of love and smooching scene. I showed it to my best friend a few years ago – the whole movie, not just the smooching scene. My mother thought it would be fun to stand in front of the television at that point and block our view.

She’s lucky she still has arms.

The wonderfulness of Langella has not escaped my dad’s notice, either. One day he walked through, stared at the television for a moment, to which I was glued, and said, “Yeah, I can see why you girls like him.”

Smart man, my dad.

Crush #3: Kyle Chandler, Early Edition

I don’t know if you have ever seen Kyle Chandler in anything, but he’s cute. He was cute back then, when I was madly in love with his Gary Hobson, the man who gets tomorrows news today, and he’s cute now. Some things don’t change. Some men just age well. He absolutely does.

Gary was possibly the nicest guy ever on television. He was selfless. He was kind. He was good-hearted. These were all things that made my little heart happy, and still do. He won the lottery and gave the ticket to a bunch of nuns. He had a constant tussle of yearning going with an obnoxious female police detective (that was fun… and those seasons are not out on DVD, and I’m ticked off about it. GIVE ME MY HOBSON, DANGIT). Every week, he was heroic and got no thanks for it. But he did it anyway, because it was the right thing to do.

Kyle is very much all-American, “aw shucks.” He’s the best “aw shucks” all-American guy since Jimmy Stewart. He also has a trend of playing nice guys. Keep it up, Kyle. I loved you as the jilted ex-stock trader with a cat, and I loved you as the honorable coach of the high school football team.

One final note: in George W. Bush’s biography, there’s a picture of him when he was young. I swear, it looks like a young Kyle Chandler. I look at this as an indication that when Kyle gets older, he’s going to be just as cute as our former president is. Because like him or hate him, Bush is an “aw shucks” kind of boy too.

Crush #4: Jeremy Northam, Emma

Some actors you just like because you loved the first character you ever saw them as. That’s what happened with Jeremy Northam. I was all of thirteen years old when I first saw Emma. It was my introduction to Jane Austen. It was my introduction to romantic satire. It was my introduction to the Regency period, and most importantly, my introduction to Jeremy Northam. It was a wonderful part for him. He oozed charm, and sarcasm, and grace. To this day, I find him one of the most graceful actors I have ever seen. If you have any doubts, watch his dancing scene with Emma again. Watch how he moves, how he looks at each of his partners and not just at her.

I’ve followed his career from that moment onward. I have seen him play villains and martyrs, concerned husbands and cheating ones, murderers and aliens and doctors in clinics. He is always wonderful, but my favorite will always be Mr. Knightley. You can keep the Mr. Knightley of the more recent adaptation, where he’s no taller than Romola Garai and has no on-screen presence. There will never be a better Mr. Knightley than Mr. Northam. =P

When watching The Winslow Boy, which is possibly the single most boring, toneless, anti-climatic costume drama ever to be added to my collection, at one point he turns up in this fantastic coat with ermine at the collar. Animal-loving hippie that I am, even I had to sigh and say, “I want that coat.”

Mother gave me a look, and said, “It’s not the coat you want.”

So true, but the coat would be nice too.

There you have it: a history of Charity’s early crushes, which in time expanded to include many other dark-haired men. Me? Have a type? You think?

What were some of your first crushes?