Today, we look at how the blind woman in the music video for Lionel Richie’s “Hello” knew what her teacher looked like.
In Pop Culture Questions Answered, I answer whatever questions you folks might have about movies, TV, music or whatever (feel free to e-mail questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
One of the weirdest music videos of the 1980s (well, I should say “One of the weirdest POPULAR music videos of the 1980s,” as obviously there were some music videos so weird that they crashed and burned right away) is the music video for Lionel Richie’s number one hit, “Hello.”
The video was directed by Bob Giraldi, who had directed Richie once before for the music video for “Running With the Night,”, but the director clashed with Richie at the start of the video, when he explained the concept of the video to the singer, who noted that the story Giraldi was describing didn’t match the song’s lyrics. Giraldi told him, “You’re not creating the story, I am,” and Richie, noting that Giraldi was a very successful music video director at the time (he had directed “Beat It,” after all, one of the most famous videos of the era), figured he would trust Giraldi.
Okay, so the video takes place at a school. I’m going to HOPE that it is at an arts college, as it is creepy either way that Richie’s character, a teacher, is attracted to one of his students (played by Laura Carrington), but it is obviously even creepier if she’s still in high school.
The student is blind, but at the end of the video, she has sculpted a pretty decent likeness of the teacher based on how she sees him in her mind.
My pal, Gene P., wanted to know how a blind woman could sculpt someone without, you know, seeing them.
Well, first of all, the video addresses the fact that this is VERY UNUSUAL, as another student comes and gets the teacher to show him what she sculpted, telling him, “Excuse me, but there’s something going on in the sculture class. I think you ought to check it out.” So everyone gets that this is really weird that she was able to sculpt him through her “heart.” The implication is clear that this is essentially fate, she loves him just like he loves her, and her love for him is so strong that she was able to sculpt him without ever seeing him (she then touches his face to confirm that she was correct).
The interesting thing is that Richie had a different problem – he though that the sculpture didn’t look ENOUGH like him!
He recalled, “When I saw the bust, I said, ‘Bob, it doesn’t look like me’. He said, ‘We’ll talk about it later’ We filmed one segment. I went back and said, ‘You really have to take a look at this.’ We filmed the second segment, and here comes the third, where I had to shoot with the bust. Again, I said, ‘Bob, it doesn’t look like me.’ Bob turned to me and said, ‘Lionel, she’s blind. End of subject.’ In other words, if she got a perfect look, what kind of exceptional person is this? It’s got to look a little skewed and off.”
Richie added, “But it worried me to death to stand next to this bust. I’m going, ‘Oh, my God, I hope the world doesn’t see me looking like this’.”
Thanks to Richie for that interesting information, and thanks to Gene for the question (which he didn’t ask me specifically, but hey, close enough!).
If anyone else has a pop culture question, drop me a line at email@example.com!