Hold Onto Your Potatoes: I Always Wanted To Be Short Round

I don’t often gush about celebrities or take much interest in their personal lives (I only ever went to water over two I met in person – Keith Carradine and Ernest Lee Thomas), but I’m so genuinely happy in my heart for Key Huy Quan.

When I was a kid Temple of Doom was (and still is) one of my favorite movies.

Besides being a standout in the series in terms of being entirely unlike the other entries, it’s a deliriously paced machinegun volley of jaw dropping action sequences that begins with a dive out of an airplane in a rubber raft and lands (if you can call it landing) on a split rope bridge, with racing mine cars, kung fu, and heart rips in between.

Also, I really love the surrogate family dynamic.

Seriously. It was the biggest appeal to me as a kid.

My parents used to take me all over the country on mini-adventures…camping, white water rafting, climbing at Starved Rock, poking through caves and museums and hiking over Civil War battlefields…on road trips they used to let me scan the Rand McNally map for weird little side trips and I got to shout out the brown historical marker signs for potential detours. I got to thinking of those signs as chocolate chips in the cookie of America.

I used to imagine us as Indy, Willie, and Shorty (I named my middle daughter after Willie Scott).

Every kid wanted to be Indy, but I identified the most with Short Round, living in the shadow of a heroic, larger than life father. In my mind, Shorty was the coolest kid sidekick in all of moviedom – certainly one of the few who isn’t just played for laughs. He’s practically an equal partner in the adventure and literally saves the adults’ asses at one point. It was years before I ever learned the character and the movie was not well-regarded, and I’m just as baffled now as at the time of my initial revelation.

Shorty’s the best. I wanted to BE Shorty.

For that reason alone, every couple of years I’ve looked Quan up just to see what he was doing, and excitedly told my friends – ‘The dude who played Short Round did the fight choreography for this!’

I may be naïve, but the fact that he’s experiencing this renaissance at 51 after years of slowly crushing defeats still gives me a little bit of hope. Never too late for the universe to align in your favor if you maintain a positive attitude and foster a child’s wide open heart. It’s clear from the interactions I’ve seen him in lately that’s the case here. The guy’s enthusiasm is infectious, and I love the affirming little stories coming out about him, that Spielberg has sent him a Christmas present every year since 1984, that Jeff ‘Chunk’ Cohen and him have remained friends, and that he’s the entertainment lawyer who brokered Quan’s deal for Everything Everywhere All At Once.

Sometimes kindness and perseverance are rewarded.

I just pray once the Oscar buzz dies down nobody forgets him.

I sure won’t.

As a kid I wanted to be Short Round. Now I hope some day to be Key Huy Quan.

Published in: on March 11, 2023 at 1:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://emerdelac.wordpress.com/2023/03/11/hold-onto-your-potatoes-i-always-wanted-to-be-short-round/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: