On This Day: ‘Grease’ Starring John Travolta Premieres in 1978

by Megan Molseed

It has been 43 years since Grease’s good girl Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) traded her poodle skirt, sensible cardigan, and saddle shoes in favor of some rockin’ leather pants, killer bright-red pumps, and a “bad girl” hair-do in order to catch the eye of greaser Danny Zuko (John Travolta).

Grease made its world premiere on June 13, 1978. It was released in theaters across the country just a few days later on June 16. 

The film immediately became a box-office hit, grossing nearly nine million dollars on its opening weekend. To this day, the hit film remains a fan favorite, grossing nearly $400 million worldwide.

The hit classic Grease follows “good girl” Sandy as she tries to rekindle a summer romance with greaser, Danny after she unexpectedly ends up attending his high school, Rydell High. 

Grease’s Summer Lovin’

During the summer of 1958, Sandy and Danny find themselves falling in love with each other during a picture-perfect California summer-beach romance. However, as summer comes to an end, the two lovebirds realize their beachy romance is about to be over since Sandy is leaving California to return to Australia. Both Sandy and Danny are crushed that their love affair is almost over.  

Before they part, however, Danny tells his love that “this is only the beginning” of their romance. While, at the time, he doesn’t know when he and Sandy will meet again.

Before school starts, however, Sandy’s parents decide not to return to Australia. Sandy enrolls in Rydell High for her senior year. Danny also attends Rydell and has started his senior year as the leader of the greaser gang, the Tbirds.  

In the beginning, neither Danny nor Sandy realizes they are within each other’s grasps. However, the couple’s circle of friends, Rydell High’s Pink Ladies, and Danny’s T-birds, soon figure it out. 

Before long, he the Pink Ladies and the Tbirds bring the two together. However, Sandy soon learns that the boy that Sandy fell in love with on the beaches of their vacation getaway was very different than the one she finds at Rydell High. 

Danny finds himself in a precarious position. On one hand, he is desperate to hold onto his “tough guy” greaser persona, but he also desires to rekindle his romance with the “good-girl” Sandy. 

“Grease” is the Word; and the One We Want

Through a series of heartbreaks, misunderstandings, and miscommunications, Sandy decides to meet Danny partway as she sheds her sensible cardigan and her “good-girl” image. Sandy sends Danny swooning as she emerges with a new, provocative image during the Rydell High carnival.