Henry Thomas. Where
to begin? Certainly not with "E.T.". Though I'm sure I enjoyed the movie
as a child, it didn't leave a lasting impression on me. In fact, I distinctly
remember not liking Elliott even though I knew I was supposed to be
attracted to him since he was a similarly aged protagonist. It wasn't
until the end of 1994 that my fever struck. I was sitting home watching
"Good Morning America" (don't ask) when they mentioned a new movie,
"Legends of the Fall". It starred all these big names, Brad Pitt, Aidan
Quinn, Anthony Hopkins, blah blah. Then I saw HIM. It was, Henry Thomas,
the now all grown-up star of "E.T." playing the youngest brother of
this Montana family. I immediately got this crushy feeling in the pit
of my stomach and I knew I was in trouble. There he was with these crazy
ears and a goofy grin. He seemed so young and sweet. I was instantly
It's been a roller
coaster ride ever since. Initially I was excited because he was such
an anti-star. Here was this little one hit wonder from San Antonio,
and all of a sudden he's in this epic movie. Even though he'd steadily
been making movies since 1981 no one had really paid him much mind.
Well, even after doing "Legends" he didn't get much recognition. And
that's the way I liked it. He was mine.
I spent a lot of
time in an information gathering whirlwind. Scouring used bookstores
and libraries filled my hours. I found every little photo and article
I could get my hands on. It wasn't easy. There wasn't much to be had.
Mostly "E.T." era kid-stuff. I was more interested in the Henry of today
(though I find this photo to be oddly erotic).
Every tiny tid-bit was a huge score to me. Initially, the only things
I had to go on were an article in "Seventeen" and a profile in "Parade",
but it was more than enough to tide me over. I love a good challenge
and this was the ultimate.
I created a mini
zine that compiled vital stats, movie reviews, quotes, pictures, etc.
I didn't know where to go with this so I sent a copy to his agent and
then set-out distributing my product to the public (well, to the small
amount of the population who read and edit zines). It was surprisingly
well received so I quickly made another one. This time I had fuel. I
got letters from a guy who went to middle school with Henry, some girls
from San Antonio who didn't like him, and a gentleman who worked on
the set of "Psycho IV" with him. Now this was fun.
started out as sweet labor of love started mutating into a forum for
rumors and stalking stories of all varieties. Gradually, I started picking
on H.T. more and more. I believe it's important to balance admiration
with criticism. Despite my ribbing, I still liked the guy. In the back
of my mind, I always feared that Henry would drop off the face of the
earth and then I'd have nothing to write about. But just like clockwork,
there he'd be making another lame cable movie and still as unpopular
as ever. Saved. He always came through for me.
But through all
this, what I really craved was some sort of acknowledgement from Henry,
himself. I didn't even care if he told me to go to hell. As a stalker
it's just satisfying to get a reaction, bad or good. After a couple
of years and reaping no rewards, I started growing bitter. Henry was
going down. Then via e-mail I hooked up with this guy who did a public
access show in Austin (which Henry appeared on at a party making an
ass of himself. It was priceless). I sent him some zines and he promised
to give them to Henry after a show (yeah, Henry's one of them crazy
singer/songwriters). It was reported that Henry "got a kick" out of
them, which was pleasing because I feared he may be sensitive and get
offended about some of my banter. That was a small high, but it was
fleeting. It was becoming harder and harder to sustain my euphorias.
A year earlier I would've been pleased to have come this far, but now
it wasn't good enough. Nothing was.
It was truly like
an addiction. At first every little dose makes you feel good. Then at
some point it's not even fun anymore, but you have to keep feeding your
mania just to stay level. I knew deep in my heart that me and Henry
weren't meant to be. That was clear from the beginning. I'm not keen
on guys like him and I'm sure he has no interest in girls like me. But
still, he was my boy, and I couldn't just throw in the towel. Something
had to give.
Right around the
time that my interest started waning, something happened to hurry along
the whole break-up process. He became popular. There's no bigger way
to turn me off. If he really wanted to get me off his back he should've
became high-profile a few years earlier. It all started somewhere in
1997. A friend who worked at "US" magazine sent me a screening copy
of "Hijacking Hollywood", which was a not-bad, low-budget movie with
Scott Thompson, that never really made it to the big screen. That was
typical small-potatoes Henry. I'm not sure why I'm marking this as the
turning point, but after this things got out of control.
I don't know if
Henry got a new publicist or what, but this past spring was a veritable
H.T. bonanza. He had three movies out at practically the same time.
First it was the small, "Niagara, Niagara", which came and went so quickly
at the local arty theater that I didn't even get a chance to see it
a second time (not that I really wanted to, but I have to watch a movie
once to get the plot and then a second time to pick up on quotes, themes,
what have ya). Then it was "Suicide Kings" and the super hyped-up "Moby
Dick" on The USA Network. There had never been such a barrage in all
of Henry history.
That was just the
tip of the iceberg. Henry was promoting himself like crazy, and looking
good. I'd always loved/hated his dorky ways, but all of a sudden he
was looking sharp. His hair wasn't all floppy, he wasn't wearing baggy
t-shirts and jeans, even his features looked different like he'd finally
grown-up. While still gangly, his face had become liney and aged in
a most attractive way (I know I said that I like sissies, but I also
have a craggy, old man fetish). It was too much.
Within like the
same week he appeared on "The Daily Show", "Access Hollywood" (snowboarding
in Utah), "The Howard Stern Show" (along with the Insane Clown Posse,
which just isn't right), "The Rosie O' Donnell Show" (My aunt said he
looked like a "wolfman". I was just glad he didn't do any showtunes.),
was in "People" (with his live-in male lover, er, I mean childhood friend),
"InStyle," "React," and in this hot fashion spread for "Premiere" looking
better than ever in this Calvin Klein suit. He was looking very elf-like
(another fetish of mine). Whew. That almost brings me up to the present.
You'd think that
I'd be happy with all this opportunity for feeding my Henry hunger,
but I'm the possesive type and all this exposure was making me nervous.
I feared that It would only be a matter of time before I lost him to
someone else (my fears are rarely unfounded). I did reap some benefits
from this minute media frenzy. I got a call from the local "new rock"
station. Whatever that is. You know they play Everclear, Ben Folds Five,
and that "Sex and Candy" song like 24-7. Henry was going to do a call-in
radio promo thing for his upcoming movies and they wanted me to be this
surprise guest. I was a little excited, but mostly nervous. Images of
that "Jenny Jones" secret crush/ending-in-murder episode flew through
my head. Well, I couldn't say no. I figured that if I could finally
talk to Henry, I could put this faltering obsession business to bed
for good. Superstition did take hold, the interview was scheduled for
Friday the 13th. I'd previously had a bad stalking experience on that
same date a few years prior, but I stayed strong and determined. I was
also afraid of being raked over the coals by some kooky, prank-pulling
d.j.s. I can be a big mouth, but when confronted by strangers I get
weak and skittish. So I psyched myself up and trooped down to the station
at the ungodly hour of 6:30 a.m.
really got into a groove. Chatter was just flying out of my mouth. I
was on autopilot. The d.j.s really liked me (and kept referring to me
as "charming"--that was a first) and let me talk a lot more than I'd
expected. I figured they'd get Hank on for like 5 minutes and let me
ask a few questions, but I was given full reign. I spoke for about 10
minutes just about my zine and who's stalkable and who's not. But each
minute that passed meant Henry's call was drawing nearer (my palms are
all sweaty as I'm typing this--really). Eventually, they got him on
the phone and announced that they "had a surprise for him" and asked
if he'd ever heard of something called, "The Scaredy-cat Stalker". Oh,
you bet he had. I don't know if he was thrown or not, but if so, he
recovered well and we ended up having a pretty lively chat. It was good
fun (even though I called him an anti-semite. Now that's charming)
and not scary in the least. I won't bore you now, but you can read a
transcript, if you so choose. I came away feeling very satisfied. Maybe
Henry wasn't so bad after all.
Later that day I
got a friendly e-mail from the ol' Hankster. He proposed the idea of
me doing a website about him. It cracked me up. Asking a stalker to
do a website about you. Had the world gone mad?! I guess it's true what
they say, stalking does make strange bedfellows. Well, I wasn't opposed
to the idea, but I didn't really have the know-how or the time (I was
busy planning a big move to New York). It did strike me as a tad self-serving,
but he readily amitted that it would be an ego-stroke and that he'd
understand if I didn't want to do it, but that I would probably be the
only person who'd be remotely interested. I had to give the guy some
points for being up-front. Around this same time I renewed my interest
in web searching for Henry info. I'd gotten pretty slack in the past
year due to a million other unrelated circumstances. I chanced upon
a couple of pedophiles mentioning him. He's big with the boy-lovers
(NAMBLA even wrote me for my zine). Then I found
IT. An unremarkable website about Henry Thomas with these horrible tie-dye
borders and hippy fonts. It didn't tell me anything I didn't already
know, but it stuck in my craw. I felt violated. How dare someone else
move in on my territory. No matter, I clued Henry in on this already
existing site. I thought he should know.
Well, nice girls
finish last, and that's the last time I have a temporary burst of kindness.
I started periodically checking in on this site, and every time it was
a little meatier and a little bit more Henry. By this I mean that the
hippy font had changed to a Celtic one (Henry's way into Celtic
crap) and there was more personal information than there used to
be. You can bet I was seeing red. Henry had foresaken me for someone
a little more pliable and less high-maintenence, just like the typical
guy he is. I only hope that this girl is a teen because it would excuse
a lot. For a period of time I had these 15 yr. olds who found my number,
calling me for Henry info. It weirded me out, but I couldn't get mad.
(Actually, I got into this minor e-mail war with a friend of one of
these girls who accused me of being mentally ill, but that's another
story. I told you internet people are creepy.) Teens will be teens and
that's why I love them.
That was five months
ago and the site's been growing by leaps and bounds ever since. Now
instead of some random URL, she's got Henry Thomas in the domain name
(you notice how I won't actually give you the address?), an interview
with him, a chat room, and interactive games. Don't get me wrong. It's
not a bad site by any means. I really like the big selection of photos
for each movie (I don't even own a scanner, but when I get one, watch
out) and I was amused to learn that Henry gets hardons for cartoon characters
(Aeon Flux). Maybe it's just that I go in for things with some heart,
some personality, you know? Granted, it doesn't take much to become
a bee in my bonnet. I'm chronically irked. Like this webpage has a section
with "Henry's Links" where he mentions the Belle
and Sebastian website. Hey, that's one of my all-time favorite bands
(I'm listening to "The Boy With the Arab Strap" right now). What is
he doing pouring his heart out like this when I'm the one who
appreciates it? (O.k., I'm being melodramatic.) See, I told you I'm
posessive. (Just thank your lucky stars, you're not my boyfriend.)
So, that brings
me to my present stewing-in-my-juices state. I don't know what the future
holds. Really, I'd given up the whole Henry thing about a year ago so
I shouldn't be so concerned with any of this nonsense. But that's just
my way. For now, let's hark back to a simpler time when all it took
was a tiny quote in "Entertainment Weekly" to make my day.
*Disclaimer: This section hasn't been updated much since
the late '90s -- consider it a snapshot of a bygone era I'm not ready
to give up yet.