Category Archives: cothurni

Platform Shoes!

What was a girl to do in 70s London if she wanted to see a AA rated film and she was only 12 or…
…an X rated film and she was only 14?  Buy the tallest pair of platform shoes she could stand in, of course!

The platform shoe has been around at least as long as the Greeks who used cothurni to raise up important characters on stage.  They were big in Chinese opera and rose again in Europe in the late 16th century.  I first experienced them as a girl when my dad was in the “House of Atreus” at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis   (more on my and Robbie’s House of Atreus dolls from the Guthrie’s set designer in another post).  But it was in the 1970s when the platform shoe made it’s biggest mark.

For me, Elton John and glam rockers made platform shoes a much desired style accessory.  But trying to score Babycham at the pub and bypass the British film raiting system (U – universal, A – five and older, AA- fourteen and older, and X- eighteen and older) made them a necessity.  

In 1972, Robbie and I and our friends absolutely had to see “Endless Night” the new Hayley Mills horror film.  But it was rated AA and we were only twelve and eleven.  SO with a lot of make-up, stylish clothes and some new pairs of giant platforms, we bluffed our way in.  I seem to recall at least one of us tripping down the aisle.  A couple of years later when American Graffiti hit London it was rated X and once again our platforms were called into service.

That movie ushered in a craze for all things American in London which for us included trying to get into the Hard Rock Cafe.  More on that tomorrow!