My First TV Crush: The Floppy-Haired Fame Lion, Carlo Imperato

Our first crush is always a cherished thing: something to hold in our hearts forever. And who better than the honey-voiced Carlo Imperato aka Fame's Danny Amatullo? He could sing, dance and had heavenly hair - who could want more?
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Our first crush is always a cherished thing: something to hold in our hearts forever. And who better than the honey-voiced Carlo Imperato aka Fame's Danny Amatullo? He could sing, dance and had heavenly hair - who could want more?

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My first crush: Carlo Imperato. A strapping young specimen; with the hair of a lion, the jawline of Michelangelo's David, and a name off the specials board at Pizza Express.

When Alan Parker's surprisingly dark Fame ("Now, take off the top...") transmogrified from... The Motion Picture into... The TV Show, out went any pretence at reality, and in its place came dancing snowmen and crises of the "How will we stage a talent show during a power-cut?" variety. Still, I didn't mind the transition.

At the time, I'd found my early VHS copy of Fame to be almost unwatchably dour, whereas its TV incarnation was tuneful, upbeat and featured almost no scenes of molestation or suicidal coming outs. And then there was Danny Amatullo. The resident 'comedian' who managed to make Fozzie Bear seem like George Carlin. I guess being a 'struggling comedian' meant that none of the writing team ever had to worry about originating any funny material - they'd just get Danny to waggle a cigar and tell people that he was impersonating Groucho Marx or George Burns.

When Fame The TV Show began, it was easy to miss Danny's perpetually bulging jeans. As a completely new addition to the cast, he was neither a carry-over from the film, nor a recast character from the big screen version. Danny was all new, and had to compete with the likes of Bruno (keyboard and bubble perm) and Leroy (leg-warmers). He made precious little impression during the show's first season, but he hit his stride during the second, as he serenaded a visiting Betty White with his song Friday Night, latterly reprised during the Kids From Fame's sell-out tour of the UK.

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Whilst viewers in the US seemed largely indifferent to the Kids' irrepressible spunk, we lapped it up over here (I apologise for my language) and their concert tour was a genuine smash.

But this is about first crushes, not the history of the Kids From Fame. And here's where the two topics intersect. As an eight year old, I had no perception of gay or straight. I just knew that when Carlo Imperato started to dance in his well-worn Nikes, and sang about "Picking up speed as I'm turning the key" I wished that it was me he was planning to visit at the weekend. I'd got a bucket of Sticklebricks he could help me with.

It didn't matter to me that the 7" single in my local youth club show showed up the many flaws in his live vocal, when Carlo shouted out "Everybody here loves Fame, right?" I was right there with him. And who cares if his declaration that "Fame is gonna live forever..." was a little off. Turns out, that longevity only lasted another couple of years. But as far as my pre-teen heart was concerned, Carlo's immortality was already assured.