Peoria residents sound off on 'To Wong Foo' -- Audience members from the Illinois town share their thoughts on the cross-dressing antics of Patrick Swayze and company

By Mary Boone
Updated September 29, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

Maybe it was the kilt-clad Scottish heroes of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart and Liam Neeson’s Rob Roy. Or perhaps it was the regal cross-dressers of last year’s Priscilla, Queen of the Desert who prepped America for the dolled-up antics of To Wong Foo‘s Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, and John Leguizamo. Whatever the reason, moviegoers at the Willow Knolls 14 Theater in Peoria, Ill., seemed unfazed by the idea of the $18 million gender bender’s hunks in heels — and some quite knowledgeable about what it takes to walk the walk.

Ted Autle, 38, software engineer ”I don’t know how realistic this portrayal was. In my life, I don’t have a lot of social interaction with drag queens.”

Jeff Taylor, 32, optician ”Wesley Snipes’ biceps were too big for the dresses he wore. He definitely should have gone with sleeves.”

James McGlasson, 23, administrator ”I thought the movie was very well done. Patrick Swayze was great. He looked the part. He fit the part. He talked the part. I’d see it again in a minute.”

Joanna Couri, 11, student ”Chi Chi made the best woman because she had the best walk. Wesley Snipes had the best lines and the best name — Noxeema. It’s a really funny movie. In fact, I’ve seen it twice.”

Katie Schumaker, 14, student ”I thought it was going to be stupid, but it’s funny. Plus, I liked their outfits.”

Barbara Cox, 60, homemaker ”I enjoyed The Adventures of Priscilla more. It seemed a little more real-life, but it still had elements of humor. All the performers in this movie were good, but none were as good as Terence Stamp in Priscilla.”

Mary Decker, 24, exotic entertainer ”I thought it was hilarious. Patrick Swayze was so glamorous — especially for a big man. I’d have no problem being his friend. And I’d hope he’d let me borrow his clothes.”

Eric Ewan, 36, teacher ”I wanted it to be entertaining, and it was. But the story line wasn’t particularly deep. It seemed a lot like Bosom Buddies set to music.”

Sue Hawrylo, 44, health-care professional ”We were a little surprised that this movie has such broad appeal. It’s a little hard to believe that a movie about drag queens could be number one at the box office.”

Rick Dickson, 40, chemical worker ”This is a must-buy when the video comes out. Patrick Swayze’s moves weren’t as contrived as the others’; he was a natural in a dress.”

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

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