way down memory lane… {part 2}

5 Old-Timey Prejudices That Still Show Up in Every Movie - We think of Hollywood as a liberal and socially progressive land of hippies, what with its endless fundraisers and giving awards to movies that teach us that intolerance is wrong. Yet in certain ways, movies are still way behind the times.

A few days ago, I talked about books I read and loved when I was a little girl, and today I’ll be discussing the movies and TV shows that held my interest back in the day.  When I started compiling the list, I was pleasantly surprised at how many films I could remember – and how many I still enjoy (although usually for different reasons), and I could see how many of the books and films on my list shaped my tastes today.  From historical fiction, to larger than life heroes, to musicals – it’s all there: the blueprint for my current interests.  And I think that’s amazingly cool.

The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, 1948, John Huston. When someone asks me my favorite movie, I usually answer "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre"

For starters, a couple of the movies that are undeniably part of my family’s history, for want of a better word.  I think most families have at least one or two movies that are ‘theirs’, the kind that they watch semi-regularly and quote a lot, movies that are part of the familial traditions – if even in a small way.  At the moment, I can think of only two for my family, but I’m pretty sure there’s more: ‘Oliver!’ and ‘Treasure Of The Sierra Madre’.  I’ve seen ‘Oliver!’ more times than I can count (I have practically all the lyrics to all the songs memorized, simply by osmosis), and ‘Treasure Of The Sierra Madre’, which might not be the first choice for a family movie because it’s actually pretty dark, but Dad likes it and so do I and I think everyone else kind of tolerates it.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, to tell the truth, and after watching ‘Sabrina’ and ‘Casablanca’, I feel like seeing Humphrey Bogart in something else (even if Dobbs is a rather unsavoury type).  Oh, and we were all quite thrilled when we stumbled on the ‘Get Smart’ episode – “The Treasure Of C. Errol Madre”.  It’s a hilarious parody of the real thing.

Fiddler On the Roof. A brilliant, brilliant story with incredible characters. I've watched it hundreds of times and it still thrills me. (No, I did not create this poster - I simply enjoy it immensely!) - Natalie

As for the musicals, there were two that alternated as ‘THIS IS MY FAVOURITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME’ (I was really into musicals, even back then), and they were ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ and ‘Singin’ In The Rain’.  FOTR stuck with me long after I watched it, but the only version available to me back when I was eight or so was my grandparents’ VHS (very old technology, I know) and since the thing was about three hours long, I only watched it a couple of times throughout my whole period of all-things-related-to-Russia obsession.  And a little later, maybe when I was eleven or twelve, ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ became the new ‘thing’, so to speak.  It’s one of only four movies I’ve ever seen that I watched two days in a row (the other three being ‘White Christmas’, ‘Saving Mr Banks’, and ‘Meet The Robinsons’) and after the two viewings, my siblings and I had basically every song memorized, along with most of the dialogue.  And Mom literally banned us from watching it anymore because we drove her crazy with out constant quoting.  Again, that was a terrible bane because SITR was my new favorite movie, but I survived (duh).

Meant to include these two on my list of favorite fictional couples, but I forgot.

I suppose now would be the appropriate time to discuss a few of my early fictional character crushes.  There were three main ones, although I don’t really remember how old I was for each – Robin Hood (from the animated Disney Robin Hood – yes, yes, I know he’s a fox, but he’s so heroic and amazing and just…anyway), Gene Kelly, and (*blushes*) Little Joe from ‘Bonanza’.  I KNOW I KNOW.  There’ve probably been thousands of girls who’ve had a crush on Little Joe, but I was young and I liked him the best and I can’t really blame myself.  If I still watched ‘Bonanza’ as religiously as I used to, he’d probably still be my favourite character (more on ‘Bonanza’ in a bit).  Robin Hood showed me the heroic, self-sacrificing side of fictional guys; Gene Kelly helped me appreciate good music and the funny, wise-cracking side of fictional guys; and Little Joe was…cute, I guess. (*eye roll at my younger self*)

No, but he did have some good qualities (I think), and I suppose now is as good a time as any to discuss the TV shows I enjoyed when I was younger.

For fourteen seasons and 431 episodes, the Cartwright family showed America a slice of the Old West. One of the longest running Western television series of all time had, what is arguably, the most recognizable openings of all time. From the fiery map, to the scenes of the Cartwright men looking manly, to the music that played in the background, the opening to “Bonanza” was a thing of beauty! READ ALL ABOUT IT IN MY BLOG POST!  http://stargazermercantile.com/bonanza/  #TV #Westerns #Bonanza

My siblings and I had the first few seasons of ‘Bonanza’ on DVD (I believe there were fourteen seasons, all in all), and we watched each episode avidly, although there were only two that really stuck out to me, and those two are the only ones I can still remember.  “Death At Dawn” and “The Abduction”.  “Death At Dawn” is actually kind of special to me, because I believe it was one of my first introductions to heroes being heroic and brave and all that in the face of a life or death situation – especially when that certain situation is intensely personal.  The basic plot is that Adam, Joe, and Hoss have to decide whether to hang a criminal (thus sentencing their father to death, since the criminal’s boss has captured Ben, and it’s pretty complicated), or let the criminal go, thereby proving that law and justice don’t really rule in whatever generic town they’re protecting.  There’s some pretty deep parts and heavy emotions and the fact that it’s still in the back of mind after all these years…I should probably watch it again.  And “The Abduction” was a Little Joe focus, besides being just plain interesting, so I watched it a lot.

And then, of course, ‘Hogan’s Heroes’.  One of my most vivid (and fondest) memories of My Younger Days, was watching an episode of HH every lunch time, and once it was over, begging Mom to let us watch ‘just one more’.  She almost never agreed, but when she did, there was great rejoicing. (*wink*)  Most of the subtle humour went over my head, but the sight gags and slapstick humour never got old.  The Heroes will always have a special place in my heart, partly because of the nostalgic wave that sweeps over me whenever I hear that familiar theme music.

What films and TV shows did you watch when you were younger?



12 thoughts on “way down memory lane… {part 2}

  1. The first film that I have to mention is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It was a vhs and I watched it so many times that I ruined the vhs. I especially love the barn dance, and I would rewind that part over and over again. 🙂
    Fiddler on the Roof is also one of our family’s favorites. We play the soundtrack in the car and sing along, which is tons of fun.
    Goodbye Mr. Chips is also one of our favorites. It is a test question our family uses to see how many classic movies a person has seen because it is not very well known or treasured except by the people who have seen it. There are two versions. The original was where I first fell in love with Greer Garson, and the second is a musical with a style that reminds me of Fiddler on the Roof. Even though they have the same story, they are both very different films.
    Rigoletto (1993 )is also a big favorite of ours. When I was little, I didn’t understand all the nuances of the story, but I fell in love with the music. This movie really in a way developed my view of life and how I saw people, so I had to mention that movie.
    I did not watch as many TV shows when I was little as I do now. I was always really excited whenever Bonanza came on TV because we never saw it often. Mom was not the biggest fan of westerns, but I’m slowly changing her mind. One show that we did watch often was Little House on the Prairie.
    Sorry that this turned out to be such a long reply. Once I started typing, it was hard to stop.


    • I loved “Rigoletto” when I was younger! I think if I saw it again now, I would still love it, but I don’t have a copy. May have to remedy that. I do have the soundtrack, though! Wonderful, wonderful songs.

      I didn’t know there was a musical version of “Goodbye, Mr. Chips.” I’ve seen the Greer Garson version, and I think there’s another more recent one too… maybe with Kevin Kline?

      My mom’s favorite TV show is “Little House on the Prairie,” and I have seen at least half the episodes 🙂


  2. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is one of my top three favorite films (the others, for the record, are The Sound of Music and Sense and Sensibility ’95). It’s probably one of our most-quoted films too. “Beware of the dog, get it?”

    I used to watch Little House on the Prairie quite a bit when I was little, though I’ve sort of grown out of it now. 🙂 And I remember getting up early on Saturday mornings to watch reruns of Lassie on Animal Planet. For movies, we watched a lot of Shirley Temple films and old classic Disney—the original Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons, So Dear to My Heart, Mary Poppins, Cinderella, Peter Pan, etc.


  3. I had a crush on the animated Robin Hood as a kid too! Still find him mighty attractive, considering he’s a cartoon fox. In fact, that movie is currently my kids’ favorite, and I’m throwing a Robin Hood-themed birthday party for Sarah this weekend 😀 Such a wonderful movie!

    I also love Hogan’s Heroes and Bonanza — my two favorite episodes are “The Avenger” (guest-starring Vic Morrow!) and “Any Friend of Walter’s” (guest-starring Arthur Honeycutt). One is super duper dramatic, and the other is side-splittingly funny, and I love them both. I never had a favorite Cartwright brother, though. I kind of like Ben best, and then probably Adam and Hoss tied. Little Joe is all yours!


    • I believe I’ve seen “The Avenger” (or at least parts of it), because a while back I was quite obsessed with looking up C! actors in Other Roles (most of which were in westerns), and I remember that there were at least two with Vic Morrow. (Also one with Conlan Carter called, of all things, “The Hostage”…it was kind of weird to watch, because he played a villain. :))


      • Vic wears a delicious green jacket in it, and a short-crowned black hat. No holster, carries his gun in his belt. His character is actually a cross-over character, and is also in an episode of another western called “Outlaws.”

        I’ve seen that Conlan Carter episode! I agree, it was weird to see him play a bad guy. There’s an episode of “Big Valley” where Dick Peabody plays a bad guy, and ohhhh, so hard to take.

        Speaking of Dick Peabody, have you seen “Support Your Local Sheriff” yet? That’s one of my family’s “Family Movies” that we quote incessantly and have seen a zillion times. And he’s in it 🙂 Our other Family Movies are “Mr. Mom” and “Sabrina” (the Harrison Ford version) — we have many others we watched together a lot, but those are the three we quote the most.


      • No, I haven’t seen ‘Support Your Local Sherrif’ yet – once I finish writing this comment, I’ll look it up on Wikipedia to see what It’s All About. 🙂

        I recently watched the older version of Sabrina with my mom – it was lovely.


      • I actually prefer the remake version of Sabrina. The cast has better chemistry and it’s a little sweeter, if you can imagine. Even though I dearly love Audrey Hepburn AND Humphrey Bogart AND William Holden, I feel like they didn’t click the way the actors in the newer version did.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s