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.
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.
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).
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.
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?