I have always loved old black and white movies. I used to watch them every chance I got on TV. I liked comedies, musicals, mysteries, histories, fantasies, and science fiction. In truth, there were very few types of movies that I didn’t like.
I remember watching the Three Stooges every afternoon on the local television show. It was amazing how three grown men could act so totally childish. I soon moved up to the more sophisticated humor of the Marx Brothers. But there were fewer Marx Brothers movies than there were Three Stooges and the Three Stooges did come on every weekday afternoon and sometimes on Saturdays as well.
I loved to watch musicals. Although they were usually in color when they played in the movie theater, I often watched them in black and white on TV. My family was rather late getting a color TV at our house. We would watch color TV when we visited my grandmothers’ houses or my aunts and uncles’ houses. I never really felt deprived.
I probably saw White Christmas in black and white three or four times before I ever saw it in color. The snow was white anyway even if the trees were black instead of green and the Santa suits were gray.
I loved Charlie Chan and Sherlock Holmes too. I grew up with Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock. Later on I would swear by Jeremy Brett’s portrayal of the great detective. My passion for British detective stories has continued to the present.
I’ve never been much of one for horror movies but I do like science fiction and fantasies. I remember The Thing, The Blob, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and many others.
We did go to the movies occasionally. I remember going to a special matinee showing of Ben Hur when it first came out in the theater. My father used to tell the story of me getting all caught up in the action of the chariot race. When the opponent was whipping Ben Hur with a bull whip I cracked up the nuns sitting behind us by saying, “Gee dad, I bet that smarts.”
It is probably no surprise that I became enthralled by movies to the extent that I spent two years in college studying Cinematography. I excelled at the technical but was hard pressed to write good stories at the time.
It is probably just as well. You have to wash a lot of dishes or wait a lot of tables to get started in the movie business. I chose a different path. I don’t get all wistful about it or anything. I figure if I wanted to, I could still have a moderately successful career in film. At the very least I could make some ad revenue on You Tube. And I might. Stay tuned.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.