Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Silver Screen

Most families have some sort of defining characteristic. Maybe you come from a sporty family. Mom and Dad were athletes in high school and you and your siblings have carried on that tradition. Perhaps a love of music brings your family together; each member proficient in their own musical talents. Still others it may be something as simple as a love of being together. That family that eats together, plays together, and laughs together. Everyone has something that is inherently them. The glue or the common ground that makes them who they are as a unit; as a family. This cohesiveness can be found in one or any number of things. Whatever it is, it's part of the makeup of that family and those who reside in it.

One of the most visible characteristics of our family is a love of movies. From grandparents down to the youngest member, the silver screen has been a part of our lives from the get go. It is difficult to recall a time when they were absent from my life. When my brother and I were small,  trips to Toronto to visit my Poppa and Aunt Marg were always exciting. Their rec room was wall to wall with old movie posters and framed head shots of famous actors and actresses. James Cagney, Marylin Monroe, Carey Grant to name but a few. Over the stairs leading to the rec room was an old movie poster for The Adventures of Robin Hood. I remember it welcoming us every time we headed downstairs. Errol Flinn seemed to hint that adventure lay ahead for us.

No visit was complete without a screening of The Wizard of Oz. Despite watching this movie so many times I never became bored with it, nor did it lose any of it's magic. The tornado lifting Dorthy's farm house, the ruby slippers, the oil can, and so many other small scenes within scenes that resonated with me. A horse of a different colour? You can dye your eyes to match your dress? Really? For a small child it was a world full of infinite wonder and excitement. Later we were introduced to other classics such as Zulu, The Adventures of Robin Hood and so many others.

At home our parents would take us out to the theater from time to time. Yes we called going to the movies the theater. We would even dress nicely and there would be programs at the door. I remember seeing E.T. when I was five or six and being so scared I cried through most of the movie. I'm sorry, but necks should not do that, alien or not. My brother and I watched the Star Wars trilogy together so many times I can still recite it by heart. For our family, every Friday was movie night, and therefore family night as well. Once I remarked we didn't actually need to watch a movie to which my father responded "Blasphemy!" I might as well suggested we didn't need to breath.

Our little girl is only three, but she is developing a love for the movies as well. Sure they are mostly childrens movies, but she still finds the same wonder in them that I did when I was little. Stories of castles, magic wands, heroes and dragons. On rainy days we have a movie day at home, make popcorn and snuggle up on the couch. I have yet to take her out to the, ahem, theater, but look forward to doing so. First I have to start at the beginning. Where did I put my copy of The Wizard of Oz?

2 comments:

  1. Mark Vansickle-HirstJanuary 15, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    And with those movies follows the consumption of, as I remember, TV Time Popcorn. Those plastic packages with the popcorn on one side and the yellow-orange popping "substance" sequestered on the other side. Just get those two together and see what happens! Your dad would pop it in one pot while butter would be melting in the other.

    Sometimes I would already be in bed, but would be awakened by that familiar aroma, followed by that dull popping sound telling me that I was missing out on something good. I'd call down, letting know that I was awake and hungry, and someone would always come up with a bowl for me. They wouldn't let me come downstairs though.

    Also, growing up at 290 Monarch Park, the sight of your dad watching movies while lying on the floor, on one side, usually with toast or cookies, was a familiar one. Mom would tell him that he was too close to the television. Yeah, we've had some good times watching movies in this family of ours!

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    1. There are so many! You could probably fill a whole book with memories associated with different movies. I remember when you took me to see The Black Cauldron somewhere in downtown Toronto. The theater was so big and even had a balcony. And curtains that pulled open! I miss curtains, they made things more exciting for some reason.

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