Wednesday, November 26, 2014

50's in the 70's

Gadsden High School Parade, Broad Street, 1974

During that time, we teens were experiencing a 50's revival of sorts. We had school Sock Hops, watched Happy Days on television and American Graffiti at the Drive-In. Sure American Graffiti was set in the early 60's, and all the cruising cars radios were tuned to music of the 50's. It was a great soundtrack and we borrowed it for a while in the 70's. We enjoyed listening to the classic rock'n and roll'n mixed in with the pop hits of our decade. We didn't mind the generational mix - able to dance to music from 50's through the 70's. I enjoyed the spirit of it, but for some reason never got around to watching Grease.
The photo above was shared by Bobby Bugg at his Facebook group Gadsden,AL: City of Champions.  I was in the graduating class of 1977 at Gadsden High's rival school Emma Sansom High School. Having not gone to Gadsden High, I don't know anyone in this shot.  It does however bring back memories of that time.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

comedy is better together

I first noticed that comedy wasn't as fun if experienced alone was in 1977. It was a return of Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein when the show came back to town.  The first time I had seen it was with by brother when it was originally released in 1974. I had watched it several times that initial showing with other friends who had yet to see it.  It was a brilliant piece of work, and still remains one of my favorites. 

In 1977 it had already shown on our little screen at home and I was looking forward to seeing it once again on the big screen.  I just couldn't enjoy it.  It wasn't as funny without having someone to enjoy it with. Sure, a joke isn't as funny after the first time it's heard ~ because we've already heard the punchline.  But Brooks had made a comedic classic ~ a work of art that rates right up there with best of The Marx Brothers.  So there I was, sitting in the mall cinema, hilarious stuff going on, but couldn't laugh.

Maybe it's as simple as the fact that it's easier to laugh with someone than without someone. I can watch Buster Keaton's The General and appreciate the seamless movement and synchronicity of his genius and timing, but not enjoy it to it's fullest because it's a joy that must be shared. Last year I shared Buster Keaton with my youngest daughter Kelsey.  She is now a Keaton fan. I relive his comedy completely again in her presence.  

Not so long ago, my daughter Katie and I would watch The Three Stooges together.  We enjoyed the silliness of it all sitting side by side on the living room couch.  When I was a kid, I'd watch The Three Stooges with my siblings on Saturday mornings, huddled together on a blanket in front of the old black and white Zenith on the living room floor.  Those guys brought giggles and roars of laughter from that young audience.  It wasn't the same until Katie came along, I could laugh at them again.

These days, when a good comedy comes around, which is rare, I don't go it alone. I really believe that you don't know how fun a moment can be when you're not experiencing that moment with someone. I realize this post is terribly redundant, but I'm trying to make a point.
Shared laughter is the best laughter.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

the fly: the original still has it

Halloween has just changed since we were kids.  The neighborhoods are not crowded with little kids out trick-or-treating like they used to do.  Schools no longer have Halloween Carnivals, but rather Fall Festivals and parents now take their kids to no spooky Trunk-or-Treats.  I'm not complaining, it's just not the same.

My girls like chili and so I decided to make the day a little special by teaching them how to make the stuff.  Gina wanted us to drive out to Glencoe and cook it over at her mother's house which is now vacant after she passed away last December.  We are about to lease the house, and Gina wanted to spend a little time there as a family.  We did.

Nothing much goes on in our neighborhood in Southside, so we were thinking that College Street in Glencoe might be teaming with children.  Katie wanted to give out candy this year.  Gina bought candy, the good stuff, for Katie to give away.  As the chili was simmering and the Mexican cornbread baking, Gina took Kelsey trick-or-treating the old fashioned way.

Even though I lit the house up with candles and lit plastic pumpkins, not a single visit from area children.  No one was out.  Maybe the shower kept the children in, but that kind of rain would not have kept me in when I was a kid. Katie and I killed time talking and cutting up, while waiting for Gina and Kelsey to return. The smell of the chili and cornbread was beckoning me.

Gina and Kelsey returned after a 45 minute walk around the neighborhood.  Most of the residents in the neighborhood seemed to not be participating. Those that did, kindly offered stuff they could dig up quickly from their kitchens.

Nevertheless, as different a Halloween night as it was, it was a good time together.  We ate the chili, talked and laughed together.  We cleaned up, took out the trash, locked up and came home.  Gina wanted to watch an old horror movie.  She wanted to show the girls THE FLY (1958).  I told her that I found it on Netflix and had it on my favorites list to watch this week.  That's how she wanted to spend the rest of the evening...watching a campy old horror classic.

The movie was made the same year I was born.  I was surprised that Katie and Kelsey were captivated by the story.  I had no idea how an old movie like that still maintained it's creepy factor.  I remember watching it as a boy, and it did it's job of creeping me out pretty good.  I didn't think it could still be as potent all these decades later with a young audience acclimated to the super realistic special f/x of today.  I can attest to the fact that THE FLY has still got it!

I made one mistake tonight. Right at the end of the movie, right as the spider neared the fly, I reached out and touched Kelsey as she was tensely crouched on the couch next to her mother.  She shot straight up off the couch...launched like a rocket she did.  I am afraid that scared the living daylights out of her.

Bad dad...bad-bad dad!