Movie Memories

movie memories

Movies, I have been a fan for more years than I want to count but for perspective’s sake, let’s say I have been a movie buff for six decades.

When I first fell in love with the movies there were only two ways you could see them; one was to go to the theatre.

When I was growing up in what was then known as Alderwood, which later became Etobiocke and then Toronto, there were three movie theaters on Lakeshore Blvd, all near each other.

We would take the bus and streetcar to them or sometimes walk and save the fare for candy. The movie cost us a quarter and we saw a travelogue, a carton, and two films on a Saturday afternoon, usually, a western, a war movie or the latest Tarzan pic, with Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan.

I can still feel the ripple of anticipation that ran through me as the movie began, what would happen? Where would this adventure take?

I still feel a similar excitement when I sit down to watch a movie that I have not yet see, although these days it is more likely to be a DVD in my living room than in a theatre.

The other way to watch a movie, way back then was, on the rare occasion, a movie was shown on TV. We got our first TV set in the mid-fifties and it was some years later before there was much to choose from when it came to movies.

Now remember we are talking about the days before remote control, cable, satellites, DVDs or even VHS. Back in the pioneer days of home movie watching, when one of the major networks would air a movie special in prime time or when the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) aired late night films.

Many of my favourite films from the 1940s and 50s were seen curled up on my parents couch or later on in the basement rec room, funny, the commercials did not bother me then as they do now.

I do not think that the movies then were any better than the movies today. There were great films then and there are great films now. There was junk then and there is junk now.

I do feel that the sensuality of some of the 40s films such as Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not (1944) which was based on an Ernest Hemingway book, with Bacall as Marie 'Slim' Browning. I will always remember when a very sultry Bacall says:

"You know you don't have to act with me, Steve. You don't have to say anything and you don't have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow."

The Big Sleep with Bogart and Bacall is a thriller/detective story based on a Raymond Chandler novel and a great film but then so are Casablanca and the African Queen.

There are so many movies that it is impossible to come even close to mentioning them all but two are musts; 1965’s Von Ryan’s Express with Frank Sinatra and Frank again, in From Here To Eternity, the 1953 version with Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr and Montgomery Cliff.

I rarely read movie reviews as I do not care what the critics have to say, I can make up my own mind, after all it is my money and my time.

The Road Pictures with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby are treasures with their tongue-in-cheek approach to movie making and the antics of Abbot and Costello are classic.

When we live in Ontario we used to watch Saturday Night at the Movies, then with Elwy Yost as host and he would occasionally play these gems along with many other great old movies. They were commercial free and that was a treat.

Saturday Night at the Movies is still on the air but we no longer live in Ontario and since moving to our new location have given up TV watching and do not have cable, satellite or even an antenna, the two television sets are used for watching movies and we are regular visitors to our local movie rentals where we are fortunate enough to be able to purchase VHS tapes to feed our old machine.

We watch about six to nine movies a week and some we have seen over and over again. I cannot actually say which my favourite film is but I can say which movies I have watched most often; the Wizard of Oz would head the list, I have watched it at least once a year ad sometimes more for the past 50 years.

In a distant second place would come Jurassic Park 1 and 2, I do not own 3, yet; followed by Terminators 1 and 2, all four Lethal Weapons, Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first four Harry Potter movies.

I am just scratching the surface but the movies have played and continue to play an important role in my life.

I admit to feeling cheated when I have spend 90 minutes to two hours watching a bad movie, not one that starts out bad and stays that way, those I turn off, but one that starts our promising something but then gets lost along the way. These such you in until about the ¾ mark and then suddenly die, leaving me feeling cheated having wasted time that I will not get back, but then sometimes you just have to go along for the ride.

There is now way I can come even close to talking about all the films I have enjoyed or even the ones that just made me mad, maybe I will, in another hub, compile a list of my favourite ten films of the past 60 years, time will tell.

There is no one genre that I prefer, it all really depends upon my mood, the day of the week, what I have been doing and son on.

I do enjoy a good romantic comedy and Love Actually and Three to Tango are fun films, but there are so very many more, would you like to mention a few?

Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein

Wizard of Oz

Tarzan

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Comments 17 comments

Katherine Baldwin profile image

Katherine Baldwin 8 years ago from South Carolina

Hi Bob, we're movie buffs too. Some of our favorites are Shenandoah, Friendly Persuasison, The Quiet Man, the Thin Man and Sherlock Holmes series. Boy, I'm telling my age here. TV in our area started out as Black and White with three stations. Of course, like most kids of the '50's our Saturdays were spent at the theatre. We were just discussing this topic the other day with the children and they laughed at us. I'm not sure if they didn't believe us or just pittied us, lol.

Katherine


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

The Thin Man , greta films, William Powell and Mary Mstor, James Stewart in Shenandoah is good too, thanks for stopping by. and who can forget Sherlock.


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

Spencer's Mountain was great for family values and I enjoyed it as a child! Fun Hub Bob, and memory provoking. C.S. Alexis


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks C.S. I think I have seen Spencer's Mountain but can't quite place it, I'll look it up.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Bob! Great hub. I just love moooovies and also have a descent collection. My all time fave old time movie... the one I always go back to watching is 'The Inn of the sixth happiness' with Ingrid Bergman and Curt Jurgens it is quite a schmaltzy film but for some reason I just love it. All the old Disney films are still on my shelves, I still love to watch them with my grandbabies. I also used to enjoy the fright night movies with my Dad Wednesday nights. There were some great classics in that pile too.

regards Zsuzsy


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks Zsuzsy, that is one of my wife's favourites. Fright Night, there are some great filsm there, I agree.


Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

Back in the early days when a Sony Betamax was the be-all and end-all of expensive video equipment, I spent $2,000 for one and then sent off for catalogues from places like Blackhawk Films.

I was reminded of this recently when we were going through the stuff one tends to collect in 30 years of marriage. With great pain in my heart I tossed those old catalogues. Still just peering thorugh them reminded me of the thousands of movies we are unlikely to see on TV today.

I used to watch those silly "Monster Shows" on the Chicago stations (I am certain all cities had their own versions of these!) They showed the old B&W flicks - Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman, etc. Some were just plainly bad movies, others were campy fun. But as a kind I was not quite as discriminating about films as I am today.

I no longer have the Betamax, and I can't quite seem to find the old films I used to enjoy. I had heard that all those old flicks were bought up by someone - was it Ted Turner? - and were to be vaulted for all time. If so, that is a shame.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman are among my favourites of this era and genre, a friend, several cities ago, had them on vhs and I'd borrow them every now and then.


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

Most watched movies in the 60's for me was The Wizard of Oz, Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate and I can't count the number of times I watched Alfred Hitchcock''s "The Birds". I loved the Sound of Music and my fav Disney was "One Hundred and One Dalmatians".

The movie theatre I used to go to as a kid closed in the 70's due to a fire. It was renovated and reopened just a few years ago stageing plays and concerts. Just a few weeks ago I went to see the "Beatle Juice" concert. I was amazed at how small that theatre was and how old the Baby Boomers looked. It is my opinion that they really need to be warmed up. Tickets for a Real Beatle Concert back in 1964 was $4.00. Tickets for the concert I went to see were $42.00 and not even the real deal. My husband got the tickets in work for free so it was definately worth a night out.


rmr profile image

rmr 8 years ago from Livonia, MI

Nice hub, Bob. For me, the memories are sometimes more about the experience, than the actual movie. I'll never forget crowding into the family station wagon, for a Saturday night at the drive-in. Although being a kid, watching Jaws on that huge drive-in screen, just about scared me to death! I wouldn't even go in the swimming pool for a week!


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

The Birds, I have seen that a few times, good film. Free tickets make a night out an adventure. Thanks for stopping by.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

The drive-in now there is anotehr memory, we used to go regularly back in the late 60s-early 70s, then they began to close.


cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

We should start a movie lovers club here. I love all kinds of movies with great stories. Alfred Hitchcock had some of the best movies. I liked Clint Eastwood's the "Good, Bad and the Ugly". There are so many good ones, the new ones are good in technology wise but story wise they lack.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

A movie lovers club, good idea. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a great genre pic. thanks for visiting.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

I'm another movie lover, Bob, but I can't watch the psychedelic, ridiculously fast, scene changes in today's movies. My movie experience pretty much matches yours, however, except that I loved the movies of the 1930's and '40's most. I used to go virtually every Saturday in Yonkers to whichever theater had the most cartoons. And I have dozens of movies I taped from television. I think I can say I never saw a movie back then that I didn't enjoy. But my big favorites are these: "Gunga Din" and "The Four Feathers" (both 1939), "Guadalcanal Diary,"  "Five Graves to Cairo" and "Sahara" (all 1943), "Double Indemnity" (1944), "And Then There Were None," (1945), "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," (1949) and "The African Queen," (1951.) I'm delighted that you've included one of Bing Crosby's and Bob Hope's seven road pictures. And I was a big fan of Johnny Weissmuller, too.


gunsock profile image

gunsock 7 years ago from South Coast of England

Thanks for an interesting Hub. If I had to plump for one film and one only, I'd go with Casablanca. The Marseillaise scene still makes me want to stand up and sing with them. And when Bogey says,"We'll always have Paris," and goes into his goodbye speech, well, its tissue time. I watch modern films too, but they don't seem to have the same emotional impact.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Willima that is a great list of movies, I have a copy of Gunga Din, old VHS. whihc is one reason for keeping the VCR.

I also have Casablanca, trul a great movie. Thank you both for dropping by.

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